Amanuensis Monday: You want me to do what?

Amanuensis Monday is another daily blogging prompt suggested by GeneaBloggers. When I first saw this prompt, my immediate reaction was “Amanu-what?” but when I read the description I was intrigued. The prompt is described this way:

An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin – some we never met – others we see a time in their life before we knew them.

Now that I know what an amanuensis is and what Amanuensis Monday is,  I realize I have some documents that will fill the bill quite nicely for this prompt. They involve my mother’s side of the family, however, rather than my father’s, and they’ll take a little bit of explaining.

Annie Neubauer was my mother’s grandmother, my maternal great-grandmother. She grew up in a German-American Catholic family in Baltimore, Maryland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The family spoke German at home, had German language prayer books, and wrote letters to each other in German in an elegant, formal hand. I have photocopies of two letters from George Neubauer to his parents dated 1 Jan 1873 and 1874 respectively, in  German, with English, translations attached. The original letters were handwritten, but the translations were typed on an old manual typewriter. I believe my uncle Eddie Roberts provided me with the photocopies of the letters, but I have no idea who translated them. I also have no idea of the relationship between Annie Neubauer and George Neubauer. I suspect (but do not know for sure) that George Neubauer was one of Annie Neubauer’s brothers. In the first letter he writes:

Dear Parents,

I can not let this day go by without telling you my heartfelt feelings.

For the New Year I wish you the best of luck, the blessing of the Lord, a long life, and after a peaceful death eternal life in heaven.I particularly feel strong about these wishes thinking about the past years when you worked so hard to make a good child out of me. For the many favors which you extended on my body and soul I express my thanks deep from my heart and the dear Lord will reward you for it in heaven with an extraordinary blessing. In order to show you my gratefulness I promise to make you happy with a good and pious behavior. I will not let a day go by without having prayed for you. I know that in the last year I have worried you with my bad behavior. I am sorry and I ask you for forgiveness and in the New Year I will be a very different son.

In the hope that you will continue to take care of me in the same way I remain with love and devotion your thankful son George.


Balto. 1 Jan. 1873

Next week, I’ll post the second of the two letters with my thoughts about both. In the meantime, if any of my GeneaBloggers colleagues who are researching the Neubauer family or German-American families, especially in the Baltimore area, could provide me with some guidance on how to identify George Neubauer and establish the relationship between George and Annie Neubauer, I would be most grateful. Danke schön!