One of the best things about blogging about family and local history is being contacted by distant relatives, old acquaintances, former area inhabitants and others researching the same surnames.
Recently I was contacted by another Rueck researcher, Onno Rueck, from Switzerland. Onno seems to have an extensive database of Ruecks from all around the world but we have not determined if our Rueck families connect somewhere down the line.
I am afraid that I was not much help to him but he was a great help to me. Onno can read old German Script! After reading in one of my blog posts that I have many Rueck letters written in the old script, he kindly offered to translate one for me. I was amazed at how quickly Onno was able to translate the letter.
The collection of letters I have is from the Ruecks that moved to Oregon and were written to my great-grandmother Christine (Rueck) Miller. My great-great-grandparents, Jacob and Regina (Gross) Rueck, as well as several of their children moved to Oregon in the late 1800s. Their children that accompanied them to Oregon were George, Jacob, Catherina, David, Regina and Carl.
Two of Jacob and Regina’s children did not go to Oregon with the rest of the family. My great-grandmother Christine (Rueck) Miller stayed in Ohio and Frederick Ruck moved to Oklahoma.
The letter I sent to Onno to translate was one of the oldest letters I have from Oregon. I could tell from the 1918 postmark that it was probably a letter telling of the death of the father, Jacob Rueck, who died on 23 January 1918. Jacob’s wife Regina passed away in 1889.The letter was written by Regina (Rueck) Rueck, sister of my great-grandmother Christine (Rueck) Miller. Regina married her first cousin, Jacob Rueck.
Below is the translation and transcription of the letter, which Onno translated literally. I took the liberty of making the sentences sound more like today’s English since German sentences usually have the subject, object and verb in a different order than we are used to. For example the first sentence literally reads, “Your kind letter have we last Wednesday received.” There were a couple sentences that I did not quite know what was meant and so I left them in the literal translation.
Aurora, Ore., Jan. 27, 1918
Dear Sister, Brother-in-law and Children,
We received your kind letter last Wednesday. Unfortunately our dear father could no more read himself. He was still alive this evening. At ¾ to nine [his] soul died at age 89 years and 1 month. He was in bed the last 6 days although he was still up almost constantly the whole day. He also had bladder problems almost the whole winter. We had to take the water part of the nights most of the time. He died of weakness of old age, so to say. His powers and his strength became obviously weaker the whole winter. God be praised that he did not have much pain or suffering.
Dear Sister, it was very hard to lose him. He has however left behind the good power. He is by mother in heaven. He prayed very much all the time and said his goodbyes to us. Taken you will surely his goodbyes send and you falls [?] him to forgive that his unjust was done and he was complete ready to leave us. We have seen David once again. He was here 3 weeks in November on a visit.
Dear sister, it was a very burdened and troublesome winter for us. On 10 November Karl became ill and on the 13th we brought him to the hospital in Portland where he was operated on that same day. There was a tumor and appendicitis. He was in the hospital 4 weeks. Already since the start of December every night we stayed awake by father as Karl was away. It was rather hard for Jake. He and us alone in the morning with father were constantly afraid he would not see Karl again. He has come out of the hospital 2 weeks before. He is still really weak. I did not want to write you all earlier and worries make me write you now. Sister Katja has enough worries, too. Her oldest does not have his papers yet for moving. She day by day
We had an unusually mild winter. I…a plucked a few flowers off father’s grave. The grave was completely covered with beautiful flowers. The pastor had a very beautiful burial service and corpse [burial] text. Now will I close.
Dear sister, May you have a solemn heart and find the peace/rest. [maybe dear little sister/pet name?] greets you all wholeheartedly. Sister, Brothers, Brother-in-law, Children
Many thanks to Onno for translating this letter for me.