The family story was Herman Mangels had a tendency to partake of alcoholic beverages. So much so that his wife threatened to lock him out of the house the next time he returned home inebriated. That next time happened on a cold January night. The family story went on to say that after spending a frigid night on an enclosed porch, my 2nd great-grandfather contracted pneumonia and died.
So imagine my surprise when I read the cause of death on Herman’s death certificate:
I wondered if there had been some truth to the family story. Maybe Herman shot himself because his wife Mary refused to let him in the house. The death certificate mentions an inquest, so I requested a copy. The story it told broke my heart.
What must have Mary (nee Bukmakowski) Mangels’ life been like? Legend has it her husband was an alcoholic, so day-to-day life certainly couldn’t have been easy. I can only imagine how many changes she experienced after his death.
After her parents’ divorce, my grandmother lived with Herman and Mary Mangels; they were her paternal grandparents. The length of time she lived with them is unclear, but surely she was affected by Herman’s lifestyle and by his death. Especially when one takes into account the violent circumstances surrounding his death.
These documents are only one piece of the puzzle. The stories behind them helped me understand the people who appear on them.
For cousins trying to place Herman and me in our family tree:
- my paternal grandmother was Frances Lois Mangels (1911-1991); one of three children born to
- Esther Ingeborg Clarin (1890-1962) and Gustav Robert Mangels (1889-1972); one of three children born to
- Maria Bukmakowski (1859-1934) and Herman Friedrich Carl Mangels (1854-1912); one of the children born to
- Dorothea Friederike Christine Hansen (about 1811-about 1867) and Johann Mangels (unknown-1867).
Interested in collaborating on Mangels family history? I can be reached at where2look4ancestors [at] gmail [dot] com.
My 2015 goal for Herman is to determine when and with whom he traveled from Germany to the United States.
My 2015 organizational goal for Herman is to bring all of his documentation from out-of-date to up-to-date on Ancestry, Dropbox, Family Tree Maker, and in his paper files.
Looks like I have my work cut out for me!