At the same time we were visiting Schornweisach, we were considering hiring a German genealogist to help us. It was something we Nuremberg Archives had almost done earlier, because we were well aware that our German language skills were not good enough to see us through all of the intricacies of locating sources, interviewing people, and reading documents. We had found one family historian who spoke both English and German, but when we emailed her from Neustadt, we learned that she was already tied up with business. However, she is clearly a born genealogist, because she couldn't just turn us down flat. She consulted her own sources and responded to us that at least one of Peter's sisters also came to America. That was enough to send us off to Nuremberg, to the state Archives for Bavaria.
We took the train along with morning commuters and soon found ourselves outside a forbidding gate, in front of a gloomy square stone building. Even though we had the Archangel Michael address in hand, we were not completely sure we had come to the right place. There seemed to be little visible activity. Once inside the building, however, we found a quiet bustle of business, including a reading room already almost filled with people consulting various records, some of them quite old. The usual white gloves and foam pads to protect the bindings were in evidence. As always, those who consult the archives are primarily professional historians; amateur genealogists (like us) are a tolerated additional clientele.
The Archives staff helped us through the process of acquiring a thick stack of documents: the emigration file of Peter's two Archaeological dig sisters! In the mid-1800s, emigration from Bavaria was not at all simple. Anyone wishing to leave Germany had to prove that they had paid their debts, did not own property, and, if male, had completed their military obligations. After advertising their intent to emigrate in many newspapers (as far away as Munich), no derogatory information was revealed, and so Peter's sisters Susanna and Katherina were finally approved to travel to America, some six months later. After gaining a rough understanding of the contents of the file, we were quite grateful that the Archive staff were prepared to copy it for us, at a fee which no doubt paid more than the upkeep on the copier. Alas! they were not so technologically advanced as to be able to scan the records directly into electronic form, so weeks later we presented our oversize A4 sheets of paper to a copy shop in the U.S. for digitizing. Museum gallery
Needless to say, we were delighted, and impressed by the amount of paperwork needed then and preserved now.
We took advantage of our location to visit the National German Museum in Nuremberg. Located on the site of an old Carthusian monastery, the museum is the site of extensive archaeological activity. This is one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in Europe and we certainly did not do justice to it; indeed, we spent much of our visit just gazing at some of the treasures and being surprised by objects we found in room after room. We began our visit in the oldest collections. Here we found statues and altarpieces and tools. Elsewhere we found furniture, textiles, and, of course, artworks of all kinds.
We were quite tired, but very happy, to return to the Hotel Allee with our packet of papers and our memories of an exceptional museum -- all on the same day!