The beginning of my search...
I treasure my families blood that runs through my veins ~ and that very thought came to my mind in1990 while laying in a Hospital bed. I'd been diagnosed with cancer. Sadly I lost both parents from this decease, and knowing this I thought I might die. I was scared, although the prognosis was good for me - but still, I was scared.
While in Hospital I had lots to think about, and as I was looking at my skin with pronounced veins in my arms... this very thought came to mind. “This blood that runs through my veins is not only from my father and mother...but their parents as well, all the way back to the beginning of time.” The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know...Who were they and what have my ancestors done to contribute making this world a better place. I wondered, did they help others, and did they have a strong religious Faith?
My mother told me stories about herself, including dad and other family members of the past. To me the stories seemed so incredible that I had a hard time believing them. I just had to know, so my search began.
Then of course I had to ask Myself....what have I done to make this world a better place?
*Starting with my inherited News Article about my GGgrandfather Johann Meyer who through his philanthropy, was ennobled.
Johann Meyer 1800 - 1887
Article title: Who did Good to be Remembered - January 7 1937 He had been dead for 50 years ~ the “Russian Meyer”
The "Russian Meyer" written in German
This is about Johann Meyer, detailing his journey and Russian involvement with Industries that gave him the name...Salt, Railroad, Thread, and Cotton Mogul and a ‘Grosskaufmann’ merchant 1 (great merchant) The rest of the story, honoring him for all he had done for the city of Dresden Germany, where he was also an Honorary Citizen and a street named after him (Johann-Meyer Strasse)
A note: My researcher has found Johann Meyer‘s middle names indeed were different, as shown in the strikeout in the 1937 article. That's a story in itself with lots of new information.
I've also noticed it’s been mentioned Johann Meyer as a Banker. I'm not sure where this comes from, there were many Johann Meyers during that time period...including in Dresden.
Maybe that's why my father went to a Banking School in London...so there might be something to it.
Dresden has not forgotten him!
Another article January 20, 1994 Sachsische Zeitung article - posted again SZ Sachsische Zeitung Jan. 6, 2006
Letters recording the deeds, from STADTMUSEUM
Unfortunately this letter is in German, for those that can read German you might be able to understand it. It basically starts with 1863 with 1200 Thaler and went total 575,200 Marks, which in those days was a great deal of money...With his philanthropy Johann Meyer was given the title of Honored Citizen of Dresden.
Also stating in the letter that in October 1991 and January 1994 the newspapers had articles commemorating his Philanthropy. The first Newspaper article was written in 1933, I can't find the ones written earlier in my research, most likely they where destroyed from the Fire Bombing of Dresden 1945.
#1 pg. explaining J.Meyer donations and reasons
#2 pg. more about his Philanthropy records
Art Collectors and artists in the family
Being an artist myself, I found it interesting that Johann Meyer was an avid art collector ....he went to Dourot’ Auction in Paris, as well as Dresdens‘ Fountainebleau School of art.
He liked supporting upcoming artist and displayed their art in his Villa for the public to see... the list of artists are very impressive, and wish I had just one of them.
There are several artists and collectors in the family.
Meyer had a great deal of influence on some of his famed friends to collect art.
An impressive list of Artists
Invitation to the Dresden State Museum
In 2006 we visited Dresden, and the Stadt Museum invited us to view a "Wood Cutting" of the image of Johann Meyer by famed Hugo Bürkner (1818–1897) The visit to the Museum was very interesting, they took us to a vault and gave us white gloves to wear so that we might handle the books. It is by pure luck that these items from the Museum survived through the Anglo-American firebombing of Dresden in 1945.
My father and my aunt where caught in the midst of the bombing, I heard some very terrible stories about that night.
Dresden is beautiful and it's nice to see that the city is being rebuilt, hopefully in its old glory. I still have a hard time understanding why of all the cities in Germany, they chose to destroy this most beautiful and cultured city. Over 250,000 innocent children, women, old people and prisoners of war, dying or injured that night.
Allgemeiner Bildniskatalog by Hans W. Singer - presented to us in the Museum for viewing
Apartments and housing built for Dresden workers
Street sign and together with Plaque
Street Sign & Commemoration Plaque
The Museum director gave us directions to see the Street that was named after Johann Meyer the "Johann-Meyer-Strasse"... as you can see there is Graffiti on the street plaque sign, you can't get away from it...what a shame!
Not only did he build one building but others on that street. His first building was to accommodate the poor working people at the Factories. He also built Schools, Hospitals and helped Churches, setting up trusts that to this day are still in affect. These are just some of the things he did to warrant his ennoblement, and for one year he was the Honorary Citizen of that beautiful city Dresden.
Johann Meyer's heartfelt concern for those that worked so hard in the city factories living in deplorable disease ridden conditions was without notice, and the fact he gave a huge amount of money to the poor to be distributed amongst them, makes me exceedingly proud of him...how lucky I am and that his blood flows through my veins...
Family Meyer/von Meyer grave site
When visiting Dresden I found out from the Museum where the Trinitatisfriedhof (Cemetery) was located. We took a bus there and a nice lady took us to the area that the Meyer/von Meyer family grave site was.
I took photos, but never noticed the discrepancy until later, when things just didn't mesh with my g.g.grandfathers' Johann Meyer name. You must understand that the name Meyer is as popular as Smith is in the states. So you can see that this research has been frustrating... especially finding more mistakes.
I happen to find a photo on Flicker that showed the same grave site that I took a photo of, and that's when I noticed the last name was wrongly spelled Mayer, however the years were correct. Then I received mail from the Cemetery, they said that no one knew why the last names were misspelled. Johann Meyer had a daughter named Auguste, she married a Müller. Johann's wife's' name was Auguste Dorothea 'Fehst' and she also is buried at this grave site, but I did not see her grave there and completely forgot to ask...I guess I was too excited seeing all this.
Then thinking, how does one find corrections for all this? Well, the mystery just got deeper....I was told that this is indeed Johann Meyers' headstone. From what I understand the city of Dresden replaced the war torn headstone, but not the original which might have had a Bust of him on top. My grandfather and great grandfather are right next to him, as seen in the photograph.
Now I have the answers for some of these inconsistencies, but there are still some unanswered things plaguing me...I'll carry on as long as I can and hope someday to fulfill my dream of answers.
Images of Villa
While in Dresden I wanted to see where the Villa Meyer once stood, this at the corner of Beustrasse1 - Parkstrasse. I knew it had been firebombed, and most was torn down around 1954, except for one building which in recent years was torn down and the property sold.
Originally designed by Russian Architect Harald Julius von Bosse. Then with additional designs, built by the famed Georg Hermann Nicolai.
Sadly for some reason we never made it to this area where the remaining building stood.... a big regret.
When I saw the Villa Meyer listed on the Nicolai's Wikipedia, I knew there had to be more information available. You can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to find images of the Villa Meyer on Wikipedia!
Unfortunately this house on Beuststrasse 1/Parkstrasse Dresden was destroyed in 1945 from the firebombing and then completely torn down In the last few years.
Discovering more Information
The American Journal of Sociology - wrote
Willkommen im Stadtwiki
I came upon this webpage Stadwiki Dresden featuring Johann Meyer. The addition to that site was done Sept. 2012. I was happy to have found some answers to questions I had...Interestingly enough they used my webpage for some of their information, but most likely it came from the other references they have.
The page can be translated by copying/pasting the Link URL into Google and then use the translator...although a few of the words are translated wrong (example Johann Meyer was not a reindeer ;-) however it's very informative and helpful to me.
NOTE: Having researched more on my ggGrandfather Johann Meyer, I’ve discovered many inaccuracies...so this should not be used for genealogy purposes until corrected.
Finding the ‘von’ in Conferred Peerage -
When I first started this story it was my intention to research the Coat of Arms ~ Crest and Peerage, how and who earned it. I was always told that the Coat of Arms was dedicated for my g.g.grandfather ”Johann Meyer for his philanthropy”. I noticed he didn't use a title or the “von“ in front of his last name and wondered why. After reading his will I could understand why. He was modest and wanted the attention on others, not him.
I started researching about my grandfather Ludwig Adolph “von” Meyer who had a von in front of his last name...my dad also was a von Meyer. Most everyone that tried to help me said, there was no registration information, however that was disproved when I found the information.
Then unexpectedly, I received information from a German contact that had read this story...I was sent additional information and discovered some valuable and interesting answers.
I have to say, what a pleasant surprise to receive this information from a reader.
Coat of Arms
This Coat of Arms
This Coat of Arms painting is one of the items in an old suitcase that I inherited...I have not found any registration, but then not all were registered. My curiosity about the framed original painting of our ~ Family Coat of Arms ~ became a virtual mystery. At one time my mother told me the meaning behind the images. However I have long forgotten, but I still wanted to know what the colors and images meant, and what the motto meant. Searching on the Internet luckily brought me this information. It now all fits together from the description.
While mom told me the coat of arms was originated for my g.g.grandfather Johann Meyer, she was partly right. I found that the ennoblement and title "Baron" the "von" in front of the name Meyer was the result of Johann Meyers’ Philanthropy. The title had been conferred upon my grandfather Ludwig Adolph von Meyer and Adolph de Meyer ~ Watson (better known as Adolph de Meyer the Vogue photographer). These two were half brothers/cousins, their mother being my great grandmother Adele′ Watson who was married to two Meyer brothers. I can't find any registration, but then not all were registered.
The 'von' (a small "v" meaning a title, can also mean “from” not a Nobel) The titles have been passed down to my sister and me as "Baroness." As far as using the title, it's the end of the line with my sister and me. I have two daughters and I believe the title is not transferable to them...but neither one of them have any interest.
I have not used my title since I got married and became a citizen of the United States...In the America everyone thinks you are Royalty, Aristocracy or Nobility just because you have a title, that's not true, each title is earned or either past on in families depending how it came about.
What I have written here is from my searches, contributors, as well what I have been told or heard through my mother's conversations over the years. The items I've inherited including a hand written Genealogy chart are some things shown on this page. Since most records have been destroyed during the war, it's extremely hard to find information on my family...
I know who I am as a person, but wish to know more of who I am through the blood-lines of my parents.
Coat of Arms & Crests belong to individuals, NOT surnames
Coats of arms are not awarded to a family or a name, but to an individual. That's why there's no coat of arms or family crest for the family name "Hardin" -- only a coat of arms and crest granted to someone with that name many years ago...and that's the reason why there's often more than one coat of arms associated with a given surname. Check out the various Hardin arms from different countries and regions. In England, direct descent is required for any heir to have the legal right to bear his ancestor's coat of arms.
Narrowing the search by geographic region of origin, you'll find there also may be more than one coat of arms awarded to several people in ancient Germany. Further complicating the issue is that the authoritative source information for most coats of arms only lists a city and/or county or origin, and sometimes only a country.