Piecing Together My Family’s History

A few years ago I inherited an old suitcase full of old letters, receipts and documents!

The contents of this suitcase have been miraculously preserved and handed down through my father’s family for generations!

Honestly, it’s amazing that my ancestors thought to keep all this stuff!

What’s even more amazing is that some of this family heirloom ephemera dates all the way back to the 1860’s!

Unfortunately, some of the papers are almost too delicate and fragile to touch.

It’s only a matter of time before they will deteriorate and disappear off the face of the earth, so I decided to scan them onto my computer to preserve them for future generations!!


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My husband Malcolm and I have been going through this suitcase full of papers over the last few weeks.

We’re trying to figure out how all these people we’ve been reading about are related to me!

Some of their stories are quite interesting and some are just plain sad and shocking!

It took awhile for me to figure it all out, but the story begins in the early 1860’s with Philip Reinhard.

Philip was a doctor who came over here from Germany as an indentured servant.

Eventually, he was released from his servitude and allowed to practice medicine in the United States.

He and his wife, (whom I haven’t figured out yet) had at least one daughter named Anna Rosina Christina born in 1865.

Anna grew up and married a man named Frederick Lohrman.

Together, they had three children, Philip Conrad; Elizabeth Mary Lillian; and Rosina Christina!

Rosina Christina was my grandmother.

My father and his mother in 1933.

Rosina Christina married Ivan Barrett Mumford some time before 1911 and together, they had three children, George: 1911-1977 (I don’t know his middle name); Phyllis Ann, who either died at birth or at a very young age; and my father, Edwin Lohrman Mumford: 1927-2001.

My father and grandfather in 1931.
My father and his brother, George in 1928.
My father and his brother, George a few years later.

I was beginning to piece my lineage together from all the information I was gathering, but it wasn’t until turned over the copy of a little tintype photo of Anna Rosina Christina, that I knew I had figured it all out correctly!

All during my childhood, my grandmother and uncle lived in the Indiana State Mental Institution, so I knew mental illness ran in my father’s family, but what I didn’t realize was just how far back through the generations it ran!

It’s so tragic that when Anna and Frederick’s son, Philip joined the army just after WWI,  he was sent to Europe to dig up the dead bodies of US soldiers so they could be sent home.

Apparently that was too much for him to handle and he ended up being sent back home to a mental institution.

I have no idea how long he remained there or what happened to him after that.

Sadly, however, I do know that Anna made several attempts to visit him because there are quite a few letters addressed to her from the mental institution telling it would be best if she didn’t go see him.

There were also several letters and legal documents concerning Anna’s petition the courts to be declared her son’s legal guardian.

Then again in the 30’s another Philip whom I am related to somehow was a senior high school class president who stabbed himself to death in front of his history teacher over a bad grade!

My father never mentioned any of these people to me.

Not even his grandmother or grandfather!

I wish I had known about all this before he died, so I could have asked him about them.

Sadly, as far as I know, the Reinhards and Lohrmans are all gone.

Too many of them died without ever having children.

There is no one left alive that can tell me more about these fascinating strangers who were my family.

My father’s childhood home on Sunset Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana.

*This post contains affiliate links.

It’s funny, but being the junk journal junkie that I am, I couldn’t help but notice how very much like all that Tim Holtz ephemera all these documents are, so I decided to offer many of these images for sale as instant digital downloads in my Etsy Shop, CrafyOldLady59.

Some of them are below!

You certainly don’t have to buy them, but if you are interested in seeing more you can do so there!

depression era bank book


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