The Jahn family lived in Meuselbach, a little village
near the city of Rudolstadt, in Thuringia (the dark orange state
in the center of the map). After Word War II, Thuringia was under
communist control, and it was nearly impossible to obtain any
genealogical information. Now that the political climate in Germany has changed, we hope
to find more about the Jahns who remained there and other relatives
who may have come to America. Meanwhile, the information we have
comes from a letter written in German to Lonie (Jahn) Hansen by
Kurt Jahn, a cousin in Germany. He says:
Our grandfather was Karl Jahn, born February
24, 1834, in Meuselbach, where he also died on November 29,
1887, of a throat infection. Like his father, he was a teamster.
These were people who owned horses and wagons and hauled merchandise.
The teamsters were quite uniformly clothed: sturdy shoes, sturdy
white knee-length woolen socks, leather trousers, and blue linen
shirts. The Thuringia forest was very poor and had to import
most of its living necessities from far away. So Grandfather
drove with his equipment to nearby cities like Erfurth and others
as far away as Bremen. He was away from home for weeks at a
time, and Grandmother had to manage the large family alone.
Grandmother's name was Friederike Natalie
Rosalie Ehle. (She was called 'Rosalie.') She was born on
May 28, 1836, in Meuselbach, and also died there on June 7,
1912. I knew her and remember her well. She was a small, very
quiet and very hard-working woman, dressed in a wide black skirt
and a simple black jacket. She spoke very, very seldom. On her
head she wore a black kerchief, which she removed only when
she went to bed. As children, we always enjoyed seeing her beautiful
red cheeks. After the death of her husband, she surely did not
have an easy time bringing up all the children. She died of
Our grandparents were married January 25, 1858.
They had ten children, three boys and seven girls. The boys
were: your father, Edmund; my father, Oskar; and
the youngest brother, Emil. The girls were: Natalie,
Ottilie, Emma, Anna, Laura, Kathinka, and Lydia.
Except for Edmund, Natalie, Ottilie, and Laura, all lived in
Meuselbach. Many of the descendants of the sisters were killed
in the world wars.
At the time of the Nazis, all civil servants
had to prove that none of their ancestors were Jews, or they
would be dismissed from office. At that time, I had to identify
all of my ancestors back to the year 1800. If it should interest
you, I will add the names, etc.
Our grandfather Karl's father was a teamster,
Johann Georg Jahn, born January 21, 1804, in Meuselbach.
He died there on April 22, 1874, from apoplexy.
His mother was Anna Barbara Moeller,
born March 13, 1803, in Schwarzmuehle; she died in Meuselbach
on May 2, 1874, of a stroke. They were married June 19,
Our grandmother Rosalie's father was a merchant
and medicine dealer, Johann Georg Ehle, born July
17, 1808, in Meuselbach. He died January 19, 1867, of pneumonia.
Her mother was Christiane Emilie Minner,
born February 24, 1801, in Koenigsee. She died January 3,
1841, of a liver disease. They were married January 23,
I did not go back farther than this; I was
not required to, according to the law.
The medicine dealers were interesting people
at that time. They collected a variety of medicinal herbs,
or had others collect them, and brewed a variety of tinctures
which had healing powers. These tinctures were bottled,
packed in wooden racks, carried on the back through the
countryside, and sold. Many of these medicine dealers went
as far as Switzerland. Most of them earned a very good living.
Besides the tinctures, they also produced plasters and ointments.
In my youth, there were still a few "balsam carriers," as they were called then. After the first World War they
disappeared. Today there are still three operations in Meuselbach
which make these products; one has grown into a large factory.