For the second ancestor reflection we move to my maternal line, someone not too far back in history but far enough back that no one living (in my family) knows them.
August Nass was born in Germany in 1876 and christened in the town of Eberstadt. His family life seemed to be steady. I have very little information on his childhood itself, but his family unit stayed together through it. That’s perhaps the most important piece, especially considering this next part.
August was 16 years old when he and his entire family came to the United States. So often immigrant families would come in waves, as they could afford the passage. Sometimes the most likely to-be-employed members came first, sending back for the others later with the money they had earned. Joseph Pulitzer, for example, immigrated to the United States a few years before his younger brother did, both about the same age at the time they emigrated.
While Michigan is known for its connections to French and English history, in addition to the large Dutch population that settled on the western part of the state, many outside of Michigan may not realize the significant German population that settled here. From the middle of the 19th century through the first few decades of the 20th, German farmers settled throughout much of middle Michigan. Dozens of German surnames fill the small towns from Remus, to Ashley, to Beal City and Weidman and dozens in between.
August’s family departed from Hamburg and arrived in the United States in New York in April 1892.
Side note: how cold must that ship trip have been? Further side note: is there a better way to say “ship trip”? That just sounds weird and choppy when it is read out loud.
By 1899 August had found a spouse, as he and Anna Reger were married in Saginaw, Michigan on June 1 of that year. Together they would have ten children over a twenty-four year span. A throwback to an older era, I do believe.
August and Anna’s family lived in the town of Grant in Clare County, Michigan (not the Grant in Newaygo County) in 1900 and 1910, but by the 1920 census they have moved to Washington in Gratiot County, Michigan. In 1930 he was still in Washington, Michigan.
But he’d become a full-fledge Michigander by 1935. No longer satisfied to be simply a German immigrant living in Michigan, August adopted one of the most timeless and cherished practices of Michiganders.
In 1935, August was living in Hollywood, Florida. He was a snow bird.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, being a snow bird apparently runs in the family. Don’t expect that from me, however. (Giles, don’t get any ideas).
August died in 1954 and he is buried in Michigan at the North Star cemetery in Gratiot County, near Washington where he lived with his family.
He is my second great-grandfather, my grandmother’s grandfather. I don’t think she knew him because I remember sharing this information with her and she was both surprised and excited to learn this.