Families Wunsch & Schmidt from Bohemia: Part 1


When my own ancestors need a break from me, I bug other people’s ancestors. Or they bug me, if you believe that. Hoarding old photos of strangers has become a new hobby of mine. So, into my lap fell another lot of old photos. The same person had inscribed many of them. This is where my heart breaks into million pieces, finding photo lots belonging to one family but tossed out in garbage…

So, I logged in to Ancestry and began my search. (Fanfare sound!) I found the great-granddaughter of the couple in the photo in Canada of all places! This family fled the Bohemia region in today’s Czech Rep after WWII into all directions, some of them landing in South America, later in Canada, not carrying many family photos with them. It felt so good to make someone happy with photos they thought were lost forever!

Unfortunately, I don’t know whom those photos originally belonged to or who had inscribed some of them. What I could gather from the little information written on them is that that person’s father was a Wunsch and that person’s mother was from a Schmidt family (Else Schmidt, who married a Wunsch), both families originally from Bohemia in today’s Czech Republic. All the photos were taken either in Reichenberg (Liberec in Czech) or Liebenau (Hodkovice in Czech) which are located pretty close to each other.

The couple in the photo above were identified as Franz Wunsch and Marianne née Pawlu. It says on the back in German “My grandparents Franz Wunsch 1839-1907, Marianne Paul (Pavlu) 1843-1909”.

The man with the dog is identified as “Josef Wunsch 1873-1953”. The handwritten text on the front says “with my friend and loyal guard Barry who died in 1912”. Perhaps another son of Franz and Marianne Wunsch?

There were four portrait photos of the same man who I would also identify as Josef Wunsch (the same face like in the photo with the dog). Seeing that there were so many photos of Josef Wunsch in the lot from different decades, I almost suspect that he might have been the father of the person whose photos those used to be.  Josef is photographed with 2 other men in Reichenberg, but I can’t identify the other two.

There was also a photo of Eduard and Anna Wunsch in the lot. The back of the photo says in German “Uncle Eduard Wunsch, my father’s brother from Münkendorf”. Münkendorf (Minkovice in Czech) is located not far from Reichenberg, so the two cities are in the same region in today’s Czech Republic.

A photo of an older man bears the inscription “Clockmaker (Uhrmacher) Wunsch, uncle of my father”. Perhaps he was the brother of Franz Wunsch?

I’ve returned the original photos to the descendants of the Wunsch family in Canada. They can now continue their genealogy journey with these new treasures and hopefully they will find all the answers they have been looking for. I love being part of this Christmas miracle!

I will continue with the Schmidt family in Part 2 to this post.

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