This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Introducing: Math's Diary

In 1914, Math and Ted Hesch took a trip to Europe. He reported it this way in the Pierz Journal:

16 April 1914

"M.E.Hesch of Buckman called at the Journal office Saturday: Math and Theo will soon leave for a European trip during which they intend to visit Oberschleisen, Rome, Lourdes, Berlin, Paris and other points of interest. They may be gone until about the first of November."

Math started writing for area papers in 1905--I'd guess this was him talking. In reality, they were gone for 10 weeks, from mid-April to the middle of June.

The coolest thing is that Math kept a journal of the trip, but it was mostly written in sentence fragments, with few periods. Obviously, his intent was to spur his own memory once they got home. He probably didn't expect it to still be around 94 years later, or that his granddaughter Joan would transcribe it. But it is, and she did. She also gave a copy to the Morrison County Historical Society in Little Falls. That's where I found it, and asked for a copy.

I've had it in my file for a year or two, and mentioned it to Larry one day. He asked to read it, so I scanned it and emailed it to him in Georgia. (Larry and I have been researching the Hesch family online for over a year, so his interest was more than idle curiosity).
He's an excellent researcher, and after he read the journal, he mentioned the Olympic--did I know what a famous ship that was? And Maths' reference to sitting "under der linden" in Berlin--did I know that's the famous strasse that passes under the Brandenburg Gate?

Oh, my. Obviously, there was much more to Math's Journal than I thought. In fact, there was so MUCH we could figure out--so many puzzle pieces to fit together, along with discoveries we've made about the Heschs and Otrembas--that putting it online here is natural.

What we intend to do is add it in sections, as we get 'em finished. Each section will have the DIARY label, so you'll be able to read them all together eventually. There are many links that'll show you places they saw, all online. What an AMAZING world we live in!!

Larry says:

I've always enjoyed leafing through old digital records, finding electronic needles in haystacks. When Marlys shared this diary, I saw that it wasnt long, but it WAS crammed full of detail. Initially our first explorations were to define things Mr. Hesch talks about, what did he mean by this phrase, where exactly in Europe is that place they passed though. After a few tentative searches we discovered just how vast the world wide web truly is and the great weath of information it contains.

Our challenge then became seeing just how much the internet could be used in reconstructing a trip taken 95 years earlier, using a diary transcribed from a hand-written original. How many of the places they went could we re-discover and nail down, how many of the most obscure things he mentions could we still find traces of? Our philosophy on tracing the obscurities being that if he found it worthy to jot a note about it, he wanted to remember it. We have both learned a lot in taking part in this experiment; I hope you enjoy our results.

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