It never ceases to amaze me how things manage to come through our doorways and what type of journey the museum objects take in order to return back home. You hear the word ‘provenance’ a lot in the research and museum world. We are experts here on the genealogy of people and places, but you might not hear as much about our work with finding the history of the artifacts in our collection. I define ‘provenance’ as the genealogy of an object, document, artwork, or a photograph. Twice now, Mangels Family documents have left this region and have had a circuitous path back to Perry County.
Archeologists, Dr. Cynthia Bergstedt and Dr. James Price are longtime patrons of the Lutheran Heritage Center. They reside in Naylor, Missouri. Cynthia’s career has included work in the Mark Twain National Forest. James’ career included his role as Chief of Resource Management for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Recently, they visited a flea market in their Ozark region and one of the vendors had purchased the contents of a storage locker in Jennings, Missouri. One of the documents was a framed confirmation certificate of Claus Hinrich Mangels, 11 of May, 1886. Cynthia and James were familiar with the original home region of Farrar, Perry County, Missouri, on the document and brought it here. It is a beautiful certificate template created at Concordia Publishing House in 1875. Pastor F. Schriefer, the second pastor of the “Evangelical Lutheran Salems Kirche zu Farrar” signed a beautiful pen and ink signature at the bottom of the document. The certificate template is in the German language, and the added handwritten information is also in German. The Mangels descendants are still thriving in Perry County, and I hope they stop in to take a look at this beautiful document that was saved and brought home by two friends of the museum–thank you, Cynthia & James. A “Warren-like” side note on Claus’ Family: He was the 4th child of Hermann and Katherine (Katt) Mangels. Claus had a twin sister, Maria. Claus married Wilhelmine Lohmann, and they had five children: Herbert, Talitha, Gilbert, Oscar, and Delphi. We have all of the pertinent dates for the aforementioned if you have an interest in further genealogical information. (The photo to the left is of Pastor F. Schriefer, from the Salem, Farrar Church History.)
This morning in our staff meeting, the research team shared with me a story of another Mangels family confirmation certificate that traveled back to our site. It is fascinating to me that these fragile paper documents have survived 133 years of traveling across the country–stored in attics, basements, and trunks. They are beautiful, and full of family research history. We have an entire archival storage drawer with baptismal, confirmation, and wedding certificates. This story has motivated me to create a special exhibit for 2020 featuring these treasures. If documents could talk, these would have many stories to tell of their beginning in East Perry County, their journeys across the country, and their return to where they started, “There’s no place like home.”