Monday, August 22, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Anton Schrock - Obituary (*Where* was he born??)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Below I transcribe the obituary for my wife's 3rd great grandfather, Anton Schrock, which appeared in the Marble Hill Press on June 21, 1900. The clipping was found at ChroniclingAmerica.

Died – At his home near this place, the 15th, Anton Schrock aged about 81 years. Deceased had been in poor health sometime and being quite old, was an easy victim. He was a highly respected citizen and has been a resident of this county about forty years and of the United States sixty years. He was born in Frankenstine, Germany December 31, 1819. He leaves a widow, seven children and a host of friends to mourn their loss.


1. The one word which, for almost any reader, will jump up and wave its arms about forcing the individual to take notice, is the name of the village in Germany. Not everyone realizes it is a name of an actual village. There is a castle there, too. Mary Wollstonecraft, along with three author friends, including future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, traveled nearby in 1814. They challenged each other to a competition to see who could write the best horror story. I don't think there is any dispute who won. Frankenstein was published in 1818.

It should be noted that the only documentation I've seen indicating the village of Frankenstein as Schrock's birthplace is this obituary. Anton Schrock was born after the publication of the novel, and it's very easy to imagine that his claim to have been born there is about as truthful as my Polish-born great grandfather's claim to have been born in Dublin, Ireland.

The passenger manifest for Anton Schrock and his wife, Caroline, indicate their town of origin was Neurode, Germany. Which is approximately 750km from Frankenstein. It's certainly possible Schrock was born in Frankenstein, moved to Neurode, and then immigrated to America. Caroline could have been from Neurode, and Anton from Frankenstein. There are a lot of possibilities.

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