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A cousin perhaps alive today?

They may have already been on their way to the hospital, 78 years ago today.

walleThey had to have known, the granduncle and grandaunt of The Legal Genealogist, that there were not one but two babies on their way.

And they must have been feeling a combination of joy… and terror.

Joy because of the potential for new members of the family.

Terror because they had already lost so many.

Gerhard Nuckel of Bremen, Germany, was my grandmother’s brother, and was called Gerd. He and his wife Lina Sophie Henriette Blanke, called Sophie, were married in Bremen, in May of 1922.1

As far as I’ve been able to determine so far — German privacy laws are very strict — Gerd and Sophie had at least eight children. As to two of them, all I know is what are probably their call names2 — there was a girl called Wilma and a boy called Friedel — and what they looked like in a 1932 photograph found in my father’s papers after his death.3 Wilma looks to be 10 to 12 years old in the photo, and Friedel perhaps 12-18 months old.

And, by this time 78 years ago today, they had buried four:

• Klaus Heinz Nuckel was born on the 22nd of March 1925.4 He was one day short of four months old when he died on July 21st of that year of meningitis (“Hirnhautentzündung”).5

• Hans Nuckel was born on the 2nd of April 19266 — and lived less than one day. He died, according to the records, on April 3rd, 1926.7

• Hermann Nuckel was born on the first of December 1927.8 He lived roughly a half-hour and appears to have been another premature birth (“Frühgeburt”).9

• Gerhard Nuckel was born on the 15th of June 1929.10 He was exactly five months old when he died on the 15th of November of heart failure and diphtheria (“Herzschwäche” and “Diphterie”).11

I can’t begin to imagine, then, how they must have felt heading off to the hospital this time. It does appear that Wilma and Friedel were living then — I can’t find any death record for any Nuckel who matches what I know about these children — but having some living children can’t erase the pain of losing others. Nor can it relieve the fear those folks must have felt.

I know a little of what happened in that September 78 years ago. I know that around 4 p.m. on the 25th of September 1938 there were twins born to Gerd and Sophie.12 And I know what happened to one of them.

One of them didn’t make it.

One of the twins, a boy named Gustav, born that late September day in 1938, wasn’t quite two months old when he died on the 13th of November of some kind of eating disorder (“Ernährungsstörung”).13 He was buried in the Walle Cemetery there in Bremen on the 17th of November.14

But I have no idea what happened to the other twin.

I don’t know if the child was a boy or a girl.

Married or single.

Parent or childless.

I only know that there is no entry in the funerary books of Bremen for another Nuckel child. No indexed death of another Nuckel child.

So I have my fingers crossed that another Nuckel child lived.

That — perhaps still alive today — I have another cousin.

That that cousin, or a descendant, might someday come across this blog.

That we might someday get to meet.

I have so many questions…


Image: Friedhof Walle, Bremen Germany, image by BobB, #47607961, FindAGrave, by permission.

  1. Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister (Bremen city registry office, civil status registers), Heiraten (marriages) 1922, Reg. Nr. 815 (1922).
  2. Germans often used a middle or nickname instead of the first given name within the family. It’s what they were called, and so referred to as the call name.
  3. See Judy G. Russell, “Well, hello there, Uncle Gerhard…,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 19 Dec 2015 ( : accessed 23 Sep 2016).
  4. Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister, Geburten (Births) 1925, Reg. Nr. 1132 (1925).
  5. Ibid., Todten (Deaths) 1925, Reg. Nr. 1821 (1925).
  6. Ibid., Geburten 1926, Reg. Nr. 1207 (1926).
  7. Ibid., Todten 1926, Reg. Nr. 923 (1926).
  8. Ibid., Geburten, Reg. Nr. 4385 (1927).
  9. Ibid., Todten, Reg. Nr. 3060 (1927).
  10. Ibid., Geburten 1929, Reg. Nr. 2413 (1929).
  11. Ibid., Todten 1929, Reg. Nr. 3175 (1929).
  12. Ibid., Geburten 1938, Reg. Nr. 5535 (1938).
  13. Ibid., Todten 1938, Reg. Nr. 3486 (1938).
  14. “Die Leichenbücher der Stadtgemeinde Bremen von 1875 – 1964” (The Funerary Records of the City of Bremen, 1875-1939), book 1938, page 786; online database, Die Maus – Family History and Genealogical Society of Bremen ( : accessed 23 Sep 2016).
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