The photo above depicts four generations of the Arras family of Hancock County, Ohio.
Johann Philipp Arras, known as Philip (1832-1913)
George Henry Arras, known as Henry (1862-1943)
Oliver Martin Arras (1889-1973)
Theron Henry Lamont Arras (1910-2003)
The genealogy bug seems to skip a generation in this family.
Theron was my great-uncle, brother of my grandmother, Lucia Arras. He was an incredible genealogist, working with German researchers to trace the origin of all the families involved in the shipwreck of the “Famous Dove” (Brig James Beacham). His work was published in the Palatine Immigrant of July 1988.
Theron’s grandfather, Henry Arras, was also interested in the family history, as I’ve mentioned before. He worked with the Rev. John Gauss, pastor of Trinity church in Jenera, Ohio, to compile a history, the Familien Rekord, of the Arras family from Germany to Hancock County, Ohio. I hope to include the Familien Rekord on the blog at a later date.
The original of this photo hangs in a large oval frame on my second floor landing, so you can see it as you come up the stairs. Theron owned it until his passing. Prior to that, it hung in the parlor of his parents’ home in Findlay, Ohio.
The 15th Annual Arras Family Reunion was held on August 15, 1922, at the home of Philip D. Arras, four miles southwest of Jenera, Ohio.
Initially, I couldn’t quite read the year on the sign at the bottom of the picture:
but luckily for me, an announcement of the reunion was published in the Findlay Morning Republican newspaper (and even mistakenly appeared twice, making it possible to read portions of the announcement that were misprinted!):
Philip D. Arras was born 14 Aug 1853, the son of Johannes and Margaret (Essinger) Arras, and grandson of Johann Peter and Anna Margaretha (Hofmann) Arras. The latter couple emigrated from the Odenwald in Germany in 1831, bringing along several books which were still in the possession of the family at the time of the 15th Annual Reunion:
The center book in the pile, which at the time was 268 years old, was a German prayer book printed in 1654 that had been passed down in the Arras family. Henry Arras, who, as I’ve mentioned before, was very interested in the family history, was extremely proud of this book. In 1936, he entered it in a historical display held by the annual Farmers Institute in Jenera and won first place for the oldest relic.
One of the books was also a family bible which contained entries for the Arras family since before their emigration to the United States in 1831. My great-uncle, Theron Arras, had possession of that bible years ago before his home was broken into and the thieves stole it, amongst other things.
Here are the (very few) people I recognize:
In the section above, the woman sitting in the lower right in the dark dress, appears to be Elizabeth Ann Wahl, the daughter of Friedrich and Anna Maria (Blaser) Wahl, wife of Peter D. Arras. I believe the man holding the dark hat is her son, Samuel Frederick John Arras.
The woman just to the left of Elizabeth looks like Wilhelmina “Mina” Arras, daughter of Johann Philip and Katherine (Heldman) Arras, wife of Christian Essinger. Beside her may be her sister, Louisa “Lucy” Arras. Lucy was the wife of George Nessler.
In the enlargement I posted of the books, the boy with his head just to the right of the sign is Willard Balthasar Arras, son of George Henry and Johanna Magdalena (Crates) Arras. His sister, Elvina (Arras) Rausch Weihrauch, can be seen in the photograph just below, holding her infant son, Clarence Weihrauch (wearing a dark outfit and light newsboy cap):
Their mother, Johanna Magdalena (Crates) Arras, my great-great-grandmother, is below, the woman on the upper left:
This reunion photo is one that I’ve always wished I could share with all the distant cousins I can find. I’d love to be able to identify every single person in it! Hopefully, eventually, we’ll be able to do just that. So, can you help? Do you recognize anyone?
This photo of the Arras family was probably taken in the late summer of 1914, based on the ages of the youngest family members. The background is the exterior of Henry Arras’s home outside Jenera, Hancock County, Ohio.
From left to right across the back row: Oliver Martin Arras, Homer Emmanuel Arras, Helen Arras, Carrie Arras, unknown, Clarence Arthur Arras, unknown, Jacob Rausch (husband of Elvina Arras)
Seated at the top of the stairs are Clara Viola (Smith) Arras, the wife of Oliver Martin Arras, with her son Howard in her lap and son Theron in the middle of the two ladies; on the right is Elvina (Arras) Rausch, holding her son, Woodrow Henry Rausch.
Seated across the bottom of the stairs are Willard Balthasar Arras; Johanna Magdalena (Crates) Arras, holding her youngest son, Theodore Henry Arras; two unidentified children; and George Henry Arras.
Maybe one of you readers out there will be able to identify the unknown individuals. I’m guessing that they must have been rather close family members to have been included in this photo.
Here are closeups of each of our mystery individuals: