As I was doing some spring cleaning in the garage the other day, I came across a book that had been acquired and stored away some years ago. It was a history of my mother’s family in Germany and the Netherlands dating back to the mid-1600s.
I had heard of Peter’s research from two Sieve first cousins who were doing genealogical research on the American branch of the Sieves. Their findings dovetailed nicely with Peter’s, picking up in America where Peter’s research on the European Sieves left off. I emailed Peter, and he sent me a copy of his work.
According to a family tree in Peter’s book, the first Sieve to emigrate to the United States, in 1836, was Jacob Sieve, my great-great-great-grandfather, who settled in Cincinnati. In 1866, his son, Herman Henreich Sieve, my great-great-grandfather, headed west to Missouri and established a farm in the rolling foothills of the Ozarks in the Franklin County hamlet of Moselle, Mo., about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis. Sieve relatives still live in the area and others in St. Louis.
Peter’s book is in German, and my college minor in that language isn’t sufficient for a quick and accurate reading. So I looked mostly at the family tree and the photographs.
Among the photos are two of Hendricus Antonius Maria Siewe (1868-1942), described in German as an Amsterdam merchant. We have a common forebearer, Hermann Ruholl Sieve, who lived in the village of Ihorst near Oldenburg in northwest Germany in the 1600s.
The first photo, grainy and faded, shows Hendricus as a muscular young man riding a “safety” bicycle with an intent look as if he is racing. The second shows a dapper, mustachioed Hendricus, wearing a tie, jacket, knickerbockers and straw boater, riding a tandem bike with his wife, Johanna.
The caption under the first photo says that Hendricus was a “weilrenner in vrije tijd,” which translates from Dutch as a “cyclist in his spare time.”
Maybe this bicycling disease runs in the genes.