Harry and Carrie Selmeier,
my father's parents.

Are you sure you didn't mean to go to this link for Joel Selmeier?

This page is ancient history written for a small audience a long time ago in a now antiquated format, so long ago that at that time the internet could not process photos larger than what are posted below. It was posted because some people who had committed a life-ruining, violent crime against me were trying to discredit me by posting lies about me on the internet. Facebook didn't exist yet. MySpace didn't even exist yet. And there were only 6 hits on my name when searched. So the dozen lies they added about me became the story about me produced by a search on my name. My response was to establish this site that mostly was innocuous family history. It had nothing to do with the lies, but produced a couple of hundred hits with a search on my name. That watered down the lies and got me through that period. In time, as the internet grew, my art and other activities produced more and better hits. But I leave this here for relatives wanting to know more about our collective history.

Click photos to enlarge

My grandfather made his fortune, lost it in the 1929 stock market crash, managed to put his two sons through college during the depression, re-made his fortune but had it confiscated by a retroactive IRS decision (or at least that was my understanding as a 12 year old), and then re-made his fortune yet again.

The painting above the mantel now hangs in my office. The sketch behind the floor lamp, by my uncle, is in my brother's possession. My sister has the candle sticks.

My grandfather was born Kentucky not far from Cincinnati, Ohio, but both his parents were German and spoke German. They arrived in this country slightly before the Civil War. He was the youngest of eleven and even though the Civil War ended in 1865 and he wasn't born until 1879, when he told me war stories when I was a child they were about the Civil War. His older brothers were adults when he was born and had fought in the Civil War. They had told him stories about it when he was a child. His son, my father, fought in the Second World War and told me stories about his management position in running that war. I missed fighting in Vietnam by a hair's breath. Will we ever have generations without war?

My grandmother, Carrie Leona Brosene (or Brossene) Selmeier was born in the USA also, but was of Alsatian decent. Her family swore they were German though. When she and my grandfather met, she was teaching piano at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. I suspect she stopped teaching when they got married.

           

On Grand Vista in Cincinnati, Ohio they built this house during the depression. Apparently they had lost the mansion in which they had lived until 1929 when the stock market crashed. Oddly, I found no family pictures of that mansion. Could it be that when you lose everything overnight you don't want a record of it? Or were cameras just not that common yet.

They moved to a small house in Pleasant Ridge, which was the new prestigious community being built at the time. On one of the best streets in it, Grand Vista, they bought one of the smallest houses. Across the street from it was an empty lot at 6272 Grand Vista. In 1933 they they built this house on that lot, watching it as it was built. It's a five bedroom house with a five car garage. Apparently to my grandparents that was moving down, but my grandmother liked it better. The mansion they lost was so large it took a staff to run it. A mere five bedrooms did not.

In the days before air conditioning, people often sat outside evenings. The cement pond in the backyard surrounded by chairs was a setting about which they spoke fondly for the rest of their lives, though their daughters-in-law snubbed those remembrances, when they weren't around, wondering what the big deal was. I could write a paragraph about what heartwarming things I can imagine being involved in that. Especially since they never talked about their mansion. They talked about loving this place. It worked for them.

   

A gnome in the early 1920s.

Subsequent owners of the house sold off the rear property. The pond is now gone and the yard is much smaller.

They were civic minded.

When the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music was building a new building, my grandparents donated two grand pianos for a practice room that needed two pianos in it. A plaque still carries their name by the door.

They donated scholarships to Principia College and helped to pay for the building of churches.

They steered their sons away from Harvard in order that their attendance at a smaller college would help further establish the college being established for members of their religion. Both of their sons had been had been accepted to Harvard. Dad was a Rhode Scholar candidate. His brother set academic records at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati that were not surpassed for decades. But they were steered to attend Principia College to help build it, rather than join the Ivy League. It was a cause in support of their religion. So they were self-sacrificing and community oriented, but their sons' wives did not regard their parents-in-law to be warm.

Warm or not, building this house in the middle of the depression while putting two sons through a private college is an amazing feat.

Ancestry

I was suspicious about just how German they were partly because if they were pure German, then my entire ancestry was British and German and I tan too well for that to be true. Also, her last name sounded vaguely Italian and Alsace backs up to Switzerland which is populated French, German and Italian people.

However, the highest concentration of people with her last name is in Lower Saxony in Germany, the northern part of Germany that was heavily populated with Scandinavians who were annexed into Germany during the many generations it took to unify that land mass into one country.

Eventually I was able to do a DNA search and discover that I'm 55% Scandinavian with no German at all. The rest is British from my Mom's side, except for a small chance of some southern European ancestry, which explains being blonde (for most of my life) but still tanning easily.

It also means that all the Selmeiers in the USA who believe themselves originally to have been German were not. They were Scandinavians who got annexed into Germany. That explains my great grandfather, grandfather, father and me being tall, thin, blonde people.

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Great Grand Parents Selmeier
Harry & Carrie (Brosene) Selmeier
William H. Selmeier | Lewis W. Selmeier
Mrs. Lewis W. Selmeier (Marjory Moore)
Robert Curti
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Site Updated October 24, 2011