Eduard Zimmer and Pauline Petau of Reichenbach

My Great Great Grandparents from the Zimmer and Petau families of Reichenbach in Schlesien, Prussia, Germany

Eduard Zimmer was born on November 3, 1826, in Germany. He had three sons and two daughters with Pauline Petau between 1855 and 1863. He died on June 25, 1900, at the age of 73.

Pauline Petau was born on February 3, 1836, in Germany. She had three sons and two daughters with Eduard Zimmer between 1855 and 1863. She died on January 25, 1882, at the age of 45.


1826 Birth of Eduard
Edward Zimmer was born 21 November 1826 in Germany, most likely in the Schlesien (Silesia) region of Prussia as it was called at the time.  Spelled Schläsing by Silesian Germans, it is now the Lower Silesian region of Poland.

1836 Birth of Pauline
Pauline Petau was born 3 February 1836, likely also in Schlesien, Prussia. It took a long time to figure out her last name, as the old German script made it look like Petra or Petan. It’s Petau, and there are Prussians of that name in the Breslau region.

1855 Birth of son, [unknown]
An unknown son was born about 1855, but that is a complete guess. It could be up to 10 years later. He had a son named Paul ZImmer who married a woman named Friede.

1857 Birth of daughter, Helene
Helene Zimmer was born about 1857. She married Max Robler.

1859 Birth of son, Heinrich
Heinrich Zimmer was born about 1859, and had at least one daughter.

1860 Birth of daughter, Anna
About 1860, their daughter Anna was born. Anna’s marriage certificate has been indexed and gives her parent’s names as Conrad Zimmer and Pauline Petau.  I suspect that either Conrad and Eduard look very similar and were transcribed wrong, or that Conrad was Eduard’s christian name.  Anna Zimmer married Robert Kirchner on 12 February 1883 in Breslau.  It is recorded on FHL Film Number 1899152.

1861 Birth of daughter, Pauline
Pauline Zimmer was born about 1861, and married Konrad Walthart. The couple had two sons and a daughter.

1863 Birth of son, Paul 
Paul John ZImmer was one of at least five children. He was born on 31 January 1863, but the Iowa death index has a different birthdate of 23 Jan 1862. He was born in what old family documents refer to as “Reichenbach, Schleising, Germany”. The problem is that there are many Reichenbachs in Germany, and Schlesing is not a district that comes up in searches. Which Reichenbach is it? The closest is Schlesien, Prussia. Since Paul’s wife Emilie is known to have come from Breslau, the capital city of Schlesien, it is most likely Paul was from the nearby town of Reichenbach im Eulengebirge. The specific area was Niederschlesien, which was spelled Nieder Schläsing by Silesian Germans. Schlesien was given to Poland after WWII and most of the German-speaking population was moved into East Germany. All of the cites changed names, including Breslau becoming the Polish city of Wroclaw. Further evidence is that upon Paul’s death, his brother wrote from the town of Waldenburg in Schlesien (now Wałbrzych, Lower Silesian, Poland). Reichenbach (now Dzierżoniów) and Breslau (Wroclaw) are less than 60 kilometers apart; Reichenbach (Dzierżoniów) and Waldenburg (Wałbrzych) are only about 30 km apart. All three cities are in Lower Silesian, Poland, with Wroclaw still the Capital city of the region.

1880 Paul in Berlin 
I’m not sure why Paul was in Berlin, But there certainly is a photo of Paul Zimmer taken in Berlin in 1880.

1882 Death of Pauline
Death 1882 (Age: 46) in Reichenbach, Lower Silesian, Germany

1887 Marriage of their son, Paul
Paul John Zimmer married Emilie Clara Obst (Mansel) on February 19, 1887, in Germany, when he was 24 years old.
Zimmer-Obst Family Tree

1888 Paul and Emilie go to America
Paul and Emilie Zimmer arrived in Baltimore on March 25, 1888 aboard the Kronprinz Friedrich Wilhelm, a Nordeutscher Llloyd ship, which left from Bremen, Germany. The booking included rail passage on the Baltimore & Ohio towards the West. The voyage was very rough, took weeks, and many passengers died from an on-board small pox outbreak. Upon docking they took a train for the West, arriving in Benton County, Iowa in the middle of the night. They got off at Dysart instead of Garrison, where Emilie sat alone, in the dark, on a trunk while Paul went to find help — after which the couple finally made it to Emilie's aunt's house in Garrison, Iowa.

1893 Birth of Grandson Max
Max Willibald Walthart was born in Kostenblas, Neumark, Brandenburg, Germany on 29 August 1893 to Pauline and Konrad Walthart.

1895 Birth of Grandson Paul
Paul Robert Konrad Walthart was born in Germany around 1895 to Pauline and Konrad Walthart.

1900 Birth of Granddaughter Hedwig
Hedwig Walthart was born in  Germany around 1900 to Pauline and Konrad Walthart.

1900 Death of Eduard
Death June 15, 1900 (Age: 73) in Reichenbach, Schleising, Germany

1910 Paul’s visit to Germany
In 1910, Paul Zimmer went back to Germany to visit all the family and friends he had left behind. He didn’t take Emilie with him, as she had vowed never to step foot on a boat again.

1911 Death of Paul
Death 9 Jul 1911 in Garrison, Benton County, Iowa, USA

Emilie Zimmer with her ten children

My 8 Families
Bodenheimer-Gruenwald of Baden
Kessler-Spies of Berleburg
Maass-Lachmann of Berlin
Lukes-Martyn of Cornwall
Levy-Landsberger of Berlin
Zimmer-Petau of Reichenbach
Wolff-Wolff of Posen
Mansel-Obst of Breslau