This is WAY cool! Today I was sending emails back and forth to my friend Ernst-Dieter in Bassum. Ernst-Dieter sent this picture of the house built by Johann Heinrich Rathkamp in Neubruchhausen in 1822.
I’m still not sure what my connection is to Johann Heinrich. It’s possible he’s my GGG Grandfather, but I have to wait until Ernst-Dieter has a chance to view the church records.
Either way, this picture is significant for a couple reasons. The first is the brick work on the house. The Rathkamps of Neubruchhausen were known as Master Masons and then later as architects. I’m no mason, but the craftsmanship does look very impressive.
The second, and more obvious, is the Rathkamp Wappen or family crest.
The shield is divided into three sections. The upper left shows what appears to be a pick axe and possibly a shovel laid over a pyramid shape. The lower left, a wagon wheel. On the right is a tree, possibly behind a brick wall.
It’s going to take a little bit of digging before I can figure out what it all means. I have some ideas, but it’s too early to tell for sure. This also brings up the question as to the significance of the crest itself. How long was it in the family? Was it passed on from generation to generation? What is the significance of the helmet?
For every stone turned over, 100 more questions present themselves.