My grandmother Ufkes (Dorothy Alice [Habben] Ufkes [1924-2008]), always told me that her grandfather Goldenstein made several return trips to Germany. According to family tradition he took barbed wire back on one return trip because his relatives could not purchase it in Ostfriesland where he was from.
But the barbed wire didn’t work because it rusted in the damp climate of Ostfriesland.
I knew I would never prove the barbed wire story, but thought the return trips would be easier to validate.
At some point I assumed these return trips were towards the end of Focke’s life. He died in 1913 in Golden, Adams County, Illinois. I just “figured” the trips were made in the last decade or so of his life and didn’t bother to look for return trips to the United States for him before 1900. Focke naturalized in 1879 and when I found his 1873 passenger manifest entry, I thought I was done searching for pre-1900 trips for him.
For years I only found one return trip to Germany for Focke. That trip was in the early 1900s with his brother Tonjes and Tonjes’ wife. That entry fit in my time frame and I thought I was done.
It turned out Grandma was right.
It turned out my assumptions were wrong.
I still need to validate that barbed wire story.