Round and Round the Circular Family Tree

Every now and again I dive into the large plastic tub which holds the many letters my father kept. Most of them were written by his two sisters but there is also a rather large stack of letters from my cousin Wolf Lackschewitz, who I have written about previously. Wolf, a distant cousin, married my first cousin. He was the Fircks family genealogist and gathered vast amounts of research on all the branches of the family – and there are many branches. Wolf created family trees and published books on the Fircks family. Some of these books expanded on the family trees, some of them gave even more information about the family, including a few stories about several of my ancestors. Unfortunately all of this valuable information is in German, as are all of the letters.

Wolf lived in Sweden with his wife Ursula, but I was lucky enough to meet them in person a couple of times before he passed away in 2018. Wolf was very much the patriarch of the family and we all miss him very much. He was a wonderful man and an absolute mine of information on my paternal family. I remember his study was lined with books, maps and other family history paraphernalia. I believe all of this information has been donated to the archives of the library in Marburg, Germany. One day I hope to visit the library, but perhaps I had better intensify my German language studies before I do so.

The photo above is of one of the more unusual family trees which Wolf created. It is a circular family tree. In the very middle is Otto von Fircks, my great grandfather, his first and second wife who were sisters. Here is a link to one of my posts about multiple marriages in both sides of my family. I assume going any further back in ancestors would have made the tree far to difficult to decipher.

The second ring, around the centre circle, shows Otto’s children. My grandfather, Peter, is on the right of the photo. My father, Otto (Peter), was the youngest of his children.

Although I find this format of family tree is not the easiest for me to read, I quite like it for its originality. I certainly have not seen any other circular family trees – although I believe many genealogists and family historians have previously used this format. I wonder how many other formats of family trees are out there. It is possible that the more I dig through the piles of letters Wolf wrote to my father, the more formats of family tree I might find – or maybe not. What I do know is that I might not find any more family trees, but I am certain to discover more letters, documents and photos of interest.

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