Occasionally, a picture is surprisingly relevant to current events. Take this photo, for instance.
These folks are identified on the back as follows: Uncle George Fechtenburg, Grandmother Fechtenburg, Mother Ludascher, William Ludascher, Carl Ludascher, Marie Ludascher, and Edith Ludascher (she’s the one with the adorable pigtails). This HAD to be an interesting story. So I started digging.
There was no date on the photo, no photographer or city named, but I figured that finding those two names together was the best place to start. And it didn’t take long. At Ancestry.com, the 1910 US Census for Pennsylvania gave me a family that fit this description – William and Marie Ludascher had six children, including the four names above plus a baby named Emma. The ages seemed to fit this photo, and I continued digging. I’m sure there are several stories I could tell about this family, and I may do that in a later post, but only one of those stories is relevant this week.
Little Miss Edith was 15 in the 1910 census (probably about 10 years after this photo). As I began to track forward on Edith and her siblings, I discovered a marriage record for Edith. She married Carl H. M. Wandrer on June 30, 1915. Carl [as I knew him then] registered for the WWI draft, showing a birth date of February 10, 1894, and a birth place of Thueringen, Germany. Interesting … I wonder what brought him here to the US? Again, another story for another day. I also saw that Edith and Carl had a couple of children, listed in the 1930 census as Edith, 13, and Paul, 9. So I searched for Carl on Google, to see what came up. Imagine my surprise when I saw him listed as a member of the 1924 U.S. Men’s Olympic Gymnastics team ! He was listed as “Max Wandrer,” but further searching confirmed that Carl/Karl and Max were the same person.
I know what you’re thinking … how did he do? As I understand the tables, it went like this:
Men’s Individual All-Around – he ranked 48th
Men’s Team All-Around – the team ranked 5th
Men’s Horse Vault – he ranked 5th
Men’s Parallel Bars – he ranked 66th
Men’s Horizontal Bar – he ranked 66th
Men’s Rings – he ranked 67th
Men’s Pommel Horse – he ranked 52nd
Men’s Rope Climbing – he tied for 13th
Men’s Side Horse – he ranked 15th
As you look at those rankings, keep something in mind. This team (and most of the teams in those days) ranged in age from 21 to 38; Max Wandrer was 30. THIRTY !!
So hats off to you, Max, and your teammates … and to your Olympic descendants ….
Citius, Altius, Fortius … Faster, Higher, Stronger ….