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Heritage and Family Tradition

Updated on September 24, 2017
L to R: Johann Meyer - Ludwig Adolph von Meyer - Georgianna von Meyer nee Ives - Alexander von Meyer
L to R: Johann Meyer - Ludwig Adolph von Meyer - Georgianna von Meyer nee Ives - Alexander von Meyer | Source

Tradition of giving ~

I treasure my families blood that runs through my veins ~ and that very thought came to my mind in1990 while laying in a Hospital bed. I'd been diagnosed with cancer. Sadly I lost both parents from this decease, and knowing this I thought I might die. I was scared, although the prognosis was good for me - but still, I was scared.

While in the Hospital I had lots to think about, and as I was looking at my skin with pronounced veins in my arms... this very thought came to mind. “This blood that runs through my veins is not only from my father and mother...but their parents as well, all the way back to the beginning of time.” The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know...Who were they and what have my ancestors done to contribute making this world a better place. I wondered, did they help others, and did they have a strong religious Faith?

My mother told me stories about herself, including dad and other family members of the past. To me the stories seemed so incredible that I had a hard time believing them. I just had to know, so my search began.

The story of the past families good deeds are shared here... begin with my G.G.grandfather Johann Meyer and Lawson C. Ives.

Then of course I had to ask Myself....what have I done to make this world a better place?

Meyer an avid art collector helped establish artists from Paris and Dresden

Having already made a webpage about my father's 'von Meyer' side of the family with a genealogy chart, I knew that my Meyer family had done good for others. For the last several years I learned more information about my extended family, including their part in philanthropy .... Some of this information actually came from readers that contacted me ... What a Blessing!

While searching through my old suitcase, I found a very old German newspaper article from Dresden, it was about my G.G.grandfather Johann Meyer. This article was written in 1937, that’s 50 years after his death.... to “Commemorate a Benefactor” It was printed in old German text that I could barely I had to have it translated...and that's when I learned and confirmed he was a philanthropist. I didn't know to what extent though...what a great surprise to learn all the things he did to make life better for the less fortunate.

When Johann Meyer was young he left Germany to go to Estonia and Russia, where all this began. St.Petersburg Russia is were he settled and was educated. This is were Johann had gained his wealth. He was called the salt mogul and was well know for the trades he was in. He also contributed to building a railway from Moskow to St. Petersburg.

When the Russian Revolution began, he moved back to Germany, specifically to Dresden because that’s were the wealthy lived. He began his philanthropy there, included building housing for poor workers so they could live in a clean environment, this started social housing in Germany. He also donated to schools, churches, hospitals and many other needed institutions and establishments.

He was part of the movement during this time believing that the wealthy had an obligation to help those that helped them to become wealthy...and that include helping those that had nothing. Most wealthy men in main German cities participated in this movement.

Meyer also was an avid art collector, helping new artist's from Paris and the Dresden Fontainebleau School to get established. This by buying and displaying their artworks at his Villa Meyer, free for the public to view ... the public was able to see the works of such newly established artists, such as Bonnat - Bonheur - Brenton - Conti - Corot -Daubigny - Decamps - Delacroix - Delaroche - Diaz De La Pena - Dupre - Gerome - Isabey - Rousseau - Roybet, and many more...

A good friend of Johann Meyer‘s in St. Petersburg Russia was Julius Ludwig Rothermundt....his son Adolf Rothermundt moved to Dresden and admired the tradition of Meyer buying art and displaying it in his Villa for the public. Following in the same tradition, Adolf collected and displayed artworks in his own Villa.

I was happy to see that the street named after him “Johann-Meyer Str“ still existed...we were able to visit that street, walking down and seeing all the buildings that survived WWll bombing. I had read that they just built a Park in his name as well...and I believe a trust from him also exists to this day.

The street and some buildings still exist

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Interesting coincidence

Interestingly enough, straight across the chart, both my Meyer and Ives family did basically the same thing, just in different parts of the world.
Interestingly enough, straight across the chart, both my Meyer and Ives family did basically the same thing, just in different parts of the world. | Source

Guides to Philanthropy

Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results
Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results

To me, Giving Smart is giving without expecting something in return. When given from the heart it makes you feel good.


My Ives family side...

Philo L. Ives - Immanuel House - Georgie Ives
Philo L. Ives - Immanuel House - Georgie Ives | Source

This is what I found about my Ives

I didn't have much to go on many years ago, but the computer and internet has changed all that.

One of the things I do remember as a child, was how I felt about my paternal grandmother Georgie Ives...I thought she was selfish...after all I was just a child, and certainly a childish way of thinking...of course I wanted to prove this wrong! I felt bad that "I judged the book by the cover." I found out that my G.G.grandfather (her grandfather) Lawson C. Ives was from the clock-maker family in Hartford CT. He was a generous man, also a philanthropist sharing his wealth with the needy, building a Civil War Widows Home. Even after his death, leaving most of his wealth to the needy and churches.

The building that was built, was for the Civil War Widows...called Immanuel House, served a great purpose at the time, for Civil War Widows. I’m happy to know enough the building still stands today. My G.grandfather Philo L. Ives also supported a church, leaving a "trust" that also still exists.

I was happy and proud to learn that my Ives ancestors also had been generous with their wealth. Yes, it pleased me to know they had done good deeds for those in need. However, all that stopped when the Ives daughters moved to Europe to find their own wealth by marriage...while back in the US others fought over the will...greed is a terrible thing!

A gift for the Civil War Widows ~ the Immanuel House

More than just a room: The story of Immanuel House and its predessor, the Ives Widows' Homes, Hartford, Connecticut
More than just a room: The story of Immanuel House and its predessor, the Ives Widows' Homes, Hartford, Connecticut

The man who wrote this book, sent it to me with a very nice letter.

I'm proud that my family thought enough of the poor and the hurting, by building this place to live. In his will he also left a great deal more for the poor and a Church .


How well do you know your ancestors?

My German maternal great grandparents
My German maternal great grandparents | Source

Worldwide Readers have helped...

Because of my Family History webpages, I have treasures of information from worldwide readers contacting me...and I'm so appreciative...but, I'm still far from knowing many things regarding my brick wall.

Have any of your ancestors contributed to help others?

See results

"Give while you live ~ you'll know where it goes"

I've realize even more, the fact that I've been given a second chance in life and that God also gave me a gift with my artistic ability...inspired me to keep a tradition of giving...I had to make it count for it's a way for me to glorify God.

Although I don't have the wealth my ancestors had, I do the best I can and give from the without that, it's not a gift

Best of all, I'm proud this tradition of Giving has also been passed down to our daughters, they are very generous with those in need as well to friends and family.

What you are is God's gift to you ~ what you do with yourself is your gift to God: Danish Proverb


I'm happy to have been able to find answers, and sharing the results of my search. The tradition of giving and doing good for others should be in all our lives.

Best of all, knowing my ancestors had great Faith, is the icing on the cake.

My Blessings have been many ~ and I hope that in my little way, I can make a difference.

Created 03-23-2014


© 2014 Delia

Do you have a story of good family deeds to share?

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    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

      an interesting hub

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      The quest to know more is one that never ends. I started mine when my grandparents were still alive.

      Turns out that I'm related to 3 presidents.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Amazing history and its great to find out how giving they were. I really need to try to look into my family too, interesting stuff!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      It is really good that you keep discovering about your family's interesting history. They have done so much for others, something you should be proud of.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      How wonderful that you can trace your heritage so far and so illustriously. I am only beginning my search for information. Apparently, one of my ancestresses was one of the first on this continent to be convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to hang. Whether she swung from the gallows or escaped is up for debate, but there's quite a bit of evidence that her conviction resulted from a trumped-up charge from greedy landowners seeking her family's land.

    • Lionrhod profile image

      Lionrhod 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Beautiful lens. And congratulations on your survival of cancer! That's immense! So wonderful that you were able to connect with your family roots and find so much good there.