Thursday, May 7, 2015

{24} RD600 Additions: Baroness Marie (née Howard) von Recum & Lt-Col. Derik von Recum

Baroness Marie (née Howard) von Recum in 1908
[From the Howard-von Recum Collection at the Library of Congress]
I can never quite figure out the criteria for inclusion in Gary Boyd Roberts's series The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants. In addition to individuals who immigrated to colonial America and remained with their families, such as Rev. John Oxenbridge (1609-1674) and James Claypoole of Philadelphia (1634-1687), many colonial governors and their spouses are included, who never became permanent residents in America. 20th-century British-born celebrities such as Peter Lawford and Christopher Isherwood, and their spouses such as Prunella Rollo (who died only six weeks after moving to Los Angeles), the first wife of David Niven, are also included, even if their only real tie to the States is a Hollywood association. It seems that Roberts includes anyone he finds interesting, as long as the person spent some time in the U.S. In the spirit of that broad definition of immigrant, I'd like to turn the light on a lady descended from the Howard dukes of Norfolk, born in Maryland, but raised in Germany & Britain, married to a German baron, who immigrated to the States in 1940 and became a permanent U.S. citizen. And also her present-day descendant, an officer in the U.S. Army who served two tours of duty in Iraq and who (to me, at least) seems a model all-American, who immigrated as a child with his parents and siblings from Germany in the late 1970s.

Green Hill, Maryland, birthplace of Marie Ernestine Howard, 
is today the Pallottine Seminary
Since the family's archive is housed in the Library of Congress, they seem notable enough to me to warrant inclusion.

Marie Ernestine Howard was born 22 August 1868 at Green Hill, the plantation in Prince George County, Maryland, owned by her maternal grandfather, the Washington, DC banker George
George Washington Riggs
Washington Riggs (1813-1881). She was the eldest child of her parents, the British diplomat Sir Henry Howard, who was posted to Washington DC in 1866, where he met Cecilia Dowdall Riggs and married her the following year. When Marie Ernestine, was 6 years old, her father was posted to the Hague, and Marie spent her teenage years with her family, splitting their time between London and various countries (Denmark, the Netherlands, Russia) where her father was posted.

On 5 September 1894 in Kensington, London, Marie married Baron Rudolf von Recum. I'm looking forward to reading her diaries when I'm next at the Library of Congress to see how she and the Baron met, but it's not surprising that she would marry a German noble, as her paternal grandmother, for whom she was named, Marie Ernestine, Lady Howard, was from a German noble family.

The von Recums were originally cloth manufacturers from Holland who immigrated to the Rhineland Palatinate in the early 18th-century. Andreas von Recum (1765-1828) was an accomplished civil servant and politician who was made a Baron of the French Empire by Napoleon in 1809. In 1822, the Elector of Bavaria confirmed the title of Baron to Andreas von Recum and made it hereditary to his descendants. In 1803, von Recum purchased the castle of Kauzenburg, in Bad Kreuznach, which became the family seat and was the birthplace of his grandson Baron Rudolf von Recum. But it was sold in 1881, so eventually Baron Rudolf and Marie, and their three sons, made their home at the Villa Baronin von Recum (which unfortunately I can't find an online picture of), in Götzenhain, Hesse.
Kauzenburg Castle, in Bad Kreuznach, birthplace of Baron Rudolf von Recum
As a British citizen, Baroness Marie Ernestine von Recum was held in protective custody by the Germans during World War I. With her three sons grown and married by the mid-1930s, she left her husband the Baron in Götzenhain, and returned to England before the outbreak of World War II, joining her unmarried sister Alice Lawrason Howard (1876-1942) in Painswick, Gloucestershire,
Beekman Tower, residence of
Marie von Recum in New York
where Alice had founded in 1934 the Chapel of Our Lady and St Teresa, for Catholic worship. From there, Baroness Marie left for New York to join her youngest son, the widowed and childless Baron Franz von Recum (1906-1974), who had fled Switzerland in 1939, and arrived in New York in December that year. Marie arrived on 21 August 1940, and set up residence in the art-deco Beekman Tower, which is where she was living when she applied for U.S. citizenship. Franz von Recum, the family historian and genealogist, became a U.S. citizen in 1952, and eventually made Hampton Bays, Long Island, his home. Baroness Marie (née Howard) von Recum died in New York City on 21 January 1954 at age 85.

Clearly, Marie Ernestine instilled in all three of her sons a strong sense of their British and American heritage. Her eldest son Baron Otto von Recum (1895-1964) served in the German Navy during World War I, but after the end of World War II performed liaison duties between the American troops and the Ger­man municipal authorities in Frankfurt from 1945 until 1957. He received a plaque from the United States Army in recog­nition of his services. He served in an advisory and public rela­tions capacity until his retire­ment in 1962, per his obituary in the New York Times.
Baroness Marie (née Howard) von Recum

MARIE ERNESTINE HOWARD, b. 22 Aug. 1868 Green Hill, Prince George County, Maryland; d. 21 Jan. 1954 New York City, New York, est dau. of Sir Henry Howard of the Strand (1843-1921, descended from Edward III) and Cecilia Dowdall Riggs (1844-1907, descended from Edward III); m. 5 Sept. 1894 Kensington, London, Baron RUDOLF HEINRICH VON RECUM of Götzenhain, b. 16 Aug. 1861 Kauzenburg Castle, Bad Kreuznach, Palatinate, Germany; d. 14 Mar. 1944 Villa Baronin von Recum, Götzenhain, son of Baron Otto von Recum of Kauzenburg Castle (1821-1885, descended from Edward I) and Therese Johanna Nilkens (1844-1889), and had issue, three sons.

Issue of Marie (Howard) and Baron Rudolf von Recum:

1) Baron OTTO HEINRICH GEORGE ANDREAS VON RECUM of Götzenhain, b. 28 June 1895 Brunswick, Germany; d. 30 July 1964 Villa Baronin von Recum, Götzenhain; m. 6 Feb. 1936 Frankfurt-am-Main, Hesse, Germany, HILDEGARD ELIZABETH VON HILLEBRANDT, b. 2 Apr. 1912 Hanau Steinheim, Hesse, Germany; d. 22 Feb. 1998 Villefranche-sur-Mer, Provence, France, dau. of Walter von Hillebrandt and Clara Rang, and had issue, two sons.

2) Baron BOGDAN RUDOLF ALFRED VON RECUM, b. 31 July 1896 Brunswick; d. 27 Apr. 1990 Dillingen an der Donau, Bavaria, Germany; m. 19 Aug. 1932 Klecewo, Kwidzyn County, Pomerania [Poland], Baroness ILSE MARIE-LUISE SOPHIE AGNES VON ROSENBERG, b. 9 Sept. 1907 Klecewo; d. 1998, dau. of Baron Adalbert von Rosenberg of Klecewo (1866-1934) and Marie-Luise Wilhelmine von Arnim (1877-1957, descended from Edward I), and had issue, three sons and two daughters.

3) Baron FRANZ JOSEPH GEORG ALBRECHT VON RECUM of Hampton Bays, New York, genealogist, b. 9 Sept. 1906 Brunswick; d.s.p. 1974 New York; m. 5 Dec. 1933 Paris, France, SUZANNE FORTUNÉE CHARLOTTE ULRICH-ROUARQUE, b. 7 Aug. 1901 Morsang-Sur-Orge, Île-de-France, France; d.s.p. 16 Nov. 1936 Château de Dorigny, Vaud, Switzerland.
Baron Franz von Recum as an infant
[From the Howard-von Recum Collection at the Library of Congress]
Baroness Marie von Recum had seven grandchildren in total. From what I can find from various European online databases, five of her grandchildren still reside in Germany, one is deceased, and one is a retired professor of mathematics in Columbus, Ohio.

(Torsten-)Derik von Recum was born in 1966 in Berlin, the eldest child of Dr. Andreas Horst von Recum. When he was aged about 10, his parents emigrated with him and his next three siblings to South Carolina, where his two youngest siblings were born. In 1983, Derik's parents became U.S. citizens. Derik joined the U.S. Army, and served two tours of duty in Iraq, where in 2010 he was instrumental in helping to re-start the Iraqi Bundles of Love program, an aid effort that supplied Iraqi women with bundles of fabric and sewing supplies. He did this at the instigation of his mother Gudrun von Recum, who, as this article details, was especially interested in keeping it going because, as a child in post-World War II Germany, she recalled how her family benefited from charitable food and clothing shipments from Americans. Derik's wife Ann von Recum, is also an officer in the U.S. Army, and the couple have two daughters. Indeed, all five of Derik's younger siblings are now married with children, so Baroness Marie von Recum not only has 2nd, 3rd and 4th- generation descendants living in Germany, but 3rd and 4th-generation American descendants as well.
U.S. Lt-Col. Derik von Recum (l.) and his German cousin Johannes von Recum (r.),
both great-grandsons of Baroness Marie Ernestine von Recum
Following is the likeliest line of descent from Edward III for Lt-Col. Derik von Recum, that would be added in to an already existing line in RD600 for the author P.G. Wodehouse on pp. 173-174.

1. Edward III, King of England, d. 1377 = Philippa of Hainault
2. Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence = Elizabeth de Burgh
3. Philippa Plantagenet = Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March
4. Elizabeth Mortimer = Sir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy
5. Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland = Eleanor Neville
6. Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland = Eleanor Poynings
7. Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland = Maud Herbert
8. Eleanor Percy = Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, son of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, and Catherine Woodville, sister of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of Edward IV
9. Elizabeth Stafford = Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
10. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, the poet = Frances Vere
11. Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (brother of Lady Berkeley) = Margaret Audley
12. Lord William Howard (brother of the 1st Earl of Suffolk) = Elizabeth Dacre
13. Sir Francis Howard of Corby Castle (brother of Lady Cotton) = Mary Widdrington
14. William Howard of Corby Castle = Jane Dalston
15. Thomas Howard of Corby Castle = Barbara Musgrave
16. Philip Howard of Corby Castle = Anne Witham
17. Henry Howard of Corby Castle = Catherine Mary Neave
18. Sir Henry Francis Howard of Munich = Maria Ernestine von Schulenburg
19. Sir Henry Howard of the Strand = Cecilia Dowdall Riggs
Cover of one of Marie's Diaries
in the Howard-von Recum Collection
at the Library of Congress
20. Marie Ernestine Howard (1868-1954), immigrated to New York 1940 = Baron Rudolf von Recum (1861-1944)
21. Baron Bogdan von Recum (1896-1990) = Baroness Ilse von Rosenberg (1907-1998)
22. Dr. Andreas Horst von Recum (b. 1939) = Gudrun Mathilde Bredenbröcker-Hardt (1941-2014)
23. Lt-Col. (Tersten-)Derik von Recum (b. 1966), U.S. Army, chief of operations, 94th AAMDC

It's very interesting to follow the Howard-von Recum family, generation by generation, and see how their combined British, American, and German heritages blended together in the 19th and 20th centuries, through two World Wars, leading to the multi-national clan that it is today. It's too bad the Who Do You Think You Are genealogy TV series, which I love, only focuses on celebrities, as the von Recums would make a fascinating episode.

Cheers,                                     -----Brad


  1. Marie Ernestine Howard's grandmother (for whom she was named), Marie Ernestine von der Schulenberg, has a considerable ancestry in the Roglo database. It consists largely of old Prussian noble and gentry families This particular class is distinctive in that it did not appear to marry much outside its group until quite late (18th or 19th century). Thus, unlike most German families, there are no connections with other German areas which would usually lead to Plantagenet connections. Accordingly, Marie Ernestine von der Schulenberg does not appear to have any Plantagenet ancestry - somewhat unusual for a 19th-century German family with a well-documented ancestry.

  2. I found a descent from Plantagenet king Henry III of England, through an illegitimate son of Eberhard I of Württemberg (1445-1496), to Sophie Hedwig von Veltheim (1607-1667), wife of Marie Ernestine's ancestor Achaz II von der Schulenberg. John's main point - that these Prussian gentry families do not appear to marry outside their group until the late 18th & 19th centuries - still holds. It simply turns out that one of these Prussian gentry families descends from a southern German nobleman's bastard son.

  3. Post updated to include a genealogical details on Baroness Marie and her three sons, as well as photos from Marie's diaries in the Howard-von Recum Collection at the Library of Congress. My thanks to the staff of the Manuscript Reading Room in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress for their assistance in providing me access to Marie's diaries.