I recently purchased an antique wooden trunk from an area antique shop. What makes this trunk unique is how clearly the trunk’s original owner (“Joh: Georg Schmidt”) and original purpose (“Auswanderungs Gut” or “emigration good/property” in German) are scrawled on the face and lid of the trunk. Such trunks were widely used to store emigrant’s personal belongings on sea voyages from their native countries to the United States. For some time, this particular trunk had been owned by a Lansing, MI family unrelated to the trunk’s original owner.
In short, the piece is a real heirloom. If you or your family have an immigrant ancestor to whom this trunk may have belonged, please let me know. I intend to sell the trunk, but am a family historian myself and would like to connect with a potential descendant, if possible. For more information, pictures, etc. please contact me directly at justinrfast(at)gmail.com.
The trunk measures 33.6” x 18.25” x 15.75” at the lid’s peak. It boasts original black outer finish, metal strapping, edging, and handles. It is very worn, but in original condition.
Painted in an ornate script on the front face of the trunk is:
On the lid is painted:
(The lid’s text is extremely faded, but still legible.)
Two layers of interior paper (one, a brown and white floral print and the other, wax paper) were badly deteriorated at purchase. Most lay in a heap in the center of the trunk. The wood underneath appears to be in good condition. On the inside center of the lid is a hand-illustrated floral frame in pinks, blues, and greens. The remnant edges of someone’s handwriting are still visible along the frame.