Early History


When I wrote “to be continued” at the end of the family History in 1937, little did I think that nearly fifty years would pass before the opportunity arose. Now some members of the younger generation are showing interest in the subject and are organising a family reunion to celebrate the centenary of my father’s arrival in Manchester. To mark this occasion they suggested that I should write some further chapters. This time the result may seem very self-centred. The existing history was compiled from my father’s papers and memories; this will be entirely from my own. No doubt other members of my generation will have other memories and the next generation will see everything from a different angle. I can only give my own account and hope that some of it will interest some of the now very large family. I shall stop when the next generation is complete and perhaps some day one of them may feel like writing the sequel.

My thanks to Nigel who has undertaken the printing and compiling of this booklet, also to Neville who helped by photocopying the original papers, family tree and table of ancestors, and to Susan for her many hours spent correcting and typing my scribbled pages. Thanks also to Elisabeth for typing the final draft and to Christopher for his work on the family tree and table of ancestors. Finally, thanks are also due to these two for their splendid organisation of the anniversary party to be held in the University Chaplaincy on July 27th 1985, in Manchester.

At the same time I would like to put on record my gratitude to my parents, my brothers and sister, my beloved husband and children and all those of all generations who have helped to make my life, in the main, a very happy one. Spoilt I may have been, but ungrateful I am not.

Ruth Entwistle
March 1985

The writing of this little family history, book of reminiscences, or autobiography call it what you will has from the very first been beset with difficulties, the greatest of these always being my own ignorance and incompetence.

Then, there was the shortage of material; to attempt to write of the past, Tar from all records and sources of information is a well-nigh impossible situation, and for many years now, I have hoped that I might once more visit Osnabruck and Antwerp, there to supplement the few papers at my disposal. This opportunity never arose and I decided, at least, to trust to my own poor memory and my father’s inexhaustible one.

Then, again, there was the question of language; whether to write in German, in which case it would quite possibly be’e unintelligible to most of the generation for which it is primarily intended; or whether to write in English, in which case it must of necessity be bespattered with names and anecdotes in German, untranslatable, yet an integral part of our lives in those years before the Great War, when, in our household, with its German maids and Frauleins, English was hardly spoken.

And now, with the rapidly passing years, a new problem presents itself ….where to stop? Where indeed! The family grows by leaps and bounds, so quickly that my self-set task appals me, and I am fearful lest I never quite catch up and this record end where it begins …in the middle of the story …a mere fragment.

Be that as it may, write it I will; I, the least fitted for the task, the youngest of my generation, whose memory is the shortest and whose pen the least steady, am determined to take it upon myself, in the hope that it may serve as a welcome reminder of days gone by to my parents and brothers, and as a record of their fore-fathers to those of the coming generation.

Ruth Dyckhoff
Christmas 1937

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