Ulrich Christian Tandrop is my 3rd great grandfather.


Ulrich Christian Tandrop was born on March 15, 1819 in Faaborg, Denmark. He was a muralist, painting churches and ballrooms.


Ulrich traveled while painting, and in Munich he met and married Francesca Sperl. Francesca was born on March 9, 1820, in Munich, Germany. Her family had a large, prosperous farm with servants outside of Munich. They were Catholic. According to family oral tradition, Ulrick left Germany for America because he would have to join the German army. (Told to Anna Tandrop by Francesca Sperl. Told to Katherine Farquhar by Anna Tandrop.)


The couple’s first daughter, Catherine Tandrop (nicknamed Kate) was born on December 13, 1845 in Munich, Germany. The following year the family emigrated to America, bringing a cow on board the ship with them to be used for feeding their infant daughter, Kate. The cow died on the way over. The story is that since there was a lot of champagne on the ship, that Kate was given champagne. She was jokingly called ‘Champagne Kate.’ Landing in America, the family went by land as far as Pittsburgh, then descended the Ohio River by barge, settling in Cinncinnati. Their other two daughters, Frances Tandrop, born June 5, 1852, and Anna Tandrop, born August 28, 1857, were born in the states. They also had a brother who died of yellow fever in New Orleans while he was fairly young.


Fresco painter

Ulrich’s Body of Work:
I haven’t found any photos of Ulrich’s work, unfortunately. Nothing has come down to my branch of the family and many of the churches he apparently painted have been torn down. There are a few mentions of his work in newspapers and church histories, however, so I’ve compiled those here.

St. Mary’s Cathedral, Covington, Ohio

This church has sadly been torn down. Did anyone take photos of the interior before it was demolished? I hope so! Leave a comment if you have pics!

By December 1853, the congregation attended its first mass in the structure, which was formally dedicated in June 1854. Measuring 126 feet in length and 66 feet in width, this modest church featured painted windows as well as ornamental paintings by artist U.C. Tandrop of Cincinnati and a pipe organ by Mathias Schwab of Cincinnati. The church served as the cathedral until 1901 and was demolished in March 1904.

Source: Covington’s cathedral had humble beginning in 1833 by Paul Tenkotte, Cincinnati Post, December 17, 2007

St. Mary’s Church, Hamilton, Ohio

It’s difficult to determine if this church is still standing. I looked on Google maps and can’t find it at the corner of Front and Court streets. I did find some mention of it at the St. Julie Billiart Parish. I’ve sent them an email.

The beautiful new church, 100×50 feet, situated near the Court House square, was blessed on last Sunday. The ceremony was performed in presence of the Most Rev. Archbishop, by the Very Rev. Joseph Ferneding, assisted by several of the Rev. clergy. The church was designed by Rev. Wm. Stehle, of Cincinnati. It was built by Bly, and painted in the best style by Tandrop. It is for the English-speaking Catholics of Hamilton and vicinity.

1911-12-20 Hamilton Evening Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Wed p45 Painted by Tandrop, clipping

1911-12-20 Hamilton Evening Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Wed p45 Painted by Tandrop, clipping

Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico

Another researcher (I’ll call him MS) contacted me in 2002 to notify me that Ulrich apparently painted the interior of the Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico. He wasn’t permitted to take photos. Their website doesn’t have any information about the interior decor and their email address bounced back so I guess that’s a dead end until I can travel to NM. Here’s the email I received from MS.

Yesterday I was visiting the church at Santo Domingo Pueblo, an Indian village about 30 miles north of Albuquerque, and was impressed by the old paintings of the Stations of the Cross on the wall. They were painted in a very European style and seemed to me (not an expert by any means) to be very well done. As best I could tell, the signature on the paintings read “U Tandrop.” When I got home I did a Google Internet search on that name and was delighted to find Karen’s genealogy site with some information on Ulrich Tandrop, obviously a painter of church art and a resident of Cincinnati in the late 19th century.

According to the caretaker of the church, who might or might not have the history correct, the paintings were in the “old church” and were rescued when that church (which was built starting in 1754) was destroyed by a flood in the 1880s. They were then put in the new church (the present one) built by the villagers shortly after the destruction of the older church.

My suspicion is that the paintings were commissioned from Ulrich Tandrop by either Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy of one of his priests. Lamy was French by birth but was a priest in Cincinnati for a few years before he was sent to New Mexico in 1851 as the first American Catholic Church bishop after the American takeover of the southwest in the 1840s. I believe he also brought some of his fellow priests from Ohio out to New Mexico after he got here. Lamy and his priests didn’t like the crudeness of much of the New Mexico church art they found and replaced some of it with “finer” European style paintings, which probably happened at Santo Domingo.

St. Augustine’s Catholic parish in Minster, Ohio

Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader called Paul, who shared this source with me! He was reading a book called Pilgrims All: A History of Saint Augustine Parish, Minster, Ohio, 1832-1982, by Louis A. Hoying, Rita M. Hoying, David A. Hoying (The Parish, 1982; Minster, Ohio), which is a history of St. Augustine’s Catholic parish in Minster, Ohio. On page 88 there is a record that Ulrich Tandrop was paid $520.50 for ‘decorative interior painting’ when the church was built (in the 1847-1849 time frame). Below is a screen shot from the book:

St. Augustine’s Catholic parish in Minster Ohio, Ulrich Tandrop

St. Augustine’s Catholic parish in Minster Ohio, Ulrich Tandrop



Williams’ Cincinnati Directory, Volume 28, January 1, 1878, Williams Directory Company, page 927.
“Tandrop U.C. fresco painter, 394 Race”


Francesca Sperl died on December 4, 1889, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ulrich Tandrop died almost ten years later on July 19, 1899 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. Plot: Garden LN, Section 72, Lot 19, Space 4