When I think of an ancestor that spoke a foreign language, I think of my Oma, my great grandmother, Maria Huelster Eitelbach. She was as born in Schmallenberg, Germany in 1865 and came to the United States in 1895 with her husband, Louis Eitelbach and four of their sons. When I think of Oma and when she spoke German, I remember two things.
First, both my mother and my father had studied German in school and were able to speak it, how well they were actually able to do that, I am not sure. However, I do remember that when we would go to visit Oma, sometimes they would talk to each other in German. I think all of them enjoyed doing that.
Second, I remember that Oma would come for Christmas Eve. After diner, my mother would play Christmas carols. One that she played was O Christmas Tree (O Tannenbaum), and Oma would always sing it for us in German.
If I could talk to Oma, I would ask if she spoke German with other of her relatives or friends. I would also like to know how hard it was for her to learn English, which she spoke very well.