Finding Serafina Albert (Part 2)

Click here for the first part of this post, Finding Serafina Kelm. My search for how the Kelm family ended up in Winnipeg led me to explore the family connections that made it possible. I also love a good puzzle.

Photograph of the Kelm family, around 1909 or 1910; scan courtesy of P. Reakes

When Serafina was twenty-two years old, she and her husband, Julius Kelm, and two children left their home in or near Hofmanofka, Novograd-Volynsk, Volhynia, for Winnipeg. What information we know about Serafina is from her arrival in Winnipeg in 1906 and her death four years later. Shortly before her death, Serafina posed for a photograph; she is blue-eyed and serious, wearing a black dress and a hat full of flowers. Posing alongside her are her husband, Julius; her daughter, around six years old, Olga; and her youngest son, William.

Serafina’s daughter, Olga, was born July 21, 1903, in Hofmanofka and baptized August 10 in nearby Neudorf.[1] The parents in this record are Julius Kelm and “Seraphine Albert.” There is a record of a “Serafine Albert” born June 17, 1883, in Maksimilianowka, Novograd-Volynsk, to Georg Albert and Marianna Abram.[2] The year of birth matches that of the aforementioned Serafina Albert. Additionally, Maksimilianowka was around twenty kilometers from Neudorf.

The month after their arrival in 1906, Julius and Serafina were enumerated in the 1906 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. They lived at 677 Ross Street, Winnipeg, with “H. Albert,” thirty years old and having arrived in Canada in 1901.[3] A possible relative of Serafine’s, he may have helped them emigrate. Finding out who “H. Albert” is may flesh out the Kelm family’s immigration story, as well provide more insight into who Serafina was.

According to the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, Georg Albert and Marianna Abram also had a son, Julius Albert, born in 1862 in Augustopol, Lodzkie, Poland, who immigrated to Canada in 1906.[4] His family is found in the 1911 Census of Canada living on their homestead (31-51-24-W4) in Strathcona, Alberta (now merged with Edmonton).[5] Because family often lived close to one another, a search for any other Albert surname was conducted in the Strathcona area. According to the 1911 Census of Canada, Herman Albert and his family lived next to Julius at 31-51-25-W4, though they would be found in Township 43 in the 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.[6] Additionally, Herman and his wife, Paulina Wilde, were possibly still living in Winnipeg in 1911. Three of their children were born in Winnipeg in 1908, 1910, and 1912.[7] Paulina’s place of birth was “Johannesdorf (Solomiak),” which was just seven kilometers north of Maksimilianowka.[8] Finally, Herman and Paulina also had a daughter named Seraphina, whose preferred name was Sarah. Serafina, an unusual name based on my observations, was a popular name in the family.

Looking at the facts, Herman Albert is likely the H. Albert living with Julius and Seraphina in 1906 and Serafina Albert is the same “Serafine” born in Maksimilianowka. Herman’s wife and three children joined him in Winnipeg in October of 1906, so he could have been erroneously marked as single in the 1906 census.[9] His death record does not reveal his parents’ names, if they were the same as Julius’ and Serafina’s. Herman died of “tertiary syphilis” in 1925.[10]


[1] “[Olga Kelm birth record]” from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes – 1900-1918, accessed 12 Jun 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[2] “[Serafine birth record]” from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes – 1900-1918, accessed 12 Jun 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[3] 1906 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 13 Jun 2021 through Ancestry

[4] Master Pedigree Database, accessed 18 Jun 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[5] 1911 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 13 Jun 2021 through FamilySearch

[6] 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Library and Archives

[7] “[Herman Albert and Wilhelm Albert birth information]” in Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency database index, accessed 13 June 2021; 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 13 June 2021 through Ancestry

[8] “Pauline Albert (Wilde)” in King/Burton Family Tree [Ancestry family tree], accessed 18 Jun 2021 through Ancestry

[9] “Panline Albert” in Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 11 June 2021 through Ancestry

[10] [“Herman Albert Registration of Death, 1961”], Provincial Archives of Alberta. Digital copy emailed 29 Mar 2021

Homesteading Near Camper, Manitoba, 1911-1921

Map showing Winnipeg (bottom right) and the location of the Kelm homestead near Camper (top left)

When Robert Bergner arrived in Camper on June 13, 1910, to look for a homestead, “there was no town, only a few tents.” Though described as historically having been “an uninhabited wilderness” or having few permanent settlements by the late eighteenth century,[1] the Interlake region of Manitoba, between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, was home to the Ojibway, Cree, and Oji-Cree, as well as the Metis.[2] From 1670 to 1869, the region was part of Rupert’s Land, which comprised eight million square kilometers and was monopolized by the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1869, the Government of Canada purchased Rupert’s Land from the HBC, who claimed ownership, for 1.5 million dollars. The transfer was finalized in 1870, the same year Manitoba joined Canada.

Starting in 1871, the Government of Canada established townships in a grid system called the Dominion Land Survey. Beginning in 1872, The Dominion Land Act guided the administration of land for homesteading, among other uses. To boost prairie settlement, the government advertisement homesteads in 160-acre increments. After paying the ten-dollar application fee, the homesteader had three years to break and farm thirty acres of land, reside on the homestead for more than six months out of the year, and build a house and barn.[3] Once these requirements were fulfilled, the homesteader would receive the title for the land and, if he was not already a British subject, become naturalized.[4]

Julius Kelm applied to the Government of Canada for a homestead on May 1, 1911.[5] The 164 acres was located along what is now Edison Road, approximately halfway between Highway 6 and Dog Lake, and six kilometers from Camper.[6] According to an interview with Julius and Martha (see Stories From the Past), there were around twenty other German families living in the area around Camper. The majority of Germans settled north and east of Dog Lake and west of Camper: “Many of the later [German] settlers–from the Russian Ukraine–came to be near the earlier German settlers and took up stonier, more heavily-wooded land.”[7]

“[Julius Kelm entry in Homestead Grant Register, application for homestead 419750]” in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada, Homestead Grant Registers, 1872-1930, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 05 Jun 2021 through Ancestry

Julius likely traveled the 165 kilometers from Winnipeg to Camper alone to look at available land before applying for it. There were few roads during that time; scouting homesteaders only had “a map from the Land Titles Office, showing the township lines, which were just lines just cut through the bush; [they] walked through swamps waist deep in water.”[8] Julius would have returned to Winnipeg for his family. Anna Markwart recalls that, in 1909, the Markwart family “packed up their belongings, loaded them into a freight car and came by rail as far Camper [as] that was as far as the railway went at that time. They had to stay in the freight car while Henry [Markwart] walked seven miles [eleven kilometers] to the homestead to see if he could get the only neighbor to lend him a wagon to move the family to the new homestead.”[9] Julius had selected land “in the twenty-third township, in the sixth range, west of the principal meridian,” or homestead 419750.[10]

The first of the homesteading work occurred in early May. The land would have to be broken and ploughed first, and this was most effectively accomplished between June and August. Many accounts of homesteading in the Camper area begrudge the “mountains of stones”; in order for land to be cleared for farming, “stumps and stones” had to be removed and “every time the land was ploughed there would be more stones.”[11] After this, a house and stable would be built. Anna Markwart remembers that her husband’s family “lived in a makeshift shelter until they could cut enough logs for a small log house.”[12]

Homesteading on the prairie was often treacherous; wild animals harassed and feasted on livestock, even getting into the barns.[13] The year Julius secured his homestead, a timber, or grey, wolf was terrorizing livestock “from Camper to Gypsumville” and farmers would stay up at night with their guns waiting for it.[14] The prairie, immense and seemingly never-ending, could also be a lonely place. Debbie Hoffman describes her grandmother’s, Martha Miller’s, first years in her new home: “Martha wasn’t used to the big forests and swamps of the Interlakes […] The fright and loneliness almost drove her out of her mind.”[15]

Map of homesteads located within Township 23, east of Dog Lake. Julius Kelm’s neighbors included the Drailich family, whose daughter Adeline “Lena” married Edward Kelm, and Mattern and Geske families; courtesy of Taming a Wilderness: A History of Ashern and District by Ashern Historical Society

Julius and Martha had four children while living near Camper: Hannah (born March 4, 1913), Robert (born May 12, 1914), Hilda (born June 22, 1915), and Daniel (born May 17, 1917). The place of birth for the first three children is the Rural Municipality of Coldwell while the place of birth for Daniel is Camper.[16] In the 1916 Census of Canada, the family identified as Russian as World War One raged in Europe, the German families around them also identifying as Russian.[17] Julius (as John Kelm) also appears in the 1916 Census of Canada living with the Rempel family at 814 Bannatyne in Winnipeg as a lodger. He may have returned to Winnipeg for part of the year to find extra work to sustain his homestead.[18] Later that year, in December, the oldest daughter, Olga, thirteen years old, died. No record has been found of her death and burial.

It took Julius and Martha more than three years to earn their papers. Julius owned the land by February 15, 1917, when inspectors verified that he had fulfilled the requirements.[19] Sworn statements from two neighbors were required.[20] When his neighbor John Mattern, obtained the patents to his land on May 20, 1918, Julius testified: “Those that witnessed this were John Kelm of NW 31-23-6W and Edward Geske of SE 36-23-7W.”[21] In the 1921 Census of Canada, Julius is the owner of his three-room home.[22] 

[Homestead No. 419750 grant]” from Letters Patent, Canada, Department of the Interior, accessed 05 Jun 2021 through Canadiana Heritage

But farming proved to be too difficult; the Kelm family “had the worse land, unsuitable for farming” (see Stories From the Past). Frank Tennenhouse, whose family moved to Camper in 1911, writes that there was little government support for new farmers and there were few nearby farmers who had settled there long enough who could help newcomers.[23] Tennenhouse remembers that his father had “visited the location and had thought it was wonderful because there was plenty of hay for cattle and trees for wood. What he did now know was that the hay was low quality swamp and the soil was stony and infertile.”[24] Shannon Stunden writes, “Many […] newcomers settled in the less productive lands […] in eastern or interlake Manitoba.”[25] Most families returned to Winnipeg.


[1] James Morton Richtik, “A Historical Geography of the Interlake Area of Manitoba [thesis]” from Manitoba Heritage Theses, University of Manitoba, 1964, p14

[2] Government of Manitoba, “The First Peoples” [pamphlet], undated, accessed 13 Nov 2020, https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/hrb/pdf/the_first_peoples.pdf

[3] “Manitoba Crown Land and Homestead Records (National Institute) [wiki]”, FamilySearch, 09 Oct 2018 [last edited], accessed 05 Jun 2021, https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Manitoba_Crown_Land_and_Homestead_Records_(National_Institute)

[4] Ibid.

[5] “[Julius Kelm entry in Homestead Grant Register, application for homestead 419750]” in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada, Homestead Grant Registers, 1872-1930, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 05 Jun 2021 through Ancestry

[6] Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, “Land Parcel Corporation,” 2021 [copyright], accessed 05 Jun 2021, https://www.masc.mb.ca/masc.nsf/land_parcel_info.html

[7] Taming a Wilderness, p375; Richtik, p198-199

[8] Ibid.

[9] Taming a Wilderness, p190

[10] “[Homestead No. 419750 grant]” from Letters Patent, Canada, Department of the Interior, accessed 05 Jun 2021 through Canadiana Heritage

[11] Taming a Wilderness, p390, 401

[12] Taming a Wilderness, p190

[13] Dugald Women’s Institute, Springfield: 1st Rural Municipality in Manitoba, 1873-1973, Dugald, MB: Dugald Women’s Institute, 1974, p34, accessed through Internet Archive

[14] Interlake Pioneers, Hardship and Happiness, Steep Rock, MB: Interlake Pioneers, 1974, p64

[15] Taming of a Wilderness, p382

[16] “[Harma [Hannah] Kelm, Robert Kelm, Hilda Kelm, Daniel Kelm birth information]” in Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency database index, accessed 06 Jun 2021

[17] 1916 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 08 Jun 2021 through Ancestry

[18] Taming the Wilderness, p373

[19] “[Homestead No. 419750 grant]” from Letters Patent, Canada, Department of the Interior, accessed 05 Jun 2021 through Canadiana Heritage; the stamp in the homestead grant register indicates February 7, 1917

[20] “Manitoba Crown Land and Homestead Records (National Institute) [wiki]”

[21] Ashern Historical Society: The Next Chapter; A History of Ashern and District, Ashern, MB: Ashern Historical Society, 2008, p319, accessed 06 Jun 2021 through University of Manitoba Digital Collections

[22] 1921 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 08 Jun 2021 through Ancestry

[23] Frank Tennenhouse, “Photocopy of unpublished manuscript, “Seventy Five Years of Farming in Manitoba: A Collection of Stories of Life on the Farm from Two Generations of the Tennenhouse Family,” Tennenhouse Family fonds, University of Manitoba Archives, accessed 06 Jun 2021 through University of Manitoba Digital Collections

[24] Ibid.

[25] Shannon Stunden Bower, Wet Prairie: People, Land, and Water in Agricultural Manitoba, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011, p35, accessed 08 Jun through Google Books

19 Kirsch Children: Julia Kirsch

Happy June, everybody! Memorial Day long weekend here in the USA was spent researching and writing my History of Martha project. I realized that this blog has been a useful way for me to organize book sections and get feedback. Everything will eventually make its way into my Kirsch family book, which I hope to finish next year. The following section is tentatively titled “Julia Kirsch: Journey from Ludwischin-Scheppel, Volhynia, to Winnipeg, Canada, 1890-1943” in the book, but will be the Julia Kirsch series entry for 19 Kirsch Children for the purposes of this blog. Because this blog is the rough draft of my project, I welcome any corrections or additions. I am also hoping that someone has a photo of Julia and August Rempel.

I would also like to apologize for the horrendous citations throughout this blog. I keep reformatting them as I go in order to find a style that works for me. I recently decided to add in source repositories or archives, but have to go back and track them all down.

19 Kirsch Children: Julia Kirsch

Julia Kirsch was born Julianna Kirsch on August 25, 1865, in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland, the third child and first daughter of Samuel Kirsch and his first wife, Karolina Wurfel.[1] Julia was confirmed in the Lutheran church (Rozyszcze parish, Volhynia) in 1881, though the absence of parents’ names in the record means the connection cannot be verified.[2]

“[Julianna Kirsch birth record, 1865]” from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Geneteka

The Kirsch family’s migration to Canada began earlier than Winnipeg’s population boom, which began over a decade later in 1902. Winnipeg grew steadily by 1000-3000 people each year (except for a significant population increase after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881) from 1871 to 1901.[3] The majority of Russian Germans immigrated to Canada after 1900, after the homesteads of the United States were all snatched up.[4] Minister of the Interior Clifford Sifton’s immigration policy of 1896 and the heyday of Canada’s “Last Best West” campaign spurred more immigration, the ideal immigrant, in Sifton’s words, being the “stalwart peasant in a sheep-skin coat, born on the soil, whose forefathers have been farmers for ten generations, with a stout wife and a half-dozen children.”[5]

Example of “Last Best West” campaign poster, 1907; courtesy of Canada. Department of the Interior, Library and Archives Canada

Julia was the first Kirsch family member to immigrate to Canada. She and her husband, August Rempel, married three years with two young children (Adolf and August), sold their belongings and left their community of Ludwischin-Scheppel in early October of 1890, their decision likely driven by religious persecution. While the majority of Russian Germans were Lutheran, the Rempel family, like many other families in their community, was Baptist.

According to Volhynian Baptist historian Donald Miller, Scheppel was a Baptist station in Rozyzscze parish. While Rozyzscze city was home to the largest Baptist church in the parish (established in 1884), there were several (mission) “stations” established, including Scheppel, where people from various communities congregated to worship. Some of these stations became self-supporting churches.[6] Other names for Scheppel are Scheple, Schepek, Schöpel, Schlepe, Szepel, and Schelpe.[7] Baptist activity began in Rozyzscze parish (Rozyzscze city being approximately twenty-two kilometers south of Scheppel) in 1874, when seven new converts were baptized and, shortly after, a chapel was built. In April of 1889, after a period of evangelical growth (despite the Lutheran majority’s opposition, which was sometimes very violent), the church’s pastor was banished from Volhynia and the people were no longer allowed to gather in the chapel. This prompted many families to emigrate in the pursuit of religious freedom.[8] In 1890, there was an exodus of Baptist families from Ludwischin-Scheppel.

“Often the outdoor baptismal services were disrupted, members were accused of preaching a false doctrine, converts were ridiculed, pastors were threatened and church buildings were destroyed.”

– Donald Miller[9]

According to an 1894 article in The Winnipeg Tribune, the German Baptists “were driven from their homes and from their churches and must seek new homes in this land […] The exodus from Russia began twelve years ago when the persecutions began.”[10] Following the world wars, Baptist church records in Volhynia were destroyed, many churches converted into industrial complexes and used for secular purposes. This is the reason tracing Baptist families in Volhynia during the late nineteenth century is “very difficult if not impossible.”[11]

When Julia and August left Volhynia in 1890, they left in a party of twenty-four people from six families, also Baptists from Ludwischin-Scheppel (more information about these families here). The families likely departed together by wagon and then traveled by train to Berlin, Germany, which connected them to major ports.[12] The journey from Volhynia to Hamburg, their port of departure, probably took a week.[13] The party left Hamburg on October 10 on the ship Hansa.[14] Because it was cheaper to travel across the Atlantic using British lines,[15] the families traveled to Hull, England, and then traveled by train to Liverpool. There they boarded the British steamship, the SS Polynesian, which took them to the Port of Quebec after a stop in Londonderry, Ireland.[16] The ship arrived in Canada on October 27.

Rempel family (top-most entry) in SS Polynesian ship manifest, Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 29 May 2021 through Ancestry

According to the SS Polynesian ship manifest, the passengers were going “to friends.”[17] The Rempel family had traveled “to join brother,” though no record of a Rempel relative in Canada has been found.[18] August had at least one living brother, Ludwik Rempel, born in 1871, but his whereabouts in 1890 is unknown.[19] When August’s mother, Rose Rempel, died in Springfield, Manitoba, two printings of her obituary in The Winnipeg Tribune have conflicting information; the shorter June obituary indicates she was “survived by two sons” while the longer June 7 obituary mentions only “one son, Augustus of Winnipeg.”[20] After arriving in Quebec, the families boarded the train to Winnipeg. The trip took three days, meaning they would have arrived October 30.[21] In the 1891 Census of Canada, the Rempel family lived in Ward Five, otherwise known as Winnipeg’s North End and “Foreign Quarter”–just north of the Canadian Pacific Railway yards.[22] The family lived with two other German Baptist families: Frederick and Caroline Maahs, and John and Rosaline Bicker (and two-year-old son, Frederick).[23] The three families, eight people in all, lived in a six-bedroom home. The family next door, also predominantly Baptist, were eleven people in two bedrooms, including two people from the party that left Ludwischin-Scheppel: Friedrich (Frederick) and Gotfried (Godfrey) Klem.[24] The North End was notorious for its deplorable living conditions, disease, and overcrowding.[25]

The Rempel family experienced tragedy soon after their arrival in Winnipeg. While their oldest child, Adolf, was with them when they arrived in Quebec on October 27, 1890, he was not with them when the family was enumerated in the 1901 Census of Canada on April 23, 1891.[26] While a record of the death of Adolf Rempel has yet to be found, there is a record of August Rempel, age three, who died March 11, 1891, in Winnipeg (August’s full name was Gustave August Rempel, so perhaps the eldest was August Adolf Rempel).[27] August’s and Julia’s first daughter, Helen “Lena” Margaret Rempel, was born Christmas Eve 1891.[28] Their second daughter, Ada Rempel, was born December 11, 1893.[29] Ada does not appear on the 1901 Census of Canada and no death record has been found, but the headstone for Edith Rempel in Brookside Cemetery contains the following: “Edith, died May 11, 1900, aged 6 years and 5 months, daughter of A. and J. Rempel.”[30]

Map of Winnipeg showing location of Bannatyne Avenue, where the Rempel family lived. The gray lines represent the Canadian Pacific Railway yards, the North End indicated above it; courtesy of Google Maps (captured 31 May 2021)
Advertisement in The Winnipeg Tribune, 17 Sep 1938; courtesy of Newspapers.com

In 1901, the Rempel family were now six and still lived in the North End.[31] Julia’s brother, Christian Kirsch, who immigrated in 1893, and his family lived two houses away.[32] Both August Rempel and Christian worked for the Bridge Department of the Canadian Pacific Railway.[33] In 1906, the Rempel family lived at 509 Alexander Avenue.[34] By 1908, the Rempels lived on Bannatyne Avenue (the address is 814 Bannatyne Avenue in the 1911, 1916, and 1921 Censuses of Canada)[35] and worked as a sewage and watermain contractor, hiring workers to dig sewer lines for the City of Winnipeg. According to family history, the Rempel house was two or three floors and extra rooms were rented out to boarders, most working at the nearby Winnipeg General Hospital (now the Health Sciences Centre). Some of these boarders worked for August’s business, including Julius Kelm, who lived in the basement in the early months of 1908. A 1928 rent advertisement for 814 Bannatyne in the Winnipeg Tribune describes the house as follows: “10-room house, hardwood downstairs, gas water heater, newly dec. throughout, first-class condition, 2 garages.”[36] The location is now a parking garage. Between 1922[37] and 1928, the Rempel family moved to 808 Bannatyne Avenue (August’s and Julius’ son, Frederick, and his wife, Mary, lived at 814 Bannatyne before 1928; the house was placed for rent after Mary’s death in 1927).[38]

August and Julia Rempel had nine children: Adolf, August, Helen, Edith, Frederick, Hannah, William, Violet, and Walter. They lived in Winnipeg the rest of their lives and were active members of the McDermot Avenue Baptist Church. Julia died in her home on December 8, 1932, at the age of sixty-seven.[39]

Obituary for Julia Rempel in The Winnipeg Tribune, 1937; courtesy of Newspapers.com

Mrs. Julia Rempel, 67, wife of August Rempel, of 808 Bannatyne Ave., died Thursday at the family residence. Mrs. Rempel was an active worker for McDermot Avenue Baptist Church and was a member of the women’s guilds. She was born in Russia but had lived in the city for the last 42 years. Besides her husband she is survived by four sons, August and Walter in Winnipeg and Fred and William in Detroit. There are also three daughters, Mrs. R. H. Smith, Mrs. P. Huget and Mrs. B. Waters in the city, and two brothers, Carl Kirsch in Yorkton, Sask., and Dan Kirsch in Alberta; and two sisters, Mrs. H. Yoekel and Mrs. J. Kelm in Winnipeg and Mrs. A Adler in Saskatchewan. There are also nine grandchildren. The funeral will be held at 2 pm, Monday, from A. B. Gardiner funeral home to the family plot in Elmwood cemetery.[40]

August died February 21, 1943, three years after retiring.[41] According to his obituary in the German Baptist newspaper, Der Sendbote, he became very ill and died after two weeks at the Winnipeg General Hospital: “He bore his suffering with the help of God patiently and attended church and Bible study regularly. About fourteen days before his parting his condition suddenly turned and he had to go to the hospital. There, no doctor could help him and the Lord over life and death decreed otherwise and took him after a few days of heavy suffering into eternity. Even though his passing left a gap on our lives, we rejoice in his well-deserved rest.”[42]

Descendants of August and Julia Rempel

Julianna “Julia” Kirsch (b. 25 Aug 1865 in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland; d. 08 Dec 1932 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. August Rempel (b. 18 Jul 1866 in Ignacow, Lodzkie, Poland; d. 21 Feb 1943 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

  1. Adolf Rempel (b. 1887 in Russia; d. 11 Mar 1901 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) – to be confirmed
  2. Gustave August Rempel (b. 13 Aug 1889 in Russia; d. 20 Mar 1976 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) m. Joanna Ida Marks (b. 15 Jul 1891 in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, Canada; d. 27 Aug 1957 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  3. Helen Margaret Rempel (b. 24 Dec 1891 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Roman August Smith (b. May 1884 in Russia; d. 1960 in Manitoba, Canada)
  4. Edith (Ada) Rempel (b. 11 Dec 1893 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 11 May 1900 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) – to be confirmed
  5. Frederick Rempel (b. 22 Mar 1896 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 30 Oct 1877 in Buffalo, New York, USA) m. Mary Susan Jackson (b. 15 Jul 1896 in Ontario, Canada; d. 14 Dec 1927 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Alice Whitcomb (b. 18 Mar 1906 in New York, USA; d. Mar 1971 in Buffalo, New York, USA)
  6. Hannah Emma Rempel (b. 28 Jan 1899 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Peter Huget (b. Dec 1894 in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, Canada; d. 16 Aug 1945 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
  7. William Albert Rempel (b. 26 Jul 1901 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 08 Sep 1978 in Palm Beach, Florida, USA) m. Mary Semmler (b. 15 Jul 1900 in Poland; d. 05 Apr 1993 in Palm Beach, Florida, USA)
  8. Violet Elsie Rempel (b. 14 Oct 1903 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Bert William Watters (b. 24 May 1894 in Westbourne, Manitoba, Canada)
  9. Walter Alexander Rempel (b. 14 Oct 1903 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 20 Aug 1983 in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada) m. Edna May Donaghy (b. 17 Jul 1905 in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England; d. 18 Jul 1987 in Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada)

[1] “[Julianna Kirsch birth record, 1860]” from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Geneteka

[2] “[Juliane Kirsch confirmation record, 1881]” from VKP Birth & Confirmation Records, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[3] Alan F. J. Artibise, Winnipeg: A Social History of Urban Growth, 1874-1914, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1975, p130

[4] Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University, “To Canada” from The Volga Germans, 09 Jul 2020 [last updated], accessed 30 May 2021, https://www.volgagermans.org/history/immigration/canada

[5] Clifford Sifton, “The Immigrations Canada Wants” from Maclean’s, 01 April 1922 [published], accessed 30 May 2021, https://archive.macleans.ca/article/1922/4/1/the-immigrants-canada-wants

[6] Donald Miller, In the Midst of Wolves: A History of German Baptists in Volhynia, Russia, 1863-1943, Portland, OR: Multnomah Printing, 2000, p229-242; p291

[7] “[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Lange/Schindler/Gurel/Pries/Pudel Families from Scheple” [message board thread], Feb 2007, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, https://www.sggee.org/pipermail/ger-poland-volhynia/2007-February/006644.html

[8] “Baptist Records in Volhynia,” accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, https://www.sggee.org/research/parishes/church_parishes/BaptistInVolhynia.html

[9] Donald Miller, “The Suffering and Triumphs of the German Baptists (1863-1943)” from In the Midst of Wolves, undated, accessed 30 May 2021, http://inthemidstofwolves.com/articles/suffering-triumph.pdf

[10] The Winnipeg Tribune, 12 Jul 1894, accessed 27 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[11] “Baptist Records in Volhynia” from Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, 27 Nov 2018 [last updated], accessed 16 Mar 2021, https://www.sggee.org/research/parishes/church_parishes/BaptistInVolhynia.html

[12] Janet Wasserman, “The Journey from Eastern Europe to North America in 1900 and 1904,” 2012 [published], accessed 30 May 2021 through JewishGen, https://www.jewishgen.org/bessarabia/files/Emigration/JourneyFromEasternEuropeToNorthAmerica1900-1904.pdf

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Juliane Rempel” in Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, Staatsarchiv Hamburg [Hamburg State Archives], accessed 30 May 2021 through Ancestry

[15] Wasserman

[16] “Juliana Rempel” in Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 29 May 2021 through Ancestry

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] “[Ludwik Rempel birth record, 1871]” from “Akta stanu cywilnego Parafii Ewangelicko-Reformowanej w Zelowie (Evangelical Reformed Parish in Zelów Records),” Archiwum Państwowe w Łodzi (Lodz State Archives), accessed 31 May 2021 through Geneteka

[20] The Winnipeg Tribune, 06 Jun 1935 and 07 Jun 1935, accessed 27 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[21] Victor Gess, Portrait of a Homesteader: An Ancestral Journey Through Poland, Volhynia and Canada, Lafayette, CA: Missouri River Press, 2017, p159

[22] Artibise, p161

[23] 1891 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry

[24] Ibid.

[25] Artibise, p225

[26] 1891 Census of Canada

[27] “[August Rempel death information]” in Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency database index, accessed 15 Mar 2021

[28] “[Hellene Magreta Rempel birth information]” in Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency database index, accessed 15 Mar 2021

[29] “[Ada Rempel birth information]” in Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency database index, accessed 15 Mar 2021

[30] “Edith Rempel” in Find a Grave, 17 Sep 2014 [entry added], accessed 31 May 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/136055795/edith-rempel

[31] 1901 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May through Ancestry

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] 1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry

[35] 1911 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through FamilySearch [Note: surname spelled Rimpell]; 1916 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry; 1921 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry

[36] The Winnipeg Tribune, 25 Aug 1928, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[37] “Augustus Rempel” in Henderson’s Winnipeg Directory, 1922, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry [Note: August is working as a contractor; Violet Rempel (dressmaker) and Walter Rempel (fire department clerk) also live at home in 1922]

[38] “[Obituary for Mary Ann Rempel]” from The Winnipeg Tribune, 14 Dec 1927, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[39] “[Obituary for Julia Rempel]” from The Winnipeg Tribune, 08 Dec 1932, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[40] “[Obituary for Julia Rempel]” from The Winnipeg Tribune, 09 Dec 1932, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[41] “[Obituary for August Rempel]” from The Winnipeg Tribune, 22 Feb 1943, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[42] “[Obituary for August Rempel]” from Der Sendbote, 17 Mar 1943, “United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012” [collection by American Historical Society of Germans from Russia], accessed 30 May 2021 through FamilySearch; translated by Margot Henriksen

19 Kirsch Children: Karl Kirsch

Welcome to the next installment of 19 Kirsch Children, a blog series about the Kirsch family and siblings of my great-grandmother, Martha Kirsch. You can access an overview of the entire family right here. I lived in West Kelowna for several years and while job hunting with a friend across the bridge in Kelowna, decided to walk across the street from his home to the cemetery where Karl is buried. I had just learned about this Kelowna connection that summer of 2016.

19 Kirsch Children: Karl Kirsch

Karl Kirsch was born to Samuel Kirsch and Karolina Wurfel on March 13, 1877, in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia (later records have Karl’s date of birth as March 27, but this may be because of the change in calendar; Russia added thirteen days when it officially switched from the Julius to Gregorian calendars on February 1 (Julian) and 14 (Gregorian), 1918).[1] Karl married Olga Dymmel, also born in Ludwischin, in 1901, and they had five children, all born in Wladislowka, Volhynia: Amanda, Hulda (or Huldena), Annie, Daniel, and a child who died young.[2] According to the Baptist newspaper Der Sendbote, Karl, whose family was Lutheran, became a Baptist and was baptized in Volhynia.[3]

[“Carl Kirsch birth record, 1877”] from VKP Birth and Confirmation Records, accessed 19 Apr 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

Karl left his wife and children for Canada in 1913. The journey in steerage, from Hamburg, Germany, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, took just over two weeks; the ship, La Plata, left May 27 and arrived June 12.[4] At the time of his departure, Karl lived in Wladislowka.[5] There were two colonies near Lutsk named Wladislowka, the closest colony to Karl’s birthplace being “Wladislowka” and not “Wladislowka II,” which was further east.[6] According to interviews with Julius and Martha (see Stories from the Past: Martha Kirsch (Part 3)), Karl lived in the home of his oldest sister, Julia Rempel, at 808 Bannatyne Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and may have worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Karl lived in Winnipeg for a year before moving to the predominantly German Baptist community of Ebenezer, Saskatchewan (see 19 Kirsch Children: Daniel Kirsch for more information about Ebenezer). His brother Daniel’s homestead was also near Ebenezer.

The outbreak of the First World War prevented Karl from sending for his family for eight years. His family likely found themselves deported to Siberia alongside other Volhynian Germans for the duration of the war, but there is no information about their whereabouts during this time. By 1916, Karl was living in Mackenzie (district), Saskatchewan, working on the farm of the Dutz family (William and Wilhelmina Dutz).[7] In 1921, Karl was working as a farm labourer for the Keels family, also in Mackenzie.

“Olga Kirsch” in Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A), 1919-1924, accessed 21 Apr 2021 through Ancestry

Following the First World War, Olga and her children found themselves in “Sprokinen.”[8] Sprokinen (Sprukkinen) may refer to a now defunct community in Kaliningrad Oblast (administrative region), Russia, near the Russia-Lithuania border.[9] Olga and her children left Europe from Hamburg, Germany, on the Megantic, their destination Orcadia, Saskatchewan (near Ebenezer). The ship arrived in Canada on August 27, 1921. The family had forty dollars when they arrived. According to the Hamburg passenger list, Hulda was supposed to accompany her family, but her name is crossed out.[10] Hulda was the last member to join the family in Canada, traveling to Saskatchewan alone the following year to find work as a maid.[11] Both Amanda and Hulda were married in 1922, with Amanda accompanying her husband, Emanuel Behr, back to his home in Moundridge, Kansas, USA. Hulda and her husband, William Aichele, started a family in Otthon, Saskatchewan.

Olga died August 9, 1938, in Springside, Saskatchewan. Karl moved to Kelowna, British Columbia, in 1949. His son, Daniel, had been living there for several years (Daniel married his wife, Frieda Wentz, in Kelowna in 1940).[12] Karl’s daughter, Amanda, moved to Kelowna at the same time as her father, settling in the Benvoulin area with her husband, Michael Pansegrau. Karl died at the Kelowna General Hospital on March 13, 1950.  

Article in The Province (December 11, 1945) about the fire that burned down the Pansegrau home in Kelowna. Evelyn and Allen Pansegrau were the children of Annie Kirsch and Michael Pansegrau; accessed 21 Apr 2021 through Newspapers.com
“[Karl Kirsch registration of death, 1950],” accessed 21 Apr 2021 through Provincial Archives of British Columbia

Karl Kirsch (b. 27 Mar 1877 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 12 Mar 1950 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada) m. Olga Dymmel (b. 25 Dec 1878 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 09 Aug 1938 in Springside, Saskatchewan, Canada)

  1. Amanda Kirsch (b. 26 Nov 1901 in Wladislowka, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 03 Jan 1976 in Moundridge, Kansas, USA) m. Emanuel Behr (b. 27 Mar 1895 in Russia; d. 20 Jan 1984 in Moundtridge, Kansas, USA)
  2. Hulda Kirsch (b. 21 Mar 1905 in Wladislowka, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 26 May 1961 in Saltcoats, Saskatchewan, Canada) m. William Aichele (b. 13 May 1896 in Russia; d. 25 Apr 1976 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada)
  3. Annie Kirsch (b. 12 Jan1909 in Wladislowka, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 04 Feb 1953 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada) m. Michael Pansegrau (b. 04 May 1910 in Poland; d. 01 Oct 1982 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada)
  4. Daniel Kirsch (b. 25 Dec 1911 in Wladislowka, Luck, Volhynia, Russia; d. 22 Jun 1983 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada) m. Frieda Weintz (b. 02 Dec 1921 in Tariverde, Constanta, Romania; d. 12 Oct 2005 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada)
  5. Unknown Kirsch (d. bef 1913 in Volhynia, Russia)

[1] [“Carl Kirsch birth record, 1877”] from VKP Birth and Confirmation Records, accessed 19 Apr 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[2] [“Karl Kirsch obituary from Der Sendbote newspaper, 1950”] from United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012, accessed 19 Apr 2021 through FamilySearch [Note: Der Sendbote was a newspaper issues by the German Baptist Publication Society from 1874 to 1971, with contributions by the North American Baptist Conference – Library of Congress]

[3] [“Karl Kirsch obituary from Der Sendbote newspaper, 1950”] from United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012, accessed 19 Apr 2021 through FamilySearch

[4] “Karl Kirsch” in Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 19 Apr 2021 through Ancestry

[5] “Karl Kirsch” in Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 19 Apr 2021 through Ancestry

[6] “Wladislowka II” from “Google Maps of Ancestral German Colonies (1700-1939),” accessed 15 Nov 2020 through Germans from Russia Settlement Locations

[7] 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Albert,  accessed 15 Nov 2020 through Ancestry

[8] “Olga Kirsch” in Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 15 Nov 2020 through Ancestry

[9] “Kanash (Kaliningrad)” from [Unknown Title] [wiki], 24 Oct 2018 [last updated], accessed 19 Apr 2021, https://de.zxc.wiki/wiki/Kanasch_%28Kaliningrad%29

[10] “Olga Kirsch” in Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 15 Nov 2020 through Ancestry

[11] Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A), 1919-1924 Hulda Kirsch Declaration of Passenger to Canada accessed through Ancestry 15 Nov 2020

[12] “[Daniel Kirsch and Frieda Weintz certificate of registration of marriage, 1940],” accessed 21 Apr 2021 through Provincial Archives of British Columbia

Daniel and Wanda Kirsch Death Records

The Provincial Archives of Alberta allows you to search for and order digitized death records for a small fee, so I ordered the death records of Daniel Kirsch and his wife, Wanda, to see if I could uncover more information (here is the original post for Daniel Kirsch). I find that the provincial archives of the western Canadian provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia) vary in terms of usability and ease of searching for and accessing records. The Provincial Archives of Alberta requires you to browse an index in order to locate a death record, for example, but you can easily order a digital copy (the turnaround averages a few days for me). The Provincial Archives of British Columbia has a searchable database and digitized images, whereas the Provincial Archives of Manitoba has a searchable database but requires you to print out a mail order form (for a photocopied record). I ordered records from Manitoba on March 19, 2021, and they have not arrived yet. I have never ordered from the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, but find the database unreliable and the website notes that the wait time for record requests is more than eight weeks.

[“Daniel Kirsch Registration of Death, 1961”], Provincial Archives of Alberta. Digital copy emailed 22 Mar 2021

The date of birth for Daniel recorded on this record is September 5, 1872. Early records have August 22, 1874, as his date of birth. Keep in mind that this form was completed by his nurse (though a discrepancy in dates of birth is common). The record indicates that Daniel was living in Edmonton (the exact addresses for both Daniel and Wanda are similar but different, so I am unsure what is the correct address, though one of their sons signed Wanda’s record and “11611 88 St” is what he wrote) at the time and that he had lived in Alberta for almost four years (the record for Wanda says two years). The second page, which is not featured here, has the cause of death as “terminal pneumonia.” He died at what is now called the Rosehaven Care Centre in Camrose.

[“Wanda Kirsch Registration of Death, 1961”], Provincial Archives of Alberta. Digital copy emailed 29 Mar 2021

Wanda died at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton in December of 1961 from heart failure.

Understanding the Geography: Ludwischin-Scheppel

It took me a surprisingly long time to understand where on a map my family history was taking place. I had yet to realize that having even a “work in progress” understanding of the regions I was researching would be as helpful as it is. Perhaps I didn’t bother to orient myself right away because I was intimidated by the everchanging European borders of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. [Note: The blog post, “Those Infamous Border Changes: A Crash Course in Polish History,” from From Shepherds and Shoemakers is a thorough yet concise overview of Polish border changes]. In this blog entry I will first try to explain how I understand the geographical terms and then provide a visual guide to what locations I write about with regards to the Kirsch family (see Kirsch Research page) in Volhynia. I should preface with the disclaimer that I am still learning and this is the way I currently understand it. Corrections are appreciated and I probably need to revisit previous blog entries to make corrections based on new knowledge.

My great-great-grandfather, Samuel Kirsch, traveled with his family from Florentynow (colony or village), Lodzkie (voivodeship = province), Poland (country), to Rozyszcze (parish), Lutsk (raion = district), Volhynia (oblast = province or region), Russia (country), in around 1867. The journey from what is now central Poland to western Ukraine was more than 500 kilometers. [Note: I use the terms “colony” and “village” interchangeably because I am often referring to communities established in Congress Poland and Volhynia by German colonists]. The Kirsch family had lived in Florentynow since at least 1813, the recorded year of birth of Samuel’s father, Krzysztof Kirsch. Before then, the family lived in Wola (colony or village), Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia (the precise location of Wola is currently unknown, but you can see Posen city, or Poznan, on the map below, west of Point A).

Map 1: Map of journey on a current map of Poland and Ukraine, created 21 Mar 2021 using Google MyMaps; Volhynia of the late nineteenth century spanned southeast Poland and northeast Ukraine

Samuel and his family first settled in Konstantynow (colony or village), Rozyszcze, Lutsk, Volhynia. Samuel’s seventh child, Daniel, was born in Konstantynow, August 22, 1874. Samuel moved ten kilometers to Ludwischin (colony or village) between 1874 and 1877–assumed because his other eleven children were born there, the first being Karl, born March 27, 1877. I often refer to Ludwischin as Ludwischin-Scheppel, which is sometimes how I see it written. The community of Scheppel is located approximately two kilometers north of Ludwischin.

Map 2: Expansion of the area around Point B in Map 1, with the city of Lutsk to the far right. Information from general Google Maps searches and maps from the Society of German Genealogy in Eastern Europe and Germans from Russia Settlement Locations

[Note: Refer to Kirsch Research for a list of names; all the Kirsch names in this paragraph are children of Samuel Kirsch unless otherwise noted] Scheppel is where Gottlieb Kirsch was confirmed in the Lutheran church in 1882.[1] But the community has Baptist associations as well. August Rempel and Julianna Kirsch Rempel emigrated from Scheppel with other Baptist families in 1890.[2] Daniel Kirsch’s wife, Wanda Schindler, was from Ludwischin, but her father and two of her sibling were of the Baptist group that traveled from Scheppel aboard the Hansa.[5] According to In the Midst of Wolves by Donald Miller, Scheppel was a Baptist station in Rozyzscze (parish). While Rozyzscze city was home to the largest Baptist church in the parish, there were several “stations” established as the Baptists grew in number in Volhynia, including Scheppel, where people from various communities congregated to worship.[4] Some of these stations became self-supporting churches. Other names for Scheppel are Schepel, Schepek, Schöpel, Schlepe, Szepel, and Schelpe.[5]

“[Rempel family in Hansa ship manifest, 1890]” from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 20 Mar2021 through Ancestry; the Rempel family is from “Scheple, Russland”

There is evidence that the Kirsch family moved to the nearby colony, Wsewolodowka, between 1902 (death of Adolf Kirsch in Ludwischin) and 1905 (birth of eighteenth and last child, Olga, in Wsewolodowka).[6] Karl Kirsch’s residence was Wsewolodowka when he emigrated in 1913 [Update: Karl lived in Wladislowka, which is a different colony].[7] His four children were also born there (1901, 1905, 1909, 1911).[8]

Finally, Friedrich Kirsch was born in “Marienovka Usicze,” or what I think is nearby Usicze, in 1899.[9]

Tracking geographic locations as they appear in various records against a timeline helps me determine where the family was during major migrations and important historical events. This information helps me construct a narrative, to help tell a story that is more than names and dates. It will also help with future research–for example, where did remaining Kirsch family members go during the deportation of Volhynian Germans in 1915. Knowing where they were living around that date could help find answers.


[1] [“Gottlieb Kirsch confirmation record, 1883”] from VKP Birth & Confirmation Records, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[2] [“Rempel family in Hansa ship manifest, 1890”] from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 20 Mar 2021 through Ancestry

[4] Miller, Donald N., In the Midst of Wolves: A History of German Baptists in Volhynia, Russia, 1863-1943, Portland, OR: Multnomah Printing, 2000

[5] “[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Lange/Schindler/Gurel/Pries/Pudel Families from Scheple” [message board thread], Feb 2007, accessed 16 Nov 2020 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, https://www.sggee.org/pipermail/ger-poland-volhynia/2007-February/006644.html

[6] [“Olga Kirsch birth record, 1905”] from Volhynia Indexes 1900-1918, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[7] “Karl Kirsch” in Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Ancestry

[8] [“Kirsch family in Stockport ship manifest, 1921”] from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Ancestry

[9] [“Friedrich Kirsch birth record, 1899”] from VKP Birth & Confirmation Records, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

Fred and Rose Rempel

I have been working on a longer blog entry about Julianna (Julia) Kirsch Rempel, my great-grandmother Martha’s oldest sister and, being the first Kirsch relative to immigrate to Canada, likely the one responsible for the family’s presence on the prairies. Her husband, August Rempel, was a sewer and watermain contractor in Winnipeg and my great-grandfather, Julius Kelm, worked for him and boarded at the Rempel home at 808 Bannatyne Avenue where he met Martha (read the story here). While searching for information about August, I found information that I think confirms question marks from previous blog posts concerning Martha’s relationship with the Rempel family and her passage to Canada.

I documented my search for Martha’s immigration record in this blog post, which includes a record of a woman named Marta, a domestic traveling to Winnipeg with Friedrich and Rosa Rempel, an older couple who could go on to live in the area of Oakbank, Manitoba. While the information aligned with family stories, I was unsure if this Marta was Martha Kirsch and, if it was, I could not determine a relationship between Friedrich and Rosa Rempel and August Rempel.

“[Rempel family in Montezuma ship manifest, 1908]” from Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922, accessed 08 Nov 2020 through FamilySearch

My documentation of August’s place of birth, “Petrould,” comes from a border crossing record, from when August visited his son William Rempel in Detroit, Michigan, in 1933.[1] The handwriting is difficult to read, and I suspect it might refer to Petrikau in Poland (though it’s my observation that a city like “Petrikau” gets recorded often in later Volhynia records when the less recognizable village of birth is nearby). There is a birth record for August Rempel, born July 18, 1866, in Ignacow, Lodzkie, Poland, which is around thirty-eight kilometers west of Petrikau, or Piotrkov Trybunalski as it is known today.[2] His obituary in Der Sendbote, a German Baptist newspaper, states, “Brother August Rempel, Sr, born July 18, 1867, in Russia, after a short illness, died February 21, 1943.”[3] The matching of July 18 in this date to the birth record (despite the discrepancy in year) perhaps verifies that both records refer to the same August Rempel.

August’s parents in the aforementioned birth record are Jan Frydryk Rempel and Anna Rozyna Blesing. The older couple “Marta” traveled with was Friedrich and Rosa, who would also go by their less European name variants, Fred and Rose. Rose’s obituary reads: “Mrs. Rempel was born in Russia, and 26 years ago came to Canada with her husband, the late Fred Rempel, and family. They settled on a small farm in Oak Bank […] Surviving is one son, Augustus of Winnipeg.”[4]

I now believe that, in learning more about her brother-in-law, August, I have verified Martha’s immigration record and learned more about the couple that took her in, employed her, and helped her come to Canada. According to the family story, the Rempel family were very good to Martha. When Rose Rempel was dying, “she only wanted Martha to look after her. Martha left her husband, Julius, and children to care for Mrs. [Rempel] who died within a week.”


[1] “August Rempel” in Detroit Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905-1963, accessed 17 Mar 2021 through Ancestry

[2] [“August Rempel birth record, 1866”] from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed 17 Mar 2021 through Geneteka

[3] [“August Rempel obituary from Der Sendbote newspaper, 1943”] from United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through FamilySearch [Note: Der Sendbote was a newspaper issues by the German Baptist Publication Society from 1874 to 1971, with contributions by the North American Baptist Conference – Library of Congress]

[4] “Mrs. Rose Rempel” obituary, The Winnipeg Tribune, June 7, 1935, accessed 17 Mar 2021 through Newspapers.com

Lydia or Pauline

Last month I wrote a short biography of Pauline Kirsch, half-sister of my great-grandmother, Martha Kirsch. I posted a cropped photograph of Pauline emailed to me by my Aunt Phyllis Reakes (you can view the original uncropped photo of Pauline and her sister, Lydia, and her father, Samuel, here or at the bottom of this post).

I recently got in touch with the family of Lydia Kirsch Adler, the other young woman in the original photo. The comment was made that Pauline looks exactly like a photograph of Lydia on her wedding day. Because sisters often look the same, I thought nothing of it. But, after comparing the posted photo of Pauline and the wedding photo of Lydia, I now believe the description on the back of the above photo (scroll down for scan) mixed the sisters up. I also think Lydia appears to be wearing the same locket or pendant in both photos.

First photo of Lydia Kirsch Adler on her wedding day, Winnipeg, July 12, 1913, courtesy of L. Alexander; second photo of either Pauline or Lydia Kirsch, around 1907, Russia, courtesy of P. Reakes

The identification of the sisters comes from the back of the photo.

Scanned photo emailed to P. Reakes (original source unknown, though the handwritten text suggests the original photo belongs to the Rempel family, or was from a descendant of Julia Kirsch)

As an archivist, I have worked on several family photo albums and know how difficult it can be to identify related people in photos, especially sisters. But, in my opinion, the wedding photo looks less like the young woman on right and I now think that the young woman on the right is Pauline. The description might also be correct, however, if we read it in reference to their father (“My Grandpa/picture taken in Russia with 2 of mothers sister/Pauline left/Lydia right”). Pauline is then standing to the left and Lydia to the right.

From left to right: Lydia Adler, Samuel Kirsch, Pauline Adler; photograph taken around 1907 in Russia; scan courtesy of P. Reakes

Ida Kelm (Part 1)

One of the most rewarding things about writing this blog is getting in touch with cousins I have never met. I am very grateful to Barbara, descendant of Ida Kelm, for recounting family stories and sharing photos and records. Julius and Ida reunited in the late 1930s or 1940s in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Enjoy Part 1 of this short biography.

Please send corrections, additions, or comments to sarika.l.kelm@gmail.com.

Ida Kelm (Part 1)

Gleske family passport photograph, 1920; Erna (Edna), Ida, Emma, Olga. Scan courtesy of B. Langshaw

Ida Kelm was the half-sister of my great-grandfather, Julius Kelm. She was born to Ludwig Kelm and his third wife, Mathilde Witzke (whom Ludwig married on January 2, 1883, in Zhitomir, Zhitomir, Volhynia, Russia),[1] on June 29, 1886, in Nowagrad, or Novograd Volynsk. Ida was their third known daughter; her twin sisters, Luise and Pauline Wilhelmine, were born on June 15, 1885, in Slabotka (also Slobodka; now Serbo-Slobidka, Zhytomyrs’ka, Ukraine), Zhitomir.[2] Julius was eight years old when Ida was born. Their known older siblings, from Ludwig’s first marriage to Wilhelmine Langner, were Emilie Kelm (born 1864 in Pomarzany Fabryczne, Kolo, Wielkopolskie, Poland), Karoline Kelm (born 1868 in Zawadka Nowa Stara, Kolo, Wielkopolskie, Poland),[3] and Regina Kelm (born 1872 in Antinuwka, Zhitomir[4]).

Ida was twenty years old when she married Emil Gleske on July 19, 1906, in Novograd Volynsk.[5] Ida and Emil appeared to have settled in Sergejewka, Zhitomir (near Slabotka), as their first child, a son named Samuel, was born in Sergejewka on June 23, 1907.[6] He died at the age of one and a half from convulsions, on January 26, 1909, in Sergejewka.[7]

Ida’s and Emil’s second child, Erna Gleske, was born November 30, 1909, also in Sergejewka.[8] Her date of birth would be formally recorded as December 13.[9] According to family history, Erna was called “Annie” by her father and “Edna” by a neighborhood boy who could not pronounce the r in “Erna” and decided to called her “Edna” instead.[10] Her Americanized name would be Edna Anne (Anna) Gleske.

A second daughter, Emma Gleske, was born September 2, 1911, likely in Sergejewka like all her siblings [Note: Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes, 1900-1918 missing 1911 records for Novograd Volynsk]. The youngest daughter, Olga Gleske, was born October 15, 1913, in Sergejewka.[11]

“Emil Gleske” from U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Ancestry [Update: According to B. Langshaw, Ernest (Ernst) Gleske, who is listed as a contact, is Emil’s brother]

In 1913, Emil Gleske left Volhynia for the United States with the intention of sending for his wife and daughters when he was able to procure a home for them. Emil arrived in the United States on May 12, taking up residence in Chicago, Illinois, and finding work as a wood worker in a wagon factory.[12] He boarded in various buildings along Archer Avenue in Chicago for several years, the tumult of World War One in Europe delaying his reunion with his family.

“The family was kicked out of their Ukrainian home [Note: Volhynia belonged to Russia at this time; Ukraine became an independent country in 1991] because they were German. Emil was already in the United States preparing a place for his family. Ida, her three daughters, one of their fathers and Emil’s sister wandered through the Ukraine. They were not allowed back into Germany because they had been living in the Ukraine for so long. If a Ukrainian took them in, that person would be accused of treason. The story continues, that my grandmother (Erna) was taken in by a family to do chores and work in the home for room and board. The rest of the family moved on. I’m not sure how they were reunited. Somehow Ida and her daughters rode a train boxcar full of carrots into Germany and ate only carrots during the trip. I’m not sure how long it took or what they had to do, but they finally were able to leave Germany for the United States.”[13]

While contempt against Germans living in Volhynia had been brewing during the latter half of the nineteenth century, causing many Germans to emigrate to Canada and the United States, it wasn’t until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 that the Russian Empire finally decided to act upon its paranoia and deport Germans from Volhynia to regions further east, namely Siberia.[14] These deportations began in February of 1915 and, by the following year, around 200,000 Germans from Volhynia, Poland, and Bessarabia were rounded up and moved east (the highest estimate of deaths due to starvation and cold being 100,000).[15] Many Germans in the Zhitomir region, where the Kelm and Gleske families lived, were exiled in July of 1915, their land (if they owned any) and possessions seized.[16] Half of Volhynian Germans did not return to what for most had been their families’ home for nearly half a century.[17]

Timeline of deportations from Volhynia following the Liquidation Laws of February 2, 1914, and December 13, 1915:[18]

February 2, 1915: Approximately 50,000 Germans from the 150-kilometer-wide border strip deported

Early summer 1915: 70,000 Germans deported

July to August 1915: Approximately 60 percent of Germans deported

December 1915 to February 1916: Remaining Germans deported to Central Asia and Siberia

Ida and her daughters survived exile, their exact whereabouts during the First World War unknown. According to family history, Ida, her daughters, and her sister-in-law wandered Ukraine, eventually traveling to Germany by train in November of 1918, the end of the First World War. In June of 1920, Ida submitted her intent to immigrate to the United States to the American Commission in Berlin. According to this document, Ida had lived in Ukraine from 1914 to 1918.[19] In 1920, her residence was Ober Briesnitz, Sagan, Germany (now Poland). Ida, Erna, Emma, and Olga left Europe from Rotterdam, Netherlands, later that year.

“Declaration of Alien About to Depart for the United States, 1920.” Scanned document emailed 02 Feb 2021. by B. Langshaw

[1] [“Ludwig Kelm and Mathilde Witzke marriage record, 1883”] from VKP Marriage Records, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[2] [“Luise Kelm birth record, 1885”] and [“Pauline Wilhelmine Kelm birth record, 1885”] from VKP Birth and Confirmation Records, accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe; “Slobodka” from “Google Maps of Ancestral German Colonies (1700-1939),” accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Germans from Russia Settlement Locations

[3] [“Emilia Kelm birth record, 1864”] and [“Karoline Kelm birth record, 1868”] from Master Pedigree Database, accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[4] [“Regina Kelm birth record, 1872”] from VKP Birth and Confirmation Records, accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[5]  [“Ida Kelm and Emil Gleske marriage record, 1906”] from Volhynian Archives Indexes – 1900-1918, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[6] [“Samuel Gleske birth record, 1907”] from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes, 1900-1918, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe [Note: the database says “1902,” but the source is a 1907 [Novograd-Volynsk] church book]

[7] [“Samuel Gleske death record, 1909”] from Volhynia Archives Death Indexes, 1900-1918, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[8] [“Erna Gleske birth record, 1909”] from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes, 1900-1918, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[9] “Edna A. Ring” from U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Ancestry

[10] Email correspondence with B. Langshaw, 20 Apr 2020

[11] [“Emma Gleske birth record, 1913”] from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes, 1900-1918, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[12] “Emil Gleske” in U.S., Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project), accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Ancestry; “Emil Gleski” from 1920 United States Federal Census, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Ancestry

[13] Email correspondence with B. Langshaw, 03 Feb 2020

[14] J. Otto Pohl, “The Deportation and Destruction of the German Minority in the USSR,” JOP, 2001. Accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Norka, https://www.norkarussia.info

[15] J. Otto Pohl, “The Deportation and Destruction of the German Minority in the USSR,” JOP, 2001. Accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Norka, https://www.norkarussia.info

[16] “Expropriation lists 1915” from Volhynia, https://www.volhynia.com/res-villages.html?fbclid=IwAR0hcu55E8p_2TmuJ1znGIZutJ0YnvPtvU_AEuLCQPYByCVlRcQ0yp25I3s

[17] Ulrich Mertens, German-Russian Handbook: A Reference Book for Russian German and German Russian History and Culture, 2010, https://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/sites/default/files/image-directory/German-RussianHandbook.pdf

[18] Ulrich Mertens, German-Russian Handbook: A Reference Book for Russian German and German Russian History and Culture, 2010, https://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/sites/default/files/image-directory/German-RussianHandbook.pdf

[19] “Declaration of Alien About to Depart for the United States, 1920.” Scanned document emailed 02 Feb 2021. by B. Langshaw.