Pausing Research and a Call for Names and Photos

Martha (Kirsch) Kelm and children, Edward, Robert, Daniel, and Hilda Kelm; date unknown

While I will probably always be poking and prodding at what family history research I have, I must hit pause on the more time consuming research. I am working on a rough draft for my Kirsch family history book and find I can’t focus on this main project because I get too caught up in trying to find more information (the beauty of family history is that it is forever unraveling). I have made a very difficult decision to stop trying to go beyond the eighteenth century for now, as well as give up on names and dates I have tried again and again to find (again, for now). Maybe my research skills will one day improve enough that I can more efficiently look and actually find new information. Maybe the information I am looking for has yet to become available.

I am, however, a completionist and am trying my best to polish what I have recorded. Right now I am trying to gather what information I can about living relatives–descendants of the Kirsch family as listed here. I am specifically looking for lists of descendants of my great-grandparents, Julius Kelm and Martha Kirsch: William Kelm (son of Julius and first wife, Serafina Albert/Herman), Edward Kelm, Hannah Kelm, Robert Kelm (my grandfather–I have this genealogy recorded), Hilda Kelm, Daniel Kelm. I think I have recorded most information, but would appreciate the opportunity to corroborate or add missing people and dates!

Finally, a long shot: I am looking for photos of my great-grandmother, Martha Kirsch, and her family. I have a few of Martha as an older woman, but none from her younger years. Please email me at sarika.rainey[remove] if you are willing to contribute anything to my personal project–genealogies, photos, even family stories! I am also happy to share what I know or can find. Thank you.

Project and Life Update

Happy summer to you all. This is not a formal genealogy post, but I thought I would update everybody on the status of my project, “The History of Martha,” and why it is taking longer than anticipated to finish the first draft. The book, which I thought I could finish this year, might still see a “first edition” finished by the end of the year or early next year. It has been fun to working on the various sections and sharing some of them with you on the blog. I am very excited whenever people find the blog and reach out to me. I appreciate the messages and apologize for delayed responses.

My daughter, Laura, was born May 10, 2022. She has given me more reason to record family research and stories. We also moved to our new home in New Hampshire two weeks ago. We have been adjusting to being a family of three in a new place (and I just finished the long process of acquiring a green card), so my projects have been put on hold! However, I now have the room and space to set up my books and scanner to work on them properly, so expect more updates eventually.

Help Derek Kelm

Hello, everybody. After NaNoWriMo, I am taking a short break from writing (I wrote 60+ pages over November) to focus on other things over the Christmas break. In the meantime, I wanted to direct attention to a GoFundMe for my cousin, Derek Kelm, who is currently fighting cancer. He and his wife, Heather, need financial help over the winter for surgery, recovery, and maintaining their business. If you are unable to donate, please share. Thank you so much.

Help Derek Kelm Beat Cancer GoFundMe


Welcome to the Kelm History Blog. To make it easier for family members (and everybody else), you can orientate yourself with the Direct Ancestors page. If you know your relationship to me, I hope this makes understanding the people mentioned in the blog posts easier.

Stories from the Past: Hardships (Part 4)

First of all, congratulations to my cousin, Daniel Kelm, and his wife, Leah, for their marriage on October 25!

Records to do with the following installment of “Stories from the Past” can be viewed in previous blog posts, Journey to Canada and Finding Serafina Kelm. “Julius Junior” in the story is Gustav Kelm. We don’t know why there is a name discrepancy, but a possibility is that Gustav is a middle name.

Note: The following stories were written by a Kelm family member who was close to Julius and Martha. They were both interviewed and their stories retold revealing insights into their personal lives, marriages, births, and deaths. The stories were transcribed by Phyllis Kelm Reakes with permission to share from the original author.

Stories from the Past: Hardships (Part 4)

The journey by ship from Russia to Canada was full of many hardships. Julius and Serafina’s young son Julius Junior became ill on the ship coming over to Canada and he never fully recovered. Julius died of respiratory problems and he was buried in the pauper section of Brookside Cemetery. This was the area set aside for free graves for people that had no money to purchase a burial plot for the deceased. Serafina died in 1910 and was buried in the section just opposite of where Julius Junior was buried. It is believed to have been tuberculosis or because of a weak heart [note: the death record states “organic heart failure”].

When Serafina died, Julius had to board out his two children Bill and Olga. He had to work and had no one to care for them. He therefore placed them on a paid basis with some people while he went to work. He lived in the basement of his employer’s home, August Remple, at 808 Ballantyne Ave. The people who were boarding the children and the Remples, knew each other. Martha and Julius met at 808 Ballantyne as they were both living in different parts of the house. Soon, Martha’s sister Julia began to play matchmaker, as did the people caring for the children. They were not interested in looking after Bill and Olga and certainly did not do a very good job of caring for them. Martha for her part did not want to marry.

New Website

Welcome to the new Kelm family history blog, now at I am in the processing of editing and moving posts from Little Canadian House on the Prairie to here. Here there are no more distasteful advertisements and I have more control over the display. If you would like to follow blog posts, you can subscribe (see left navigation for link). I have stories from family members to share in upcoming posts, as well as research to share from the many history books I have found. I will create a Resources page very soon.

In other family news, my new nephew, Boone Derickson, was born September 28, 2020. Welcome to the family and congratulations, Mike and Eden!