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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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). 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. 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. Paulina’s place of birth was “Johannesdorf (Solomiak),” which was just seven kilometers north of Maksimilianowka. 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. 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.
 “[Olga Kelm birth record]” from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes – 1900-1918, accessed 12 Jun 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 “[Serafine birth record]” from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes – 1900-1918, accessed 12 Jun 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 1906 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 13 Jun 2021 through Ancestry
 Master Pedigree Database, accessed 18 Jun 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 1911 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 13 Jun 2021 through FamilySearch
 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Library and Archives
 “[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
 “Pauline Albert (Wilde)” in King/Burton Family Tree [Ancestry family tree], accessed 18 Jun 2021 through Ancestry
 “Panline Albert” in Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 11 June 2021 through Ancestry
 [“Herman Albert Registration of Death, 1961”], Provincial Archives of Alberta. Digital copy emailed 29 Mar 2021
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, 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. 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. 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.
Julius Kelm applied to the Government of Canada for a homestead on May 1, 1911. The 164 acres was located along what is now Edison Road, approximately halfway between Highway 6 and Dog Lake, and six kilometers from Camper. 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.”
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.” 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.” Julius had selected land “in the twenty-third township, in the sixth range, west of the principal meridian,” or homestead 419750.
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.” 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.”
Homesteading on the prairie was often treacherous; wild animals harassed and feasted on livestock, even getting into the barns. 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. 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.”
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. 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. 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. 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. Sworn statements from two neighbors were required. 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.” In the 1921 Census of Canada, Julius is the owner of his three-room home.
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. 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.” Shannon Stunden writes, “Many […] newcomers settled in the less productive lands […] in eastern or interlake Manitoba.” Most families returned to Winnipeg.
 James Morton Richtik, “A Historical Geography of the Interlake Area of Manitoba [thesis]” from Manitoba Heritage Theses, University of Manitoba, 1964, p14
 “[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
 “[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
 “Manitoba Crown Land and Homestead Records (National Institute) [wiki]”
 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
 1921 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 08 Jun 2021 through Ancestry
 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
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).
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.
[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. But the community has Baptist associations as well. August Rempel and Julianna Kirsch Rempel emigrated from Scheppel with other Baptist families in 1890. 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. 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. Some of these stations became self-supporting churches. Other names for Scheppel are Schepel, Schepek, Schöpel, Schlepe, Szepel, and Schelpe.
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). Karl Kirsch’s residence was Wsewolodowka when he emigrated in 1913 [Update: Karl lived in Wladislowka, which is a different colony]. His four children were also born there (1901, 1905, 1909, 1911).
Finally, Friedrich Kirsch was born in “Marienovka Usicze,” or what I think is nearby Usicze, in 1899.
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.
 [“Gottlieb Kirsch confirmation record, 1883”] from VKP Birth & Confirmation Records, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 [“Rempel family in Hansa ship manifest, 1890”] from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 20 Mar 2021 through Ancestry
 Miller, Donald N., In the Midst of Wolves: A History of German Baptists in Volhynia, Russia, 1863-1943, Portland, OR: Multnomah Printing, 2000
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 email@example.com.
Ida Kelm (Part 1)
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), 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. 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), and Regina Kelm (born 1872 in Antinuwka, Zhitomir).
Ida was twenty years old when she married Emil Gleske on July 19, 1906, in Novograd Volynsk. 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. He died at the age of one and a half from convulsions, on January 26, 1909, in Sergejewka.
Ida’s and Emil’s second child, Erna Gleske, was born November 30, 1909, also in Sergejewka. Her date of birth would be formally recorded as December 13. 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. 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.
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. 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.”
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. 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). 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. Half of Volhynian Germans did not return to what for most had been their families’ home for nearly half a century.
Timeline of deportations from Volhynia following the Liquidation Laws of February 2, 1914, and December 13, 1915:
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. In 1920, her residence was Ober Briesnitz, Sagan, Germany (now Poland). Ida, Erna, Emma, and Olga left Europe from Rotterdam, Netherlands, later that year.
 [“Ludwig Kelm and Mathilde Witzke marriage record, 1883”] from VKP Marriage Records, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 [“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
 [“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
 [“Regina Kelm birth record, 1872”] from VKP Birth and Confirmation Records, accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 [“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
 [“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]
 [“Samuel Gleske death record, 1909”] from Volhynia Archives Death Indexes, 1900-1918, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 [“Erna Gleske birth record, 1909”] from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes, 1900-1918, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 “Edna A. Ring” from U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, accessed 07 Mar 2021 through Ancestry
 Email correspondence with B. Langshaw, 20 Apr 2020
 [“Emma Gleske birth record, 1913”] from Volhynia Archives Birth Indexes, 1900-1918, accessed 03 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 “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
 Email correspondence with B. Langshaw, 03 Feb 2020
 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
 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
Welcome to the fourth episode of the “19 Kirsch Children” series. This series follows the lives of my great-grandmother’s, Martha Kirsch’s, siblings. These stories are far from complete and I am always thankful for any corrections or additions. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment under this blog post. Additionally, I have updated the information in the original “Finding 19 Kirsch Children” blog post in a new webpage (see top navigation menu) that will be updated as I write more entries: Kirsch Research. I will also link each listed person to the post about them. I am also working on organizing information in new pages more chronologically to help guide readers through the content posted on the blog.
In other news, I was able to connect with a descendant of one of Martha’s sisters through this series, which makes me very excited. This is why I made this blog–to share research (done by me and others) with family as well as corroborate information and share new family stories.
19 Kirsch Children: Christian Kirsch
Samuel Kirsch married his first wife, Karolina Wurfel, on October 2, 1859, in Dziepolc, Lodzkie, Poland. Their first child, Christian (also spelled Krystyan), was born the following year, on December 21, 1860, in Florentynow, Lodzkie. Christian’s parents and two younger siblings, Gottlieb and Julianna, migrated to Volhynia, Russia, in around 1867, first living in the colony of Konstantynow, Lutsk, then nearby Ludwischin-Scheppel from around 1877. Christian was confirmed in the Lutheran Church in Konstantynow in 1876.
Christian married Justina Holland in around 1887. They had four children: Ida, Gustav, Marta, and Mina (Minnie). The family immigrated to Canada in 1893, leaving Liverpool, England, aboard the SS Mongolian, England, on October 19, and arriving at the Port of Quebec eleven days later. The landing record indicates the ship originated in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and that the family’s final destination was Winnipeg, Manitoba. Justina’s parents and two sisters, Caroline and Mathilde, emigrated earlier that year in April as part of larger migration of thirty-one Baptist families from Volhynia to Fredricksheim, near Leduc, Alberta, Canada. Christian was the third of his siblings to make the journey, his sister Julia and brother Daniel in 1890 and 1892. Justina died at the age of thirty-two on May 9, 1897. Following the death of their mother, the children went to live with various family members. Marta went to live with her maternal grandparents, Frederich and Justina Holland, in Frederickheim and Gustav and Minnie went to live with their uncle and aunt, Frederick and Karolina (Holland) Kuyath in Leduc. Ida’s whereabouts at the time are unknown, but she likely also went to live with extended family in Alberta as she would later sometimes call herself Ida Holland.
Christian married thirty-two-year-old widow, Emilie (also Amalia) Reichert in Winnipeg on July 20, 1900. Emilie was born March 3, 1868, in Tiflis, Russia. Tiflis, now called Tbilisi, is currently the capital of Georgia. She married Adolph (Julius) Beetz, probably in Tiflis, in around 1886 (their son, Adolph, was born in 1887 and their daughter, Anna Sarah “Annie,” was born 1895 in Tiflis). According to her obituary in the German newspaper, Der Sendbote, Emilie and her three children immigrated to Canada in 1898 after the death of their father. Emilie was deaf for much of her life.
In Henderson’s Winnipeg City Directory, 1900, Christian is recorded as being employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway and living at 509 Alexander Avenue [Note: August and Julia Rempel would later reside at this address]. The 1901 Census of Canada records Christian as a working in the Bridge Department of the CPR, probably alongside his brother-in-law, August Rempel. The same census shows that Christian’s family (his wife and step-children) and the Rempel family were very close neighbors on Alexander Avenue, a street that runs parallel to the Canadian Pacific Railway yards. Christian reunited with his children before 1906 and lived with them for a few years before they immigrated with their Holland relatives to the Portland, Oregon, area.
Christian worked for 28 years with the CPR. Two months before retirement, however, his life met a tragic end. While repairing a track at the Weston shops in Winnipeg on the afternoon of August 9, 1924, he realized he needed more tools and went to get them. As he was walking across the tracks, he was struck by a shunt engine, or switcher, and dragged a distance of around forty-one feet. He was killed instantly. The newspaper articles that reported his death described him as a well-loved man (click here for blog entry about the accident). His funeral was held at the McDermot Avenue Baptist Church on August 13 and he is buried in Brookside Cemetery. Emilie died May 27, 1950, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Children of Christian Kirsch and Justina Holland
Christian Kirsch (b. 21 Dec 1860 in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland; d. 08 Aug 1924 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Justina Holland (b. 13 Jan 1865 in Dabie, Wielkopolskie, Poland; d. 09 May 1897 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
Ida Kirsch (b. 11 Aug 1888 in Russia; d. 28 Jun 1974 in Clackamas, Oregon, USA) m. Julius Zink (b. 05 Sep 1878 in Hanover, Niedersachsen, Germany; d. 10 Aug 1962 in Multnomah, Oregon, USA)
Gustav “James” Kirsch (b. 25 Jan 1890 in Russia; d. 11 Nov 1959 in Portland, Oregon, USA) m. Rachel Helser (b. 23 Jan 1897 in Portland, Oregon, USA; d. 20 Jul 1976 in Washington, Oregon, USA)
Martha Kirsch (b. 02 Oct 1891 in Russia)
Mina “Minnie” Kirsch (b. 01 Feb 1893 in Russia; d. 22 Aug 1972 in Portland, Oregon, USA) m. Henry Churchill Weiss (b. 19 Jan 1894 in Jefferson, Oregon, USA; d. 13 Jun 1985 in Portland, Oregon, USA)
 [“Samuel Kirsch vel Wisniewski and Karolina Wurfel marriage record, 1859”] from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed through Geneteka on 17 Oct 2020
 [“Krystyan Kirsch birth record, 1860”] from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Geneteka
 [“Christian Kirsch confirmation record, 1876”] from VKP Birth and Confirmation Records, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe
 “Christ Kersch” from UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960, accessed 14 Nov 2020 through Ancestry
 “Christ Kersch” from Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935, accessed 14 Nov 2020 through Ancestry
 “Frieda Hollands [Frieder Hollands]” from Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935, accessed 15 Feb 2021 through Ancestry; “The History of FBC Leduc” from First Baptist Church Leduc, 27 Oct 2016 [published], firstbaptistleduc.com/our-history/
 “[Justine Kirsch death record search]” from Manitoba Vita Statistics Agency, accessed 14 Nov 2020
 1901 Census of Canada, accessed 15 Feb 2021 through Ancestry
 “Marguerite Minnie Zink” from U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, accessed 14 Feb 2021 through Ancestry
 “[Emilie Kirsch border crossing record, 1943]” from U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Ancestry [Note: date of birth is 1867]
[“Anna Sarah Beetz obituary from Der Sendbote newspaper, 1920”] from United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012, accessed 14 Feb 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]
 [“Amalia (Reichert) Beetz Kirsch obituary in Der Sendbote newspaper, 1950] from United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012, accessed 14 Feb 2021 through FamilySearch
 [“Amalia (Reichert) Beetz Kirsch obituary in Der Sendbote newspaper, 1950] from United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012, accessed 14 Feb 2021 through FamilySearch; Email correspondence with L. Alexander, 08 Feb 2021
 “Christian Kirsch” in 1901 Census of Canada, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Ancestry
 “Adolph Julius Beetz” in U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Ancestry [Address for Adolph and Anna Sarah is 1179 Alexander Avenue, Winnipeg, Canada; the Rempel family lived at 509 Alexander Avenue and the Kirsch family, at 541 Alexander Avenue, according to 1906 Census of Canada]
  1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Albert, accessed 17 Feb 2021 through Ancestry [Note: A “Miss Martha Kirsch” lives in Winnipeg in 1940, so it’s possible Martha never married and didn’t immigrate with her siblings – 1940 Canada Voters List, accessed 17 Feb 2021 through Ancestry].
 The Winnipeg Tribune, 09 Aug 1924. Retrieved 14 Nov 2020 from Newspapers.com.