19 Kirsch Children: Christian Kirsch

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 sarika.l.kelm@gmail.com 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.[1] Their first child, Christian (also spelled Krystyan), was born the following year, on December 21, 1860, in Florentynow, Lodzkie.[2] 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.[3]

[“Krystyan Kirsch birth record, 1860”] from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Geneteka

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.[4] The landing record indicates the ship originated in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and that the family’s final destination was Winnipeg, Manitoba.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] 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).[11] 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.[12] Emilie was deaf for much of her life.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] 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)

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. Martha Kirsch (b. 02 Oct 1891 in Russia)
  4. 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)
[“Gustav Kirsch naturalization record, 1922”] from Oregon, Naturalization Records 1865-1991, accessed 17 Feb 2021 through Ancestry [Note: The bottom of this record states Gustav changed his name to James]

[1] [“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

[2] [“Krystyan Kirsch birth record, 1860”] from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Geneteka

[3] [“Christian Kirsch confirmation record, 1876”] from VKP Birth and Confirmation Records, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[4] “Christ Kersch” from UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960, accessed 14 Nov 2020 through Ancestry

[5] “Christ Kersch” from Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935, accessed 14 Nov 2020 through Ancestry

[6] “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/

[7] “[Justine Kirsch death record search]” from Manitoba Vita Statistics Agency, accessed 14 Nov 2020

[8] 1901 Census of Canada, accessed 15 Feb 2021 through Ancestry

[9] “Marguerite Minnie Zink” from U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, accessed 14 Feb 2021 through Ancestry

[10] “[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]

[11][“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]

[12] [“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

[13] [“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

[14] “Christian Kirsch” in 1901 Census of Canada, accessed 13 Feb 2021 through Ancestry

[15] “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]

[16] [1] 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].

[17] The Winnipeg Tribune, 09 Aug 1924. Retrieved 14 Nov 2020 from Newspapers.com.

About Bill Schmidt

Rather than update my last post about Pauline Kirsch, I decided to write a new post about her son, William or Bill Schmidt, as information I found might help trace the Kirsch family after the First World War in Europe–after many Germans were deported from Volhynia into Siberia (this is a part of history I want to revisit later).

In my last post, I wrote that Bill, the son of Pauline and an unknown Schmidt, was born in Germany on December 25, 1910. He was left behind in Germany at the age of two or three when his mother went to Canada and was unable to send for him because of the turmoil of the First World War. They were reunited when he was nineteen years old. I was able to find records to both confirm and rectify these facts.

Earlier this week I ordered Bill’s death record from the Provincial Archives of Alberta (which, by the way, was so easy after trying (and failing) to get records from the Provincial Archives of Manitoba). According to the record, Bill died February 7, 1963. I also found the full name of his wife: Ida Kurze.

[“William Schmidt Registration of Death, 1963”], Provincial Archives of Alberta. Digital copy emailed 03 Feb 2021

I thought I had found the name of his father, William Schmidt, and then I thought I had ordered the record for another William Schmidt as his mother is listed as Otla Burg and not Pauline Kirsch. However, I remembered something: his mother’s half-brother (and my great-grandmother’s step-brother) was Wilhelm Schmidt, and Wilhelm had married Ottilie Berger in 1903.[1]

From this I was able to find an immigration record for Bill:

[“Wilhelm Schmidt immigration record, 1929”] from Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935, accessed 04 Feb 2021 through Ancestry

According to this record, Bill was a German born in Lutsk, Russia. His step-father, Johann Jackel (John Yackel), paid for his ticket to Canada. Finally, Bill’s closest relative is his Aunt Ottilie Schmidt, whose address is Neidenburg, which is now Nidzica, Poland (formerly part of the German Empire).

I can only piece together what I think happened from what little information I can extract from records. From this, I know Pauline probably left her son in the care of her half-brother, Wilhelm Schmidt, and his wife. They likely cared for him through the tumultuous events that followed his mother’s departure–until he was eighteen years old. They are his parents on his death record and Bill kept his uncle’s name.

Lastly, the mention of Neidenburg makes me wonder how many of the Kirsch siblings that stayed behind in Europe found their way back to central Europe after the First World War. We have found one surviving sibling, Wilhelm (or, rather, his wife, Ottilie).


[1] Volhynia Archives Marriage Indexes – 1900-1918, accessed 04 Feb 2021 though Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe [Note: Wilhelm Schmidt and Ottilie Berger married November 18, 1903, in Lutsk parish, Volhynia]

19 Kirsch Children: Pauline Kirsch

Welcome to the third 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 sarika.l.kelm@gmail.com or leave a comment under this blog post.

Pauline Kirsch, around 1907, Russia; scanned photo emailed to P. Reakes (source unknown, see endnote)

19 Kirsch Children: Pauline Kirsch

Pauline Kirsch was born September 7, 1890, in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia, to Samuel Kirsch and Auguste Reiter. Her date of birth is also recorded as July 29, 1890.[1]

According to Pauline Kirsch’s grandson, Richard Yackel (son of Albert Yackel), Pauline left Russia for Germany as a young woman and had a child with a man whose surname was Schmidt. Their son, William “Bill” Schmidt, was born December 25, 1910. Pauline left Germany for Canada in 1912, before the outbreak of First World War, with the plan to send for him later. The war and lack of money delayed the reunion and she didn’t see her son until he came to Canada when he was nineteen years old.[2]

“[Pauline Kirsch birth record, 1890]” from VKP Databases, accessed 01 Feb 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

Records of Pauline’s Kirsch journey to and arrival in Canada haven’t yet been found or verified, but the following immigration record (see topmost line) for a Pauline Kirsch fits the timeline and makes for an exciting story:

“[Paulina Kirsch in SS Willehad ship manifest, 1914]” from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 28 Oct 2020 through Ancestry. Text transcription of record can also be found at Quebec Ship Arrivals 1909-1914 (G. Dorscher), Odessa Digital Library

According to the above record, Pauline Kirsch, age twenty-four and born in Russia, arrived in Quebec with the intention of traveling to Winnipeg. The ship, having originated in Germany, left Rotterdam, Netherlands, on July 13, 1914 (which places this Pauline’s date of birth at around 1890), two weeks after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (June 28) and two weeks before the official outbreak of the First World War. Pauline arrived on July 27; war was declared the next day. According to the record, Pauline’s residence was Lubau, Germany. This arrival date is two years after the aforementioned 1912.

Winnipeg Tribune, 17 Apr 1948. Retrieved 29 Oct 2020 from Newspapers.com.

Pauline married John Yackel, whose name was also spelled Yakel or Yhakl, a Sewer Contractor for the City of Winnipeg, in Winnipeg on July 29, 1917. They had five children, all born in Winnipeg: Theodore “Ted” John, Helene “Lena” Pauline, Violet, Rheinhold “Roy,” and Albert Paul. Their residence appears to have been 401 Andrews Street, Winnipeg. Pauline and John divorced in 1948 (see newspaper clipping).

Pauline died in Winnipeg on March 27, 1968. John Yackel died July 31, 1976.

Bill Schmidt died February 6, 1963, in Bluffton, Alberta.[3] He and his wife, Ida, had five children: Marilyn, Violet, Mark, Dennis, and Lyle William.

Pauline Kirsch, date and location unknown. Posted by Richard Yackel to Geni on 19 Oct 2020

Children of Pauline Kirsch

Pauline Kirsch (b. 07 Sep 1890 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 27 Mar 1968 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Schmidt

  1. William Schmidt (b. 25 Dec 1910 in Germany; d. 06 Feb 1963 in Bluffton, Alberta, Canada) m. Ida (b. 01 Dec 1930; d. 24 Oct 2004 in Alberta, Canada)

m. Johann “John” Yackel (b. 20 May 1891 in Balzer, Saratov, Russia; d. 31 Jul 1976 in Canada)

  1. Theodore “Ted” John Yackel (b. 17 Oct 1918 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 09 Dec 1980 in Warburg, Alberta, Canada) m. Ivy (b. abt 1919; d. 11 Sep 2017 in Alberta, Canada)
  2. Helene “Lena” Pauline Yackel (b. 10 Apr 1920 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. in Manitoba, Canada) m. Alexander Drumheller (d. 29 Jun 1965 in Manitoba, Canada)
  3. Violet Yackel (b. 31 Jul 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 18 Jan 2002 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
  4. Rheinhold “Roy” Yackel (b. 06 Apr 1924 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 17 Oct 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Nellie
  5. Albert Paul Yackel (b. 13 Jun 1927 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 04 Jan 2000 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Margaret D’Hont (b. 1934; d. 07 Aug 2020 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

[1] and [2] “Pauline Yackel (Kirsch),” Geni, 19 Oct 2020 [last updated], accessed 01 Feb 2021, https://www.geni.com/people/Pauline-Yackel/1322645

[3] “[William Schmidt obituary],” from The Red Deer Advocate, 08 Feb 1963, accessed 28 Oct 2020 through Newspapers.com

Note: The writing on the back of the first photograph says, “Mother’s father + 2 half sisters / My Grandpa / Picture taken in Russia with 2 of my mothers sister / Pauline left / Lydia right” (the image is cropped)

“Tragic Death of Aged Railman”

Note: The details in the newspaper articles in this post have gruesome details.

As I mentioned in my last post, my NaNoWriMo project is writing about the Kirsch family. I put in a request for homestead records to do with Julius and Martha Kelm in Camper, Manitoba, which I am excited to hear back about. I am crossing my fingers the Manitoba Archives can copy them. My current project is finding out what happened to Martha’s brothers and sisters. Julia, Daniel, Martha, Karl, Lydia, and Pauline all came to Canada and found homes in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. I found a Christian Kirsch in Winnipeg as well, but was unsure if he was another sibling who had immigrated. Family stories mention Julia, Daniel, and Karl, and obituaries mention Lydia and Pauline.

Then I found an article in the August 9, 1924, issue of The Winnipeg Tribune about a Christian or Christopher Kirsch, a 63-year-old CPR worker, who was killed while “walking across the yards at the Weston shops [Winnipeg].” He was making track repairs when he went to get more tools and was struck by a shunting engine as he crossed the tracks. The follow up article, this time about “Christopher Kirsch,” ruled the death an accident. A quick search in the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency Records shows a Christian Kirsch who died August 8, 1924, in Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg Tribune, 09 Aug 1924. Retrieved 14 Nov 2020 from Newspapers.com.

Reading about this accident made me remember possibly being told or reading that one of Martha’s brothers had died in a train accident. For now, I will try and confirm it by asking family and finding records about this Christian Kirsch. Whatever family he belonged to, he was clearly “a favorite” and missed immensely.

Edit: I believe this Christian Kirsch is Martha’s brother. He is found in Henderson’s Winnipeg City Directory, 1900 as living at 509 Alexander Avenue, which was where August and Julia Rempel were living in the 1906 Census of Canada. Additionally, my Aunt Phyllis confirms that she knew this story.

NaNoWriMo Project: The History of Martha

For this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project, I am working on a Kirsch book, which I’ve named “The History of Martha” for now. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words of a novel (and, ideally, finish the novel) in the month of November. This isn’t a novel and I’m not planning to finish it this month, but I’ve managed to write 4522 words so far. This is not ideal for November 8, but much of the work I do before and after work, and usually late at night with a cup of tea, is research. That’s still progress, right?

The section I am focusing on right now is Marth Kirsch’s arrival in Canada. I haven’t found a record of her traveling to Winnipeg. Martha’s obituary indicates she arrived in around 1904 or 1905. The 1916 Census of Canada says 1910; the 1921 Census says 1905.

The Stories from the Past blog post series recalls Martha traveled from Russia to Winnipeg with the Rempel family, an elderly couple for whom she worked as a domestic: “Mr. and Mrs. Remple, August Remple and Martha went to live at 868 Ballantine [Bannatyne] Avenue, Winnipeg. It is not certain if Martha’s sister, Julia, was already living in Winnipeg or whether she immigrated along with the Remples. Julia and August did not know each other in Germany. August Remple and Julia Kirsch eventually married each other.” However, according to the 1891 Census of Canada, Martha’s sister and husband were already living in Winnipeg .

“[Rempel family in Hansa ship manifest, 1890]” from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 07 Nov 2020 through Ancestry.

August and Julia immigrated to Canada with their sons Adolf and Gustave August in 1890 (see above record). In 1891, they are living in Winnipeg with August’s 81-year-old father, also August Rempel. In the 1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the Rempels are living at 509 Alexander Avenue with one boarder, Robert Palmer.

Gustave August Rempel, born in 1889 and referred to as August in most records, would have been in his early teens when Martha arrived.

I indulged my theory that Martha left Russia with another Mr. and Mrs. Rempel (maybe relatives of August Rempel) and that the abundance of August Rempels complicated the story. I began looking for immigration records for any Rempel coming to Canada in the early 1900s.

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

I found a “Marta Rempel” in the Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922 collection in FamilySearch. When I clicked on it, the image revealed that her surname was possibly not Rempel as Marta is recorded as having the occupation of “domestic,” perhaps for Friedrich and Rosa Rempel, who were 68 and 60 years old when they traveled aboard the Montezuma and arrived in Quebec City on September 14, 1908. The record shows that they were from Russia and were destined for Winnipeg. Finally, this Marta is 25 years old. Martha Kirsch would have been around 27 in 1908 (and there are usually discrepancies in age reporting).

Friedrich (Frederick) and Rosa (Rosella) “Rimple” are possibly found living in Sunnyside township in 1911. In the 1911 Census of Canada, they are recorded as German Baptists who immigrated in 1809 (born in Russian Poland). This 1911 Census of Canada districts and sub-districts guide shows “Township 11 in ranges 5, 6 east of the 1st Meridian” as including “Oak Bank Village” and Sunnyside. As their ages are close to that of the aforementioned Friedrich and Rosa Rempel, I am very certain they are the same people.

According to Manitoba Vital Statistics, Friedrich Rempel died November 20, 1932, in Springfield, Manitoba (Springfield, which merged with Sunnyside municipality, is a rural municipality that includes Oakbank, which was where Julia’s father-in-law, August Rempel, apparently owned a farm–or perhaps the story refers to this elderly Rempel couple after all?). Rosa died three years later, on June 6, 1935.

Was this our Martha Kirsch aboard the Montezuma? I don’t know if I will ever find an immigration record that confirms when Martha arrived in Canada or be able to iron out the story. Like many tend to do when researching, I get excited over a possible record and try my best to make it fit what I think happened. Perhaps “domestic” was simply just 25-year-old Marta’s occupation and she was the daughter or relative of Friedrich and Rosa. I am curious what others think!

Linking the Netzbruch and Borki Kelms

As much as I am thankful for the family tree work of other family historians, I am often wary of copying without checking sources. One of my fears, for example, is that I will record incorrect information and have that replicated in other Ancestry family trees. I’m not implying that others’ work is usually incorrect; I’m just a proponent of verifying information with records.

In my search of where the Kelms of Borki originated, I’ve taken information from public family trees and user-contributed information in databases like GEDBAS and FamilySearch (Family Tree) that indicate that their forefathers lived in Netzbruch (Przynotecko), Friedeberg, Brandenburg, Prussia. However, I can’t find records that confirm this information. Because of this, my Direct Ancestors page separates Andreas Kelm and Anna Krystyna Jess, my known great-great-great-great-grandparents–the Borki patriarch and matriarch–from the Kelms of Netzbruch. The Netzbruch Kelms’ genealogies are well-documented from 1645, but, as far as I know, there is no link… yet. If Kelm genealogists have discovered this link, I would be very excited to see it.

I am revisiting what information I have collected about the first generation of Kelms in Borki (the children of Andreas Kelm and Anna Krystyna Jess) and reviewing databases like Geneteka and Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe to both verify relationships and double-check for the overlooked details, or the details that don’t usually make it into searchable indexes. An indexed marriage record, for example, usually includes names, parents’ names, place names, and dates. But what else can we find in the record itself?

Searching for indexed “Kelm” records in SGGEE; results with Andreas Kelm and Anna Christine Jesse or Gesse as parents

Searching for indexed “Kielma” records in Geneteka (Grabow parish); results with Andreas Kelm and Anna Krystyna Jesse (or Polish variants of surname) as parents

According to the above results, as well as additional marriage records, Andreas and Anna Krystyna had eight known children1:

  1. Anna Luisa (Ludwika) Kelm (b. 1797 in Wrzesnia, Posen, Prussia; d. 25 Aug 1854 in Borki, Lodzkie, Poland)
  2. Andreas Kelm (b. 21 Aug 1801 in Borki, Lodzkie, Poland)
  3. Anna Rosina Kelm (b. 19 Mar 1803 in Borki, Lodzkie, Poland)
  4. Christoph Kelm (b. 28 Mar 1805 in Borki, Lodzkie, Poland; d. 08 Dec 1874 in Pokrzywnica, Lodzkie, Poland)
  5. Anna Marianna Kelm (b. 12 Jan 1807 in Borki, Lodzkie, Poland)
  6. Daniel Kelm (b. 1808 in Dabie, Wielkopolskie, Poland; d. 29 Jan 1858 in Kadzidlowa, Lodzkie, Poland)
  7. Bogumil (Gottlieb) Kelm (b. 24 Dec 1810 in Borki, Lodzkie, Poland)
  8. Deogratus Kelm (b. 24 Dec 1810 in Borki, Lodzkie, Poland)

1 Some family trees list Peter Kelm, but I have been unable to confirm

Daniel Kelm, my direct ancestor, appears to have been born just over the border from Lodzkie in Wielkopolskie. I have his 1833 marriage record and, having not asked for help translating it, can only see Sobotka (Kolo County), the place of marriage, and Borki Colony, the place where he lives and where his parents lived.

The marriage record of Daniel’s oldest sibling, Anna Luisa Kelm (also spelled Anna Lowisa or Ludwika) provides an interesting clue.

[“Ludwika Kielm and Bogumil Krygier marriage record, 1815”] from Akta stanu cywilnego Parafii Rzymskokatolickiej w Grabowie, accessed through Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne (Polish Genealogical Society) on 31 Oct 2020.

Monica Kucal helped me extract the following information:

The bride name is written Ludowika, Lovis in brackets, and then Ludwika. She was a daughter of late Andrzej Kielm2 and still alive Krystyna Jessowna [may come from Jess surname], age 18, based on the birth certificate from Wrzesnia church [that means that she was born there], living with her mother in Borki.

2 According to this record, Andreas Kelm died before 1815. His youngest sons, Bogumil (Gottlieb) and Deogratus, were born December 1810, which gives us a narrower death date estimate of between 1810 and 1815.

Is it possible Andreas, Anna Krystyna, and little Anna Luisa (she was four years old when her brother, Andreas, was born in Borki) came to Borki from Wresnia (around 130 km west of Borki)? We are equipped with another clue in figuring out the gap between the Borki Kelms and, if the speculation proves correct, the Netzbruch Kelms.

From west to east: Netzbruch > Wresnia > Borki

Finally, having done the Ancestry DNA test and checking their ThruLines feature (which, I should note, relies on users’ family trees being accurate), I can say that I may have found a link (see below) to Christian Kelm and Louise Kuehl of Netzbruch, the speculated parents of Andreas Kelm. Their son, Michael Kelm, was born in Exin, West Prussia, which is Kcynia, Wielkopolskie, Poland, today. Kcynia is around 80 km north of Wresnia. Our search continues.

Samuel’s Sisters

This is a continuation of my previous “Residents of Kolonia Florentynow, 1866” post, but about another page in the population book (this section lists Samuel Kirsch’s direct ancestors and descendants). This page (see below) shows Samuel’s mother, Anna Karolina Kubsch, and stepfather, Jan Daniel Semper, living with his three sisters (Samuel had one brother, Gottlieb, who was four years old when he died in 1846) and niece in around 1866 in Florentynow (central Poland). They lived close. I don’t know how the households were enumerated, but Samuel lived at home 15 and his mother and sisters lived at home 14.

“Księga ludności stałej wsi: Gertrudów, Koniecbór, Florentynów, Konradów (Book of the Population of the Villages: Gertrudów, Koniecbór, Florentynów, Konradów)” from Archiwum Państwowe w Piotrkowie Trybunalskim (Piotrkowie Trybunalskim State Archives), accessed through Archiwa Państwowe on 25 Oct 2020.

The page contains the following information:

  1. Jan Daniel Semper (b. 14 Jun 1816 n Wies i Gmina Sm…y… [illegible])
  2. Karolina Semper (born Kubsch, previously Wisniewski) (b. 23 Jan 1817 in Florentynow)
  3. Anna Krystyna Wisniewski or Kirsch (b. 07 Feb 1838 in Belchatow)
  4. Anna Dorota Wisniewski or Kirsch (b. 16 Feb 1840 in Belchatow)
  5. Julianna Wisniewski or Kirsch (b. 30 May 1844 in Florentynow)
  6. Julianna Wisniewski or Kirsch (b. 09 Apr 1865 in Florentynow) [daughter of Anna Krystyna]

Unlike the page with Samuel’s family, each name has been crossed out. As the book was supposed to have been kept between 1866 and 1884, I’m not sure if this means all family members died before 1884. I have recorded three deaths before 1884: Anna Krystyna Kirsch (1866), Jan Daniel Semper (1871), and Anna Karolina Kubsch (1876).

Because many Kirsch family members left Florentynow for Volhynia, Russia, in the late 1860s, I wanted to find out what happened to this particular household.

Jan Daniel Semper and Anna Karolina Kubsch remained in Florentynow as that was where they both died.

Anna Krystyna Kirsch is recorded in the population book as unmarried with a one-year-old daughter, Julianna Kirsch, whose father is “unknown.” Julianna’s birth record (see below) also doesn’t reveal the identity of Julianna’s father.

[“Julianna Kirsch birth record, 1865”], Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed through Geneteka on 28 Oct 2020. 

Dorothy Woloszczuk kindly translated this record:

Julianna Kirsch was born in Florentyow on 2nd April 1865 at 11 o’clock in the morning. Mother – Krystyna Kirsch, unmarried, labourer, age 29. Father – unknown. Birth registered and baptized on 2nd April 1865 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Informant – Bogumil Kirsch, farmer, age 34. Witnesses – Daniel Semper, 48, and Marcin Kirsch, 41, both farmers. Godparents – Bogumil Kirsch and Krystyna Kirsch.

Anna Krystyna died October 2, 1866, in Florentynow, at the age of twenty-eight. Tyler Versluis translated the following record:

[“Krystyna Kirsch death record, 1866”], Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed through Geneteka on 28 Oct 2020. 

It happened in Dziepolc on the 3rd of October, 1866, at 7AM: 31 year old Samuel Kirsch and 35 year old Bogumil Kirsch presented themselves, both farmers in Florentynow, and told us that last evening at 2AM in Florentynow, Krystyna Kirsch died, 28 year old unmarried maidservant, daughter of the deceased Krysztof formerly of Florentynow, and Karolina nee Kubsch, currently married to Semper, married couple. After confirming the death of Krystyna Kirsch, this act was presented to the witnesses who have declared they are illiterate [note: or unable to read or write Polish].

I am trying to find out what happened to Anna Krystyna’s little daughter, Julianna. Did the godparents adopt her? Which Bogumil (Gottlieb) Kirsch and Krystyna Kirsch are mentioned in the record?

Anna Dorothea Kirsch married Krystyan Kamchen in nearby Dziepolc (I believe this was where the church was) on July 15, 1866. By the spring of 1867, Anna Dorothea and Krystyan were in Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia. Her brother, Samuel, would also live in the same colony, so perhaps he was there around this time. Anna Dorothea’s first child, a daughter named Julianna, was one year old when she died in February of 1869. She and Krystyan had two other known children: Carl Ludwig (b. 1870) and Anna Louise (b. 1874).

I haven’t found any information yet about the third sister, Julianna Kirsch. Hopefully I will be able to return to this chapter and add more details.

Residents of Kolonia Florentynow, 1866

“Księga ludności stałej wsi: Gertrudów, Koniecbór, Florentynów, Konradów (Book of the Population of the Villages: Gertrudów, Koniecbór, Florentynów, Konradów)” from Archiwum Państwowe w Piotrkowie Trybunalskim (Piotrkowie Trybunalskim State Archives), accessed through Archiwa Państwowe on 25 Oct 2020.

Inspired by the blog post “The importance of exploring other repositories” at Writing My Past, I typed “Florentynow” into the Polish State Archives database. To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t even sure where I was except that many of the digitized records I had found through Geneteka and FamilySearch, for example, can be traced back to repositories accessed through this website. My understanding is that the website is an aggregate of State Archives branches in Poland, the record pictured above being from the Piotrkowie Trybunalskim State Archives. I will have to revisit how I cite sources now that I’m learning how to use Polish resources more!

My “let’s see what happens” search brought up a “population book” for the villages of Gertrudow, Koniecbor, Florentynow, and Konradow. The book, kept between 1866 and 1884, is a record of residents in the aforementioned villages–and each record has helpful tags (see below). I recognized the surnames–Kubsch, Kirsch (Wisniewski), Wurful– and knew the record would be helpful.

The book alternates between Polish and Russian. Fortunately, I recognized the names of Samuel Kirsch and Karolina Wurfel, parents of my great-grandmother, Martha Kirsch. The page (see below), which is mostly in Polish and looks like a census record, shows Samuel, Karolina, and their young children living in Florentynow in 1866. According to the birthdates of Samuel’s children in my post “Finding 19 Kirsch Children,” the Kirsch family migrated to Volhynia, Russia, between 1865, when his daughter Julianna was born in Florentynow, and 1868, when his son Ferdinand was born and died in Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia.

“Księga ludności stałej wsi: Gertrudów, Koniecbór, Florentynów, Konradów (Book of the Population of the Villages: Gertrudów, Koniecbór, Florentynów, Konradów)” from Archiwum Państwowe w Piotrkowie Trybunalskim (Piotrkowie Trybunalskim State Archives), accessed through Archiwa Państwowe on 25 Oct 2020.

The page includes the following information about each individual: home number (number 15), name, names of parents, date of birth, place of birth, religion (Lutheran, specifically Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession), previous residence (none), and notes about death or resettlement (these comments I need help translating because they are in Russian). Here are the names and birthdates as translated:

  1. Samuel Wisniewski or Kirsch (b. 10 Oct 1835 in Florentynow)
  2. Karolina Wisniewski nee Wurfel (b. 07 Sep 1836 in Florentynow)
  3. Krystyan Wisniewski or Kirsch (b. 21 Dec 1860 in Florentynow)
  4. Bogumil Wisniewski or Kirsch (b. 09 Jan 1863 in Florentynow)
  5. Julianna Wisniewski or Kirsch (b. 13 Aug 1865 in Florentynow) – her official birthdate would be August 25, 1865
  6. Anna …r…na [unknown] (b. 21 Nov 1852 in …) – I don’t know who this is, but it appears to be a 13-year-old girl whose name begins with Anna. The entry is in Russian and I am not sure when the entry was added or if she lived in the same household

Extracting this information is exciting because I was missing a birthdate for Samuel and specific dates for his children born in Florentynow. There is another page in the book for Samuel’s mother, Karolina Kubsch Semper (formerly Kirsch), and her three daughters, or Samuel’s younger sisters and only living siblings at the time (as well as other Kirsch families living in Florentynow). Karolina remarried after her husband, Krzysztof Kirsch, died.

Anna Krystyna Jess Death Record, 1831

Happy Friday, everybody. Thank you to Hendrik Wendland for sharing the following death record in his Ancestry family tree and to Teresa Eckford and Valerie Baginski for help extracting names and confirming information.

My great-great-great-great-grandmother (whew), Anna Krystyna Jess, was married to Andreas (Andrzej) Kelm. Variants of her surname that I have found include Jusciowna, Jeskowna, Jesse, Jeske, Gesse, and Guz. I am trying to link Andreas and Anna Krystyna, who lived in Borki, Lodzkie, Poland, in the eighteenth century, to recorded Kelms who lived in Netzbruch (Przynotecko), Brandenburg, Prussia, in the seventeenth century. I asked for help with this record with the hope there was information about her family and origins as I believe Andreas and Anna Krystyna were the first generation to live in Borki, Leczyca, Poland, area. Fun fact: “Borki” seems to mean “residence or farm,” according to Meyers Gazetteer.

[“Anna Krystyna Kielm death record, 1831”] from Archiwum Państwowe w Poznaniu (Poznan State Archives), accessed through Szukajwarchiwach.pl on 22 Oct 2020.

Date of record: Dabie, 19 March 1831, 10 a.m.
Witnesses: Krysztof Kielm, farmer, age 26, son of the deceased, and Michał Kriger, farmer, age 41, both residing in the colony of Borek [Borki]
Deceased: there on the 18th of March this year at 3 a.m. Anna Krystyna Kielm nee Jess died, age 56

Although there doesn’t appear to be new information, I am always excited to confirm information by looking at the records themselves–and thankful that archives and volunteers index, translate, digitize, and make these records accessible.

Kazimierz Wisniewski or Gottfried Kirsch

Before we return to the usual Kelm programming, this blog will stay a Kirsch blog for a while longer. Over the last week I have been searching for digitized records to do with the Kirsch family in the village of Florentynow, Radomsko, which is in Lodzkie, Poland.

According to Deutsche Familien aus dem Kreis Radomsko [German Families from Kreis Radomosko], the colony of Florentynow was founded in 1809 and settled by German settlers. We can surmise that the Kirsch family or families were among these first settlers as Krzysztof Kirsch, grandfather of Martha Kirsch, was born there in 1813. In 1835, there were twelve colonists living there with family members, which totaled around 100.

After looking at translations of two records–the 1813 birth record of Krzysztof Kirsch from the previous blog post and the 1847 death record of his mother, Maria Elzbieta Pfeiffer–in more depth, I want to solve two “mysteries”: 1. Why does Kazimierz, Krzysztof’s father, seem to also be recorded as “Gottfried” (were there two Elzbieta Pfeiffers, one married to Kazimierz and the other married to Gottfried Kirsch)? and 2. Where did the Kirsch family emigrate from?

[“Krzysztof Wisniewski birth record, 1813”] from “Poland, Częstochowa Roman Catholic Church Books, 1226-1950,” Archiwum Archidiecezji Częstochowskiej (Czestochowa Archdiocese Archives), accessed through FamilySearch on 18 Oct 2020.

Lidia Opaczewska from the Genealogical Translations Facebook group graciously translated the Krzysztof Kirsch birth record (above) from my last post.

In the year one thousand eight hundred and thirteenth, on the twenty-fifth of July at two o’clock in the afternoon. Before us, the Law Officer of the Town of Radomsko, doing the Civil Registry Officer duties of the Radomsko Commune and Radomsko County in the Kalisz Department, Kazimierz Wisniowski appeared, settled on the farm, thirty-two years old, living in Kolonia Florentyn, and he showed us a male child, born in his house under number sixteen on the twenty-second day of the current month and the current year, expressed above, at five o’clock in the morning, and declaring that he was begotten of him and Elzbieta (Fayfer), twenty-eight years old, his wife, and that his wish is to give him the name Krzysztof. After making the above statement and presenting the child, in the consciousness of Wojciech Hekierkunst, settled on the farm, thirty-eight years old living in Kolonia Konradow and Bogumil Lutka, also settled on the farm, aged thirty nine, living in Kolonia Florentyn. This birth certificate, after reading it, was signed by us and by mentioned Bogumil Lutka, because the father of the child and the second witness cannot write. Maciej Szymanski, Lawyer of the Town of Radomsko, acting as a Registry Officer.

The record provides ages for Krzysztof’s parents (Kazimierz was born in around 1781 and Elzbieta in around 1785) and lists his father’s occupation as farmer. The record also provides a specific date of birth: July 22, 1813.

Searching Geneteka birth records (see above), I was able to find the following children born to Kazimierz Wisniewski and Elzbieta Fayfer or Fajfer: Krzysztof, Karolina, Krystyan, and Krystyna. An 1830 marriage record of Gottlieb Wisniewski and Ewa Roszyna Bot (Eva Rosina Both or Boot) also names Kazimierz Wisniewski and Elzbieta Fayfer as parents, as does the 1833 marriage record of Krzysztof Wisniewski and Karolina Kubsch (see last post). It might be important that, for all of these records, the Polish “Wisniewski” or “Wisniowski” is used instead of the German “Kirsch.”

[“Elzbieta Pfeifer Kirsch death record, 1846”], Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed through Geneteka on 20 Oct 2020. 

According to the above death record, Maria Elzbieta Pfeiffer died November 15, 1846. Monika Kucal and Herb Hensen from the Genealogical Translations Facebook group provided a translation of the document (thank you!):

Declarants: Gottlieb Kupsch, age 39, Gottlieb Kirsch, age 43, both farmers from Florentynow. Yesterday at 12 o’clock in the afternoon in Florentynow, Elzbieta Kirsch (born Pfeifer) died, widow to farmer, age 65, born in Wola in the Grand Duchy of Posen, daughter of both late Gottlieb and Anna Marianna (born Pelsz), married couple, farmers, leaving behind her four children: Gottlieb, Gottfried, Karolina Kubsch, Krystyna Rosenau. The first witness is a son-in-law of the deceased and the second one is her son.

It should be noted that Krzysztof is not listed in the record because he died earlier in 1846. Gottfried Kirsch is the only child a record has not been found for elsewhere. Maria Elzbieta’s husband is also not mentioned by name. Finally, the record mentions her birthplace, Wola in the Grand Duchy of Posen (Prussia), and her parents: Gottlieb Pfeiffer and Anna Marianna Pelsz. We have more information to help us answer that second question: Where did the Kirsch family emigrate from?

[“Chrysztof Kirsch death record, 1846”], Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed through Geneteka on 21 Oct 2020. 

I have not asked for help translating the above death record for Krzysztof Kirsch. I can make out the name “Karolina Kubsch,” his wife, and his children: Samuel, Chrystyna, Dorota, and Julianna. This lines up with the children I have recorded–save for Gottlieb Kirsch, who also died in 1846 and would not be mentioned here. The record names his parents as Gottfried–not Kazimierz–Kirsch and Elzbieta Pfeiffer. It is also Gottfried in the 1839 marriage record for Karolina Kirsch and Jan Erdmann Rosenau.

For me, the records that reference both Kazimierz and Gottfried line up too well for them to refer to different people. The records with “Kazimierz Wisniewski” were created when Florentynow was located within the Kingdom of Poland, before Russia took more control (this blog post explains the incessantly changing borders well). While the Germanification of the area (hence the colonization) was already occurring, anti-Polish sentiments and policies increased after 1830. I am still researching this time period (so forgive my vague attempts at explaining historical context), but my theory for now is that Kazimierz Wisniewski began using the German version of his surname, Kirsch (kirsche is cherry in German; wiśnia is cherry in Polish), and adopted a more German first name, Gottfried (there does not seem to be a German equivalent of Kazimierz or Kasimir like there is for, say, Gottlieb=Bogumil or Gottfried=Boguslaw). It may have also been the choice of the recordkeepers.

What are your thoughts?