Kirsch Family Origins

My apologies for the pause in updates. I am planning a wedding (and other major life events) and have had little time outside of work to enjoy the quietness of genealogy research. My updates may be scant for a few months, but I am try to work on my book when I can. I will also try to share excerpts of that work in progress here when I can, such as this post about Kirsch family origins. This section took almost a year to write. There is a lot of persistence that goes into digging for information that you can only suspect is there. Sometimes luck is what ultimately helps you. I need to say a big thank you to the volunteer translators at the Genealogical Translations Facebook group. Without their dedication, I would not have been able to decipher and translate any of the records I find. I am eternally thankful for help, not only with translating, but with helping me understand the structure of certain records so that I know where in the record to find a specific piece of information.

If you need a very general guide about who certain mentioned individuals are, the Direct Ancestors page (scroll down to Kirsch Ancestors and then to the earliest ancestors at the end) might be helpful.

Kirsch Family Origins

The arrival of German Lutherans in the area around the city of Radomsko (approximately ninety kilometers south of Lodz) in central Poland resulted in the founding of many German colonies, including those relevant to the Kirsch family; Florentynow, Elzbietow, and Konradow were founded in 1809.[1] In 1835, there were twelve colonists living in Florentynow with their families, which numbered ninety in total. [2] In Elzbietow, there were five colonists with forty-five in their families. [3] In Konradow, eleven colonists and sixty-six in their families.[4]

Modern map showing city of Radomsko, Poland, with nearby German colonies of Florentynow, Elzbietow, and Konradow indicated. Created 22 Aug 2021 with Google Maps. For scale, the distance between Elzbietow and Konradow is approximately 3.4 kilometers

The Kirsch families, as well as related families (Wurfel, Kubsch, and Hansch), were among the first settlers in the Radomsko area. Martha’s grandfather, Krzysztof Kirsch, was the first of his siblings born in Florentynow in 1813. Anna Rozyna Kirsch, the daughter of Krystyan Kirsch (unconfirmed but likely relation to Krzysztof) and Anna Dorota Kluske, was born in Florentynow in 1812. Martha’s maternal grandfather, Jerzy Wurfel, was born in Konradow in early 1810 and the family appears to have lived in Elzbietow from 1814. The 1935 Breyer Map by historian Albert Breyer, from an article titled “Deutsche Gaue in Mittelpolen [German Districts in Central Poland]” shows German colonization of central Poland by origin. Florentynow, Elzbietow, and Konradow fall within a region of colonies founded predominantly by those from the province of Silesia.[5] However, the families that settled in these colonies in particular (and eventually intermarried) were from German colonies near the city of Posen, which is in the province of Posen and north of Silesia.

When Krzysztof’s mother, Maria Elzbieta Pfeiffer (also Fayfer), died in Florentynow in 1847, her death record (click here for record and translation) recorded that she was from “Wola, Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia.” Marcin Kirsch, likely a relation to Krzysztof’s father, Kazimierz Kirsch, died in Florentynow in 1846. His death record names Krystyan Kirsch and Maryanna Elzbieta Has as his parents and his birthplace as Wola, Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia. “Wola,” which on its own denotes a type of settlement and is not specific enough to confirm which settlement, also appears in other records. According to Meyers Gazeteer (based on an 1871-1912 map of Germany), there were several locations containing “Wola” in Posen, including Wola Lagiewnik, Wola Skorzencin, and Wola Wapowska.

“[Gotlib Wisnieski and Ewa Rozyna Bot marriage record, 1830]” from Akta stanu cywilnego Parafii Rzymskokatolickiej w Kodrąbiu, accessed 22 Aug 2021 through Geneteka; “Wola Wysokotowska” highlighted

One record specifies a specific “Wola”; the 1830 marriage record of Gottlieb Kirsch, the oldest child of Kazimierz Kirsch and Maria Elzbieta Pfeiffer, and Eva Rozyna Both states that Gottlieb was born in Wola Wysokotowska in around 1808 and that his parents were also from there. Meyers Gazeteer (map, not searchable database) includes “Wyssogottowo Hauland,” Posen, Prussia (now Wysogotowo, Poland). Between Gotlieb’s birth in Wola Wysokotowska and his brother Krzysztof’s birth in Florentynow in 1813, the family migrated approximately 225 kilometers west from just outside the city of Posen.

Map from Meyers Gazetteer showing Wyssogottow Hauland

During the eighteenth century, the ancestors of the Kirsch family would have settled in Wola Wysokotowska or Wyssogottowo Hauland as Haulanders (also Hollanders or Oleders, depending on the language), free farmers (not serfs) who were collectively responsible for rent paid to their landlords.[6] The term “wola,” possibly from the Polish “wolni,” meaning “free,” has a similar definition in that it refers to a settlement or colony “established at the will of the local gentry or aristocracy” and populated by farmers not bound to the land by serfdom, but by the agreement to improve it in exchange for certain privileges.[7] The Wurfel and Kubsch families, though also from Posen and not Silesia, were from Chrzastowo, Schrimm, approximately thirty-seven kilometers south of Posen (city). It is still unknown where the Hansch (Julianna Hansch is Martha Kirsch’s maternal grandmother) family originated, but Julianna’s parents, and Martha’s great-grandparents, Andrzej Hansch and Anna Fryderyka Wolf, lived in Konradow from around 1815.

The Kirsch, Wurfel, and Kubsch families lived in what was the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which lasted approximately from 1569 to 1795, until the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, when Posen became part of Prussia.[8] After Prussia snatched their share of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Prussia imposed several Germanification policies in the newly-acquired corners of their empire. German colonists were encouraged to migrate further east, which may be why the families helped found colonies around Radomsko. However, these borders kept changing. In 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte, during his Napoleonic Wars, created the Duchy of Warsaw (also known as Napoleonic Poland), which included both the colonies of origin near Posen and the forthcoming colonies near Radomsko. In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, the Duchy of Warsaw was divided into the Grand Duchy of Posen (Prussia) and Congress Poland (Russia). The Polish people were granted some autonomy, which was why many records were in Polish. By the 1860s, as Polish uprisings caused Russia to restrict Polish freedom, there is a shift to Russian.[9] The Florentynow Population book, for example, was created in around 1866 and so contains records in both Polish and Russian.

Modern map showing migrations of Kirsch generations from the eighteenth-century up until Martha Kirsch migrated to Winnipeg, Canada, in 1908. Created 22 Aug 2021 with Google Maps

[1] Eduard Kneifel, “Geschichte der Evangelisch=Augsburgischen Kirsche in Polen,” from Homepage of Dr. theol. Eduard Kneifel, 1964, accessed 23 Oct 2020 through http://www.eduardkneifel.eu/data/Geschichte_der_Evangelisch-Augsburgischen_Kirche_in_Polen.pdf; Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, “Radomsko Parish History,” from Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, 01 Aug 2009 [last updated], accessed 23 Oct 2020 through https://www.sggee.org/research/parishes/parish_histories/PiotrkowDiocese/RadomskoParish/RadomskoHistory.html

[2] Marcus König, “Lage und Orte [Location and Places]“ from Deutsche Familien aus dem Kreis Radomsko,” undated, accessed 23 Oct 2020 through http://www.radomsko.de/14401.html

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Jutta Dennerlein, “The Breyer Map,” from Upstream Vistula, 2005, accessed 23 Oct 2020 through http://www.upstreamvistula.org/History/Breyer_Map.htm

[6] Zbigniew Chodyła, “The Oldest History of Oleder Settlements in the Nekla District, 1749-1793” from Committee for Renovation of Oleder Cemeteries, 2005, accessed 13 Aug 2021 through http://oledry.nekla.pl/images/download/The_Oldest_History_of_Hollander_settlement_in_Nekla.pdf

[7] “Place Name Guide” from Lubelskie Genealogy Web, undated, accessed 14 Nov 2020 through http://sites.rootsweb.com/~pollubel/lubelname.html

[8] Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz, “Those Infamous Border Changes: A Crash Course in Polish History” from From Shepherds and Shoemakers [blog], 15 Jan 2017, accessed 22 Aug 2021, through https://fromshepherdsandshoemakers.com/2017/01/15/those-infamous-border-changes-a-crash-course-in-polish-history/

[9] Ibid.

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: 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.

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

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.

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) [Update: Original image was of sister, Lydia, and has been updated]

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)