Fred and Rose Rempel

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Lydia or Pauline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ida Kelm (Part 1)

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

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

Ida Kelm (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early summer 1915: 70,000 Germans deported

July to August 1915: Approximately 60 percent of Germans deported

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Help Derek Kelm

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

Help Derek Kelm Beat Cancer GoFundMe

Migration to Brazil, or 19 Kirsch Children: Gottlieb Kirsch

Welcome to the second “episode” of this series. I have been researching Martha’s siblings for NaNoWriMo (24,022 words!) and I hope to find the more elusive records that hopefully reveal the life trajectories of those who remained in Volhynia or migrated elsewhere. I am also hoping to one day breathe more life into these profiles with details beyond the dates and facts. If you have and are willing to contribute more information or corrections, you can leave a comment here or email me at sarika.l.kelm@gmail.com.

19 Kirsch Children: Gottlieb Kirsch

Gottlieb Kirsch was born January 9, 1863, in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland, the second child of Samuel Kirsch and Karolina Wurfel. When he was three or four years old, he traveled with his parents and brother and sister, Christian and Julianna (Julia), to Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia. When he was around thirteen, the family moved to Ludwischin (or Ludwischin-Scheppel as it was sometimes called, Scheppel being just north of Ludwischin). He was confirmed in Scheppel in 1882, and the date of birth recorded in the confirmation record is January 12, 1963.[1]

[“Bogumil Kirsch birth record, 1863”], Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed through Geneteka on 17 Oct 2020. 

According to notes in the Florentynow population book, translated from Russian by мария Голик, Gottlieb was conscripted into the Russian Army in 1884. There is no additional known information about Gottlieb’s life in Volhynia after 1884. The population book includes an added entry for “Anna Wisniewska,” daughter of Ernest Gotlz and Anna Keitsch, born in Lodzkie in 1852. The entry states that she is “dependent on her husband Bogumil,” though it is unclear which Bogumil or Gottlieb this entry refers to.  

Seven of Gottlieb’s brothers and sisters immigrated to Canada between 1890 and 1913. I wondered if Gottlieb migrated elsewhere or if he was one of the thousands of Volhynian Germans deported east in 1915 (more about this in a future post). I found a Gottlieb Kirsch who died in Jaraguá do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil in 1952. The following death record has similarities to our Gottlieb.

“[Gottlieb Kirsch death record, 1952]” from Brazil, Santa Catarina, Civil Registration, 1850-1999, accessed 24 Nov 2020 through FamilySearch

I was able to partially translate the scan:

On March 29, 1952, in the city of Jaraguá do Sul, Santa Catarina state, attested by Manoel Luiz da Silva [son-in-law of Gottlieb Kirsch], Brazilian public official and resident of this city, record signed by Doctor Waldemiro Mazurechen, resident of this city, the cause of death being natural causes due to old age, on March 28 of the current year, 4:30 at his residence at Abdon Batista Street, which is in this city, Gottlieb Kirsch, white male, profession of farmer, born in Russia and living in this city at Abdon Batista Street, 90 years old, legitimate son of farmers Samuel Kirsch and Augusta Kirsch, German, both deceased.

Burial was at cemetery in this city. Born January 8, 1862. Married to Ida Maida in Blumenau. Leaving [six] children: Adelia Kirsch de Silva, 40 years old; Gustavo Kirsch, 38 years old; Olga Kirsch, also 38 years old; Elsa Kirsch Knuth, 37 years old; Elisabeta Kirsch, 34 years old; and Paulo Kirsch, 30 years old, all born in this state.

The birth year in the record is almost exactly a year before our Gottlieb’s birth year, which is consistently 1863 in all three records we have for him (birth, confirmation, population book). The day in the record is January 8 whereas, in the the aforementioned records, the day is either January 9 or 12. Keep in mind that the accuracy of the informants’ information often depended on how well they knew the deceased. Presuming that this is our Gottlieb Kirsch, the record is correct in that he is from Russia and that his parents were German farmers. While his father is correctly listed as Samuel Kirsch, his mother is listed as Augusta Kirsch and not Karolina. Auguste Reiter was his stepmother, so perhaps this is not incorrect after all.

If this is Gottlieb, he immigrated to Santa Catarina before 1911, when his oldest daughter, Adelia (Adele or, as she was later called, Klara), was born in Massaranduba (municipality), Santa Catarina.[2] Because Gottlieb was forty-seven years old in 1911, it is possible this was his second family, though I am still researching the whereabouts of Gottlieb Kirsch and the possibility of this Gottlieb being the same person. Many Russian Germans migrated to southern Brazil in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so it is possible.


[1] “[Gottlieb Kirsch confirmation record, 1882]” from VKP Birth & Confirmation Records, accessed 15 Nov 2020 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[2] “[Clara Kirsch da Silva death record, 1980]” from Brazil, Santa Catarina, Civil Registration, 1850-1999, accessed 25 Nov 2020 through FamilySearch.

19 Kirsch Children: Daniel Kirsch

Welcome to a new blog series, “19 Kirsch Children.” I have been researching those of Martha’s siblings that immigrated to Canada for NaNoWriMo (20,734 words!) and I hope to find the more elusive records that hopefully reveal the life trajectories of those who remained in Volhynia or migrated elsewhere. I am also hoping to one day breathe more life into these profiles with details beyond the dates and facts. If you have and are willing to contribute more information or corrections, you can leave a comment here or email me at sarika.l.kelm@gmail.com.

19 Kirsch Children: Daniel Kirsch

Daniel Kirsch was born August 22, 1874, in Konstanynow, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia. The youngest of his siblings to immigrate to Canada, Daniel was seventeen years old when he sailed away from Europe aboard the SS Numidian in 1892. He was also the second Kirsch sibling to leave Volhynia, his sister Julia Kirsch having emigrated in 1891. The ship, which carried 866 passengers, left Liverpool on April 28 and, after a stop in Londonberry, Ireland, sailed to the Port of Quebec, arriving on May 9.[1] The trip took eleven days. Although the ship manifest did not include Daniel’s destination, he probably stayed with his sister, Julia, and her husband, August Rempel, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before setting out to find work. He was said to have lived with the Rempel family at 808 Bannatyne Street, but he would have already been living in Saskatchewan at this time.

“[Daniel Kirsch birth record, 1874]” from VKP Databases, accessed through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

Daniel married Wanda Schindler (also Vanda Schendler) in around 1903. Wanda came from a Baptist family who also emigrated from Ludwischin-Scheppel, Volhynia, in 1890 and 1891.[2] Daniel’s family had moved from Konstantynow to nearby Ludwischin-Scheppel when he was around two years old. Although Wanda was eight years younger than Daniel, it is possible they knew one another in Russia. Their families likely knew one another.

Daniel applied for a homestead on July 28, 1903, and he and Wanda moved to the Rural Municipality of Good Lake, twelve kilometers from Ebenezer, Saskatchewan. Ebenezer, originally called Anoka, was a predominantly German Baptist community settled by Volga and Volhynian Baptists in 1887.[3] Daniel and Wanda had eight children, all “born on the family farm near Ebenezer”:[4] Daniel, Albert, Edwin, Violet, Elsie Vina, Laura May, Roman Walter, and Alvin Herman. Their daughter, Violet, died two weeks before her first birthday, on August 29, 1913.

The 1921 Census of Canada records the Kirsch family as living in a five-room home on the farm–a farm that now belonged to them after several years of hard work.[5] In around 1935, the Kirsch family moved to a farm near Leduc, Alberta, which is near Edmonton, Alberta.[6]

Daniel died in Camrose, Alberta, on May 21, 1961. Wanda died later that year, on December 28, in Edmonton. Most of their children remained in the Edmonton area.

Children of Daniel Kirsch and Wanda Schindler

Daniel Kirsch (b. 22 Aug 1874 in Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 21 May 1961 in Camrose, Alberta, Canada) m. Wanda Schindler (b. 11 Nov 1882 in Volhynia, Russia; d. 28 Dec 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

  1. Daniel Kirsch (b. 25 May 1905 in Ebenezer, Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 30 Jul 1980 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) m. Martha Arndt (b. 09 Oct 1904 in Volhynia, Russia; d. 22 Dec 1990 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
  2. Albert Kirsch (b. 23 Mar 1907 in Ebenezer, Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 1994 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) m. Florence Elsie Heffner (b. 08 Jul 1911 in Bruderheim, Alberta, Canada; d. 12 Jul 1997 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
  3. Edwin Kirsch (b. 21 Mar 1910 in Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 25 Oct 1984 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) m. Elsie Brown (b. 23 Feb 1909 in Leduc, Alberta, Canada; d. 01 Oct 1959 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  4. Violet Kirsch (b. 13 Sep 1912 in Ebenezer, Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 29 Aug 1913 in Saskatchewan, Canada)
  5. Elsie Vina Kirsch (b. 12 Feb 1915 in Ebenezer, Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 11 Sep 1986 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) m. Joseph George Hutch (b. 07 Mar 1907 in Gimli, Manitoba, Canada; d. 17 Jul 1967 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
  6. Laura May Kirsch (b. 01 Feb 1919 in Ebenezer, Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 30 Oct 2006 in Alberta, Canada) m. Melvin John Jeffries (d. 1975 in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada)
  7. Roman Walter Kirsch (b. 25 Jul 1922 in Ebenezer, Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 23 Dec 2005 in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada) m. Rose Anna McNaught (b. 08 Jun 1914 in Shelby, Montana, USA; d. 12 Feb 1992 in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada) m. Muriel Brown (b. 17 Nov 1918 in Amule, Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 03 Aug 2007 in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada)
  8. Alvin Herman Kirsch (b. 1925 in Saskatchewan, Canada; d. 19 Aug 1989 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) m. Dorothy Walters (b. 28 Dec 1919; d. 2006)

Note: The birth information for Violet, Elsie, and Laura Kirsch is from eHealth Saskatchewan Vital Statistics Genealogical Search. The place of birth is “6 28 4 2,” which corresponds with the location of the Kirsch homestead near Ebenezer.


[1] “Danie [sic] Kirsch” from Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935, accessed 16 Nov 2020 through Ancestry

[2] “Wanda Schindler” from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 16 Nov 2020 through Ancestry

[3] “Ebenezer, Saskatchewan,” University of North Florida, undated, accessed 16 Nov 2020, http://volga.domains.unf.edu/immigration/ca/sk/ebenezer-saskatchewan

[4] “[Obituary of Roman Walter Kirsch]” from The Red Deer Advocate, 28 Dec 2005 [published], accessed 20 Nov 2020 through Newspapers.com

[5] 1921 Census of Canada Ancestry, accessed 16 Nov 2020 through Ancestry

[6] “[Obituary of Roman Walter Kirsch]” from The Red Deer Advocate, 28 Dec 2005 [published], accessed 20 Nov 2020 through Newspapers.com

“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.