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.

19 Kirsch Children: Julia Kirsch

Happy June, everybody! Memorial Day long weekend here in the USA was spent researching and writing my History of Martha project. I realized that this blog has been a useful way for me to organize book sections and get feedback. Everything will eventually make its way into my Kirsch family book, which I hope to finish next year. The following section is tentatively titled “Julia Kirsch: Journey from Ludwischin-Scheppel, Volhynia, to Winnipeg, Canada, 1890-1943” in the book, but will be the Julia Kirsch series entry for 19 Kirsch Children for the purposes of this blog. Because this blog is the rough draft of my project, I welcome any corrections or additions. I am also hoping that someone has a photo of Julia and August Rempel.

I would also like to apologize for the horrendous citations throughout this blog. I keep reformatting them as I go in order to find a style that works for me. I recently decided to add in source repositories or archives, but have to go back and track them all down.

19 Kirsch Children: Julia Kirsch

Julia Kirsch was born Julianna Kirsch on August 25, 1865, in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland, the third child and first daughter of Samuel Kirsch and his first wife, Karolina Wurfel.[1] Julia was confirmed in the Lutheran church (Rozyszcze parish, Volhynia) in 1881, though the absence of parents’ names in the record means the connection cannot be verified.[2]

“[Julianna Kirsch birth record, 1865]” from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Geneteka

The Kirsch family’s migration to Canada began earlier than Winnipeg’s population boom, which began over a decade later in 1902. Winnipeg grew steadily by 1000-3000 people each year (except for a significant population increase after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881) from 1871 to 1901.[3] The majority of Russian Germans immigrated to Canada after 1900, after the homesteads of the United States were all snatched up.[4] Minister of the Interior Clifford Sifton’s immigration policy of 1896 and the heyday of Canada’s “Last Best West” campaign spurred more immigration, the ideal immigrant, in Sifton’s words, being the “stalwart peasant in a sheep-skin coat, born on the soil, whose forefathers have been farmers for ten generations, with a stout wife and a half-dozen children.”[5]

Example of “Last Best West” campaign poster, 1907; courtesy of Canada. Department of the Interior, Library and Archives Canada

Julia was the first Kirsch family member to immigrate to Canada. She and her husband, August Rempel, married three years with two young children (Adolf and August), sold their belongings and left their community of Ludwischin-Scheppel in early October of 1890, their decision likely driven by religious persecution. While the majority of Russian Germans were Lutheran, the Rempel family, like many other families in their community, was Baptist.

According to Volhynian Baptist historian Donald Miller, Scheppel was a Baptist station in Rozyzscze parish. While Rozyzscze city was home to the largest Baptist church in the parish (established in 1884), there were several (mission) “stations” established, including Scheppel, where people from various communities congregated to worship. Some of these stations became self-supporting churches.[6] Other names for Scheppel are Scheple, Schepek, Schöpel, Schlepe, Szepel, and Schelpe.[7] Baptist activity began in Rozyzscze parish (Rozyzscze city being approximately twenty-two kilometers south of Scheppel) in 1874, when seven new converts were baptized and, shortly after, a chapel was built. In April of 1889, after a period of evangelical growth (despite the Lutheran majority’s opposition, which was sometimes very violent), the church’s pastor was banished from Volhynia and the people were no longer allowed to gather in the chapel. This prompted many families to emigrate in the pursuit of religious freedom.[8] In 1890, there was an exodus of Baptist families from Ludwischin-Scheppel.

“Often the outdoor baptismal services were disrupted, members were accused of preaching a false doctrine, converts were ridiculed, pastors were threatened and church buildings were destroyed.”

– Donald Miller[9]

According to an 1894 article in The Winnipeg Tribune, the German Baptists “were driven from their homes and from their churches and must seek new homes in this land […] The exodus from Russia began twelve years ago when the persecutions began.”[10] Following the world wars, Baptist church records in Volhynia were destroyed, many churches converted into industrial complexes and used for secular purposes. This is the reason tracing Baptist families in Volhynia during the late nineteenth century is “very difficult if not impossible.”[11]

When Julia and August left Volhynia in 1890, they left in a party of twenty-four people from six families, also Baptists from Ludwischin-Scheppel (more information about these families here). The families likely departed together by wagon and then traveled by train to Berlin, Germany, which connected them to major ports.[12] The journey from Volhynia to Hamburg, their port of departure, probably took a week.[13] The party left Hamburg on October 10 on the ship Hansa.[14] Because it was cheaper to travel across the Atlantic using British lines,[15] the families traveled to Hull, England, and then traveled by train to Liverpool. There they boarded the British steamship, the SS Polynesian, which took them to the Port of Quebec after a stop in Londonderry, Ireland.[16] The ship arrived in Canada on October 27.

Rempel family (top-most entry) in SS Polynesian ship manifest, Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 29 May 2021 through Ancestry

According to the SS Polynesian ship manifest, the passengers were going “to friends.”[17] The Rempel family had traveled “to join brother,” though no record of a Rempel relative in Canada has been found.[18] August had at least one living brother, Ludwik Rempel, born in 1871, but his whereabouts in 1890 is unknown.[19] When August’s mother, Rose Rempel, died in Springfield, Manitoba, two printings of her obituary in The Winnipeg Tribune have conflicting information; the shorter June obituary indicates she was “survived by two sons” while the longer June 7 obituary mentions only “one son, Augustus of Winnipeg.”[20] After arriving in Quebec, the families boarded the train to Winnipeg. The trip took three days, meaning they would have arrived October 30.[21] In the 1891 Census of Canada, the Rempel family lived in Ward Five, otherwise known as Winnipeg’s North End and “Foreign Quarter”–just north of the Canadian Pacific Railway yards.[22] The family lived with two other German Baptist families: Frederick and Caroline Maahs, and John and Rosaline Bicker (and two-year-old son, Frederick).[23] The three families, eight people in all, lived in a six-bedroom home. The family next door, also predominantly Baptist, were eleven people in two bedrooms, including two people from the party that left Ludwischin-Scheppel: Friedrich (Frederick) and Gotfried (Godfrey) Klem.[24] The North End was notorious for its deplorable living conditions, disease, and overcrowding.[25]

The Rempel family experienced tragedy soon after their arrival in Winnipeg. While their oldest child, Adolf, was with them when they arrived in Quebec on October 27, 1890, he was not with them when the family was enumerated in the 1901 Census of Canada on April 23, 1891.[26] While a record of the death of Adolf Rempel has yet to be found, there is a record of August Rempel, age three, who died March 11, 1891, in Winnipeg (August’s full name was Gustave August Rempel, so perhaps the eldest was August Adolf Rempel).[27] August’s and Julia’s first daughter, Helen “Lena” Margaret Rempel, was born Christmas Eve 1891.[28] Their second daughter, Ada Rempel, was born December 11, 1893.[29] Ada does not appear on the 1901 Census of Canada and no death record has been found, but the headstone for Edith Rempel in Brookside Cemetery contains the following: “Edith, died May 11, 1900, aged 6 years and 5 months, daughter of A. and J. Rempel.”[30]

Map of Winnipeg showing location of Bannatyne Avenue, where the Rempel family lived. The gray lines represent the Canadian Pacific Railway yards, the North End indicated above it; courtesy of Google Maps (captured 31 May 2021)
Advertisement in The Winnipeg Tribune, 17 Sep 1938; courtesy of Newspapers.com

In 1901, the Rempel family were now six and still lived in the North End.[31] Julia’s brother, Christian Kirsch, who immigrated in 1893, and his family lived two houses away.[32] Both August Rempel and Christian worked for the Bridge Department of the Canadian Pacific Railway.[33] In 1906, the Rempel family lived at 509 Alexander Avenue.[34] By 1908, the Rempels lived on Bannatyne Avenue (the address is 814 Bannatyne Avenue in the 1911, 1916, and 1921 Censuses of Canada)[35] and worked as a sewage and watermain contractor, hiring workers to dig sewer lines for the City of Winnipeg. According to family history, the Rempel house was two or three floors and extra rooms were rented out to boarders, most working at the nearby Winnipeg General Hospital (now the Health Sciences Centre). Some of these boarders worked for August’s business, including Julius Kelm, who lived in the basement in the early months of 1908. A 1928 rent advertisement for 814 Bannatyne in the Winnipeg Tribune describes the house as follows: “10-room house, hardwood downstairs, gas water heater, newly dec. throughout, first-class condition, 2 garages.”[36] The location is now a parking garage. Between 1922[37] and 1928, the Rempel family moved to 808 Bannatyne Avenue (August’s and Julius’ son, Frederick, and his wife, Mary, lived at 814 Bannatyne before 1928; the house was placed for rent after Mary’s death in 1927).[38]

August and Julia Rempel had nine children: Adolf, August, Helen, Edith, Frederick, Hannah, William, Violet, and Walter. They lived in Winnipeg the rest of their lives and were active members of the McDermot Avenue Baptist Church. Julia died in her home on December 8, 1932, at the age of sixty-seven.[39]

Obituary for Julia Rempel in The Winnipeg Tribune, 1937; courtesy of Newspapers.com

Mrs. Julia Rempel, 67, wife of August Rempel, of 808 Bannatyne Ave., died Thursday at the family residence. Mrs. Rempel was an active worker for McDermot Avenue Baptist Church and was a member of the women’s guilds. She was born in Russia but had lived in the city for the last 42 years. Besides her husband she is survived by four sons, August and Walter in Winnipeg and Fred and William in Detroit. There are also three daughters, Mrs. R. H. Smith, Mrs. P. Huget and Mrs. B. Waters in the city, and two brothers, Carl Kirsch in Yorkton, Sask., and Dan Kirsch in Alberta; and two sisters, Mrs. H. Yoekel and Mrs. J. Kelm in Winnipeg and Mrs. A Adler in Saskatchewan. There are also nine grandchildren. The funeral will be held at 2 pm, Monday, from A. B. Gardiner funeral home to the family plot in Elmwood cemetery.[40]

August died February 21, 1943, three years after retiring.[41] According to his obituary in the German Baptist newspaper, Der Sendbote, he became very ill and died after two weeks at the Winnipeg General Hospital: “He bore his suffering with the help of God patiently and attended church and Bible study regularly. About fourteen days before his parting his condition suddenly turned and he had to go to the hospital. There, no doctor could help him and the Lord over life and death decreed otherwise and took him after a few days of heavy suffering into eternity. Even though his passing left a gap on our lives, we rejoice in his well-deserved rest.”[42]

Descendants of August and Julia Rempel

Julianna “Julia” Kirsch (b. 25 Aug 1865 in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland; d. 08 Dec 1932 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. August Rempel (b. 18 Jul 1866 in Ignacow, Lodzkie, Poland; d. 21 Feb 1943 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

  1. Adolf Rempel (b. 1887 in Russia; d. 11 Mar 1901 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) – to be confirmed
  2. Gustave August Rempel (b. 13 Aug 1889 in Russia; d. 20 Mar 1976 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) m. Joanna Ida Marks (b. 15 Jul 1891 in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, Canada; d. 27 Aug 1957 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  3. Helen Margaret Rempel (b. 24 Dec 1891 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Roman August Smith (b. May 1884 in Russia; d. 1960 in Manitoba, Canada)
  4. Edith (Ada) Rempel (b. 11 Dec 1893 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 11 May 1900 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) – to be confirmed
  5. Frederick Rempel (b. 22 Mar 1896 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 30 Oct 1877 in Buffalo, New York, USA) m. Mary Susan Jackson (b. 15 Jul 1896 in Ontario, Canada; d. 14 Dec 1927 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Alice Whitcomb (b. 18 Mar 1906 in New York, USA; d. Mar 1971 in Buffalo, New York, USA)
  6. Hannah Emma Rempel (b. 28 Jan 1899 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Peter Huget (b. Dec 1894 in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, Canada; d. 16 Aug 1945 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
  7. William Albert Rempel (b. 26 Jul 1901 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 08 Sep 1978 in Palm Beach, Florida, USA) m. Mary Semmler (b. 15 Jul 1900 in Poland; d. 05 Apr 1993 in Palm Beach, Florida, USA)
  8. Violet Elsie Rempel (b. 14 Oct 1903 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Bert William Watters (b. 24 May 1894 in Westbourne, Manitoba, Canada)
  9. Walter Alexander Rempel (b. 14 Oct 1903 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; d. 20 Aug 1983 in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada) m. Edna May Donaghy (b. 17 Jul 1905 in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England; d. 18 Jul 1987 in Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada)

[1] “[Julianna Kirsch birth record, 1860]” from Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Geneteka

[2] “[Juliane Kirsch confirmation record, 1881]” from VKP Birth & Confirmation Records, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[3] Alan F. J. Artibise, Winnipeg: A Social History of Urban Growth, 1874-1914, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1975, p130

[4] Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University, “To Canada” from The Volga Germans, 09 Jul 2020 [last updated], accessed 30 May 2021, https://www.volgagermans.org/history/immigration/canada

[5] Clifford Sifton, “The Immigrations Canada Wants” from Maclean’s, 01 April 1922 [published], accessed 30 May 2021, https://archive.macleans.ca/article/1922/4/1/the-immigrants-canada-wants

[6] Donald Miller, In the Midst of Wolves: A History of German Baptists in Volhynia, Russia, 1863-1943, Portland, OR: Multnomah Printing, 2000, p229-242; p291

[7] “[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Lange/Schindler/Gurel/Pries/Pudel Families from Scheple” [message board thread], Feb 2007, accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, https://www.sggee.org/pipermail/ger-poland-volhynia/2007-February/006644.html

[8] “Baptist Records in Volhynia,” accessed 16 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, https://www.sggee.org/research/parishes/church_parishes/BaptistInVolhynia.html

[9] Donald Miller, “The Suffering and Triumphs of the German Baptists (1863-1943)” from In the Midst of Wolves, undated, accessed 30 May 2021, http://inthemidstofwolves.com/articles/suffering-triumph.pdf

[10] The Winnipeg Tribune, 12 Jul 1894, accessed 27 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[11] “Baptist Records in Volhynia” from Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, 27 Nov 2018 [last updated], accessed 16 Mar 2021, https://www.sggee.org/research/parishes/church_parishes/BaptistInVolhynia.html

[12] Janet Wasserman, “The Journey from Eastern Europe to North America in 1900 and 1904,” 2012 [published], accessed 30 May 2021 through JewishGen, https://www.jewishgen.org/bessarabia/files/Emigration/JourneyFromEasternEuropeToNorthAmerica1900-1904.pdf

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Juliane Rempel” in Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, Staatsarchiv Hamburg [Hamburg State Archives], accessed 30 May 2021 through Ancestry

[15] Wasserman

[16] “Juliana Rempel” in Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 29 May 2021 through Ancestry

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] “[Ludwik Rempel birth record, 1871]” from “Akta stanu cywilnego Parafii Ewangelicko-Reformowanej w Zelowie (Evangelical Reformed Parish in Zelów Records),” Archiwum Państwowe w Łodzi (Lodz State Archives), accessed 31 May 2021 through Geneteka

[20] The Winnipeg Tribune, 06 Jun 1935 and 07 Jun 1935, accessed 27 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[21] Victor Gess, Portrait of a Homesteader: An Ancestral Journey Through Poland, Volhynia and Canada, Lafayette, CA: Missouri River Press, 2017, p159

[22] Artibise, p161

[23] 1891 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry

[24] Ibid.

[25] Artibise, p225

[26] 1891 Census of Canada

[27] “[August Rempel death information]” in Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency database index, accessed 15 Mar 2021

[28] “[Hellene Magreta Rempel birth information]” in Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency database index, accessed 15 Mar 2021

[29] “[Ada Rempel birth information]” in Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency database index, accessed 15 Mar 2021

[30] “Edith Rempel” in Find a Grave, 17 Sep 2014 [entry added], accessed 31 May 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/136055795/edith-rempel

[31] 1901 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May through Ancestry

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] 1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry

[35] 1911 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through FamilySearch [Note: surname spelled Rimpell]; 1916 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry; 1921 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry

[36] The Winnipeg Tribune, 25 Aug 1928, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[37] “Augustus Rempel” in Henderson’s Winnipeg Directory, 1922, accessed 31 May 2021 through Ancestry [Note: August is working as a contractor; Violet Rempel (dressmaker) and Walter Rempel (fire department clerk) also live at home in 1922]

[38] “[Obituary for Mary Ann Rempel]” from The Winnipeg Tribune, 14 Dec 1927, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[39] “[Obituary for Julia Rempel]” from The Winnipeg Tribune, 08 Dec 1932, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[40] “[Obituary for Julia Rempel]” from The Winnipeg Tribune, 09 Dec 1932, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[41] “[Obituary for August Rempel]” from The Winnipeg Tribune, 22 Feb 1943, accessed 31 May 2021 through Newspapers.com

[42] “[Obituary for August Rempel]” from Der Sendbote, 17 Mar 1943, “United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012” [collection by American Historical Society of Germans from Russia], accessed 30 May 2021 through FamilySearch; translated by Margot Henriksen

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.

Understanding the Geography: Ludwischin-Scheppel

It took me a surprisingly long time to understand where on a map my family history was taking place. I had yet to realize that having even a “work in progress” understanding of the regions I was researching would be as helpful as it is. Perhaps I didn’t bother to orient myself right away because I was intimidated by the everchanging European borders of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. [Note: The blog post, “Those Infamous Border Changes: A Crash Course in Polish History,” from From Shepherds and Shoemakers is a thorough yet concise overview of Polish border changes]. In this blog entry I will first try to explain how I understand the geographical terms and then provide a visual guide to what locations I write about with regards to the Kirsch family (see Kirsch Research page) in Volhynia. I should preface with the disclaimer that I am still learning and this is the way I currently understand it. Corrections are appreciated and I probably need to revisit previous blog entries to make corrections based on new knowledge.

My great-great-grandfather, Samuel Kirsch, traveled with his family from Florentynow (colony or village), Lodzkie (voivodeship = province), Poland (country), to Rozyszcze (parish), Lutsk (raion = district), Volhynia (oblast = province or region), Russia (country), in around 1867. The journey from what is now central Poland to western Ukraine was more than 500 kilometers. [Note: I use the terms “colony” and “village” interchangeably because I am often referring to communities established in Congress Poland and Volhynia by German colonists]. The Kirsch family had lived in Florentynow since at least 1813, the recorded year of birth of Samuel’s father, Krzysztof Kirsch. Before then, the family lived in Wola (colony or village), Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia (the precise location of Wola is currently unknown, but you can see Posen city, or Poznan, on the map below, west of Point A).

Map 1: Map of journey on a current map of Poland and Ukraine, created 21 Mar 2021 using Google MyMaps; Volhynia of the late nineteenth century spanned southeast Poland and northeast Ukraine

Samuel and his family first settled in Konstantynow (colony or village), Rozyszcze, Lutsk, Volhynia. Samuel’s seventh child, Daniel, was born in Konstantynow, August 22, 1874. Samuel moved ten kilometers to Ludwischin (colony or village) between 1874 and 1877–assumed because his other eleven children were born there, the first being Karl, born March 27, 1877. I often refer to Ludwischin as Ludwischin-Scheppel, which is sometimes how I see it written. The community of Scheppel is located approximately two kilometers north of Ludwischin.

Map 2: Expansion of the area around Point B in Map 1, with the city of Lutsk to the far right. Information from general Google Maps searches and maps from the Society of German Genealogy in Eastern Europe and Germans from Russia Settlement Locations

[Note: Refer to Kirsch Research for a list of names; all the Kirsch names in this paragraph are children of Samuel Kirsch unless otherwise noted] Scheppel is where Gottlieb Kirsch was confirmed in the Lutheran church in 1882.[1] But the community has Baptist associations as well. August Rempel and Julianna Kirsch Rempel emigrated from Scheppel with other Baptist families in 1890.[2] Daniel Kirsch’s wife, Wanda Schindler, was from Ludwischin, but her father and two of her sibling were of the Baptist group that traveled from Scheppel aboard the Hansa.[5] According to In the Midst of Wolves by Donald Miller, Scheppel was a Baptist station in Rozyzscze (parish). While Rozyzscze city was home to the largest Baptist church in the parish, there were several “stations” established as the Baptists grew in number in Volhynia, including Scheppel, where people from various communities congregated to worship.[4] Some of these stations became self-supporting churches. Other names for Scheppel are Schepel, Schepek, Schöpel, Schlepe, Szepel, and Schelpe.[5]

“[Rempel family in Hansa ship manifest, 1890]” from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 20 Mar2021 through Ancestry; the Rempel family is from “Scheple, Russland”

There is evidence that the Kirsch family moved to the nearby colony, Wsewolodowka, between 1902 (death of Adolf Kirsch in Ludwischin) and 1905 (birth of eighteenth and last child, Olga, in Wsewolodowka).[6] Karl Kirsch’s residence was Wsewolodowka when he emigrated in 1913 [Update: Karl lived in Wladislowka, which is a different colony].[7] His four children were also born there (1901, 1905, 1909, 1911).[8]

Finally, Friedrich Kirsch was born in “Marienovka Usicze,” or what I think is nearby Usicze, in 1899.[9]

Tracking geographic locations as they appear in various records against a timeline helps me determine where the family was during major migrations and important historical events. This information helps me construct a narrative, to help tell a story that is more than names and dates. It will also help with future research–for example, where did remaining Kirsch family members go during the deportation of Volhynian Germans in 1915. Knowing where they were living around that date could help find answers.


[1] [“Gottlieb Kirsch confirmation record, 1883”] from VKP Birth & Confirmation Records, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[2] [“Rempel family in Hansa ship manifest, 1890”] from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 20 Mar 2021 through Ancestry

[4] Miller, Donald N., In the Midst of Wolves: A History of German Baptists in Volhynia, Russia, 1863-1943, Portland, OR: Multnomah Printing, 2000

[5] “[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Lange/Schindler/Gurel/Pries/Pudel Families from Scheple” [message board thread], Feb 2007, accessed 16 Nov 2020 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, https://www.sggee.org/pipermail/ger-poland-volhynia/2007-February/006644.html

[6] [“Olga Kirsch birth record, 1905”] from Volhynia Indexes 1900-1918, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

[7] “Karl Kirsch” in Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Ancestry

[8] [“Kirsch family in Stockport ship manifest, 1921”] from Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Ancestry

[9] [“Friedrich Kirsch birth record, 1899”] from VKP Birth & Confirmation Records, accessed 21 Mar 2021 through Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe

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

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)