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.

NaNoWriMo Project: The History of Martha

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

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

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

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

August and Julia immigrated to Canada with their sons Adolf and Gustave August in 1890 (see above record). In 1891, they are living in Winnipeg with August’s 81-year-old father, also August Rempel [update: I erroneously read this as August Rempel, 81, and it should be corrected to August Rempel, son, age 1, the first number being a crossed out 0]. In the 1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the Rempels are living at 509 Alexander Avenue with one boarder, Robert Palmer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samuel’s Sisters

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

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

The page contains the following information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dorothy Woloszczuk kindly translated this record:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Residents of Kolonia Florentynow, 1866

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kazimierz Wisniewski or Gottfried Kirsch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your thoughts?

Kirsch Ancestors

I am having fun this weekend adding new names to my Kirsch family tree. The records referenced here are how I got the following Kirsch genealogy: Kazimierz Kirsch m. Elzbieta Pfeiffer > Krzysztof Kirsch m. Anna Karolina Kubsch > Samuel Kirsch m. Karolina Wurfel > Martha Kirsch m. Julius Kelm

Samuel Kirsch was born in around 1839. I don’t have a birth record, but two of his known siblings, Gottlieb (Bogumil) Kirsch and Julianna Kirsch, were born in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland, in 1842 and 1844. I should note that there appear to be three different villages named Florentynow in Lodzkie, Poland, and the village where the records originate is in the county of Radomsko.

[“Samuel Kirsch vel Wisniewski and Karolina Wurfel marriage record”], Akta stanu cywilnego Filiału Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego w Dziepółci, accessed through Geneteka on 17 Oct 2020. [Note: “vel” means “or,” so “Kirsch or Wisniewski,” which is the Polish version of the surname]

Samuel Kirsch and Karolina Wurfel were married in Florentynow on October 2, 1859. Samuel’s parents are recorded as Krzysztof (Christoph) Wisniewski and Anna Karolina Kubsch (also sometimes spelled as Kupka or Kupsz). Karolina Wurfel’s parents are Wojciech or Jerzy (Georg in German or George in English) Wurfel and Julianna Hansch.

[“Krzysztof Wisniewski and Anna Karolina Kubsch marriage record, 1833”] from “Poland, Częstochowa Roman Catholic Church Books, 1226-1950,” Archiwum Archidiecezji Częstochowskiej (Czestochowa Archdiocese Archives, Czestochowa), accessed through FamilySearch on 17 Oct 2020.

Krzysztof Wisniewski and Anna Karolina Kubsch married in Radomsko in 1833. With the help of Jan Textor from the SGGEE Facebook group, I now know that this marriage record for Krzysztof and Anna Karolina names Kazimierz Wisniewski and Elzbieta Fayfer (Pfeiffer) as Krzysztof’s parents. Anna Karolina’s parents are Gottfryd Kubsch and Anna Rozyna Riesmann. The record also says that Krzysztof and Anna Karolina were born and lived in “Florentynow Kolonia.” “Kolonia” was often added to a village name to designate it as a colony village (in this instance, German) and different from Polish villages with the same name.

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

Finally, the above scan is of the birth record for Krzysztof Kirsch or Wisniewski. Krzysztof was born in 1813 in either “Kolonia Florentyn” or Radomsko and I can make out the names of his parents: Kazimierz Wisniewski and Elzbieta Fayfer. I need help extracting more details from this record.

Finding 19 Kirsch Children

My last blog post referred to Martha Kirsch’s eighteen brothers and sisters. A few years ago, my Aunt Phyllis and I thought we would try to find and record all nineteen of Samuel Kirsch’s children; however, it wasn’t until this week that I found two, Friedrich and Olga (born in 1899 and 1905), and wondered if maybe we had finally found all of them.

“[Olga Kirsch birth record].” Retrieved 17 Jun 2020 from FamilySearch. [Note: Samuel Kirsch and Auguste Reiter written in Russian]

Using Geneteka, FamilySearch, Odessa, and SGGEE birth and death records, and then checking surname variants (Kirsch and the Polish version, Wisniewski, for example) and double-checking the names of the parents, the following list was compiled.

Samuel Kirsch (b. 10 Oct 1835 in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland; d. aft 1905 in Volhynia, Russia) m. Karolina Wurfel (b. 07 Sep 1835 in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland; d. abt 1883 in Volhynia, Russia)

  1. Christian Kirsch (b. 07 Sep 1860 in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland)
  2. Gottlieb Kirsch (b. 09 Jan 1863 in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland)
  3. Julianna “Julia” Kirsch (b. 25 Aug 1865 in Florentynow, Lodzkie, Poland; d. 08 Dec 1932 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. August Rempel (b. Jul 1865 in Petrould, Russia; d. 21 Feb 1943 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
  4. Ferdinand Albert Kirsch (b. Apr 1868; d. 07 Jul 1868 in Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  5. Christina Kirsch (b. 14 Jul 1869 in Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  6. Eva Kirsch (b. 04 Jun 1872 in Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 15 May 1874 in Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  7. Daniel Kirsch (b. 22 Aug 1874 in Konstantynow, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 21 May 1961 in Camrose, Alberta, Canada) m. Wanda Schindler (b. 1882 in Russia; d. 28 Dec 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
  8. Karl Kirsch (b. 27 Mar 1877 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 12 Mar 1950 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada) m. Olga Dymmel (b. abt 1881 in Russia; d. in Canada)
  9. Martha Kirsch (b. Apr 1881 in Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 20 Jul 1965 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Julius Kelm (b. 09 Mar 1978 in Hofmanofka, Volhynia, Russia; d. 27 Feb 1959 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

Samuel Kirsch m. Auguste Reiter (b. 1863 in Tomaszow, Lodzkie, Poland)

  1. Emilie Kirsch (b. 15 May 1886 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 03 Oct 1890 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  2. Adolf Kirsch (b. 09 May 1888 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 27 Nov 1890 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  3. Pauline Kirsch (b. 07 Sep 1890 in in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 27 Mar 1968 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) m. Johann Yackel (b. 20 May 1891 in Russia; d. 31 Jul 1976 in Canada)
  4. Lydia Kirsch (b. 30 Aug 1892 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 02 Jan 1983 in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada) m. Emanuel Adler (b. 09 Nov 1888 in Volhynia, Russia; d. 14 Apr 1976 in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada)
  5. August Kirsch (b. 22 Dec 1894 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  6. Ferdinand Kirsch (b. 08 Jan 1897 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  7. Friedrich Kirsch (b. 16 Apr 1899 in Marienovka Usicze, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  8. Adolf Kirsch (b. 06 Dec 1901 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia; d. 16 Nov 1902 in Ludwischin, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)
  9. Olga Kirsch (b. 08 Feb 1905 in Wsewolodowka, Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia)

Samuel Kirsch had nine children with each of his two wives, which is eighteen children. Where is the nineteenth? His second wife, Auguste, had a son from her first marriage to Heinrich Schmidt, Wilhelm Schmidt, born July 7, 1882 in Konstantinow Saturze, Wladimir, Volhynia, Russia. This makes nineteen, but maybe we will never know if we have recorded everybody.

Stories from the Past: Martha Kirsch (Part 3)

My great-grandmother, Martha Kirsch, was born in April 1881 in Lutsk, Volhynia, Russia, to Samuel Kirsch (Wisniewski in Polish) and Karolina Wurfel. As all of the Kirsch children born between 1877 and 1897 were born in Ludwischin (village), Lutsk (district), Volhynia (region), Russia, it is possible Martha was also born there.

Note: The following stories were written by a Kelm family member who was close to Julius and Martha. They were both interviewed and their stories retold revealing insights into their personal lives, marriages, births, and deaths. The stories were transcribed by Phyllis Kelm Reakes with permission to share from the original author.

Stories from the Past: Martha Kirsch (Part 3)

Martha came from a very poor family of 19 children. She recalls her father, [Samuel], as an old man with a beard, who married three or four times. Martha’s siblings Julia, Carl and Daniel all immigrated to Canada, too.

Martha said that there were so many children that at night her parents had to make a roll call to see that all the children were accounted for and none were missing. One evening one of the children was missing. The parents and the older children started to search for him. They found him sleeping in the outside oven. It was warm in the oven and he had crawled inside and fell asleep there.

The Kirsch farm was situated next to a school but the Kirsch children did not go to school as they were too poor and had to work. Martha’s job was herding cows. She would go outside all day in the field watching the cows and would hear the children singing in the school house when the windows of the school house were open. She sang along with them and soon she knew all the songs. At night she said she would sit on her father’s lap and sing the songs to him. He was amazed and asked her how she had learned the songs. She told him she had heard the children singing in the school house and learned the songs. This made her father very happy. Martha was very intelligent. She had an excellent memory. She never went to school but at age 30 while living in Camper, Manitoba she learned to read and write German from the minister that used to visit. She then taught all her children to read and write in the German language.

In Germany, the Remples were neighbours of the Kirsch family. They felt sorry for Martha and took her in. She worked for them as a domestic and they were very good to her. The Remples decided to come to Canada with their 12-year-old son, August. They asked Martha to come with them and she decided to immigrate with them to Canada.

About this same time Martha fell in love with a young man. They wanted to marry but he had to serve a year in the army first. She said that she could not wait for him as arrangements had been made for her to go to Canada with the Remples. The young man was very heartbroken. He told her that she would never be happy because she did not marry him, a man who truly loved her. Later, Martha learned that this young man had been killed in the army. She often told this story and over the years the words of her young man came back to haunt her. She did not have a happy marriage to Julius Kelm and although she loved her children she often wondered how her life could have been different if she had remained in Volhynia and had married her young soldier.

Mr. and Mrs. Remple, August Remple and Martha went to live at 868 Ballantine [Bannatyne] Avenue, Winnipeg. It is not certain if Martha’s sister, Julia, was already living in Winnipeg or whether she immigrated along with the Remples. Julia and August did not know each other in Germany [note: August and Julia Remple immigrated to Canada in 1890 and appear in the 1891 Census of Canada]. August Remple and Julia Kirsch eventually married each other. Also living in the house about this time was Martha and Julia’s brothers, Carl and Daniel, who worked for the CPR.

Mr. and Mrs. Remple were already fairly elderly. They had purchased a small farm at Oak Bank, which was not far from Winnipeg. Later, when Mrs. Remple was dying she only wanted Martha to look after her. Martha left her husband, Julius, and children to care for Mrs. Remple who died within a week. The house at 808 [Update, 31 May 2021: Possible this refers to 814 Bannatyne] Ballantine [Bannatyne] was a large two or three story home that was located close to the General Hospital [Winnipeg General Hospital, now Health Sciences Centre]. August Remple was a sewer contractor and had people working for him digging sewer lines for the City of Winnipeg. The Remples also had rooms rented out to boarders, most of whom worked at the hospital which was located nearby. Martha got a job working in the laundry room of the hospital. She would wash the hospital sheets on washboards and folded the clean laundry. She described herself as being quite happy. She had a real job for the first time in her life and was making her own money. She was quite content and had no interest in getting married.