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

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 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

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,

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

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)