Deaths and the cemetery in Josefstal

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Family Dieser in Josefstal

We only have official death records for Josefstal from 1907 – 1916…a total of 341 burials.  These were reports to the county government, so they include the name, age, parents names, family number and date of death.  No cause of death is recorded, those would be found in the Church records as recorded.

Here are the yearly stats:

    • 1907: 57
    • 1908: 36
    • 1909: 18
    • 1910: 47
    • 1911: 27
    • 1912: 21
    • 1913: 75
    • 1914: 20
    • 1915: 16
    • 1916: 24

Some families lost up to 4 people in years such as 1913…probably due to illness sweeping the home. But 1913 especially was a very bad year for deaths.

It also makes one wonder how many people were buried in the Josefstal cemetery….if burials started around the founding of the village, 1852, then there are well over a thousand people buried here.

Google Maps actually shows the location of the Josefstal cemetery….and even shows the outline of where the fence once was!JosefstalcemeteryGoogle Earth calculates the size of the cemetery in Josefstal as 81 meters by 107 meters.

When you are standing in the cemetery, you can see the mounds of the graves…naturally more noticeable in the fall when vegetation has died.

There are still iron crosses in the cemetery, most of the names have been ripped off so as to not identify that there were ever any Volga Germans living here. Wooden crosses would have long since been used for firewood.cropped-dsc08296.jpgDSC08304

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There is even at least one cross with a name still on it. Thanks to Vladimir Kakorin.

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And there are a few Russian Orthodox graves from the 1960’s, just before the village was destroyed.

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And finally, there is this video that we took in the summer of 2009…showing how the cemetery in Josefstal looks today.

How about you? Do you have any old photographs from the village that you can share with us?

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Remembering a good friend: Alexander-Josef Dreser: 1957 – 2015

DSC02500Life as a family historian can be lonely.

You spend hours and hours over years, with little to show….but when you find something it’s big.  You want to tell someone.

My Dad was always interested…and it was great showing what I found and who I found.

But I was to be blessed with a cousin who was just like me.

Alexander-Josef Dreser was born in Russia in 1957.  He was the grandson of Alois and Katharina (Dieser) Heinrich.Which means his grandmother and my grandmother were sisters.

Through the years we established a great friendship…sharing old records…stories…contacts.

Both of us were able to compile and sort through some major archival records and put together a book on the history of our families village, Josefstal.

Alex was able to travel to Canada to visit and in 2007, Marina and I were able to visit him, his wife Lora and son Eduard.

Alex died on July 7, 2015 at the age of 57.

He was a good and kind friend….and I shall miss him in many ways.  Mostly having someone to share my historical passion in documenting the life and people of our little village, Josefstal, on the Volga.

I will really miss him.

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Famine along the Volga: 1922 in Josefstal

Volga Relief 1922a 001Volga Relief 1922b 001This excerpt from a February 1922 letter by the Volga Relief Society, documents that 350 children in Josefstal were being fed in a special kitchen set up to help residents who were starving.

350 children!

This famine relief was supplied by people all over North America, Germany and Argentina.

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Johann Adam Rohwein family of Josefstal to Germany

Adam Rohwein 001

Johan Adam Rohwein circa 1943

Johann “Adam” Rohwein was born in Josefstal on 17 January 1878.

He married Elisabetha Burghardt on 3 November 1892, also in Josefstal.

They would have 8 children, Martha, born 5 June 1894; Barbara, born 10 February 1896; Nikolaus, born 1 July 1900 (died 12 August 1916); Anna, born 1900; Katarina born 17 January 1907; Magdalena born 1 June 1909; Peter born 17 June 1911; and Pauline, born 17 April 1914.

In the 1920’s, like so many other Volga Germans escaping famine and war, the family would make its way to Minsk.

Caught in the Nazi onslaught of Russia, some in the family would make their way eventually to Germany, settling in the town of Isny.

Thanks to captured war records, we have some details about the family and their settlement in Germany….along with some copies of archival records from Russia.

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EWZ Record for Adam Rohwein documents his family, as well as stating that his wife Elizabeth Burgardt died in Minsk on 5 May 1922

Birth/Baptism record for Johann Adam Rohwein states he was born on 17 January 1874 in Josefstal and baptized the same day.  His parents were Adam Rohwein & Susana Benz. Godparents were Adam Gette & Katarina Benz.

Birth/Baptism record for Johann Adam Rohwein states he was born on 17 January 1874 in Josefstal and baptized the same day. His parents were Adam Rohwein & Susana Benz. Godparents were Adam Gette & Katarina Benz.

Josefstal Church Marriage record for Adam Rohwein (son of Adam Rohwein & Susana Benz) and Elizabeth Burgardt (daughter of Phillip Burgardt & Katarina Rak....married 3 November 1892 in Josefstal. Witnesses were Johan Peter Kern & Kaspar Wagner.

Josefstal Church Marriage record for Adam Rohwein (son of Adam Rohwein & Susana Benz) and Elizabeth Burgardt (daughter of Phillip Burgardt & Katarina Rak….married 3 November 1892. Witnesses were Johan Peter Kern & Kaspar Wagner.

We have copies of some of the birth records for their children:

Birth/Baptism record for Martha Rohwein, born 5 June 1894 and baptized 6 June 1894 in Josefstal. Godparents were Johannes Rohwein & Elisabetha Simon

Birth/Baptism record for Martha Rohwein, born 5 June 1894 and baptized 6 June 1894 in Josefstal. Godparents were Johannes Rohwein & Elisabetha Simon

Birth/Baptism record for Barbara Rohwein, born 10 February 1896 and baptized on 11 February 1896 in Josefstal. Godparents were Peter Benz & wife Barbara.

Birth/Baptism record for Barbara Rohwein, born 10 February 1896 and baptized on 11 February 1896 in Josefstal. Godparents were Peter Benz & wife Barbara.

Birth/Baptism record for Nikolaus Rohwein, born 1 July 1900 and baptized 2 July 1900 in Josefstal. Godparents were Nikolaus Heinrich Margareta Gerk.

Birth/Baptism record for Nikolaus Rohwein, born 1 July 1900 and baptized 2 July 1900 in Josefstal. Godparents were Nikolaus Heinrich & Margareta Gerk.

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The Bellingtier (Bellendir) Family to the USA

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George Bellingtier, born 16 July 1908 in Josefstal, died 17 April 1993 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

George Bellendir was born in Josefstal on July 16, 1908 (OS).  He emigrated to the USA aboard the SS Noordam, arriving at Ellis Island from Rotterdam, on August 24, 1914 – along with his brother Alois (Albert), age 2, and mother, Elisabetha, age 23.

Bellendir Georg 16.07.1908

Birth/Baptism record for Georg Bellendir, born 16 July 1908, and baptized in the Josefstal Church on 20 July 1908, by Father Alois Oks. Parents are Georg Bellendir & Elisabetha Haberkorn. Godparents are Georg Gerk & Margareta Gerk.

His father, Georg Bellendir, emigrated to the USA aboard the SS Koln, arriving at Galveston from Bremen on March 31, 1911.

The family name was later anglicized to Bellingtier.

The family settled in the Fort Dodge, Iowa area.

Marriage  record for  Georg Bellendir, age 20, son of Ignatz Bellendir and Barbara Rep, and Ekaterina Haberkorn, age 16, daughter of Josef Haberkorn and Elisabetha Buss.  Marriage took place in Josefstal on 11 Feb 1908, performed by Father Alois Oks. Witnesses are Adam Dieser & Alois Rohwein.

Marriage record for Georg Bellendir, age 20, son of Ignatz Bellendir and Barbara Rep, and Ekaterina Haberkorn, age 16, daughter of Josef Haberkorn and Elisabetha Buss. Marriage took place in Josefstal on 11 Feb 1908, performed by Father Alois Oks. Witnesses are Adam Dieser & Alois Rohwein.

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The Fort Dodge Messenger, January 19, 1983.

A little of the family history was written in the Fort Dodge Messenger. (click on the above photo to read more)

After Georg Bellingtier died on April 17, 1993, an old photograph from Russia was discovered among his things.

It is not known who is in the photo, but it was believed to be his father’s brother, Nikolaus Bellendir of Josefstal.

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Fort Dodge Messenger obituary, dated May 1, 1963, for Elizabeth Bellingtier, Mother of Georg Bellingtier, born in Josefstal. Elizabeth died April 30, 1963 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

 

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Emigration to Brazil & Argentina: January/February 1909

Coblenz1909 001In a previous post about emigration from Josefstal to South America, I documented some of the names from the SS Coblenz, and the departure from Bremen in Germany in January of 1909.  This ship arrived in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, February 13, 1909.

As far as we can tell, most of these emigrants would find their way to Argentina, with a few even returning to Josefstal in later years.

I was able, with the kind help of the Brazil State Archives, to obtain a better copy of the passenger list than the one I had…and it even listed village of origin. You can download it here.

I am posting the complete list, and also updating my original list of Josefstal residents….I think I had missed one family…as the original list had no village of origin…so I had to guess based on what Josefstal records we have.

One wonders, where are their descendents now?

SCHAFER, Adam (36), Katarina (30), Katarina (4)

SCHMIDT, Johannes (38), Anna (36), Marie (12), Peter (10), Katharina (7 ¾), Johannes (5), Elenora (2 ½), Jakob 1 ½ )

WEICHEL, Georg (30), Magdalena (25), Katarina (6), Juliana (5) Gottfried (19)

UHRICH, Peter (32), Elisabeth (24), Peter (10), Katharina (8), Alexander (6), Anna (9 months)

STREMEL, Johannes (36), Anna (30), Adam (7 ½ ), Michael (5), Anna (3 ½), Margareta (6 mo.)

BREIT, Josef (30), Margareta (34), Elisabeth (8), Josef (6), Philipe (4), Pauline (8 mo), Magdalena (50)

GERK, Peter (38), Katharina (24), Magdalena (2 ½), Georg (4 mo)

WEICHEL, Jakob (42), Julia (28), Margarita (2 ½ ), Susanna (7 mo)

KERN, Johannes (22)

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Christof Holzmann and Family of Pueblo San José, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Holzmann 001I have collected some of the documents dealing with the Christof Holzmann family of Pueblo San Jose, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This family traveled from Russia to Argentina sometime in the early 1900’s.

While not complete, here is a collection of documents from Russia and Argentina dealing with this family.

Hopefully the family will have old photographs and documents they might share.

 

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Georg Stremel

26Georg Stremel was born in Josefstal on 3 February 1899 (OS), to Johannes Stremel and Anna Marie Arnold.

Georg married Katherine Burgart on 12 Feb 1918, also in Josefstal.

This photograph, courtesy of the Stremel family, would seem to show Georg’s mother, Anna Marie Arnold Stremel. Georg’s father died in 1912. Also on the photograph would be Georg’s sister, Anna Margareta (born 1880), who had marrried Johann Adam Dieser.

Georg came to Canada in 1924, after he escaped Russia and lived for about 2 years in a refugee camp in Frankfurt/Oder.

He got his wife and son out as well, and they came to Canada shortly after.

The rest of the Stremel family would stay in Russia, and were deported to Siberia and labour camps in 1941.

For the file I have added Georg’s Birth/Baptism record, as well as the passenger list record for /March/April 1924, documenting his arrival on the SS Montrose.

 

Birth Baptism record for Georg Stremel, born on 3 Feb 1899 and baptized on 4 Feb 1899.

Birth Baptism record for Georg Stremel, born on 3 Feb 1899 and baptized on 4 Feb 1899. Godparents were Georg Dieser & Katarina Dieser

Passenger list for Georg Stremel

Passenger list for Georg Stremel

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UPDATED!! Pueblo San José Argentina: Alexander Holzmann

AlexanderHolzman2aThis post from May, 2013 has been UPDATED!

From time to time, I come across further documentation about folks who left Josefstal, and then traveled to South America.  This is such a case.

This obituary card, courtesy of Norma Holzmann, documents the death of Alejandro Holzmann, born in 1893 in Josefstal.

Rightly or wrongly, my documentation courtesy of draft records, state that he was actually born January 28, 1894.  So who is correct?  We’d have the have the actual Church record to check.

Alejandro was the son of Kristof Holzmann and Anna Margareta Schmidt.  The draft record states that the family went to “America” in 1904.  They eventually settled in Pueblo San José, Buenos Aires, Argentina, close to Coronel Suarez.

Also in this town, was his brother Alois Holzmann, who was confirmed in 1905 according to Church records from San José:

Alois-Holzmann-1905

 

Alois was born April 8, 1883, also in Josefstal.  What happened to him? Perhaps someone will let us know. There were other families from Josefstal who also settled there…I will be documenting those over the coming months.

 

UPDATE: So on August 9, 2014, I received from Russia a copy of Alexander’s Birth/Baptism record.

Holzmann Alexander 28.01.1894

It states that Alexander Holzmann was born on 28 January 1894 (OS), and was baptized in the Parish Church in Josefstal on 30 January 1894 (OS).  Parents are Kristof Holzmann and Anna Margareta Schmidt.  The Godparents were Georg Dieser and his wife Katarina.

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The Valentin Dieser Family of Josefstal

Historical research is funny. You go through dry times, and then, all of a sudden, a flood comes. It was like that this year with some ongoing research I had been doing on our family. One specific set of records alluded me. These dealt with the father of my grandmother, Elisabeth Dieser Gerk. Her Dad, Johannes Dieser, was an allusive historical character. The family had birth dates for him and did not seem to fit, and no document survived the years they spent in the GULAG.

I even entertained the thought that perhaps he was adopted, and we would never close that file! Given the difficulty it is trying to get archival materials from Russia already, I just chalked it up to an unfinished piece of historical research.

Well, I am amazed. After 30 years of looking, associates in the archives found the missing piece of history.

Dieser Johannes 29.01.1874The Birth/Baptism record for my great-grandfather, Johannes Dieser. Born 29 January, 1874, and Baptized the next day…son of Valentin Dieser and Anna Margareta Belendir. He was born in Josefstal, which was part of the Catholic Parish of Marienfeld.

But that was not all. Here is a copy of the marriage record for my great-grandparents: Johannes Dieser and Marie Eva Heit.

Dieser-HeitThis is a full page from the marriage book for Marienfeld, weddings all taking place on November 8th, 1894.

It lists 3 weddings that day, (there could be more on another page). Of course it lists the parents of the Bride and Groom, Valentin Dieser and Anna Maria Bellendir for Johannes, and Adam Heit and Anna Margareta Gette for Bride Marie Eva.

Johannes will die in the spring of 1933, in the Caucasus, due to complications in surgery…in a weakened condition due to the Great Famine of the 1930’s. Marie Eva, my great-grandmother, will starve to death in the summer of 1933, in her village of Josefstal.

The next question I had was about my grandmother’s grandfather, Valentin Dieser.

In my interviews with her, my grandmother told me the story of how her father was so upset about losing his Dad at a young age. So upset, that one day he wanted to do to the cemetery to “dig” up his Dad…just so he could see him again…or be lose to his remains. My grandmother thought that her father was 2 when his father (Valentin Dieser) died. She also thought she remembered that her Mom was 10 or 11 when her father (Adam Heit) died.

So…I was given the death record for Valentin. It states that Valentin Dieser died on 12 October 1885 in Josefstal at the age of 55.

Dieser 12.10.1885My great-grandfather, Johannes Dieser, would have been 11 years old.

So…in my quest to prove my grandmother’s stories, I discovered that she was partially right…she just got the parents mixed up.

These are the “puzzles” I love to do….trying to find the missing pieces…

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