Monthly Archives: March 2013

Thomas, Forrest, Burrell Family Gatherings

My father’s family [the Thomases] was close to the other parts of his mother’s side of the family, and there were many occasions where all the cousins would get together for Summer picnics, or holiday meals together. Here are a few of the photos I have that mark those occasions. They are all quite similar, and my dad remembers them as being “obligatory” and not eagerly anticipated by the kids.

First a word about who all these people are.  The Thomas boys (Fred, Dave, Dick) are the children of Mildred Jean Forrest and her husband Fred Thomas Jr., my paternal grandparents.  The Forrest boys (Jack, Ray, & Craig) are the children of John Prescott Forrest Jr.  The Burrell and Marshall kids (John, Pam, Michael, Dottie) are the children of Elizbeth “Betty” Forrest and her husbands.  Mildred Jean, Betty, and John Prescott Forrest were all the children of Lulu Cairns Forrest, who appears in one of these photos.

All set?  Ok.  Here we go!

Forrest, Thomas, Burrell Families, abt 1954.

Forrest, Thomas, Burrell Families, abt 1954.

(l to r) Dave Thomas, John Burrell (with jacket), John Forrest (striped shirt), Craig Forrest (picking teeth), Dick Thomas (white t-shirt), Fred Thomas (back row t-shirt), Ray Forrest (striped shirt), Michael Marshall, Dottie Marshall, Pam Burrell (plaid) Courtesy of Tom Forrest.

Forrest, Burrell, Thomas families, about 1954

Forrest, Burrell, Thomas families, about 1955

John Burrell in the back. Dave Thomas, Michael Marshall & Fred Thomas III in a row in front of him (l to r). Pamela Burrell is next to Fred behind the younger kids.  Dick Thomas between Michael and Pam.  Craig Forrest is front left in the suspenders and polka-dot shirt. Dottie Marshall is the girl in the front next to him. Jack Forrest is in the front in suspenders and light shirt.  His brother Ray Forrest is next to him.

Family gathering, abt 1956.

Family gathering, abt 1956.

Dottie Marshall, Michael Marshall, Jack Forrest, John Burrell, Pam Burrell (with hands on Craig Forrest), Fred Thomas, Dick Thomas, Dave Thomas, Ray Forrest (l to r) Courtesy of Diana Burrell.

Same day, full family.

Same day, full family.

Taken the same day as the previous photo.  Back row, left to right: Mildred Jean Forrest, Jennie Matthew [wife of John Forrest], Bob Marshall [husband of Betty Forrest], John Forrest, Fred Thomas Jr., Betty Forrest.  2nd row, left to right: Dave Thomas (with bb gun), Fred Thomas III, John Burrell, Lulu Cairns, Andrew Coutermarsh [Lulu’s fourth husband].  Front row, left to right: Michael Marshall, Jack Forrest, Dick Thomas, Ray Forrest, Dottie Marshall, Pam Burrell (touching Craig Forrest). Courtesy of Diana Burrell.

Family Gathering, 1959

Family Gathering, 1959

Standing: Pamela Burrell, Dick Thomas, Dave Thomas, John Burrell, Fred Thomas III, Jack Forrest. Ray Forrest and Craig Forrest in the front row. Dottie Marshall in the chair, Michael Marshall seated next to her.  Courtesy of John Burrell.

Winkelmann Farm in Posen – 1930

My newly-found cousin Doris Winkelmann Sonntag sent me these remarkable photos.  They show the Hermann Winkelmann farm in Posen about 1930.  Hermann Gustav Adolf Winkelmannn (1880-1961) was Doris’s grandfather, and was the nephew of my 3x great-grandmother Wilhelmine Winkelmann.  Hermann married Emma Pauline Denzen in 1904 and apparently took over the Denzin family farm.  The caption from Doris says “The Denzin Family had four girls and no boys, so Hermann took control of the farm when he married [Emma Denzin].”

The farm itself was located in the village of Stieglitz, Posen, Prussia [Siedlisko, Poland today], which was about a mile and a half from Gornitz, where my 3x great-grandfather Carl Friedrich Schmidt lived with his wife [the afore-mentioned Wilhelmine Winkelmann] and six children until 1892.

Hermann Winkelmann Farm, Stieglitz, 1930

Hermann Winkelmann Farm, Stieglitz, 1930

Hermann Winkelmann Farm, Stieglitz, 1930

Hermann Winkelmann Farm, Stieglitz, 1930

Winkelmann Family at Stieglitz Farm.

Winkelmann Family at Stieglitz Farm.

Detail of Winkelmann Family

Detail of Winkelmann Family

The last photo shows Paul Winkelmann, Gerhard Herrmann, Ida Winkelmann, Hedwig Herrmann, née. Winkelmann, Helga Herrmann and Gertrud Winkelmann (l to r) on the farm. Paul was my cousin Doris’s father.

Unfortunately, not much is left of the farm today.  Doris also sent me photos of the farm from 1969 and 2009, when the family went back to visit there, and it was not maintained and left to fall apart.  The Winkelmann family, like so many other German families from East Prussia, was forced to relocate to Germany following WWII.  The former German/Prussian provinces like Posen, Brandenburg, Westpreussen, Pommerania (Pommern), and others were given back to Poland and millions of Germans living in those regions were forced to leave everything behind and flee.  They were sent to resettlement camps in Germany and then relocated into German towns.   Doris’s grandfather Hermann eventually resettled in Groß Schönebeck, Germany.

Doris’s father, Otto Paul Winkelmann [1922-1982] was captured during the war, and upon his release from captivity he was informed he could not go back to the home where he had been born and raised.  He had to find his way across Europe and try to find where his family had been relocated.

You can read more about the fate of the former East Prussian citizens in this Wikipedia article.

It seems odd to me that we don’t learn anything about the reprisals against the German people after WWII in our history classes.  It’s not something I’ve ever heard mentioned, and I’m a pretty avid fan of History in general.  It has been eye opening to learn the degree to which the non-combatant German populace suffered in the wake of both WWI [as shown in this letter] and WWII.

The Winkelmann Family – New Branches

As I have written previously, I have been working for some time with a German woman named Doris Winkelmann Sonntag.  Doris contacted me about a year ago trying to find out if my 3x grandmother Wilhelmine Winkelmann (1836 – 1914) was related in some way to her Winkelmann family, which lived in the town of Karolina, in the province of Brandenburg, Prussia.

As time has gone on more and more evidence has emerged that links our family to the town of Karoline and towns that were just adjacent to it.

This morning Doris contacted me and sent me a quick note that she met with another Winkelmann family member (Ralf Block) this weekend, and the two of them have been able to determine that the father of Doris’s great grandfather Hermann Gustav Adolf Winkelmann (1880-1961) was Franz Winkelmann (1847 – 1936), and that this Franz Winkelmann was also the son of Christian Winkelmann from Karolina, Brandenburg, Posen, Prussia.  That means Doris’s great-grandfather Franz was the brother of my 3x great-grandmother Wilhelmine Winkelmann.

I’m attaching two family trees, one from Doris and one from Ralf, which show this relationship.  You will also note that Franz and Wilhelmine had a brother, Christian Friedrich Julius Winkelmann (1843 – 1902).  So that’s another branch of the tree that we can explore.  I have some original documents on the way from Prussia that I ordered from the Poznan Project which will tell us more about Franz and C.F. Julius.

[As always, click on these images to make them larger.]

Winkelmann Family Tree #1

Winkelmann Family Tree #1

Winkelmann Family Tree - Bloch

Winkelmann Family Tree – Ralf Block

FHC Files on Schulz/Schmidt/Winkelmann

Just a reminder to myself that the FHC has the following records on the Schulz home town of Jankendorf, Kreis Kolmar, Posen, Prussia:

Note Location Film/DGS
Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1781-1793 Taufen 1816-1908 Family History Library INTL Film 1194720 Items 2-4
Taufen 1908 Heiraten 1816-1941 Tote 1816-1852 Family History Library INTL Film 1194721
Tote 1852-1866 Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1781-1815 Family History Library INTL Film 1194733 Items 1-2

Germany, Preußen, Brandenburg, Friedeberg – Church records
Poland, Zielona Góra, Strzelce Krajeńskie – Church records

Film Notes
Note Location Film/DGS
Militärgemeinde: Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1869-1874 Family History Library INTL Film 172439

Krueger Family Origins

The Kruegers are the family of my maternal grandfather.  He was Lloyd Oscar Krueger, son of Oscar Karl Robert Krueger, grandson of Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Krueger, who came to the US from Prussia.  Heinrich’s parents were Wilhlem J. Krueger and Caroline Hoge.

So far we don’t know exactly where the Krueger family came from in the old country.  They were definitely from Pomerania (“Pommern” in German), a Northern province of the Prussia Empire that bordered the Baltic Sea.  Today it is partly in Eastern Germany and partly in Poland.  So far I have no records showing the immigration of Wilhelm Krueger or his wife Caroline Hoge.  Neither do I have a mention of a birthplace for Wilhelm in any documents I’ve found from his life here in the US.  Their sons Heinrich and Carl both stowed away aboard ships to come to the US (according to family legend), so no passenger lists will exist for them.

According to her burial record at Grace Luthern Church in the Town of Maine, Wisconsin, my 3x great grandmother Caroline Hoge was born in Stuchow, Kreis Cammin, Pommern, Prussia.  The entry says:

Caroline Wilhelmine Florentine Krüger (née Hoge), born 18 June 1836 in Stuchow, Pommern, wife of Wilhelm Krüger, died 5 October 1917 in Town of Maine, buried in Taegesville Cemetery on 7 October, aged 81 years 3 months, 17 days. Verse: Revelations 14:13 (“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”)


Wilhelm and Caroline had two sons and (per her declaration on the census records) no other children which survived into adulthood.  Their son Carl Bertold Krueger’s marriage record to Bertha Strehlow lists his birthplace as “Kalem, Provinz Pommern, Germany”:

Krueger / Strehlow Marriage, 1886

Krueger / Strehlow Marriage, 1886

In the 1920 census Elsie Krueger Madden gives the birthplace of her parents as “Pomerania, Germany”.

Another bit of evidence is from the birth record of Carl Krueger’s son Paul W.B. Krueger.  It says:

Paul William Berthold Krueger
Male, born November 2, 1889 to Carl Krueger & Bertha Strehlow
Town of Maine. Parent came from Kohlen Pomerania, Germany. 
J.G. Glaeser, Pastor, Town of Berlin.
Certified 9 Dec. 1889.
Registered 6 Feb. 1890.

So “Kalem” and “Kohlen”.  There is a town called “Kahlen”, very near the birthplace of Caroline Hoge in Kreis Cammin, Pommern, Prussia.  In fact, the two towns of Kahlen (today it is Kaleń, Poland) and Stuchow (today called Stuchowo, Poland) were only about two miles apart, as seen on this map:


Kreis Cammin, Pommern, Prussia

Detail from Kreis Griefenberg Map, 1893

Detail from Griefenberg Map, 1893


It is the current best guess for the home town of the Krueger Family at this point.

A conflicting bit of information which must nevertheless be mentioned is that in the 1930 census for Minoqua, Wisconsin, Heinrich and Bertha’s son Lawrence lists the birthplace of his parents as “Silesia, Germany”.  Silesia, or Schlesien (in German), was a province more to the southeast, and was actually south of the province of Posen.  I don’t know what to make of this information since it contradicts the other clues we have.

Lawrence Krueger's entry in 1930 census.

Lawrence Krueger’s entry in 1930 census.

Update to Krueger Info

Added some additional information about the Krueger Family.  The new article is here:

Updated Marriage Record – Princeton Zierke Family

As I documented here, I had located a marriage record for Gottlieb August Zierke (1833-1879) and his wife Wilhelmine Sommerfeldt (1835 – 1912).  They were from Posen, Prussia and settled in Princeton, Marquette County, Wisconsin, arriving in June of 1858.

I had found a record at The Poznan Project for their marriage in 1858, but there were no details there.  Fortunately, I have a good relationship with the founder of that project and he sent me the original record from the parish records of Margonin, Posen, Prussia (click to enlarge):

Zierke Sommerfeldt Marriage1858

Zierke Sommerfeldt Marriage1858

My German friend and collaborator Jörg Schrick was kind enough to translate for me:

Number: 4
Year and day of marriage:  26 Jan 1858
Pastor:  Radke

First and family name of the married couple, residence, social 
rank and trade, also whether the marriage took place in church 
or at home: 
Gottlieb August Zirk (sic), Jungeselle (bachelor), 
Wirthssohn (son of an innkeeper) in 
Siebenschlößchen, with "Jungfer" (unmarried young woman) 
Wilhelmine Sommerfeld, daselbst (in said place), 
married in local church. 

Whether they were married before, under guardianship or under 
supervision of parents: 
Both had been unmarried and supervised by mothers, bride was 
declared of full age by the court.Nov 1833

Ages:  24y 2m (b Nov 1833): 22y 3m (b Oct 1835)
Religion:  Evangelic
Parental consent of marriage:  Consent of the groom's mother 
in written form, mother-of-bride in verbal form.
Banns:  10, 17, 24 January.

Siebenschlößchen means “Seven Small Castles”, and is located near Dziewoklucz Poland – about 5 miles south of Margonin, the town where the marriage was recorded.  There are still buildings at that site, visible on Google Maps, but the town doesn’t have a name shown there.

The distance between Podstolitz (where my 3x great grandmother Wilhelmine Schulz and her brother Martin were born) and Siebenschlößchen is only about 5 miles.  This map shows the relative locations of Podstolitz and Siebenschlößchen.  Podstolitz is just north of Budsin.  Siebenschlößchen is just east of Budsin.

Kreis Kolmar, Posen, Prussia

Kreis Kolmar, Posen, Prussia


A Family Resemblance?

I was looking today at the photos of the unknown Thomas family members whose photos were found in the desk of Charlena Thomas after her death.  [You can see them in this article.]  There’s no denying a strong family resemblance between one of the men in the photo and the photo of Joel B. Thomas that Suzanne Stendahl sent me.

I don’t think it’s just the mustache.  There is a really strong resemblance.  If the photo on the right is Warren Thomas (1860-1896), as we have guessed, he and Joel B Thomas (left, 1842-1925) were first cousins, which might explain it.

The other explanation is that it’s actually Joel in the photo as a younger man.  If that’s the case it might mean rethinking the identities of the other men in the photos with him.