Searching for Ancestors

Auf der Suche Nach den Vorfahren

Holzwarth-Kocher, Anegelika. "Searching for Ancestors." Volk auf dem Weg, April 2005, 20.

Translation from the original German to American English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

On the occasion of my aunt's 90th birthday I thought for a while about what one could do to provide something nice for her. She has often and happily spoken of home, and by "home" she was clearly referring to her village in Russia.

I, too, have always been moved by those times. Of particular interest to me was who those ancestors of mine were who dared the courageous act of leaving Germany to move to a completely strange land. An important source of answers is the reference book "Die Auswanderung aus Deustchland nach Russland in den Jahren 1763 bis 1862 [Emigration from Germany to Russia between 1763 and 1862]" by Karl Stumpp. Also very helpful are the Heimatbuecher of the Landsmannschaft. But when it comes to personal data of one's own history, even those books can be lacking.

For example, I was unable to determine without a doubt the one specific ancestor who emigrated [from Germany] at that time. On thing I did know was that my great-grandfather Leonhard Kiess had emigrated to America in 1906.

So when I entered my great-grandfather's name into an Internet search engine, I arrived at the Internet address I wrote to that address and received the address of Michael M. Miller ( Prof. Miller, Bibliographer at North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, ND, USA, who is well known to our countrymen, and who gave me important information about my great-grandfather, plus the address of Tom Stangl in Sterling, US ( In addition to information concerning my great-grandfather, Tom Stangl also sent me the address of my relative Ralph Ruff in Califormia. Through Ralph Ruff and the other contacts I have mentioned, I have gathered a great deal of materials by means of which I was able to trace my ancestry as far back as the 16th Century.

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller