Full Circle: A Journey in Search of Roots

By David A. Hecker, Ph.D. Crab Walk Press, Bainbridge Island, Washington, 2012, 253 pages, softcover.

In May 2010 David Hecker traveled to the homeland and village that his Great-Grandfather Martin Hecker had immigrated from to the United States in 1891. Muenchen, a once prosperous farm community, was located ninety miles north of Odessa, Russia and had been colonized by Germans in 1809 under the proclamations of Catherine the Great and Alexander I. Now this village in present day Ukraine is a battered remnant of its former self after the pillaging of the Bolshevik Revolution, World War II, and Stalin’s Collectivization program.

Hecker’s journey to Muenchen ended a twenty-four year search into family roots that had started in 1987. Along the way Hecker found out to his amazement that he was a German from Russia American, that he was a fourth generation rather than a third generation American, and that his great-grandfather and family had lived in the United States, both in Texas and North Dakota, and he didn’t discover that fact until he was forty-seven years old.

In addition Hecker learned about his extended family’s forced migrations and their patterns of life that included Catholocism, arranged marriages, and intense ethnic affiliations. Finally he became aware of their flourishing in present day Germany, United States, Canada, and Argentina.

These discoveries about his roots had serious implications for Hecker since he had accepted and freely used America’s social mobility, career opportunities, religious views, and social patterns. The knowledge of his roots and family history led him to write poems, travel narratives, a historical and this memoir.

David Hecker is author of Strangers Before the Bench: A Historical Novel.

Photograph of Frank and Veronica (Brucker) Hecker.
Photograph of original Heckers who immigrated to North Dakota.

Full Circle: A Journey in Search of Roots

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