[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Cousins diverge, then converge 300 years later

Jerry Frank FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca
Fri Apr 22 09:01:08 PDT 2005

Want to share a little story with you that came to light yesterday.

I live in a +55 community in Calgary called Prince of Peace Village.  One 
day last fall I was talking to my neighbour across the street, Ivan 
Wagner.  Conversation turned to possible common roots and we were delighted 
to discover that our grandmothers were first cousins.  Both were from the 
GARTZ family which had migrated from Pomerania to Volhynia in the early 
1860s and then to Manitoba in the late 1890s.  Finding a 3rd cousin across 
the street from me was interesting enough but the story does not end there.

Next step of course was to ask his wife about her origins.  Jean's family 
were also Germans who had migrated to the Black Sea region of Russia.  Her 
maiden name was KAUL which meant nothing to me, but then she mentioned that 
a grandmother's surname was STEINWAND.  My eyebrows raised 
immediately.  That name seems like it should be quite common but its 
not.  I had previously established a connection between the Steinwands in 
the Black Sea region (later also in the Dakotas) and my ancestor.  My 
Steinwand family had migrated to Kochanow, South Prussia (later Russian 
Poland) in 1803 and then on to Volhynia in the early 1830s.  Here they 
married into my maternal HEMMINGER family.

Out came the charts to compare notes.  Unfortunately, there were two main 
Steinwand lines that had migrated to the Black Sea region.  The first which 
I knew I was related to was very well documented back into 
Wuerttemberg.  The second was fairly well documented in Russia but there 
was conflicting info about the person who had migrated and no indication of 
the town of origin.  Jean descended from that second line so it looked like 
it might be difficult to establish a relationship.

So I turned to Mike Rempfer, a Steinwand cousin of mine in Bismarck, North 
Dakota.  He too had been stymied by this second group of Steinwands and 
took up the challenge to see if he could uncover their roots.  With the 
help of Tom Stangl and using some very new uncatalogued material which GRHS 
had microfilmed in Odessa Archives, he discovered some census material 
which proved that these Steinwands had migrated from Dornhan, Wuerttemberg 
directly to the Odessa region.  He then turned to microfilms of Dornhan 
records and found the family including another verifying note that the 
migration had occurred in 1817.

Mike then traced the line back to the earliest known ancestor, Michael 
Steinwand who had married Anna (?) 15 Oct 1648 in Marschalkenzimmern, 
Wuerttemberg.  His son Johannes, born in 1658, married in 
Marschalkenzimmern in 1682, is Jean's ancestor.  AND - yes, it's true - his 
son Jacob, born 1660, married 2 km away in Weiden in 1689 is my ancestor.

Jean and I are 9th cousins!!!

Now, I have discovered more distant relationships.  A 12th half cousin of 
mine on the Hemminger line lives in Iowa.  But what are the odds of anyone 
finding 9th cousins living right across the street from each other?  They 
must be astronomical odds.

300 hundred years ago our families began to diverge.  Today they converge 
on Ascension Bay in Prince of Peace Village!

Jerry Frank - Calgary, Alberta
FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca  

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