FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca
Tue Oct 25 10:11:02 PDT 2005
First let me assure you that this is an appropriate email list for your questions. There may be better venues depending on circumstances but this is as good a place to start as any.
Giesbrecht and Goertz are common Mennonite surnames. If your ancestors were Mennonite, then you may find some help here but additional help will certainly be available through some of their excellent Mennonite genealogical and archival venues.
HOWEVER, these surnames also can be found among the Lutheran Germans. If your ancestors were Lutheran, then SGGEE and this mailing list are your best resource. This is not because we intentionally focus on Lutherans but because the vast majority of Germans in Russian Poland were Lutheran.
Note that even if your family was Mennonite, if they lived in Russian Poland they would have been obligated to register events of passage at an official church. Typically they would have used Lutheran but might have used Catholic if it was more convenient.
As with any search overseas, your search is complicated dramatically without knowing a specific town, or at least parish, of residence. Sometimes it works to find a location where the surname is uncommon but not usually. Is there anything more you can do to find an origin? Have you looked for passenger ship lists, naturalization papers, etc. which might hold more clues? Have you investigated the Zion church records in person to be sure that the Pastor did not miss a reference to a town? Have you looked for any siblings of Wilhelm whose data might hold additional clues? Do you have a location for Maria? Perhaps she came from the same or nearby place.
If you give us more detail, we may be able to help further.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jill Palko <jillbripalko at gmail.com>
Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 9:47 am
Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Geisbrecht/Giesbrecht/Giesebrecht
> Hallo to all members
> I am new to this site. I am researching the surname Giesebrecht with
> alternate spellings. According to the pastor of the Zion
> Evangelistic Church
> of Johnstown, PA, the original spelling of my ancestor's name was
> WilhelmGiesebrecht. He was born 1867, emigrated 1890 from Russia
> Poland. He was a
> coal miner laborer who lived most of his life in Brownstown Boro
> Pennsylvania USA. His wife was Maria Goertz born about 1864,
> emigrated 1896,
> died 1917.
> According to extensive searching, and by queries made in Germany,
> my surname
> is found in the databases of Sochaczew/Warschau and Volhynia. I
> think I am
> in the right place. If this is not the correct mailing list, I
> My ancestors have left me little clues as to their origin, and
> they have
> become lost to me. My great-grandfather, Wilhelm, disappeared
> after the
> Johnstown flood of 1936, and I have not been able to locate his
> place of
> If any one has any information about this surname or can offer any
> help, I
> would very much be appreciative. This has been a long, difficult
> and lonely
> search. I could really use a hand.
> Thank you to everyone.
> Jill Anne (Geisbrecht) Palko
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