Monday, April 12, 2010

The Family Kolberg/Colberg, Part Two


I now knew the birthplace of my Kolberg ancestors and set off on a mission to find these villages on maps. I was really naive about Pommern and its significance and location in German history but I was determined to learn all I could about this area. I had a few German maps but they were too modern and didn't even indicate where the area of Pommern had been. I had a set of encyclopedias that were from 1904 that had belonged to my great-grandfather Schulte, but they were very basic and contained general maps of Germany without any detail.

I had only been back a short time from my research trip to St. Joseph when I had a letter from cousin, Grace Kolberg Gaul, telling me that she had another cousin in the area who might be able to help me further. She explained that while her father, Otto, and his brothers August, Heinrich & Paul had come to the US in the 1880's, her other uncle, Ferdinand Kolberg, had actually not arrived until 1910, after he had married and his children had been born-all while living in Pommern. She thought that his one son, Walter and his wife Iva, would be perfect to visit with as Walter remembered living in Germany and would be happy to share further information with me.

Back to St. Joe I went where I was invited to the home of Walter and Iva Kolberg. Again, I found these cousins of my grandmother to be delightful and welcome hosts and Walter was a wealth of information on our Kolberg ancestors. He confirmed the birthplace of his father's family as indeed being Klein Tuchen, near Gross Tuchen in Bütow, Pommern as I had already been told. He added that his father had moved from the family farm in Klein Tuchen and settled in the neighboring county of Rummelsburg, Pommern where he (Walter) and his five siblings were born. He stated that he could remember the journey to America, leaving Rummelsburg, traveling to Berlin first and visiting with Uncle Johann and his family and then traveling on to New York and from there to Stevensville, MI where the family of Heinrich Kolberg met the arriving family and took them to the Heinrich Kolberg farm until they were able to establish their own farm in the area. He had a wealth of stories to share including memories of his grandmother, Henriette Amalie Colberg. As an interesting aside, he said that whenever his grandmother visited the Ferdinand Kolberg family, he (Walter) was her bed partner and he could remember walking to her funeral when she passed away in 1908 when he was only 8 1/2 years old.

Iva & Walter Kolberg
ca 1970

In addition to sharing photos with me, Walter had a map of Pommern which showed me the location of Bütow and Rummelsburg and the location of Pommern within Germany. This was a wonderful boost to my research and I did visit the St. Joseph Public library where atlases were available containing other maps of that area.

Over the years I did learn much about the history of Pommern with this website an excellent source for information on Pomerania including maps of the area from over the centuries.

Lands of the Kolberg/Colberg family

Pomerania, Germany

Bütow, Pomerania with
Kreis (counties)

As with cousins, Grace, Ruby & Edna Kolberg, I was aided tremendously by Walter & Iva Kolberg in getting a jump-start on my research and their assistance was greatly appreciated. All five of these cousins are now gone but their help was indispensable and their excitement over the fact that I was interested in tracing their family was just the impetus that I needed to continue.

Coming next...Part Three...Contacting the descendants of August, Heinrich, Otto, Paul and Ferdinand Kolberg to build a complete family genealogy on our mutual family.

Above photos personal collection of Cheryl Schulte


Joan said...

I too have family from Pommern, but I haven't done very much research on the other side of the Atlantic --- you inspire me.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the comments, Joan.