Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Six Degrees of Kolberg

As with the trivia game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, I firmly believe that a case can be made for a "Six Degrees of Kolberg" connection.  In Berrien County, Michigan this could be reduced to "THREE or FOUR Degrees of Kolberg".  Consider this saga:

Last night was the first Ladies Aid meeting of the new season at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph where I belong.  My mother and I are members and are continuing the tradition started by my maternal grandmother, Ella Kolberg Kijak.  I know my grandmother would be pleased that (1) we have relocated back to St. Joe and (2) that we are active in the Ladies Aid organization.  This organization has declined over the 15 years we have been back in St. Joe and now has 49 members.  Last night's meeting had 19 ladies present with a few guests. 

We sat at a table with several other ladies that we knew well.  One senior lady had a guest with her and she introduced the guest as her niece, Marilyn, who was her chauffeur now that she herself could no longer drive.   Marilyn was a very pleasant woman and she indicated to the group that she was a retired teacher who continues to do some special education teaching.  I inquired as to where she had taught and our conversation went like this:

Me:  Where did you teach, Marilyn?

Marilyn:  At Grace Lutheran Church in St. Joe (a neighboring church to Trinity).

Me:  Do you know Karen Kolberg K from Grace? 

Marilyn:  I do - Karen and I went to school together.

Me:  Karen and I are cousins.  Do you know Mary Kolberg B and her sister Donna Kolberg R?

Marilyn:  I do indeed.  I taught both of Mary B's daughters.

Me:  Mary and Donna are cousins of mine also.

Now Marilyn is intrigued and she asks me:  Just how are you related to Karen, Mary and Donna?

Me:  Through our very large Kolberg family.  My grandmother was a Kolberg - Ella Kolberg Kijak.

Marilyn:  Very intrigued now...Do you know Sharon Kolberg whose father was Alvin Kolberg and whose mother...oh, I can't remember her name now?

Me:  Yes I know who you mean; I never met Sharon but I know who she is.  (I then proceeded to open my purse and extract my Smart Phone which contains my Ancestry app with my whole family tree and I quickly found the above Sharon Kolberg).  I told Marilyn - her mother was Thelma?

Marilyn:  Yes indeed.  Now Marilyn intrigues me when she says:  Sharon's husband, Dave A., is MY brother.  Just what do you have on that cell phone?

I explained that I have my genealogy on Family Tree Maker which syncs to an Ancestry Tree.  Ancestry has an app for a smart phone and I can carry my data with me on the phone.  We proceeded to have a lengthy discussion about Marilyn's brother and sister-in-law, other Kolberg people that Marilyn knew and my genealogy.  Marilyn said she also knew a R. Kolberg and his parents R and E Kolberg (cousin ROY if you are reading this, you will know of whom I am speaking!!)

We had quite a conversation during the evening (yes we did listen to the program as well) and this further convinced me that each and every person in Berrien County is in some way, shape or form related to or knowledgeable of a Kolberg. 

Lesson to me:  When entering a room, any room, any place where 1 person at least is present, loudly declare "Does anyone in here know anyone named Kolberg?"  I'm guessing somebody will.

Copyright (c) 2012, Cheryl J. Schulte

2 comments:

Jasia said...

This doesn't surprise me at all! Whenever I'm out in public with you, you run into someone you know and that someone is usually a Kolberg by birth or married to a Kolberg. I sometimes think the whole of Berrien County is Kolbergs, lol!

Cheryl said...

You've discovered the secret, Jasia. The whole of Berrien County are Kolberg's!