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Re: Duerksen, Johann (John)
Posted by: Delores McDaniels Date: June 21, 2001 at 19:29:56
In Reply to: Re: Duerksen, Johann (John) by Judy Evans of 35

The story that I have is my Mom's life (born 1899 in Russia) and her trip to this country and her Mother marrying John Duerksen in 1907. It wouldn't have family tree earlier than the 4th generation of "Descendants of Kornelius Duerksen". Although the "Descendants of Kornelius" has a lot of excellent information it is not complete - so don't get discouraged if the information you are looking for is not there. Use it for one more tool in the puzzle that you are putting together. Here is Chapter 1. Let me know if you want any more :-) Also I am interested in the information that you have. Perhaps we can trade.
Dear Diary,

As I sat in our home in Shafter, California and looked into the

faces of my daughters. I was asked again "Why is our home here?"

Our cousins are far across the sea in Germany, and in other parts of

Europe." Barbara with her olive complexion and large hazel eyes and

dark hair was such a beautiful child. She was 4 1/2 years older than

her little sister. Barbara was athletic and could win any foot race and

was often seen hanging by her knees from the trees in the yard. She

was forever organizing games for the neighborhood children. Her fragile

little sister Delores had dark blonde hair with striking dark brown eyes.

Very bright and animated with a smile that could melt any heart of

stone, and always with one special friend to tell little girl secrets to.

"Why is our home here? Who brought us?"

Family Background

       My mother Rosalia Ziebart (Tisch Duerksen) was
born in the fall of 1867 (about October 15) in Poland,
the daughter of Michael Ziebart and Julianna
Wendtlandt. As a child she helped her father on a small
farm. She was not much help in the house, but she
worked outside, even digging up trees. This was a
little shocking as her mother was born Julianna
Katharina Wendtlandt. The Wendtlandts were a family
of high society in the old days. Later Rosalia did
knitting and weaving, and she married August Tisch, a
cooper. They lived in Stepon, and he worked in Poland
in the Slavuta tar factory.

Ma's brother Julius was just older than she. Pa's
sister Matilda lived in southern Russia, was married to
John Busse, a Baptist minister. Ma became interested
in the Baptist church and made a decision to be
baptized. The church wanted her to wait for warm
weather, but she requested that a hole be cut in the
ice because she did not want to wait. Everyone said
"You will catch pneumonia and die". but she said, "No
God will not let me get sick". She was right, she was
baptized in the icy water and did not even catch a
cold. Ma's sister Pauline Ziebart was a good cook and
managed the house while still at home. She married
Karl Mann, (who had a small farm) with three sons and
one daughter and together they had four (4) children.
Theophela Ziebart married Adolph Weiss. They had a son
Edward who turned out to be a good tailor. Fredricka
Ziebart married Ludwig Skobovious, and Anna Katharina
married Herman Skobovious, brothers.

My Pa, August Tisch was born in 1862, the son of
August Tisch and his wife Wilhelmina Yachman. He was
born in 1862. Pa's sister Emma Tisch was a dress maker
who owned a Pfaff (later Singer) sewing machine. Emma
made high society gowns and wedding clothes. She
married Ed Schmidtke who inherited a farm from his
parents. Pa's brother William married Matilda Pohl,
and his brother Julius married Caroline Schultz.


Chapter One

       As I sat in our home in Shafter, California and looked into the faces of my daughters, I was asked again "Why is home here? Our cousins are far across the sea in Germany, and in other parts of Europe." Barbara with her olive complexion and large hazel eyes and dark hair was such a beautiful child. She was 4 1/2 years older than her little sister. Barbara was athletic and could win any foot race and was often seen hanging by her knees from the trees in the yard. She was forever organizing games for the neighborhood children. Her fragile little sister Delores had dark blonde hair with striking dark brown eyes. Very bright and animated with a smile that could melt any heart of stone, and always with one special friend to tell little girl secrets to. "Why is our home here? Who brought us?"

I have listened to my children as they questioned, and known how important it was that I tell them the events that led their parents and grandparents to the new world, and what it took to get here.

I was born Florentina Tisch of German descent on April 1, 1899 in Volynskiy Gobarni; Stepon, Poland. The earliest recollections of my childhood were of a happy family in the country of Poland (or Russia, as the borders were changing from time to time) with my
older sisters Matilda and Wilhelmina (Minnie), and my older brother Gustav.

Matilda was so grown up. Once she dressed up my brother Gus and took him on a walk to show him off to the neighbors. She tried to get him to act like a little man. He was very active and did not listen to her. He climbed on everything and tore his pants.
When she brought him home, she was so upset she told Ma that Gus was "just a dwatch" and was of no use. Matilda loved being a little mother to Gus. She was also a lot of help to Ma in the house. Matilda died of diphtheria and Ma missed her desperately, and said
that Matilda had been such a help to her for a six-year-old.

My father August Tisch, was a cooper (made wooden buckets, When work became scarce he worked in Slavuta, Poland (a town of some distance) in a tar factory. He worked for several months at a time and when he came home on his days off it was an exciting time. He brought money for living expenses as well as oranges, apples, and other treats. He always brought home a gift for each one of us.

I adored my father and life was wonderful. I would see him coming a long way off and run to meet him when he came home. Soon after the birth of my sister, Amelia, my father did not come home as expected. My mothers growing concern worried me. I had overheard Pa talking to Ma of other men being killed by soldiers if they refused to join the Russian army. Ma sent for Pa's brothers, Julius and William, to check on things and to see what happened to Pa. When William returned, I could tell that things were not good. He came into the house to talk to Ma. I could not hear, because of the low tones of the conversation. He handed Ma a document that I learned later was a death certificate. My Pa died in 1902.

Life changed considerably after the death of my Pa. Food was scarce. We often had potato soup, flavored with lemon as there was no milk or cream. We had one slice of bread a day with honey - at the time of our choice. I wished to have my bread in the evening, so that I could dream about it all day and relish the taste of the homemade bread with honey. I remember Ma doing laundry in a metal tub over the fire in the back yard. She hung clothes on a line near by. She not only washed our clothes but took in laundry from other people to support us. She also did knitting and weaving and sold the extra wooden buckets that Pa had made.

My sister Minnie and brother Gustav became sick with smallpox. Ma had to go to town to get supplies and when she returned Minnie told Ma that Gus had been naughty and had gone outside barefooted to play in the snow. Minnie said "I was a good girl and stayed in bed". This very act on the part of my brother Gus may have saved his life. Unfortunately, Minnie did not recover. She died at age four.

       At the time we had neighbors who were quite wealthy and could have no children. They offered to adopt me and seemed to adore me. Wanting only the best for me, Ma let me go home with them on a trial basis. They fed me all of the homemade bread that I could eat
covered with sweet cream, and they assured me that I would be well taken care of. I only wished that my family could share such treats. As it began to get dark , I said, "I have to go home now, my mother
needs me". The next day I saw some storks flying overhead and landing near our house. I went as close as the storks would allow and began to scold, "You better get over there, to the neighbors house and get busy to do your job. If you would bring them a baby
like you are supposed to, they would not need me for a daughter". I could not understand why the adults watching me kept saying how cute I was and laughing at my conversation. When the neighbiors realized how much my family meant to me, they only wished me well and gave up on their dream of me as their child.

As time passed, we could no longer stay in our own place and Ma rented some rooms from a wonderful older couple. Ma supported us by weaving cloth and by knitting. She would have me sit by her side as she taught me reading. The older gentleman was grandfatherly and was a cobbler (made shoes). I was fascinated as he drew the outline of his customers feet, and he always made shoes they were proud of. His gentle wife was so good to us children and to my mother, that when we left the old country, Ma left her beautiful chest (dresser). Many of the local women offered to buy the chest, but Ma said it meant too much to her, and she wanted the lady to know how important it was that she had been such a valuable friend
during hard times. It was very difficult for Ma to leave her relatives and friends, so she continued to keep in touch as much as possible.


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