Last Updated: August 5, 2008 
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Ancestry

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Who am I

The whole time when I was growing up, I thought that I was of German descent.   It wasn’t until 1997, that I found out that I was actually Wendish. 

My research started with the death of my great Aunt, Elsie Malish-Kropp (Aunt Sookie).  When we went to the funeral and then to her burial, I became interested in knowing, just where exactly did my ancestors come from.  I saw the tombstone of my 2nd great grandparents.  This piqued my interest.  I began researching and stumbled upon my Wendish heritage.  The irony is, Aunt Sookie, is not Wendish, but rather Czech.    My Wendish heritage, I have been able to trace back nine generations.  This is in part due to my wonderful cousins that I have met while posting queries on the internet. However, with my Czech ancestors, I have hit a brick wall. 

Who are the Wends anyway?  The Wends are a Slavic tribe that have coexisted with the Germans in Germany for thousands of years.  You can still find Wends in Germany, although, they are a minority.  My ancestors emigrated to the United States, mainly due to religious persecution.  They were being “Germanized” and nevertheless, oppressed.  They lived in Germany, but they were often paid less for the same job, because of their heritage.  They never attained national freedom and the Germans wanted to get rid of them because they were different.  The Prussian Government decreed in 1817 that the Lutheran and Protestant churches merge.  They did not want to merge. With the help of Pastor Johann Kilian, they packed their small belongings and set sail on the Ben Nevis in 1854.  Click here for my list of ancestors listed on the Ben Nevis. 

A lot of people died en route to the United States.  One of my great great grandfathers, Peter Symank, was actually born on the ship and is the only known baby to survive.  Click here for an excerpt from the shipboard diary of Pastor Johann Kilian.

The ironic and sad fact is once they settled in towns across Central Texas, they slowly became Germanized again.  This explains why all of my grandparents and great grandparents spoke German instead of Wendish.




My Heritage

 

I am 25% Czech czechflag.jpg (13689 bytes) and 75% Wendish  Sorbs_flag_medium.bmp (11830 bytes)



Links

Civil War
Ben Nevis
Family Tree
Excerpt from Ben Nevis Shipboard Diary