Difficulties with my genealogy
I did not suspect the difficulties, which illuminated the darkness of the family stories,
and must confess that over large periods I tired to request information and that oral
sources became one by one silenced. As written sources the notes came through the parishes
in question, for they were once also registrar's offices. Investigating the church books,
inconsistencies emerged again and again through often hard to read handwriting or
incorrect spellings like Kliger - Klingerine, Lippke, Loepke-Lopke to say nothing of
Guppe-Gubbe-Gubantin-Guppas, until I recognized the cause.
Klinger-Klingerine explains itself already from the Lithuanian neighborhood. A friendly
neighbor announces to the minister, that a son Klingerin was born, and exactly so entered
the minister the record. In the Lithuanian language, the attached end syllable gave the
position in the household to:
Klingeris - the head of the family
Klingerine (or Klingeriene) - his wife
Klingerike (or Klingeraite) - the daughter
Klingeruks - the son
And if the minister was hard of hearing or the "announcer" spoke unclearly and
couldn't read or write, so emerged quite such deviations like Guppe. If I put down
Explored, so would like to prevent I, that with more or less trouble are lost ascertained
family data now after the loss the East areas for the descendants for all pages, but also
excite, to continue these notes for later generations within the meaning of a family
history, even if the History runs down with their consequences on each individual family
henceforth in quieter paths. During my search, I have regretted sadly, not having written
notes of an ancestor's personal life and experiences, and they have lived through however
also powerful shocks: leaving Salzburg, the time of Russians and the French. In my years,
the history became revolutionary, so different from centuries before, and so I would like
to leave these notes for the descendents that follow.
I would like to say that I do have holes in my memory, however, I would like to report in
detail about my own life, being young and silly, happiness and grief, about hard work, and
the east Prussia that has been lost - even 80 years later since my family has moved away
from this area.
The first mentioned ancestor
As at the earliest mentioned ancestor I must mention Johann Klinger. In the baptismal
register 18799 / 1815, page 31, found in the St. Johanneskirche in Memel I:
). Sep, Louise, born 8.Sept. 1800
Pater: Johann Klinger a coachman from Bachmann
Mater: Louise Gubatin.
Witnesses: Rose, rhymes, Lankowa.
In the baptismal register 1802 num.. 20 of the church in German Crottingen was recorded:
Lappenischken, Louise Sophie, born 7.Februar, baptized 12.Februar.
Pater: Johann Klinger, a Forester
1. Gurges Pazzamors
2. Johann Sidow
3. Christ Zembries
5. Mrs. inspector Rhenius from Bachmann
The Domain of Bachmann held (so Sembritzki) "Memel" a royal household around
itself with companion, hostess, cleaning ladies, cooks and drivers and the very pious
tenant for life Rhenius, married to a niece of Mrs. Goese, which ultimately caused, that
the extravagant Mrs. Goese would overtake the trusteeship. In this position as a coachman,
our ancestor had his relationship acquired trust and high appreciation, which led for the
taking over of the forest ranger's house. Lappenischken belonged to the remainders a
horrible belt of forest on the border. The large domain Bachmann, lying 2 km eastward from
Memel, with the asset Lindenhof in the border and the forest land Lappenischken was
brought in at the request of the pious Rhenius in one about 4000 Morgens large foundation
and maintained a reformatory with school for orphaned children, only boys.
But from where did this driver come? I gave up my investigations for many
years, until I
spoke to my cousin Hilde Sodeik, nee Klinger, and received the information that was up
until now unknown to me. Sembritzke reports in his "History of the City of
Memel" about the arrival and the photographs of 200 Salzburger emigrants 1732 in
Memel, coming with sailing vessels of Stettin.
My great-grandfather, Johann Klinger.
After the baptismal register German Crottingen were baptized still 1798 and 1800 the host
and forest ranger Martin Zypa in Lappenischken children.
Johann Klinger must have taken the place of both forest guards in Lindenhof and
Lappenischken between 1800 and 1802. That must have been a dramatic shift for our
ancestors, one from the varied "Servant life" to the lonely areas of the forest.
It must have been, however, a proud feeling for our ancestors to take care of a large area
of forest instead of being dependent, with the assurance of the succession for his male
descendants, which resulted in 150 years - until 1945.
How proud our first ancestor in Lappenischken must have been then, that despite the wintry
constitution of the roads, a high guest, the inspector Rhenius, which had trekked the 12
km for the baptism of the first child. Eventually, 60 Morgens was adjoined: fields and
meadows for his own business, so that Johann found with Louise an ample amount of work. In
the death registry 1850 of the church German Crottingen I found in the registration of
Forester Johann Klinger, 80 years old, widowed, 3 sons, 1 daughter.
And in the death registry of the 7th of November 1844 in the same church:
Elisabeth Sophie Louise Klinger nee Guppas, wife the Forester Johann Klinger, 2 sons, 1
daughter, 70 years old.
Therefore, the forester must have been born in 1770, his wife in 1774.
As the death registry states, they had 4 children. These were:
1. Ludwig Klinger born 15.8.1806, died 27.8.1886
He married Caroline Schmaehling, which became about 85 years, and took over the position
of forester from his father.
2. Wilhelmine Klinger, married the blacksmith Franz in Russian Crottingen.
3. Heinrich Klinger - born 3.6.1813, who settled in Memel. His descendants dissapeared
completely from our field of vision.
4. Johann Samuel Klinger - born 29.3.1804, died 12.5.1875, my grandfather.
My grandfather Johann Samuel Klinger
Johann Samuel Klinger married after Szabern-Wittko and acquired after and after a property
of 177 Morgens, from which 55 Morgens was farmland, the remainder was less valuable forest
and meadows. His wife Henriette, nee Lipke, died after 25 years of
marriage, after 13
births in 1850. He then married her sister Dorothea (16 years younger), who was born in
1825. She endured 11 births and died in their daughter's, Dorothea, house in
Szabern-Wittko in1907 at the age of 82 years. From their children only 8 would live:
1. Amalie, who married a man named Mosler in Kunken-Goerge
2. Wilhelm, in Szabern-Wittko, died. ?. He married two times. Karoline Moosler from
Kunken-Goerge, after that her sister Auguste
3. Johann, in Szabern-Wittko, died 1917
4. Auguste, in Szabern-Wittko, died 1926
5. Gottfried, in Corallischken. He married his niece Johanna Klinger, daughter of 2
6. Heinrich, born 20.11.1857, married his cousin Lippke from
7. Dorothea, died 1907, married her cousin August Klinger in
8. Richard, born 22.11.1866, died 6.2.1941, married Lina Klinger, born 9.9.1871, the
daughter of his cousin August Klinger.
My parents, originally from Corallischken, moved to Clemmenhof in 1904. Through the
division of the large property the curiosity emerged then, that in Szabern-Wittko
contemporaneous 3 August were settled Klinger: I, II, III. And if my grandfather, with 24
births which only 8 came to a marriageable age, so points to the hardness of life back
then and to the insufficient hygiene of that time. The births resulted at home, and with
midwives - especially since first 1847 when the famous Viennese gynecologist Semmelweis
found the infectious cause of death at births. Again and again I looked in the death
registries on deaths in babyhood, without finding sufficient information.
brother, the Forest Ranger Ludwig Klinger
Like my grandfather, his brother Ludwig, also an owner of a Forestry, had numerous
progeny. The number of the births is not known to me, in the marriageable age came
1. Karoline, died 1915. Married to Lipke, in Barschken.
2. Mathilde, married to Walukat, Coadjuten.
3. Wilhelmine, married to Doblies, Woiduszen.
4. Ludwig, born 3.6.1846, died 1910, a forest ranger in Lappenischken.
Married Louise Doering from Kissinen.
5. Marie, married to Stehr in Königsberg.
6. Auguste, born 2.6.1850, died 1935. Married to Swede in Memel. My
7. August, died 1933. Married to Dorothea Klinger, the sister of my
8. Dorothea, married to Schaefer in German - Crottingen.
Grandmother of Lilo (Liselotte) Godlowski, Lüneburg.
Strikingly again and again interfamily marriages: Cousin - Cousin, and even uncle - niece.
Considering the great number of kinship, it was inevitable that the combination stopped,
as more family members moved away. In 1904, we moved to Clemmenhof. Cars were only for the
rich people in my day, bicycles were almost still luxuries, and the horses that were
strained 6 days a week had the Sunday off, which was urgently necessary. None of my uncles
lived closer than 6 km, and to Uncle Heinrich in Kunken-Goerge it was even 13 km! My
family would get up at the crack of dawn to go there, going through a wonderful orchard to
see a delicate pretty cousin and a loving photograph. At Uncle Gottfried in Corallischken,
6 km, I do not forget the newest gramophone, whose powerful horn always sang to us in a
loud glee. "We are the funny Wood-splitter boys."
Through these visits we can thank that also we
began to play, brother Erich with an accordion and the other with harmonicas.
We most frequently visited Grandma Dorothea, father, mother, and aunt Dorothea, father's
sister, in Szabern-Wittko, 7 km. It was from here that we brought home red apples, long
pine cones, and lambswool knitted new stockings made by our grandma. It was also here that
we joked about our oldest Uncle Wilhem and his mighty beard (which impressed us greatly!).
Often, Erich, Kaethe and I, led a 8 km march to his fun son, Wilhelm, on the 200 Morgen
farm. Our visits on Sunday were from the present view were probably impossible after a
busy week, and Monday was again a workday. However, were happy about such Sundays. When we
came home, we were tired, the sleep was deeper, and the next morning, we were all rested.
First after my elementary school time or shortly previously, a bicycle had emerged in our
home, and we had to learn how to ride it! Father and mother, however, never did.
My grandmother on my mother's side
My grandmother Auguste Rahel Klinger from Lappenischken married 1874 the Shoemaker Johann
Ferdinand Swede. They lived henceforth in Memel's suburb Janischken directly at the Dange
river beside the Railroad bridge. Grandmother was a very resolute woman, who knew how to
improve the slight income of her husband, who fished passionately, with a small restaurant
in the Friedrich Wilhelm street. It was here, especially on market days, farmers took in
their second breakfast. This enabled them to buy a small property with three houses in the
Junker street. My mother, who was born before the marriage, had one brother and two
sisters: with Lina, Emma and Martha for the environment the 3-woman home and with much
exuberance. There were:
1. John Swede, a subsequent well-to-do merchant at the market, his wife a born Plewe. He
had 2 sons. The son Werner drowned in young years in the Baltic Sea. The son Herbert died
in the war in Russia. The other son lived with his mother in Cuxhaven-Altenwalde, and
works in a branch at a bank. John Swede died early, consequences of the job-related
consumption of alcohol.
2. Emma Swede, married to Böttcher in Berlin-Charlottenburg. With a small milk store she
increased the family income and got through the war with their only son Erwin, an engineer
at the Lufthansa, and his wife. In a bombing attack under their collapsing house, she
survived, while her husband remained, by chance in their small garden at the Wannsee.
3. Martha Swede, married to Ludwig Klinger. They owned a colonial warehouse with bar
service in the Libauer street in Memel. His early death is also attributable to alcohol,
in 1922. His oldest very pretty daughter Erika died in young years from tuberculosis. The
daughter Hilde, married to Sodeik lives, since 1983 widowed, in Lüneburg.
Unforgettable is my grandmother Auguste with a black and blue eye. Her husband, Ferdinand
had a dream that he was back in the bloody Calvary attack at Gravelotte of the French war
in 1870, and saw his comrade and shouts to him loudly: "Attention! I'll hit on the
left!" Grandmother could not react fast enough, and also could no longer hide longer
her blue eye. She became old and tired with the circumstances as a house owner and
landlord, sold her property. With the first World War came the inflation, and her money
was worth nothing more.
As Ferdinand died, the daughter took Martha in her home, and the vigorous old lady wanted
to earn her room and board, got up very early, cooked the coffee, much too early, warmed
it repeatedly, to the disappointment the long sleeping daughter. She did this until she
died, even as her eyes had become fully blinded and could recognize nothing more. The
energetic and never-tiring grandmother died after short sickness.
II. Father Richard Klinger and his family
My parents in Corallischken
My father Richard Klinger, born on 22 November 1866, was the last of the siblings. He
visited the school in Karlshof at Corallischken, finished it however in the summer to herd
the cattle on his parents farm. He cut classes often in confirmation lessons in
Crottingen. He lost his father, when he was not even nine years old. After his
confirmation he came to the blacksmith master Mierwaldt, whose wife was a relative, in
With board and lodging, as it was then usual, his journeymen and examination for master
craftsman's diploma and a extra study made for Horseshoes. As he married 1890 Lina
Klinger, the daughter of his cousin Auguste Klinger from Lappenischken, he leased a small
property remote from the estate with a manor in Corallischken on the street
Dinweten-Plicken. He pursued the agriculture, worked as a journeyman (the blacksmithing)
for the asset against payment, but also for other clientele. I turned four years old in
Clemmenhof. Thinking of my parents still reminds me of the small pond, which offered all
kinds of little jobs, the small brook Baugst with its fishing, and the windmill had
delight on the adjacent farm of my Uncle Gottfried.
Moving to Clemmenhof
In the year 1904 we moved to Clemmenhof. Corallischken had given up the Domain
Frenzelbeyme with the other buildings and bought the fewer extensive manor Clemmenhof.
Also here he limited himself to 1200 Morgens with the most high-grade floor and had
parceled estates for farmer settlements. My father did not yet have enough equity capital,
but he had acquired from Corallischken so much trust, that the squire with a corresponding
mortgage made it possible.
So now he owned land of 40 Morgens, directly at the Stein Street Memel-Dingweten, 6 km
away from Memel. Not in the middle of the country, but directly at the street emerged our
farm, a farm square with apartment house, stable and barn and the farrier's building was
near the street. Later the still existing gaps were closed through a woodshed. Naturally
an outhouse was not missing - also near the barn. Ultimately a large garden was laid out
for fruit and vegetables, and around the farm young, but already tall birches were
planted, which should give us security from thunder and lightening.
40 Morgens were an unsatisfactory size, for 1 horse too much, and too little for 2 horses.
But the growing children helped father in agriculture, so that he could buy a sufficient
clientele for his horseshoeing. After some time, it grew to be successful, and father was
able to buy an additional 20 Morgens adjacent terrain, especially favorably for our
business, so that now also the profits of the agriculture satisfied the family needs. Our
house, from red bricks built like stable and with red shingles covered like all buildings,
became the large growing family's home. At an end - the living room, at the same time the
bedroom for parents and one child, and the good room with upholstered furniture and carpet
for Sunday visitors. This room was heated by a wood-burning fireplace with pipes that were
able to be kept warm. Not heatable were the both chambers on the other side of the house,
that served as the bedroom of the rest of the children, and the cool pantry. In the middle
of the house was the kitchen - living-room combination, on which there was a Foyer with
The Family Members in Clemmenhof
In Clemmenhof our family increased on following status:
Father Richard Klinger, geb. 22.11.1866, died 06.02.1941
Mother Lina Klinger, geb. 09.09.1871, died 16.03.1946
Son Max Klinger, geb. 22. .1892, died 22.03.1980
Son Erich Klinger, geb. 13.11.1893, died 10.10.1971
Daughter Käthe Klinger, geb. 06.11.1898
Son Bruno Klinger, geb. 20.04.1900
Son Albert Klinger, geb. 04.12.1903
Son Alfred Klinger, geb. 16.11.1908
Generally, father and sons were about 1,67 to 1,68 meters large, mother and Käthe around
some centimeters small. All had brown eyes and dark blonde hair and strong hands. All
disposed of a good health, Max and Käthe with a sensitive stomach. Max and Alfred had as
infants the feared diphtheria. Nobody from the Clemmenhofer years was hospitalized. Herbs
were used to heal most diseases - chamomile, yarrow, thyme, peppermint, and blossoms from
the Linden Tree.
My father, always tenacious and slender, with reddish moustache and drawn up ends, was
still natured with soft mind, was never ready to slaughter an animal, had in young years
occasionally furious stomach-aches, whereby he often left his work and rolled on the floor
because of his pains, which doctors never could fully diagnose and eliminate. Therefore he
had a preference for light food. Growths in his prostate forced him 1941 in the hospital,
where I could visit him as soldier at his hospital bed.
The mother became in higher years very corpulent. With 74 years she has endured the trek
before the approaching Russians in an open car through wintry cold 1944/45 with air raids
of East Prussia. She then came in care of Max and especially Käthe well. Her death, on
the 16th of March 1946, was due to old-age and heart problems, and as Käthe reports, was
inevitable because of lack of vitamins available at that horrible time.
When I think about my mother, I immediately think of her excellent cheese cakes, with
which she greeted us at each family reunion in Clemmenhof, which with no doubt could be