Who are my ancestors?

an exerpt fom Bruno Klinger's book

Inspiration for Genealogy

Berchtesgaden, in July 1923. In a small room the 10 of us sit, who have passed the first teachers exam and who have wanted to see the Salzburger landscape, to decide where the journey should take us tomorrow. The map is confusing with the heaped details.

Suddenly I am astounded. In a district I read Klingerbach, Klingeralm, Klingerwald, Klingerberg. Does the home of my ancestors lie here, from which a cruel fate has expelled them? Is the oral tradition in my family is true, that we are originally from Salzburg? A strange feeling comes over me. What has one had to learn and retain! Reigns of our kings, wars, battles, events in all of the world! Family history is however also history, which been would even be more interesting to me than all amounts and depths other happenings, which history books give us. But here! Only oral traditions, which are supremely inadequate, mostly from my grandparents.

There, considering the Salzburger "mountain world," awoke my interest to trace which family happenings. The woken interest received stimulus through Adolf Hitler in 1933, which at his solution the Jew problem with the Nuremberg laws "To the protection of the German blood and the German honor," which demanded that each German trace their family, up to the grandparents to prove their Aryan descent. This pressure developed to be positive for my project, as by this time the responsible agencies were obligated to give information or to present corresponding documents to the judgment.


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
Mater: Louise
1. Gurges Pazzamors
2. Johann Sidow
3. Christ Zembries
4. Sidowin
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.


Fates of the Salzburger Emigrants

With safety I can assume, that one of these listed Salzburger is the father or grandfather of the driver from Bachmann, which was entered in the baptismal register 1800. After Gollub, the list the Salzburger emigrants in 1732, there were 23 male persons with the name Klinger after Prussia, mainly from the Goldegg, St. Johann and Wagrain areas. Since they are not mentioned in the land owner registers, (they might have been incorrect) therefore without property. If this is correct, then they had suffered the most cruel hardness of the expulsion, in 8 days over the country border and not knowing where to go! The Klingers had a 2 month time limit, to dissolve the property deeds, and to go off to the wide-spanning acres of Lower Prussia. What strains the walk of the Alps to Berlin must have been! What stimulus for them here! What kind of man was that, whom the tears rolled down the cheeks, as he greeted his emigrant in Potsdam? "You should it well have by me, children! " And what kind of country was that, in which they came to now? Piety and tolerance that they had experienced here, owing to King Friedrich Wilhelm I., who was completely different in the world they knew. In Berlin they joyfully came together and with strengthened courage, they looked to the future. However, times became hard, very hard.

What plight meant the wintry cold with the emergency housing on the trek over the Oder and Weichsel and the people living in the mountains them long navigation of Stettin after Pillau and quite to Memel with small sailing vessels at wind and weathers through a restless lake! How catastrophic the state of health of the emigrant must have been, has the death registry suspected the St. Johannes church in Memel:

1732 -- 15 deaths, of this, 7 Salzburger
January 1733 -- 5 deaths, all Salzburger.

Our ancestor might have considered himself one of the happiest, if he had discontinued his trek immediately at the domain in Bachmann. Ignorantly assuming that the emigration directly stopped in Memel, I tried to find the records of these Salzburger in the Prussian Museum in Königsberg, instead of looking in the church books in the St. Johanniskirche of 1732. The gap would have surely been closed -- the time between 1744 and 1770, the first date I have of Johann Klinger. Probably an error that is irreparable, since these records were not saved during WWII, where the St. Johanniskirche was bombed down to the ground. Even without the authentic proof, there is no doubt for me, that the emigrants that settled in Bachmann are our ancestors. The Salzburger emigrants were more progressive in schooling, and must have been an additive "treasure" to the people in Bachmann and their domains. So this meant that the Salzburger was a valuable asset to the Domains around Bachmann, especially since they had demonstrated their moral strength through the emigration.


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 December 20th:

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 before.
6. Heinrich, born 20.11.1857, married his cousin Lippke from Kunken-Goerge.
7. Dorothea, died 1907, married her cousin August Klinger in Szabern-Wittko.
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.


Grandfather's 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 likewise eight:
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 grandmother.
7. August, died 1933. Married to Dorothea Klinger, the sister of my father, Szabern-Wittko.
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 Clemmenhof.

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 glassed-in porch.


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 ever reproduced.