Immigrant #29 ~ Great Great Grandfather Johann Leies, Chicago Saloon Owner and Piano Dealer ~

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My great great grandfather Johann Leies was born in Nuenschweiler in the German Palatinate in 1843 to farmers Johann Adam Leies and Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeiffer.  He came to America in 1867 and became a naturalized citizen of the United States that same year in Wayne County, Ohio.  Before moving to Chicago and running a saloon, he worked as a farmer, a carpenter, in beer and wine dealing, and married a childhood friend from Nuenschweiler in Wooster, Ohio – Immigrant #24 ~~ Great Great Grandmother Emilia Anna Bold Leies~~and had their children, Alexander, my great grandfather, and John Ferdinand.

Uncle John wrote a lot about this immigrant grandfather of his and even visited the Catholic church in Nuenschweiler to obtain a transcribed copy of his grandfather’s baptism.  The village is about 6 miles from the current day border of Moselle, Lorraine, France.  Johann was born at Huber Hof near Nuenschweiler.  Huber Hof was the name of his great grandfather Michael Conrad’s farm.  Hof originally meant temple or hall in Old Norse.  It later was used for courtyard and eventually for a collection of buildings on a farm.  Source:  Wikipedia.

When Johann was born, the farm had already been inherited by his grandmother Gertruda Conrad.  Information on his estate came from a great source: Intelligenzblatt des Rheinkreises, Volume 7, or Google Books!   Johann was the oldest of at least four children.  The baptismal records of Nuenschweiler are missing a few decades which means there may have been more siblings.

Like me, Uncle John did not know the date or location of Johann’s arrival here, although he left a great trail for the researchers that would come after him.  He thinks he may have entered the country in New Orleans.

I wondered why did Johann go to Wooster, Ohio when I read Uncle John’s research.  This past summer when I found a relation of ours (Union Soldier Peter Leies, 1841-1862, born in Nunschweiler, Germany and killed at Antietam), I began looking for more Leies family members in the Civil War.  That led me to two other first cousins of great great grandfather Johann that were drafted during the Civil War in Ohio – Henry and Anthony Leies.  They were brothers.  From what I can tell, they were only drafted and didn’t serve.  Their parents were Heinrich Leies and Barbara Buchheit from Nuenschweiler and all of them had been living in Wooster, Ohio.  Heinrich was the oldest brother of Johann’s father making them aunt and uncle to Johann.

Not only is it apparent at this point in my research that the Heinrich Leies family paved the way for the other Leieses to come to America, but they got here even earlier than our first direct American ancestor Johann Schuttler in 1849.  Heinrich Leies, wife Barbara, and their sons arrived in New York City in 1848.

 

Heinrichship
September 1848 Passenger Manifest of the Nicolas, which sailed from Le Havre, France

 

I do siblings when I count the immigrants in my tree.  Do Heinrich and family count since he was the sibling of Johann’s father?  Definitely.

Back to Johann.  Do you think he lived with Uncle Heinrich or a cousin when he got to Wooster?  It is very likely.  Johann would only have been about 5 years old when his Uncle Heinrich and Aunt Barbara left Nuenschweiler.  Both his Uncle Heinrich and Aunt Barbara were two of his baptismal sponsors, as you can see on the parish record below.

JohannesBaptism
Johannes Leies Baptism, dated April 25, 1843, Catholic Parish in Nuenschweiler

 

Uncle John had a copy of a letter his grandfather wrote to his cousin Johann Leies (a different Johann!) in Massweiler, Germany in 1910 that he translated from German and distributed to his family before his death.  One detail from his life in Germany is written in the letter.  He stated that “When I was 18 years old I worked in Pirmasens near the church not far from Loewenbrunnen for a Jew called Wolf.  He had a bone mill at Nuenschweiler; his son’s name was Alphonse.  He went to America.”  

Important facts about Johann’s years in America were listed in the letter to back home in 1910 in this order:

“I have been in America for 43 years.  I worked as a farmer and carpenter for two years;

Then I worked 7 years in the wine and beer industry in Wooster, Ohio;

Then we moved to Chicago.  Here in Chicago I have dealt in beer and wine for 8 years;

Then for four years in other types of work;

Then for 22 years in the piano business with my son.”

At the time of the 1880 Census in Wooster, Ohio, Johann’s cousin Henry Leies was running a saloon.  I can’t help but think that Johann may have been working there at some point before he moved to Chicago in the “wine and beer industry.”

The paper trail on Johann picks up in Chicago in 1880 where he is running a saloon according to the census.  I would love to know the name of his saloon – his beer and wine business.  I couldn’t find anything on newspapers.com regarding his saloon.  By the mid 1890s, the hard-working and diligent Johann owned his own piano dealing shop – John Leies Pianos.  Later he brought his son Alexander into the piano dealing business and they became known as John Leies & Son Pianos.

 

LeiesandSonPianos
Chicago City Directory, 1896

 

Johann remarried in 1896, two years after the death of Emilia Bold.  His second wife, Carolina Sickel, was born in New Orleans. The 1910 Federal Census stated that her father was born in France, and that her mother was born in Germany.  She had been put into a home before Johann died in Chicago in 1922.  You can see his Find-a-Grave Memorial here.

Written in Latin above, in the margin next to Johann’s baptism, is his date of death in America.  Uncle John knew his grandfather often sent money home to the parish in Nuenschweiler.  The priest back home either received word of his death from a relative in Nuenschweiler, a relative in Chicago who wrote home, or from Uncle John himself when he visited.  In turn, the church books of Nuenschweiler were photographed by the Latter Day Saints.  I would like to think it was from Uncle John.

Uncle John wrote a fantastic report on this grandfather of his.  Email me if you wish to have a copy.

The Ancestry of Johann Leies (so far)

The great grandmother of Johann was Margaretha Rubly.  It is in this part of Leies line that we descend from The Anabaptist Rubeli of Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Switzerland, religious refugees to the German Palatinate in 1672.  I really enjoyed researching that part of the Leies family.

One of Johann’s ancestors was named Hans Adam Schwartz, born around 1650.  According to the Contwig Reformed Church Records I found, he was a Gerichtsschoffe or Court Alderman in the Zwiebrucken area of the Palatinate.  He was our 7th great grandfather.  His daughter Anna Ottilia married our 6th great grandfather Jakob Johann Wenceslaus Layies-Trauden.  Leies was spelled as Layies at that point in the church records.

Johann also had ancestors born in France like his wife Emilia.  The earliest known of them was Jean Michel Conrad, born December 3, 1697 in Shweyen, Moselle.  I would like to point out that in 1697, parts of the Palatinate were under French rule.  His baptism from the Archives of Moselle is below.  Thank you cousin G. Pfeiffer in France for sharing and emailing many Conrad records to me.

cropped-jeanmichel.jpg

Like some of the ancestry of Emilia Bold, going back to the 1400s in this part of Europe, there are two parts of Johann’s ancestry that “claim” to be able to trace back to the 1400s, and even to the 1300s in a town in the present-day Saarland.  In the 1300s the region of present-day Saarland was part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Emilia’s Helfrich line isn’t a myth right now like Johann’s pre-1600s ancestors are for American researchers.  Maybe those trees on Geneanet are correct, but I can’t prove it!  

Johann’s 1910 letter stated he had a photo album of his family back in Germany.  If that album still exists, it must be a treasure.  

Sources:

Wayne County, Ohio Historical Society

Nuenschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Records

Hornbach Catholic and Protestant Church Records

Intelligenzblatt des Rheinkreises, Volume 7

Cousin G. Pfeiffer, France

Baptemes Loutzviller 1691-1723, Archives 57

Contwig, Germany Church Records 

Weisbach and Massweiler, Germany Catholic and Reformed Church Records

Zur Familie Trauden/Layes von Oberhausen, by Johannes Becherer via L. Broschart in Koblenz, Germany

United States Federal Censuses

Ohio Birth and Marriage Indexes

Uncle John

Chicago Marriage and Death Indexes

Find-a-Grave

Newspapers.com

New York Passenger Lists/Manifests/National Archives

Wikipedia

Google Books

Chicago City Directories

Numerous French and German personal genealogy databases

 

 

–cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My German Palatinate, Saarland, Lorraine, France, and Swiss Anabaptist Surname and Place Lists

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The German Palatinate

  • Nunschweiler: Leies/Lais/Layes/Leis/Leyes, Bold, Pfeiffer, Scheid (originated in Loutzviller, Moselle), Bauer, Burkhart, Conrad (originated in Schweyen, Moselle)
  • Knopp-Labach: Bold, Becker
  • Rodalben: Scheid (originated in Loutzviller, Moselle), Buchler, Becker, Wilhelm, Hauck, Bisser(in), Helfrich/Helferich/Helferig
  • Vinnigen: Hauck, Kolsch (originated in Moselle)
  • Leimen/Merzalben/Leiningen: Reber, Helfrich/Helferich/Helferig (in Leimen before and after the Thirty Years War according to 850 Jahre Leimen.  See also Die Helfriche)
  • Mauschbach: Conrad, Steu/yer, Pfeiffer, Kempf, Burkhart, Ziegler
  • Grosssteinhausen: Pfeiffer, Kempf, Schaefer, Engel
  • Leichelbingen (Monbijou): Ziehl
  • Hornbach: Ziehl
  • Beidershausen: Stuppi/y, Muller, Rubli
  • Niedershausen: Stuppi
  • Oberhausen: Rubly/Rubli, Schwartz, Leyies/Leies/Layes/Leyies-Trauden/Traudi
  • Bechhofen: Rubli
  • Zweibrucken: Schwartz
  • Weisbach: Leies
  • Contwig: Leyies/Leies/Leyies-Trauden/Leyies-Traudi/Traudi, Rubeli
  • Messerschwanderhof: Rubeli

I share DNA with the descendants of the Hauck family and Helfrich family that emigrated to Pennsylvania before the Revolution. 

Anyone in America that has the surname Leies in their tree and has ancestors that immigrated to NYC and Wooster, Ohio is my DNA cousin.  They can all be traced back to Wenceslaus Layes-Trauden who lived the Zweibrucken area in the 1690s.  His origin is unknown. 

Please see this former post on the ancestry of Emilia Bold from Nunschweiler who descends from the Hauck, the Helfrich, and several Moselle and Pfalz millers: Immigrant #24 ~~ Great Great Grandmother Emilia Anna Bold Leies~~

 

Saarland*

  • Saarbrucken: Kempf, Ludt, Hufflinger
  • Burbach: Gans, Hufflinger

*My Kempf ancestors from Grosssteinhausen, RP are possibly descended from the Saarbrucken Kempfs in the Saarland.  I am working to prove descendancy from the Bailiff Hufflinger who lived in Saarbrucken in the 1400s which French researchers on Geneanet seem to think is a possibility.

 

Moselle, Lorraine, France

  • Loutzviller: Bittel, Scheid(t), Conrad
  • Schweyen: Conrad, Stauder
  • Volmunster: Bittel, Ziegler, Stauder, Stauder dit Le Suisse
  • Haspelscheidt: Fabing/Faber
  • Sarreguemines: Bittel
  • Roppeviller: Schaub dit Bittel
  • Bliesbruck: Stauder dit Le Suisse
  • Leiderschiedt: Weyland
  • Urbach: Faber, Champion (origin possibly Picardie, France)
  • Petit-Rederching: Faber, Faber dit Schoff Jockel
  • Bitche: Faber

I have DNA matches with the Conrad family that emigrated to Germantown, Pennsylvania. I share DNA matches with the Stauders the emigrated to Ohio from the Palatinate. 

 

Bernese Anabaptist Refugees to the Palatinate

  • Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Bern: Rubeli, Muller migrated to Fischbach, RP and lived in Messerschwanderhof and Contwig.  The Rubeli were related to the Gungerich Anabaptists of Diessbach.  See: Mennosearch.com. 

My DNA matches the Rubeli descendants that emigrated to Pennsylvania before the Revolution.  They used Ruble and Ruple in America.  See also this former blog post for sources and references on the Rubeli: Immigrants #11 to 20 ~ The Anabaptist Rubeli of Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Switzerland.

 

Links to my Palatinate Immigrants and Refugees on Ancestry.com

Christian Rubeli – Mennonite Refugee to the Palatinate

Anna Muller – Mennonite Refugee to the Palatinate

Emilia Bold Leies

Elisabetha Scheid Bold

Johannes Leies

Peter Leies – Palatinate Immigrant that died at Antietam

 

cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net 

Shoot me an email if you want to compare DNA. Have a Wonderful Fourth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immigrants #11 to 20 ~ The Anabaptist Rubeli of Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Switzerland

descendancy chart

The Rubeli family were religious refugees to Germany from Switzerland in early 1672.  They were forced to leave Canton Bern because of their belief in the Anabaptist faith.  They immigrated to the part of Germany that was called Pfalzfgrafschaft bei Rhein (the present-day Palatinate or Pfalz Region).  Christian Rubeli and his wife Anna Muller were my 8th great grandparents and they brought their 6 youngest children with them, including, my 7th great grandfather, Hans Theobald Rubeli, who was only 10 years old, to the village of Fischbach to receive aid from earlier Anabaptist migrants.

Data and Sources Concerning the Origins of the Family

A book is written about the farm the Rubeli lived on outside Otterberg in Germany called Messerschwanderhof claims Christian Rubeli was born in Langnau, Bern, Switzerland.  His father may have been Peter Rubeli and his mother may have been a Gungerich.  This is a link to the website where Christian Rubeli’s family lived on their farm after he settled down in Germany:  Messerschwanderhof.  The buildings you can see on that webpage were most likely built after his death.  Because new research continually comes out to aid those researching Mennonite ancestry, I wrote this post using the following sources:

Der Messerschwanderhof by Herman Karch, Section on the Rubeli (translated to English);

Langnau and Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach Reformed Church Records;

Bernese Anabaptists and Their American Descendants by Delbert L. Gratz;

Palatine Mennonite Census Lists 1664-1793;

History of the Bernese Anabaptists by Ernst Muller, Minister in Langnau;

Mennosearch.com;

Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners Vol 1-4, by Richard Warren Davis;

Contwig Reformed and Catholic Church Records;

Nunschweiler and Weisbach Catholic Church Records;

French and Swiss History; and

The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (Gameo.org).

The Family in Switzerland

At the suggestion of a distant cousin, I found the Rubeli family in Bernese Anabaptists and Their American Descendants, because they were listed among the names of Anabaptist families living in Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach in the Thun area of the canton in the second half of the 17th Century.  Christian Rubeli was born in 1620. (sources: Mennosearch.com and Emigrants Refugees and Prisoners)  I could not find any church record to back up the information in Der Messerschwanderhof that Christian was born in Langnau, Bern.  He was simply not in the records available to me.  The researcher of the book checked and stated there were no Rubeli mentioned in the oldest church records of Oberdiessbach dating to 1587.  The author also stated that the Rubeli likely left Langnau for Oberdiessbach because of persecution by the sovereign and said that Christian’s father Peter bought a house from his brother-in-law Hans Gungerich in Oberdiessbach in 1630.  Gungerich, according to the data in Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners and Mennosearch.com, was a prominent surname in the Oberdiessbach area and they were all Anabaptists.  Because of the amount of Gungerich in that area, I believe it is impossible to figure out which woman could have been Christian Rubeli’s mother.

I too searched the Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach records to 1587 and also found no Rubeli.  I do agree with the author of Der Messerschwanderhof that they weren’t from Oberdiessbach, but the Langnau records didn’t prove Christian Rubeli was born there either. 

Der Messerschwanderhof, if I am understanding the translation to English, and perhaps something happened in the translation, Peter Rubeli, supposed father of Christian, perished in the Thirty Years War.  First of all, it could be very likely that the rich men of the canton sent a Rubeli or Rubelis as mercenaries to fight for a foreign power in the Thirty Years War.  That is what the Swiss did, and that’s how the rich men in Switzerland kept their money… So I checked the dates of the 30 Years War because I planned to write the Bernese archives about Swiss mercenary rolls to see if it was possible to get any military data regarding Peter Rubeli.  So I looked up the Thirty Years War.  I then realized that given the dates of the Thirty Years War, there was a problem with what was in Der Messerschwanderhof.   There are two things that I think aren’t accurate with that if that man was our Peter Rubeli.  1.  The Anabaptists refused the oath and were against violence, and that was a main reason for their persecution; and 2.  If Peter Rubeli, Christian’s father, did perish in the Thirty Years War, he wouldn’t be there to have the children the book claims descend from him and also probably couldn’t buy that house.

SO! there are three things we can surmise from what is in Der Messerschwanderhof:

-Christian’s father was not Peter or one of these Peters.  Gungerich is not the last name of his mother either.

-Christian’s father bought the house in 1630 and was not in the war.

-Christian’s father did perish in the war and it angered his children who then trended to follow the anti-State religion – Anabaptism.  This makes for a better story. 

The only way to know is to go to Switzerland and visit the archives in Bern.  Either way, you cannot take the translation of the book literally.

At this time, I do not have any verifiable data on the mother of Christian Rubeli besides the possiblity she was could be a Gungerich (again, if Der Messerschwanderhof is correct).  Additionally, the only information I have on Christian Rubeli’s wife is that she was named Anna Muller, the church record of St. Alban’s in Oberdiessbach states she married Christian Rubeli on December 2, 1642, and she was obviously in the baptisms of her children, including the baptism of my 7th great grandfather Hans (Theobald) Rubeli pictured below.

taufen
The baptism of our Hans Rubeli from St. Alban’s, Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Canton Bern

The Rubeli – Muller Migration

In 1671-1672, persecution of the Anabaptists in Switzerland was at it worst.  In November 1671, 200 persons had come to the Palatinate from Switzerland, including cripples, and elderly people ages 70-90.  They arrived destitute, having walked, with bundles on their backs, and their children in their arms.  In January 1672, 215 Swiss came to the west of the Rhine, and 428 came to the east of the Rhine.  (sources: Gameo. link, History of the Bernese Anabaptists.

With that data, I suspect that Christian, Anna Muller and 6 of their younger children, including our 10 year old Hans Rubeli, were part of the 215 Swiss Anabaptists that arrived west of the Rhine in January 1672 – because the data in Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners and Mennosearch.com, says Christian “was called Christen Roling when he was listed as a Swiss Anabaptist refugee in April 1672 at Fischbach, Germany.  He was age 52 and his wife Anna Muller was 50 years.  They had 8 children, 6 with them, with the oldest 20 years.”  Fischbach was west of the Rhine River.  The following are the children of Christian and Anna that came to Germany:

Barbli- 20, Anna-16, Christian-14, Hans (Theobald)-10, Nikolas-8, and Madlena-3.

Source: Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners, Mennosearch.com.

Eventually, our Hans married a lady named Anna Liesbeth, who may also have been a refugee, they had at least 6 children somewhere near Biedershausen, Germany.  If you are a Rubeli researcher reading this, there is misinformation on this website you may be familiar with:  Rubli.  As you can see, Hans Theobald was only 10 when he got to Germany, he didn’t marry his future wife Anna Liesbeth in Switzerland, bring her to Germany and have my 6th great grandfather, Balthasar Jakob, the Gerichtsschoffe.  Hans and Anna Liesbeth were already there in Germany.

In my search, Has and Anna Liesbeth had Balthasar near Biesdershausen in 1690.  I found Hans Theobald RUBELI listed as a resident of the Contwig area of the Palatinate with his wife Anna Elisabetha on June 27, 1695 in the Catholic Parish.  They are not Catholic residents.  The nearest big town to Contwig is Zweibrucken.  In 1720 in the Reformed Church records of Contwig, Hans Theobald is listed as a “common man” and the name is spelled Rubli.  Contwig is also a couple of miles from Nunschweiler, birthplace of Johann Leies and Emilie Bold.  Hans Theobald’s children appear in the local Reformed Church records, while Balthasar appears in both the local Reformed and Catholic records.  The name changes to Rubly, Rubli, Ruble, and Rubel in the early 1700s in Germany.  Balthasar married Anna Elisabetha Stuppi, and their daughter Anna Margaretha Rubly (as it was spelled in the Nunschweiler Catholic Church records) married Johannes Leyes, making them the 3rd great grandparents to Anne Leies Ferraro.  Sources: Contwig, Weisbach, and Nunschweiler church records.

Rubly.PNG
3rd line, 1st word, spelled Rubly in Nunschweiler

The Children Left in Switzerland

Christian and Anna’s oldest son Peter Rubeli didn’t accompany them to Germany according to the Fischbach refugee list.  According to Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners, “he was a Mennonite of Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach when he was to be sent to Pennsylvania on April 17, 1709.  He was in jail at the orphanage at Bern with his wife Margaret Engle.  Ulrich Rubeli, their second oldest son, stayed and married Anna Russer.”  However, Der Messerschwanderhof tells that Peter’s wife Margaret spent some time in the Palatinate with him and went back to their valley in Switzerland because she missed its beauty.  He went after her and they were caught, and were sentenced to be sent to America. Der Messerschwanderhof said they made their escape back to the Palatinate but also states they escaped from being sold as galley slaves which causes some confusion for a reader.  An Anna Rubeli had been imprisoned as well and she was sent away in 1711 to Holland on a ship called the Thuner.  Source: History of the Bernese Anabaptists.  I do not know her relation to our Christian and Anna, or if she was the daughter named Anna that may have returned to her homeland as well.   There are numerous other Rubeli shipped away too, of which I can’t establish a connection to our Rubeli at this time.

What Became of Christian and wife Anna

Back in Germany, Christian and his son Nikolas moved to near Otterberg and lived on a farm where a farm had had been continually in existence since the year 1195.  (Source: Messerschwanderhof).  Der Messerschwanderhof implies that Christian, Anna, and Christian’s father Peter moved to Otterberg, Germany where they lived there as early as 1688 and another date of 1682.  Other farm sources: Otterberg and Messerschwanderhof website.  The surname is spelled on those websites as Rubel and Reubal.  I believe a father of our Christian Rubeli would have been too old and doubt that.  Der Messerschwanderhof says that Louis XIV burned the Palatinate in 1684.  That year may not accurate.   He burned parts of it more than once, in 1674, 1688, and 1689.  Messerschwanderhof was burned down, and the French killed or stole the Rubeli cattle, and it is believed the people that survived the devastation fled to a small island in the Rhine River where they lived in huts and survived on frogs and snails (Source: Der Messerschwanderhof).  Because of the French actions, October 6, 1683 saw the first wave of Mennonite settlers from the Palatinate arriving in the Philadelphia at the invitation of William Penn.  They founded a new settlement called Germantown.  Source: GAMEO.org.

Contrary to what is written in Der Messerschwanderhof, after the burning, our Christian Rubeli didn’t run off or sail to America because the farm was lost.  If you want to accurately take what is in Der Messerschwanderhof though, in 1698, with the payment of protection fees to the sovereign, their youngest son Nikolas Rubel (as they spelled it) went back to the farm and began the rebuilding of the lower part of the Messerschwanderhof.  I tend to believe this part of the book since his descendants continued to live on the farm for hundreds of years.

According to Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners/Mennosearch.com, our Christian Rubeli was living at Messerschwanderhof in 1691.  If that is accurate, what year was the farm really burned, and what year was it really re-built? 

Given the age of our Hans Theobald, and the possible dates of the burning of Messerschwanderhof, I surmise there is a possibility that he was living there when the French rolled through.  This could explain why Hans ended up near Biedershausen in 1690 and then near Contwig in 1695, where the children he and Anna Liesbeth had after Balthasar were born.

Mennosearch.com relates that descendants of Nikolas Rubeli, Christian’s brother, emigrated to Pennsylvania, settling in York and Mifflin Counties before the Revolution.  My DNA likely matches so many PA Dutch descendants because of these various portions of my Palatinate ancestry.

Finally, my research hasn’t discovered when Christian, Anna, and their son Hans Theobald and wife Anna Liesbeth died.  According to the GAMEO.org, Otterberg Germany has its own Mennonite cemetery that they have kept through the centuries.  I wonder if Contwig has the same…

Happy Easter!!!!

cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net