Friday, April 3, 2015

Sharing a headstone photo brings me closer to my ancestors

I was happy this past week to get the above message from my Facebook friend Terry Batt. We've corresponded before so he knew that my paternal grandmother's surname was Koleber. The great thing about posting information like this on Facebook is that others can see it and add to it. I was fortunate that Dr. Brent Mai saw this posting and added this information for me: 
Dr. Brent Mai is the Director of the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Brent's grandaunt, Mary "Marie" Magdalena Deines, was married to my granduncle, Friedrich "Fred" Koleber, so he also knew of my Koleber connection. 
From my RootsMagic database, I was able to prepare this chart above that shows my relationship to the Georg Adam Koleber whose headstone is at the top of this story. I'm his second great grandniece, as he's a brother of my great, great grandfather, Johann Heinrich Koleber.  

Terry proceeded to share this headstone also.

He tells me it's the headstone of Heinrich Dietz and is one of the oldest markers in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery. I'ts made of granite, rather than limestone, as are most of the other headstones in the cemetery. You can see in the relationship chart above that my grandmother Amalia Koleber's mother was Catherine Elisabeth Dietz. Thus my Dietz/Koleber connection. 

I found this better picture of the headstone at
In the first photo of the headstone you can notice the carving of the representation of fabric at the top of the monument. In connection with Heinrich's memorial on Find-A-Grave is the memorial of his sister Katherina. The fabric is also visible at top right. 

Evidently a correction needs to be made on the Family Tree at This screen shot of their family's detail page shows Henry (or "Heinrich)'s birth year as 1876, since his headstone tells us he was born in 1879.

These screen shots show the memorials at for the parents of both Heinrich and Katharina Dietz. In the photo above of Katharina's headstone, this headstone of her parents is barely visible at the left. 
I was born and raised in Great Bend, Kansas which appears at the bottom right of this map. My father went to high school in Hoisington, which is just 10 miles north of Great Bend. His father, John L. Margheim grew up in the Russell, Kansas area, seen at top right. This map shows the placement of the Trinity Lutheran, or bender Hill Cemetery in Russell County. 

This little map snippet shows where the Trinity Lutheran or Bender Hill Cemetery is in relation to Canon City, Colorado (at far left), where I currently live. 

It's such a blessing to have friends like Terry Batt, who shared this information and Dr. Brent Mai, who added more details so the people and our relationships have become more meaningful and relevant.

The Katharina Elizabeth Dietz (1876-1901) whose headstone is pictured above, married Frederick Schneider. 

This chart shows her at left with her husband Frederich and son Harold Frederick. At the bottom right is Lefa Virginia Margheim, the first cousin once removed of Harold Frederich Schneider. The chart below shows that Lefa Virginia Margheim is also my first cousin once removed. 
When I determine personal relationships, I'm blessed to feel so much more connected to those ancestors who are represented by headstones in these cemeteries. They aren't just monuments, but they're my family! And they are remembered. These families immigrated to America from the Volga region of Russia. That's why I like the Russian proverb that I use as my tag line: "We live as long as we're remembered."   

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