Crest of the Bukovina Society of the Americas The Bukovina Society of the Americas
P.O. Box 81, Ellis, KS 67637, USA 
Martha McClelland , President
Bukovina Society Headquarters & Museum, Ellis KS 67637

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Vol. 04, No. 2   -   May 1994

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Ralph Honas, President
Raymond Haneke, Vice President
Joe Erbert, Secretary
Bernie Zerfas, Treasurer

Oren Windholz, Editor
Editorial response to
P. O. Box 1083
Hays, KS 67601-1083

Bukovinafest 1994

Enclosed is the program and registration form for our sixth convention. We have also enclosed motel registration information. The forms are also being sent to others interested in the society functions. Please let us know of anyone else wanting to receive the information.

Second Honas Family Reunion

It is hard to believe two years have passed since the first reunion, which brought a crowd of some 250 Honas descendants spanning eight generations, to the annual Bukovina Society Convention. The organizers are expecting an even bigger and better event this year from the estimated 1254 members of the clan. They will meet at St. Mary's School in Ellis during the Bukovinafest for food, genealogy, history, music and fun. Registrations are to be sent to Alfred (Luke) Honas at 1317 Western Plains Drive in Hays, 67601, or call 913-628-2724.

The tradition of a commemorative quilt is being continued by Shirley Honas and Brenda Buecke, this year depicting the life of Joseph and Catherine Honas. The genealogy book published in 1992 is being updated, and new information should be sent to Milton and Tillie Leiker at 1481 Toulon Ave, Hays, KS 67601. Other committee members who may be contacted for information, all in the 913 area code are: Dorothy Dechant, 625-3686, Tillie Leiker, 625-4633, Ralph Honas, 726-4633, Art Honas, 726-4284, Ed Honas, 726-4945, and Ernie Honas, 625-5560.

[Picture not available] Joe and Catherine Honas are pictured with their son Joe.

Bukovina People & Events

Dr. Kurt Rein called from the University of Kansas just before this newsletter went to printing to say he will return to Ellis to continue his research in March. He is at KU as a guest professor from his position at the University of Munich and with the Bukowina Institut. More information will be available in the next newsletter. The new ZIP code for the Bukowina Institut in Augsburg is H6159.

Steve Parke wrote to give an update on his presentation at the Bukovinafest. He also asked that credit be given to Anna Sanders of Hays and Agatha Denning of Hill City who put so much effort into the Nemechek reunion.

The editor, whose Bukovina ancestors are from the maternal side, will host a cousin in June from his Volga German ancestry. Johann Windholz will be visiting from Russia to speak at the annual convention of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, and will spend time in Ellis County. Johann was born in Herzog, Russia and left as a child with his mother and siblings for Karaganda, Kazakhstan in 1940 when they were forced from their homes by Stalin. He is a teacher specializing in music and folklore and presently lives in Moscow.

Prof. Marilyn Coffey of Ft. Hays University, who has researched and written of the "Orphan Train Children" will provide a program for the Bukovinafest. Anyone who knows of Bukovina immigrants in America who took in these children is encouraged to write the editor with information.

Walter Hillman, a farmer from Ogallah, Kansas, responded to the inquiry on the Shaffer legacy for Doug Dale of Canada with an interesting letter and enclosures. Walt has been a supporting member of the Bukovina Society since our first assembly in September of 1988, before formation of the society. Irmgard Ellingson called shortly after Mr. Hillman's letter with information on the Shaffers. She then called Doug Dale to let him know.

Margaret Lahme of Vienenburg, Germany sent a nice Christmas greeting card to me and noted her appreciation for being put in touch with a long lost cousin in America. It was ironically a lead she gave me that put us both in contact with the common relative. The Erberts came to Ellis with the original immigrants. In the early 1900's, other Erbert families located in New York with no contact ever made. Margaret's family were among those who stayed in Bukovina and were returned to the German Reich during the Second World War.

German Bohemian Heritage Society

A book review in the newsletter of the Society for German-American Studies caught my eye and led to a most interesting story of the German-Bohemians who migrated to the upper Midwest United States. Robert Paulson and Ken Meter wrote Border People: The Boehmisch in America. Mr. Paulson and I traded books and materials on our heritage. The German-Bohemians lived in an area of Austria just north of the Bohemian forest region where many of our Catholic pioneers to Bukovina originated. Beginning in 1856, the first immigrants located in New Ulm, Minnesota from Bischofteinitz and Mies in western Bohemia, today within the Czech Republic near the German border. Several hundred followed, locating in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.

The Bohemian Germans who moved to Bukovina saw many of their own descendants later join the migration to Canada, the United States, and Brazil. The two groups share not only the same region of origin, but many family names such as Aschenbrenner, Augustine, Fuchs, Lang, Reitmayer, Seidel, Tauscher, and Weber. Numerous other names are so similar in spelling as to suggest a relationship. Also, as in the Bohemian Germans from Bukovina in Kansas, the intermarriage among Catholic Czechs and Slovaks was evident. Ellis County also counts among the immigrants directly from Austria names found in the upper Midwest group, such as Helget, Petrasek and Maier.

The German-Bohemian Heritage Society was formed in 1984 to preserve their culture, promote research, and conduct informative meetings. They have organized tours to the homeland and publish a newsletter. The society and other donors erected a granite monument with a bronze statue on top in New Ulm to honor the over 350 pioneer families.

Federation of East European Family History Societies

Irmgard Ellingson has been invited to speak at the first convention of the FEEFHS. She will not be speaking at the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia as previously announced. The FEEFHS meeting will be conducted in Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 14-16, 1994. The Federation has 23 member societies, each having an ex-officio member on the Federation board of directors according to their newsletter. The board of directors has enrolled the Bukovina Society in the Federation as an additional sponsoring member organization. We will be able to pass on additional information to our members in the future, and Irmgard will give a report at the sixth Bukovinafest.


The memorial to the pioneers from Bukovina in the Ellis City Park has drawn much attention since being lighted. The Wolf family, who donated the monument, put a color picture of it in the their company brochure. Kansas Granite Industries sent it to 18 states. It drew a quick FAX from a man in Boise, Idaho who said his father remembers his grandfather was born there. We sent our society information to him at his request.


The Bukowina Institut in Augsburg has microfilm of church records and other documents that will be copied for the Bukovina Society. These are in the languages of Latin, Polish, and German, and are not available through any other source including the LDS libraries. The Bukovina Society board of directors has agreed to secure these for use at the Bukovinafest and future access at our archives in the Center for Ethnic Studies at Ft. Hays State University. Bob Schonthaler represented the board of directors and worked with Al Lang and Irmgard Ellingson, who helped coordinate this project. The society board has plans to acquire other significant historical records.

Prague Bed & Breakfast

Kathryn Betlach Dankowski sent information on a great place to stay in historical Prague, not far from the Bohemian forest roots of some of the Bukovina Germans. She has stayed there, and you can live with an English speaking Czech family for $25.00 per day per person. Transportation and translation services for ancestral villages, an additional $35.00 per day. Contact Kathryn at 415-479-8483, or 727 Appleberry Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903.


Anita Busek of Seattle notified us that she filled out a form for her employer, The Boeing Company, to match her contribution to our Lifetime Member Endowment. Thanks for the great idea which may apply to others in the Bukovina Society.

New members since the last newsletter and many thanks to them:

  • 55. Al and Ilene Mounkes, Tecumseh, Kansas

  • 56. Edward and Maria (Lang) Becker, Pittstown NJ

  • 57. Van D. and Mary R. Massirer, Crawford, Texas

  • 58. Ronald P. Triffo, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  • 59. Rev. Steve Parke, Pueblo, Colorado


Victoria Nied of Beaverton, Oregon became a member of the society after reading one of the society's books. She found familiar surnames in Dr. Sophie Welisch's work on the Bukovina villages. She has asked members of the Bukovina Society to write her at:  Victoria Nied,   5630 N. W. Telshire Lane,  Beaverton, OR ZIP 97006 for any information on the following of her ancestors: Roth, Andreas Domanovszky, Sophia Mueller, Josef Aib/Eib/Aab, Anna Ilauszky, Eva Bobrovitsch.

Sprig from a beech tree in Bukovina, an artist drawing from the one sent to us by Tilly Nebl, a symbol of our heritage.


Tilly Nebl sent a letter enclosing a picture of Eisenau and some of its history. While she was visiting her ancestral village, she also cut a branch of a beech tree, which was sent to us in the picture album. Bukovina means land of beech trees. The village lies in a little valley in the Carpathian Mountains surrounded by lush green forested hills with the Moldava River flowing through the middle. The population at one time consisted of Germans from the Pfalz-Westfalen and the Zips-Slovakia. The name came from the iron discovered in 1800, mining being the major employment.

When the mine played out nearly a hundred years later, some of the people of the village immigrated to Minnesota. Among them were Tilly's ancestors in the Johann and Ludwina Kutsik family. They have since spread out within the United States. Tilly encouraged us to send Bukovina Society material to them as prospective members. Other families known to have located in America from Eisenau are Lerch, Tomaschek, Muenster, Brandauer, Theiss, and Luzecky, location unknown but she hopes we can find them.


Plans are continuing for the Aust reunion, with responses being received. The organizers are please with the interest being shown on the history of the descendants of Jakob Friedrick Ast and Maria Katarina (Armbruster) Ast. The Aust Family Heritage Album is being compiled by Don Ryden. All people in the Aust kin are encouraged to contact him at 2241 E. Mountain View Road, Phoenix, AZ 85078


Those interested in searches for Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Galicia, and Bukovina can contact:

IHFF Genealogie
Gesellschaft mbH, 1190 Vienna,
Pantzergasse 30/8,
or Fax to 0043 1 317 88 06.

In a letter to the Bukovina Society, Felix Gundacker promises to answer each inquiry.



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