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.  7, No. 3   -   September 1997

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Board of Directors:

Oren Windholz, President

Raymond Haneke, Vice President

Joe Erbert, Secretary

Bernie Zerfas, Treasurer

Ralph Honas

Shirley Kroeger

Ray Schoenthaler

Don Schuster

Dennis Massier

Mary Agnes Lang-Wagner

Alice Fox

Darrell Seibel

P.O. Box 81, Ellis, KS 67637 USA
Editorial response to
P. O. Box 1083
Hays, KS 67601-1083




Autobiography of Frederick W. Schmahl

"The events in this autobiography are not always in sequence, but the author clearly remembers all the facts as stated herein. When referring to periods in time, and discrepancies occur, the reader will have to overlook them. Until age 77, there had been no thought about writing a book, therefore, there were no previous notes. The beginning of my story was very sketchy, sometimes written on legal pads or in notebooks. Occasionally, so as not to forget an important segment, I even jotted down notes on paper bags. The object was to pull it all together and to try to make some sense to the reader, and the surprise is, that there is a book at all."

So wrote Frederick Wilhelm Schmahl introducing the amazing story of his life and the saga of a family moving from Bukovina to the New World. This handwritten document had been passed around to only a few family friends for years until his daughter, Fay Schmahl Jordaens, started typing into the Bukovina mailing list some of the early stories. The interest in the Schmahl story grew with each installment. However, the volume was such that Fay decided to put it all together in book form and share it with the international Bukovina community. With the blessing and encouragement of her mother, now 91, Fay went about the enormous task of setting up the book on her computer complete with historic pictures. Professionally printed, the book is over 60 pages of very interesting history and personal experience typical of the hardy immigrants from Bukovina.

Through their generosity the Bukovina Society has an exclusive right to sell a limited number of the books with the entire proceeds donated to the society. An order form is enclosed with this mail out.

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Fay Schmahl Jordaens dancing with her father in 1966.


Some 120 people registered and attended the Bukovinafest 97, German Genealogy and Heritage Conference in July. They were joined by Crawford, Texas friends at the banquet and dance. Van and Mary Massirer were hosts and all comments have been on what a fine job they did. Thanks for the many hours of work.

Conference speakers were Irmgard Hein Ellingson, Theresa Gold, Patsy Hand, Dr. Frauke Harvey, Paul Massier, Karl Micklitz, Lois Myers, Steve Parke, Christa Prewitt, Flora von Roeder, Irene Schulze, Dr. Sophie Welisch, Velma Wiethorn, and Shirley Woodlock. Joining the Bukovina Society in sponsorship were the Texas German Society and the Central Texas Genealogical Society. We appreciate their cooperation. Local support for funding was provided by Cen-Tex Ag Supply, Clifton Livestock Commission, Cole Funeral Home, First National Bank of Bosque County, Franklin Industrial Minerals, Guaranty Federal Bank, McLennan County Electric Coop, Nutcracker Sweet Restaurant, Redwoods, Inc., Joe Yarbro D.D.S., Stephen La Duque D.S.S., Triad Foods, Brazos Valley Equipment, Lutheran Brotherhood (Tim Griesse), and Scott and White Hospital.

After a series of very good speakers and programs, the registrants enjoyed a tour of the countryside around Waco and special entertainment at the dinner and dance.


Oktoberfest Ellis will be held on September 20th with the Bukovina Society again providing the opening ceremonies. A booth will be staffed by the board members, spouses and volunteers to inform people of the society and its activities and for the sale of books and memorabilia. All Ellis area members and friends are asked to bring baked goods to the booth for sale. Benefits of this sale will be for the copier fund. This has been a very successful event each year and we appreciate everyone who helps.

The first Bukovina Christmas celebration will be held on Sunday, November 30 at 1:30 p.m. at the society headquarters in Ellis. A look at the traditions of the Bohemian and Swabian German settlers to Ellis County and Western Kansas and their music will be of interest and entertainment to everyone. The program will enjoy the participation of the Sunflower Chapter of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia whose musicians and singers will also perform.

The board of directors of the society are planning for a festival in Ellis during the month of August 1998. Dates will be set when major speakers and programs have been confirmed and announced in the December and subsequent issues of the newsletter. We have received encouragement from people who have been regular registrants at past conventions to continue the tradition. We also have several very good programs committed at this time. This is a call to anyone who would like to make a presentation, or for suggestions from the members on what they would like to see. The schedule of programs, entertainment, and social activities will follow a similar format as past years.


by: Mario Gramada

(Mario discovered the society on the internet and asked this story be placed in the newsletter. He and his father plan to visit Romania next year to see relatives. He has entered the story and pictures on a web site Of Page which also lists the books written by and about Ion.)

Ion Gramada was born January 2, 1886 in Zaharesti in the county of Suceava, province of Bucovina, Romania. His parents, Constantin and Paraschiva were peasants. Times were very hard in Romania at the turn of the century and it was common for families to send their sons to other countries in search of work. Unlike his two younger brothers, Vasile and Alexandru, who emigrated to Canada, Ion Gramada opted to remain in his native village and pursue his studies. He enjoyed reading from great Romanian authors such as Lotti, Zolla, Stenkiewich and Goga as well as many other writers of the time. He began to write stories as a young student and went to Vienna to complete his Doctorate in history and also became a professor. He was very much involved in the social and political affairs of Bucovina and defended, through his writings and actions, the rights of the Romanian people of Bucovina.

In 1909, Ion Gramada enrolled in a military course in preparation for his involvement in the war and it was during that time that he wrote against the exploitation of the Romanian people in Bucovina by the Austrian and Hungarian domination. In the war, he sided with France, England and Russia in the fight against the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was condemned to death by hanging by the Empire. He enlisted in the army in 1917 and he immediately went to the front. He won many victories with the soldiers he had in his charge, but he could not escape his fate, when on September 9, 1917 he was hit by two bullets and fell to the enemies. He was buried along with one of his friends, Ioan Spiru, in the Cirucesau valley. He had been asked by the high command to remain behind the lines but had chosen to go to the front to be with his men. On December 11, 1917 at the graves of the two heroes Gramada and Spiru, there was a religious ceremony which Prince Carol of Romania attended. He had come to pay his respects to the fallen hero.

In June 1926, Ion Gramada's body was brought and reburied in Suceava where a monument was erected in his honor at the center of the cemetery. He is considered one of the great Romanian heroes that gave his life for the National Unity of the Romanian people.


by: Loretta Holzberger

I have been viewing several of the newer microfilm tapes from Bukovina at the FHL. I am researching Lutheran families so I will only be listing contents I found for them. Each film also has several Catholic records on it also. #1768250/3 was births, marriages and I think deaths registered from 1840 to 1890 in Tereblestie. This is the only village with Protestant records on this tape.

#1768414/1 Family Register from Satulmare. This is in no chronological order, but there is an index at the beginning. It lists parents and their children, with birth dates, marriage dates, confirmation dates, sometimes marriage dates of the children or death dates of the children, and often the married child will be listed again under the parents, with their spouse and children. The time span goes from parents who were born in the late 1700s to children or grandchildren born near the end of the 1800s.

#1768412 Radautz Family Register 1869 was Part One. Like the Satulmare register, it had parents names, birth dates, marriage dates and their children's birth dates, and sometimes more. These were not just from Radautz, and they were not easy to read. Part Two was Catholic. Part Three was Protestant marriage records, Radautz 1896-1903. The couple was listed, along with birth dates, parents names, town of origin. These were from many different towns around Radautz.

#1768044/4 Radautz. Marriages, 1802-1827. This section listed marriages from many of the towns near Radautz for these years. Couples names, ages, town of origin, some parents names but not always, and marriage date were given. It was listed if they were single or widowed, Protestant or Catholic. Later there was a section of marriage records, an alphabetical index for Radautz district, 1817-1941. It listed the names, the marriage date or sometimes just the year, and the page to reference. Unfortunately, there was only the index. The pages it referred to were not on the film.

I hope this helps someone else decide what films to consider getting on loan. I would really like to hear about others that I have not seen yet.

13701 123rd St. E.
Puyallup, WA 98374
(206) 845-5984

Note: Loretta donated a disc of her Presser/Weber database to the society. This is greatly appreciated.

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Janet and Chick Gagnon stopped at the Bukovina Society headquarters during the Weber reunion. Janet informed us the descendants of Joseph H. Weber and Agatha Gaschler held a family reunion in Western Kansas during the weekend of July 12th. Family members gathered from 12 states from the four corners of the United States. The six living daughters of Joseph and Agatha and their spouses attended the reunion along with their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Also attending were the spouses and descendants of their two deceased brothers. Janet showed her book of pictures and memorabilia of the Bukovina tour which sparked many a conversation and encouraged some of the younger generation to start on genealogy. A total of 82 descendants enjoyed the activities held in Ellis, Hays, and Munjor during the 3 day reunion. Pictured above are the sisters, Janet Gagnon, Betty Godfrey, Ella Dechant, Pauline Wagner, Florence Johnson, and Rose Massier.


Another new member from Australia wrote to submit a request for persons interested to contact him. Through the society home page, Ronald J. Marczan ordered Dr. Sophie Welisch's book and found the Marczan name in it. It was the first he found the name outside Australia. He finds traces of the family name back to Rheinfeld, Poland and to Austria. His father was named Casimir, a name that is very rare in Australia. You may contact him at 16 Saville Street, Geneva Via Kyogle, NSW 2474 Australia.

Robyn Wheeler Rusenescu, 9937 Old National Pike, Hagerstown, MD wrote she is thrilled to discover the society and this has helped locate a missing branch of her family. The names she is interested in are: Czarowitz, Porth, Heldt, Selzer, Huber and possibly Hohn (or similar spelling). She would like any and all help on researching. e-mail at:

New member Steven P. Pusiak is interested in obtaining information on his ancestors from Bukovina. Postal address, 1965 Colorado Lane, Orleans, Ontario K1C 6V1, Canada. E-mail address: "My grandfather, Karl Pusiak, came to Canada from Terescheny, in the Radautz area in 1928. His father, my great-grandfather Michael Pusiak, remained in Terescheny with the rest of the family until the 1940s, when they were resettled in the Munich, Germany region." The areas of interest are Terescheny, Radautz, Sereth, and possibly the Czernowitz region. The family names are Pusiak, Sontag, Lerch and Romanek.

Richard H. B. Carruthers-Zurowski asked for his surnames of interest to be listed. Contact can be at postal address, 34a, Acacia Avenue, Rockcliffe Park, Ontario K1M OP4, Canada, phone (613) 749-3825, and e-mail: Zurowski, Sanocka, Karst, Peutz, Bayerle, Hoffmann, Schroeder, Zettel, Fahlmann, Doppermann, Frei, Ehmann, Reilaender.

Y. Aizic Oked Sechter asks about "my ggg grandfather, Schmuel Gedalia, the son of Moshe an I believe that his family name was Pizem and came from Sadegura, (outskirts of Czernowitz) Bukovina. I am trying to find more information on this family if they are listed in any sort of official registry. Also around 1910 Shmuel Gedalia left Sadegura for Jerusalem, where could I find his request for a passport, etc. About one year later he died in Jerusalem, would there be any listing somewhere, maybe through the Austro-Hungarian consulate of Jerusalem about his death?" E-mail to:

William J. Carr writes of his main Bukovina research interest in the village of Paltinossa, which is located several miles east of Gurahumora on what is now Highway 17. "Although the village is mentioned in passing in several of the books on Bukovina, I have not been able to locate any facts about the founding of the village or information on the Germans who settled there. The earliest birth dates for my ancestors who lived there are 1820s and 1830s which are clues but certainly not definitive. Some of the surnames of German settlers in Paltinossa were Pekar, Sturdza, Loy, Horn, Zawilla, Hellmann, Anhauser, Sutor, Busek, Nowecki, Kwasnicki, Ballok, Hicke and Elzholz. I am wondering if the Pekars and Hickes are Bohemian Germans or are, as one member of the family insists, from Hungary. Any references to check would be appreciated as well as any educated guesses on these families." Reply to, 5868 E. 71st St., Indianapolis, IN 46220 or e-mail to:

Sharon Lewchuk of Regina, Sask, Canada lists surnames in her search of Ast, Baker, Baumgartner, Brodt, Exner, von Frankwell, Flegel, Fuchs, Gassner, Glass, Hubich, Kattler, Kramer, Lanz, Meckenhauser, Mock, Muller, Mang, Manz, Meissel, Mirwald, Ottenbreit, Pfeiffer, Phlaumman, Press, SAUER, Schmid, Schmidt, Silzer, Umlauf (f), Walther, Walter, Weber, Wendling, WERB, WOLF, WOLFE, Zachmann, and Zimmer. The main towns in Bukovina involved are, Satulmare, Molodia, Radautz, Czernowitz, Illischestie, and Tereblestie. My maternal Grandfather, Ludwig Valentine Wolf(e), was born in Satulmare. "I am trying to locate the origins of this family with little luck. I trace back to Augustin Wolf who did reside in or around Molodia; after 1800." e-mail at:

Addresses of interest:
  • Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine, s. Lviv 290008, Lviv - 8, Sobornosti sg., 3A UKRAINE
  • Romania Arhivele Nationale, B-dul Mihail Kogalniceanu Nr. 29, 70 602 Bucuresti, ROMANIA
  • Oesterreichische Nationalbibliotek Kartensammlung und Globenmuseum, Josefsplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna sells maps of Bukovina in various scales of the entire region or specific areas e.g. Radautz. Specify the scale (e.g. 1:75000) when inquiring. They will respond with prices for the copies as well as an approximate cost for postage. It is possible to write to them in English but their response will most likely be in German. The maps which I have purchased myself (ca. 1900) are of good quality and quite detailed. ( Brian Tosczak, Vancouver, BC)

BUKOVINA: A personal Past & Future

by: Tina Hicks

My love affair with Bukovina started in the 1970's with what I thought to be a simple question to my father about my grandfather's family heritage. As with many other descendants of East European immigrants, the answer was, unfortunately, quite simple, "I don't know". Disappointed, I learned that my grandfather never spoke of his life or family back in Bukovina, the Old Country. Like many of his generation, my father never thought to ask about it while he still had the chance. Or perhaps more likely, (as many of us may recall about our younger selves) learning about the old people and the old ways was simply not important at the time.

Well, I have now spent about 20 years pursuing an answer to my 'simple' question. Despite my most diligent efforts, I have only been successful in turning up very few names, dates and places--of which the place is the only real certainty, a village called Ipostesti just a few kilometers south of the city of Suceava. Although by conventional genealogical standards I might be considered a poor family historian, the incidental discoveries I have made along the way have become much more meaningful to me than just the mere gathering of genealogical facts.

Among the most prized of these 'incidentals' has been a warm, year-long correspondence with some present-day cousins, which --by the way-- resulted from a serendipitous Internet connection made possible by our own Larry Jensen. In that village "where once we walked" I have looked for my past, that elusive sense of where I came from and how I came to be me. My search has not yielded much in terms of factual additions to my pretty parchment pedigree chart but it has provided me with a satisfying sense of connectedness.

So after 2 decades of lack-luster genealogical research, I am --ironically-- just starting to reflect upon the reasons for my need to find my Bukovina roots. Through my current correspondence with my Bukovina cousins, I am learning to see through their eyes how America was and still is equated with freedom, prosperity and 'future'. Of course, this has made me appreciate for a moment all that I have as an American but it's also presented me with a more unexpected opportunity. It recently occurred to me that both my past and future may have something very much in common; that is, in searching for my 'past', I may have unwittingly found my 'future'! This convergence of past and future, of Bukovina and America, is now weaving a surprising new path for me to explore. You see, since my 30 something marriage 6 years ago, my passion for genealogy has only been surpassed by my love for my husband and the now-painful want of a child. So suddenly 'it' clicks! An adoption in the homeland of my grandfather!

For several years following the Romanian revolution of 1989, I was among those who were touched by the plight of Romanian children as shown to us via the American media. I know that foreign adoption has recently become one of the most viable ways for Americans to adopt, and that Romania, like other East European countries, has recently legalized foreign adoptions. I am not, however, so naive as to think that 'legal' means easy. Yet, I am so absorbed by this notion, hardly a day goes by when I do not think of it or try to take another definitive step to embrace it!

Perhaps somewhere within the reach of the Bukovina Society membership, there exists my avenue to some Old World wisdom combined with some New World moxie and know-how. I would very much welcome any suggestions, advice, information or thoughts regarding my quest. I would especially welcome contacts with others who have recently adopted in Romania! Contact Mrs. Tina Hicks, 2224 18th Street, Cuyahoga Falls OH 44223-1946, FAX 330-929-9006, or e-mail:


by: Larry Jensen

Many of us have the same question: are there any books about Bukovina, or about our ancestral homes within Bukovina, that might help us learn more about our heritage? Here's one suggestion on finding the answer.

The Library of Congress, in Washington, DC, has a web page for searching their catalog, at They have labeled this an "experimental" site, since they are still working on expanding its features. It is already a fantastic resource for accessing the most complete library in the United States - much better than the older telnet access. You can do the usual searches, by author, title, and subject. When you find a book that interests you, there is also a feature that lets you "browse the shelf" by going up or down the list by catalog number to see what other interesting books might be nearby, just as you might try at your local library. If you find a long list of interesting titles, there is also a convenient form that you can use to have a copy of the search results sent to you by e-mail.

I recently did a search that found 114 items for the subject "Bukovina"! Now for the bad news. Most of the items on that list are not published in English! For those of us who aren't fluent in Romanian, Ukrainian, German, Hebrew, Polish, or Russian, this may make these books rather inaccessible. Next, books in the Library of Congress do not circulate, and its interlibrary loan policy (also available on the web site) is fairly restrictive. What good does this catalog do for anyone who can't go down to Washington to read a book? Well, just finding out that a book exists is the biggest step! With that information, we can then search for other sources for the book we want. If it is still in print, we might be able to order it from the publisher. We might find it in other public libraries that can arrange an interlibrary loan, for instance the New York Public Library, which also has a catalog on the web at Or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City might have a copy, and might even have made a microfilm copy that is allowed to circulate to your local center.

Other cyberspace info:

The society has received e-mail from three sources in Romania. Valuable contacts are being established as a result of the society homepage. One man ordered a T-shirt to be sent to Czernowitz and he now is proudly sporting it over there.


For some years we have been fortunate that a small, used copier has served us well. It was purchased through the generosity of members responding to a request for funds. Invaluable at conventions and for filling member requests, it has also saved us the expense of printing forms. Our Museum director Ray Schoenthaler has managed to keep it running among his many other chores at the headquarters. He announced to the board it is "kaput." We hope to acquire a new copier for our printing and mailing needs with your help. Enclosed is a form for your consideration and we thank you for your past generosity. We will publish the honor roll of donors in the newsletter.


Dr. Ortfried Kotzian sends greetings to the Bukovina Society members from their team of Dr. Otto-Friedrich Hallabrin, Stefanie Demmler, Karin von Webenau and the Kotzian family. In March Ortfried and Otto were again in Bukovina for a week. He reported that Czernowitz is now very busy as a market for buying and selling of goods, but the economic situation is worse than during the tour of September 96. In Romania there is a new government, the Democratic Convention Party, which has to follow the intervention of the World Trade Bank to free prices. A liter of fuel costs 4000 Lei now which was 700 Lei during the tour. Cars are seldom seen due to the expense. The people still only average $100.00 (US equivalent) per month for wages, and half that for retirees.

On May 2nd in the Golden Room of the Town Hall in Augsburg, a partnership agreement was signed with the leaders of the former Northern Bukovina (Ukraine) and Southern Bukovina (Romania) for the three regions. It involves much new work but should open up cooperative opportunities in research and preservation of Bukovina heritage.


Oren Windholz has published several books and many articles for local newspapers, all of Bukovina interest. A new book, Pfannenstiel POW is a 34 page, soft cover book on Edmund Pfannenstiel's experience during the Second World War. A stateside view from his widow, his recollections of combat, a description of the town and camp, his prison experience, prison records, liberation, and home. Contains copies of maps, rare pictures and documents. A few extra copies are available. Order for $5.00 from P. O. Box 1083, Hays, KS 67601-1083.

We are pleased when another organization or institution establishes contact with the Bukovina Society. Professor Charles Ingrao of the Department of History at Purdue University connected with Larry Jensen, the society web master who put him in contact with us. Charlie is one of the principals in the Habsburg Discussion Group and editor of the Austrian History Yearbook. The Hapsburg group is dedicated to the history and culture of the former Habsburg lands and peoples from about 1500 until this century. Habsburg is affiliated with the Center for Austrian Studies and the Society for Austrian and Habsburg History. The web site is:

Madeline Wentzel Turner continues to promote the Bukovina Society at every opportunity. She ordered another copy of the new book, German Emigration from Bukovina to the Americas. One copy is to be kept in circulation and one for her library. They gathered this year on August 16th in Oregon City for the annual Mirwald family picnic. It all began in the 1950s to celebrate their grandfather's birthday (Frank Mirwald, the elder). This is as old a Bukovina celebration as we are aware of. Her postal address is 17597 South Holly Lane, Oregon City, OR 97045, phone (503) 655-6676, and a new e-mail address:

Fay Jordaens searched for a picture of the ship her father arrived on and found success, passing the information on to us. "While writing his autobiography, Frederick Schmahl of Czernowitz referred to the ocean crossing of his family aboard the 'Pisa', when the ship left Germany in 1911. Although his father, Ludwig Schmahl, had purchased tickets on the 'Prinz Eitel Friedrich' his family was forced onto the 'Pisa' and they endured a very difficult passage to Canada. A simple phone call to the Genealogical Publishing Co., at 410-837-8271, made it possible for the Schmahl family to order the book Ships of Our Ancestors by Michael J. Anuta, and see for themselves both ships. Pictured in this book are 900 photographs of additional ships. The cost was $34.95 plus postage." You may also wish to consult your local library.

Thanks to the German-Bohemian list, we learned from Harvey Morrell that according to the German language newspaper, Washington Journal, the village of Zubrinice (formerly Saubrenitz) will be converted to an open-air museum depicting Sudeten German life. One of the supporters of this project is a Bavarian border town, Oberpfalz.

Conde Naste Traveler's 10th Anniversary Issue dated May 97 featured pictures and stories of treasures of Eastern Europe. The "painted monasteries" of Bukovina were described in Romania as all but forgotten in the region of forests, small farms, and villages.

The Denver Post featured the work of Ukrainian farm women at the Ukrainian Museum in downtown Saskatoon, Canada. Intricate straw weavings and geometric painted eggs. They printed a color picture of the eggs which are very much like those purchased on the Bukovina Tour and those on display at the society museum donated by the Kotzian family.

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Bev and Joe Augustine have been writing to the Alfred and Maria Stadler family in the former Fürstenthal since their visit to them on the tour, as well as a priest, Anton Bisoc. The picture above is of Alfred, Barbara, and Maria.


We welcome life member:

  • Martha & Thomas McClelland, Hays, KS

Thanks to Jan Adams for the donation to the microfilm reader/printer fund.

The annual meeting of the Bukovina Society of the Americas was held on July 24, 1997 to conduct the business of the society. New board members and officers elected are noted on the heading of this newsletter. Thanks to Past President Bob Schonthaler whose term expired and his wife Sue for their contributions.

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