Greetings from Heppenheim!

This week I received a comment on the post I wrote about Barbara Koob, also known in America as Sister Marianne Cope. In case you haven’t read it, you can check it out here.

Alter Marketplatz in Heppenheim, Germany

The message is from a gentleman in Heppenheim, Hesse, Germany named Manfred Bräuer. Herr Bräuer is a noted lecturer on local history and genealogy and is currently the treasurer of the Historical Society of Heppenheim, according to their website. He is interested in learning more about the families from Heppenheim and surrounding areas that emigrated to America. His message appears below.

Greetings from Heppenheim, Hesse, Germany. It’s true, that Barbara Koob (Marianne Cope) arrived [in] New York on the ship Ariosta on October, 1839 – but as I read, master D. C. Lottrrop signed the passengers list on 10 Oct 1839. The majority of the passengers were families from Heppenheim and the villages [of] Kirschhausen, Sonderbach, and Erbach. Most of them moved to Portage County and there to the Randolph township and to the Suffield township.

One of the passengers, George May, emigrated in 1832 to Ohio, moved back to Hesse to take his mother and two of his sisters to U.S. on the Ariosto.

The other families in the List of Passengers are: Martin Bauer (Bower), Peter Klein (Kline), Mathes Trares (Traris), und Friedrich Antes [Andes] from Kirschhausen. Peter Klein (Kline) from Sonderbach. Adam Hohenadel (Honadel) and Gerhard Breier (Briar, Prier) from Erbach. Martin Mischler (Mishler, Mesler), Georg May, Johannes May, Ignatz Kämmerer (Kimmer), Martin Grosmann and Peter Koob (Cope) from Heppenheim. Also on the ship were Wilhelm Koll from heppenheim and Peter Shäfer (Shefer) from Kirschhausen.

So far I found In the US Census of 1840 Martin Bower, Gahart Prier, Adam Honadel, Peter Cline, Martin Mesler, Mattis Traris (Suffield). From Ohio, some of the emigrants migrated further west, including to Indiana or Illinois.

If you want to learn more about your German relatives from Heppenheim and the hamlets, please write. I am interested in the data of the emigrants from Heppenheim and the surrounding villages. In addition to the names already mentioned, well-known names such as Antes (Andes), Engelhart, Guthier (Gouthier), Jordan, Knapp, Lang (Long), Luley (Luli), or Rothermel – some in Americanized from – descend from this area.

Manfred Bräuer, Historical Society of Heppenheim

It’s a wonderful opportunity to make contact with an experienced genealogist and local historian from the area where our ancestors’ came from in Germany. With Herr Bräuer’s help, perhaps we can learn more about our German ancestors while sharing information about what happened to the emigrants that came to the United States.

Here are some links you may wish to check out:

Historical Society of Heppenheim

Barbara Koob /St. Marianne Cope: A Saint from Heppenheim

Welcome to Heppenheim promotional film

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Band of Brothers inspires couple to solve family WWII mystery

When Erik and Sonni Bornmeier spent Memorial Day 2018 watching Band of Brothers, they had no idea the series would inspire them to try to solve the mystery of what had happened to Sonni’s great-uncle, an Army Air Force pilot who was shot down over France during WWII.

The Bornmeiers’ used military records from Fold3, newspaper articles from, plus some old-fashioned detective work to piece together the story of 1LT George F. Wilson.

On July 8, 1944, Lt. Wilson flew his B-17 with nine men aboard in formation with 23 other “Flying Fortresses” just outside of Normandy, France.

Their targets: Germany’s guided cruise missiles called V1s. The Germans were launching them from ramps in France and sending them across the English Channel to rain down death and destruction on London’s citizens.

Wilson’s B-17 was hit by flak and crashed just minutes before the crew could bomb their target. To his credit, Wilson maintained control of the plane long enough to allow all of the crew to bail out safely. But George “Frankie” Wilson was too badly injured to parachute safely out of the plane before it crashed into a field near the village of Monchy-Cayeux, France.

The Bornmeiers have made trips to France to try and find George’s remains. To support their efforts, they have a Facebook page called “Finding George,” full of photographs and evidence they have collected during their research. It also includes information about what artifacts and information they have found in France. The village of Monchy-Cayeux has also tried to help in the effort to find 1Lt. Wilson and bring him home.

Wilson is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France:

Service # O-759540
Rank First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Unit 601st Bomber Squadron, 398th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered Service From
Date of Death July 8, 1944
Status Missing In Action
Memorialized Tablets of the Missing
Normandy American Cemetery

Colleville-sur-Mer, France

Inscribed on the exterior wall of the walkway to Overlook at the Normandy American Cemetery are the words of French President René Coty:

We have not forgotten, we will never forget, the debt of infinite gratitude that we have contracted with those who gave everything for our freedom.

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Summit County History

While doing some genealogy research this week, I ran across an obituary for a person who died at Akron People’s Hospital. Since the date on the obituary was 1940, I had no idea which hospital this was since this was more than a few years before my time.

I did a Google search and learned that Akron People’s Hospital was incorporated in 1914 and is today known as Akron General Hospital. Who knew?

But even more important, while satisfying my curiosity about this bit of trivia, I ran across a site I just had to share. Have a few moments to browse collections of some of Summit County’s most interesting historical photographs?

If the answer is yes, then knock your socks off and check out the Summit Memory website.

This site has a treasure trove of various resources (not just old photos!) to share, including:

  • Online Map Room. A collection of historic maps and atlases of Akron and Summit County. This collection was created through a collaboration between the University of Akron Libraries and the Special Collections Division.
  • Reproductions. Want to get a copy of your favorite historical photo to frame and display? Check out the Reproductions tab for more information.
  • Collections. Browse through the list of collections and find something that interests you, such as:
    • Akron Beacon Journal Photo Collection
    • Akron Remembers 1968
    • Alumni Association of Akron City Hospital School of Nursing
    • B.F. Goodrich Collection
    • Civil War Collection
    • Stan Hywet Hall

This is just a small sample of what they have posted.

The Summit Memory project is a countywide, collaborative effort to make available some of the remarkable local history collections maintained by the Akron Public Library’s partner institutions.

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Drop a card to Uncle Don

Don and Virginia KnappWe learned this week that Uncle Don Knapp is having some health challenges and won’t be able to visit this month as he and wife Virginia had planned.

Virginia shared in an email that Don is in a lot of pain due to a back problem. He is disappointed that he can’t make it back to Ohio for a visit.

Virginia has asked the Knapp clan to to pop a card in the mail to let Don know that we’re all thinking of him and hope he feels better soon.

Here is Don and Virginia’s snail mail address, in case you don’t have it. Please send a card to: Rev. Donald H. Knapp, 800 Hausman Rd.  Apt. 412, Allentown, PA  18104.

Please join us in wishing Uncle Don a speedy recovery and praying for relief of his pain.

The photo above was taken in 2012 at a local Kent restaurant, when Don and Virginia were in town for the Knapp Family Reunion.


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Tragedy strikes the Wise family

WISE_Joseph E. Family after 1895

The photo above shows the Joseph E. Wise family in a photo taken sometime after 1895. How do we know the date?

Tim De Frange was kind enough to share both the photo and the tragic story behind it on According to Tim, the photo was taken about 1896 in Portage or Summit County, Ohio. Below is the caption that appears with the photo:

The Joseph Wise family gathered for a family picture. Seated in front from l to r are Maggie (Margaret) Wise, Joseph Wise, Sr. Mary Andes Wise, Henry Wise. Standing behind them from l to r are Clara Wise, Louise Wise, Joseph Wise , Jr. Petronella Wise, Charles Wise, Jenny Wise and Ed Wise. Not pictured is Augusta Wise (1876-1895) who died at age 18 when she was accidentally shot by one of her sisters who was cleaning and the gun went off. This photo was taken shortly after the tragedy. Vincent Eichler would not reveal which sister caused the accident. He said it was a tragic accident and wanted it forgotten.

I hesitated to write about this subject, since it was such a painful memory for many, but a recent comment made on revealed that Louisa Wise was the sister who (allegedly) accidentally shot her sister, Augusta. According to the writer, this was the story that was passed down within the family.

If anyone knows more and is willing to share the information, please contact me at Knapp Notes.


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Genealogy e-newsletters worth a look

Recently a reader asked me to provide some tips about how people new to genealogy can learn more about how to uncover their own amazing true stories of their family’s history.

One way is to subscribe to several genealogy-focused electronic newsletters. One of my favorites is the New England Historic Genealogical Society‘s The Weekly Genealogist.

I always look forward to opening the latest issue of The Weekly Genealogist when it arrives in my inbox. It lists upcoming webinars, genealogy and local history events, intriguing answers to reader surveys, information about new databases now available and more.

Note: If you have any ancestors who lived in the New England area as I do (my Powers line came from the New England area before migrating to southwest Virginia), then you should take a moment to check out their website.

Even if you don’t have ancestors from the New England area, there are still resources available which may help you in your quest for information.

Choose to register for a free membership, which provides limited access to some of their online databases or spend a few bucks (less than $90/year) for an individual membership to access all that the Society has to offer.

My favorite section of the Weekly is the Stories of Interest section, which features unusual stories with a genealogy focus. The most recent issue told a story about a retired Japanese American Air Force officer’s search for the Japanese biological woman who had given him up for adoption by an American military family who were stationed in Japan in 1960. His biological mom had never given up hope of reconnecting with her son. Read more about their story here. Learn about his search for his American father here.

The Weekly Genealogist newsletter is included in the free membership. To select the membership that is right for your needs, visit to learn more.

Another great free resource is to register for Dick Eastman’s well-known genealogy newsletter, Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. It’s a great resource for learning all kinds of things, including:

You never know what you’ll find in this newsletter – and that’s part of the attraction in it for me. If you’re interested, visit to register for the free version or for the paid version ($19.95/year).

Happy ancestor hunting!




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Barbara Louise Kline (1932-2018)

KLINE_Barbara_LouiseWe lost a member of the Kline family this week. Barbara Louise Kline died Thursday, May 10, at her home in Rootstown.

Barbara was born 8 Oct 1932 in Ravenna and was one of 13 children of Joseph Kline and Helen (Knapp) Kline.

Barbara married her high school sweetheart, William Kline, on May 10, 1952, at Immaculate Conception Church in Ravenna, Ohio. Barbara passed away on what would have been their 66th wedding anniversary. William died in 2016.

William built a home in Rootstown, Ohio where he and Barbara raised their five children and where she lived for the remainder of her life.

Barbara is survived by her children Becky (Dan) Bailey of Deerfield, Beverly (Deral) White of Freedom, Bill (Chris) Kline of Rootstown, Kathy (Dave) DeSalvo of Rootstown and Janet (Dale Mickley) Vair of Rootstown; 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren;  her brother, James Kline of Rhode Island and Rita (Kline) Starkey of Texas.

Read Barbara’s full obituary here. Condolences and memories may be shared here.

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Close Call in Fallbrook

John R. Knapp, son of John P. and Sophie Knapp, narrowly escaped a fast moving wildfire raging through the San Diego area. Yesterday morning he was forced to evacuate his home in Fallbrook, Calif., after a sheriff’s deputy knocked on his door and ordered him to leave when flames got too close to the Rancho Monserate Country Club retirement community where he lives.

With no time to grab anything, he left immediately, not knowing whether his home would still be standing when he returned.

After watching the fire burn from a safe distance for five or six hours, John returned to his neighborhood. He was shocked to discover that his home had survived the blaze. Unfortunately, many of his neighbors were not so lucky. Dozens of mobile homes in the community were destroyed.

The local TV news crew interviewed John about his narrow escape. While John is thankful his home is still intact, he is very concerned about his neighbors and how they will deal with the loss of their homes.

Related Content:
Live Blog: Lilac Fire blackens 4,100 acres
Evacuation Orders
Photos: Smoke from Lilac Fire seen across San Diego County

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Calling all Knapp clan members – It’s family reunion time again!

Florence Cora Kline Knapp and John L. Knapp

It’s family reunion time again! Don’t forget to check the Reunion page for an update from Uncle Gary. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

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War Tales Mileski-Style

mileski_mackMy husband Mark came home from a visit with his family and began telling me about a story written about his uncle, Mack Mileski, and his experiences during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

I was surprised to learn that Uncle Mack had survived not only the war’s first kamikaze attack on a U.S. naval vessel, but a torpedo hit as well!

Spoiler alert: Yes, I know this is a blog focused on the Knapp family, but my father-in-law happens to be married to a Mileski.  And I also can’t resist thanking veterans for their service, especially our WWII vets. They don’t call these guys (and gals!) the greatest generation for nothing. These folks are tough!

When I was a newspaper reporter, part of my beat was the Ohio Veterans’ Home (OVH) in Sandusky, Ohio. I have interviewed my fair share of veterans, but I never tired of listening to them talk about their experiences. One of them remarked to me that “…every time a veteran dies, it’s like a book that is lost to history forever.”

That’s why I am so glad people are recording these stories – before they are lost forever.

The article recounts Mack’s experiences as an aviation machinist’s mate 1st class who repaired torpedo bombers and kept them flying off the deck of the carrier USS Santee.

According to the article, Leyte Gulf was the largest naval battle of WWII, involving hundreds of ships. The battle lasted four days and when it was over, the Japanese had lost more than 12,000 sailors, a fleet carrier, 3 light carriers, 3 battleships, 10 cruisers, 11 destroyers and 300 planes. The U.S. Navy suffered 3,000 casualties and lost a light carrier, 2 carrier escorts, 3 destroyers, a destroyer escort and 200 airplanes.

Mack’s quick reflexes allowed him to dive out of harm’s way when an enemy plane strafed the ship and then crashed onto the carrier’s deck. Luckily, Mack lived to recount the experience some 70 years later at age 90 in this article. Mack and his buddies were told that their carrier was the first American ship hit by a Japanese suicide plane in the war.

But the Japanese Navy wasn’t done with the USS Santee yet because just 15 minutes later the Santee was hit by a torpedo. Fortunately, no one was killed and the ship was not seriously damaged thanks to the torpedo hitting a steel beam instead of the more fragile hull.

A special thanks to Don Moore, who has been a reporter, editor and publisher in West Florida for more than 50 years. Moore has written thousands of articles about veterans and their war time experiences, including this one about our very own Uncle Mackie. Don has published these accounts on a blog called War Tales.

Read all of Uncle Mackie’s stirring account of his war time experiences here on Don Moore’s wonderful blog, War Tales. There also are some great photos of Mack when he was in the Navy, so be sure to check it out.

Click here to view the War Tales fan page on Facebook.


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