Friday, November 20, 2015
All of this visiting my German ancestral villages has made my husband and I very hungry, especially since we skipped lunch on the ship in order to arrive at the car rental agency on time. So, while visiting the German town of Wirges, we stopped for a snack at Dolce Vita. It is an Italian ice cream shop that has 5 locations in Germany -- Wirges, Montabaur, Hohr Grenzhausen and two in Altenkircher.
The menu had several pages. It reminded me of the multi-page menu at Cheesecake Factory. How many ways can you serve ice cream? There was a two page spread of the menu that featured ice cream dishes in the shape of pasta. Does this count as a meal?
After perusing the menu, I selected a mint sundae since I absolutely love mint, especially with chocolate. My mint sundae not only was covered in a green mint sauce but also contained some mint chocolate cookies and mint chocolate candy straws. There is no such thing as too much mint. It was delicious!
Saturday, November 14, 2015
After visiting Helferskirchen, we drove to the nearby town of Wirges, where the locals call themselves "Wirgesers". The population of Wirges is about 5200 people so it is larger than Helferskirchen.
We drove to St. Boniface Catholic Church, which was built in 1885. It is commonly known as Westwalder Dom. The church is located at Kirchstrasse 6 and belongs to the diocese of Limburg.
The church doors were unlocked so we happily went inside to take a peak. We took photos of the beautiful stained glass windows and ornate figurines above the altars. We also walked around the outside grounds where there is a grotto with a statue of the Blessed Mother, and some ancillary buildings including Bonifatius Haus (which looked like a church hall with meeting rooms) and a garden area.
There was no cemetery on the grounds nor one listed on our GPS for the town of Wirges. According to FindAGrave.com,, over 200 people were buried in Katholische Friedhof Wirges. According to Family Search.org, most of the older German graves have been replaced with newer deceased persons. This makes me wonder what they did with the older graves' remains. Also, what happened to the former cemeteries that are no longer there? I am thinking that the churches used to own a lot more property surrounding their current church building (which probably included a church cemetery) but through the years that land was sold off. Perhaps this is one of those mysteries I may never solve.
Friday, November 13, 2015
My 6th great grandfather Johann Adam Hommerich married Anna Manns (my 6th great grandmother) in the town of Wirges, Germany. They both then lived the rest of their lives there.Their son Christian Hommerich (my 5th great grandfather) was born and died in Wirges. Christian's spouse Anna Christina Hober was born in Staudt (a neighboring town) but lived in Wirges after she was married.
Anna and Christian's son Christian (my 4th great grandfather) was born in Moschheim (a neighboring town) but married a woman Anna Maria Bast from Wirges, where they both lived for the rest of their lives. My 3rd great grandfather Johann Adam Homrich also lived his entire life in Wirges. Johann's son Sebastian Homrich was born in Wirges but later immigrated to the U.S. and to Michigan in particular.
So, you can see that a lot of my direct ancestors were either born and/or lived in Wirges, so it was a "no brainer" to want to visit this town while I was visiting my other German ancestral towns.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Donald was the youngest of 3 sons, all of whom served in the military. His oldest brother Charles Sherlock served in the Air Force.
His older brother (the middle brother) Edmund Sherlock served in the US Navy during World War II.According to my cousin, Edmund was only 17 years old in this photo. He looks very young.
Thank you, Dad, Uncle Chuck and Uncle Eddie for your service to our country and your devotion to your families!
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
As I left the prayer chapel in Helferskirchen, I wondered where the cemetery was located. After all on Find A Grave.com, I found the listing of persons buried in the Katholische Maria Himmelfahrt cemetery which included a number of my ancestors.
I looked down a street and saw a cemetery. This must be my lucky day! We walked down the street and walked through the cemetery. The cemetery looked new, like it was created in the 1980's not the 1700's.
Whenever I visit a cemetery in one of my ancestral lands, first, I look for any of my known ancestors. I have yet to find any of them from the 1700 and 1800's. Then I take (and also ask my traveling companions) to take photos of all the gravestones with specific surnames.
I found graves for the following people (who may be related to me) in the Helferskirchen cemetery --
HEIBEL Fridolin 1913-1996
HEIBEL August 1908-1989
HEIBEL Margareta 1906-2005
HEIBEL Anton 1903-1990
HOMMRICH Artur 1925-2007
RAMM Bernhard 1929-2007
RAMM Ewald 1929-2003
Thursday, October 29, 2015
I learned originally about Helferskirchen on Find A Grave.com. According to Find a Grave.com, the Assumption of Mary Church "was built in 930-959 as a fortress church". "The present church was built in 1769" and "is considered one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Westerwald".
My husband and I drove into town and headed towards the Catholic Church -- Katholische Maria Himmelfahrt. I was disappointed to find that the doors of the church were locked but that didn't stop me from exploring the church grounds and taking some photos. Then to get a better feel of the area, we walked east of the church and saw some cows grazing in a pasture. Walking a bit further in that direction, we discovered a darling little prayer chapel, hidden by some large trees.
Of course, we went in the chapel to see what was inside. I wonder if I can find out the history of this little chapel.
I was amazed at how beautiful the area surrounding Helferskirchen is. Okay, you know I need to show you one more photo!
My 7th Great Grandfather Valentin Zirfas was born and died in Helferskirchen. His daughter Anna Catharina Zirfas (my 6th Great Grandmother) was also born in Helferskirchen. Collateral ancestors of the Hober and Zirfas family branch were born and died in Helferskirchen. In addition, members of the Ramm family branch also lived in Helferskirchen.
Helferskirchen has a population of about 1100 people. It is north of Wirges, northwest of Staudt and northeast of Dernbach. Helferskirchen is 34.3 kilometers and 25 minutes from Koblenz. So it is an excellent place to start visiting my German ancestral home towns.