Thursday, January 6, 2011


I joined an organization caled The American Historical Society of Germans fro Russia over 10 years ago. Through that organization and a relative named Isadore or Ike Appelhans from Topeka KS, I was able to acquire most of the information I now know about our family tree. They have a website if you are interested in looking. I am a member of the Golden Wheat Chapter in Wichita.
Isobel's parent's generation include her Dad Eric who was born in Colorado Springs Colorado and her Uncle Nick and Aunt Lenore who were born in North Dakota.
The next generation is mine and that will be next time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Family Tree Post

Isobel Anne-Marie Appelhans is the newest generation of Appelhans. She is the Daughter of Eric Appelhans and Heather Buchanon. They live in Northern California. Isobel's nickname is Izzie. Later you will learn that nicknames are part of Germans from Russia heritage. Izzie was born in March 2003 in San Francisco, California. She is currently in 2nd grade and is a budding artist like her Dad. She comes from a long history that you will see over the next few months or so. We have traced the Appelhans line back to the 1600's in Western Germany, near Mainz and Worms in a little town called Bechtheim, which is about 1 mile from the Rhine river. As we go back in time, one generation at a time, we will trace our ancestry through Russia and back to Germany. An interesting tidbit is that Izzie's Aunt Lenore has moved to Germany and married a German man named Daniel Jennewein. At their wedding reception I pointed out to all attending, (including many of Daniel's family that traveled from Germany to Kansas for the wedding,) that the Appelhans' family has now completed it's round trip from Germany.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I can'tbelieve how long it has been since I posted. I have decided to ressurect this blog and use it for several purposes. One purpose would be to document some geneological information for the Appelhans name as well as others that are related. Another would be to present some "issue" questions I have developed to begin a serious discussion of Christian and American subjects. And finally to document some things that our family does.

One thing that got me to thinking about getting back into doing this was reading a story about the most recent State Roundup of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. I don't think most of the family has been too interested in knowing more of our family history. Maybe if I use this blog to include small parts of the story, you might keep checking back to see stories or facts in small amounts. Anyway the story was told by Leona (Wasinger) Pfiefer about a massacre in the village of Herzog in the lower Volga region of Russia. She met a man named Johannes Riedel in Germany soon after the Berlin wall fell and Germany was in the process of being reunited. Johannes was still afraid of the Russians. Anyway, he showed her a drawing on a tablecloth that was a map of Herzog. The story continues: This man, Johannes Riedal, age 84, had drawn a map of Herzog as it was in 1921. In 1919 the village had abundant harvest, enough for the next 10 years. Lenin attacked the farmers and took everything from them - grain, animals, food, seeds for future planting. It was said he wanted to destroy the farmers so people would starve to death. In 1921, corpses of victims of starvation lined the roads. In Mariental a group of farmers revolted against their communist rulers and killed them, throwing the bodies into the deep water. The next day, Herzog revolted. In Graf, all the communists were captured and new leaders elected. The revolt spread to other villages. Finally the communists came, overpowered the people and slaughtered them. In Mariental, many protesters gathered in one building and all 60 of them were shot. Trials were held from village to village with protesters sentenced to a firing squad. In Herzog, the victims were shot right next to Johannes vegetable garden. He saw it all and said it will always be in his memory. The condemned men were marched between 2 rows of soldiers. When they reached the burial spot by the vegetable garden they were stripped to their underware and then they knelt and prayed. Row by row they were shot. It was done calmly and in cold blood, as if the firing squad members had no conscience. These communist exicutioners had no use for anyone. Twenty men and one woman were killed - Riedel remembered the names. We will recognize these last names: Appelhans, Brungardt, Dinkel, Dreiling, Younger, Kuhn, Riedel, Rome, Schoenberger, Weigel, Windholz, Whitman and Anna Terra.
An officer then methodicaly shot each one again. The clothing was given to the soldiers, The head communist examined the dead bodies and realized one was missing - the parish priest. Even though he was not part of the uprising, but was in a neighboring town, he was to die. He was brought in, made to dig his own grave, then shot and killed.
This story Leona had only shared with a few people and finally agreed to tell the 94 people who were at the roundup. It is truly a heart wrenching tale that left a great impact on those present.
It also left a great impact on me, for reading it. The story is what happened to a lot of the family members that did not leave Russia in the late 1800's. Others died in the "gulags" or prison camps in Siberia. I really thank God that our ancestors, (like my great grandfather Johannes,) decided to come to Kansas. Last year at roundup we bought a fiction trilogy by Sigrid Weidenweber called The Volga Flows Forever. I have read the 3 books and Sandy is on the third one now. The titles are "Catherine" "The Volga Germans," and "Gulag to Freedom." They tell a gripping multi generational story of how the Germans came to Russia, learned to thrive on the steppe, and for some to leave, and other to stay behind. I hope this story gives you some sense of what the Germans from Russia went through and would like to learn more. Next post I will give a little family tree back to Russia and talk about when and where they travelled to get here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Not much new

Even though I don't have a lot of time, thought I would post something. Busy week as usual. Got to talk to Lenore yesterday. She was at a concert when I called. See her blog for name of group. Got lawn mower fixed so Nick can mow tomorrow. Needed new positive cable. Shopped for supplies for the week at our home away from home, Wal Mart. I just got through paying bills, so now we are pretty broke for rest of month! Sandy had a card class tonight, it went well if laughing from downstairs is any indication anyway. I have a list of books I have read in recent years, but I can't seem to find it now. When I find it, I will list them. I am currently reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Sandy and I are doing good on our Weight Watchers and her Drs appointment yesterday was very good. Last Sunday, Sandy, Nick and I went to see Terminator Salvation. The critics didn't like it much, but we thought it was very good, and very loud. Next movie will probably be Transformers II.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

OK "all" of my fans have been after me to post something on my blog. When I started this blog, I had hoped to post something often, at least once or twice a week. Well that sure went out the window fast. Sorry but this blog thing is more difficult to keep up with than I thought. I will try to do better in the future. I had been feelig sluggish for some time now so I went to the Dr. and my pulse was down to 48. No wonder I was tired all of the time. I have changed a couple of meds and am contemplating another therapy issue. The good news in my pulse is up to 60 and I am feeling like I finally have some energy. Sandy has tomorrow and Monday off for Memorial Day and I took vacation tomorrow also so we could get a bunch of stuff done around the house. We are going to have a house full of company week of 4th of July. Michael, Stacey, Issac and Cara are coming the weekend before and Sandy's brother and sister in law are bringing her folks out sometime later in the week. Lots of stuff to get ready.

On Tuesday night we attended the graduation of our niece and nephew, Kaleb and Kaitlin from Heights High School. They both won many high honors and we are so proud of them. See Linda's Sunflower blog for all of the details.

On my next post I will list books that I have read in recent years and a short blurb on what i thought about them.

I will be voted on for Elder at Haverhill Christian Church in Augusta on June 7 at Church meeting. I am humbled that the pastor and current elders felt I was ready to serve in that capacity. I am really enjoying the people in the Sunday School Class I teach. We have some really good discussions.

Nick and I have tickets to a KC Royals game against St Louis Cardinals on Friday June 19th. Nick really likes the ROyals and my favorite team is St Louis. They have been my favorites since I was a child because my Uncle and his family live there and my Dad and I would listen to them on the radio together when we were fishing or whatever. I like the Royals too, but St Louis is my team.

This year has gone really fast, I can't believe it's already Memorial Day!?

I will see if I can remember how to attach pictures for the next post. Good Night!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Travel, Meeting and Mini Series

Saturday I drove Sandy and Michelle to Kansas City to catch a flight to Milwaukee. They made it safe and are having a great time with Cara Grace and the rest of the family. On the way back from KC I stopped at 3 book stores, (Half Price Books, Lifeway Christian, and Borders) and can you believe it, I didn't buy anything! I even have a gift certificate from Christmas for Borders. Ate at Texas Roadhouse and then came on home. I am babysitting Michelle's 2 dogs, so I have a houseful of Schnauzers. The 4 of them are sure keeping me on my toes. On Sunday after church, (I had 14 people in Sunday School - boy that was fun!) I went to the quarterly AHSGR (American Historical Society of Germans from Russia) meeting. It was the folklore meeting and ethnic foods. I ate too much good German food. One lady talked about and showed some old aprons. It brought back a lot of childhood memories of my grandmothers and mother wearing aprons and what all they did while wearing them, like cooking! It was a good meeting. Then Nich and I watched the miniseries, "The Last Templar," on NBC. It concluded tonight. I had read the book and enjoyed it, so was curious to see how they treated the sensitive material. It followed the book very closely and unlike most Hollywood productions, it actually portrayed Christianity and faith in a good light.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cara Grace Jansen

Cara was born on Monday the 12th at 8:01am. She was 7lbs 12 oz 19in long. She came home today and we saw her on Sandy's computer tonight. She has a program called Skype and so do Michael and Stacey. It is a way to talk and see over the internet. She is sure beautiful, but she just wanted to sleep. She is our third grandchild and we are so proud!