Saturday, August 21, 2010

Surname Saturday: Kirchberger

I had a nice surprise waiting for me in my mailbox this morning: my great-great-grandfather Erhard Kirchberger's death certificate! I ordered it earlier this week from Buffalo, New York. This is the second time in two weeks I've been pleasantly surprised by how quickly I've received a document.

Erhard Kirchberger was born in Germany on 6 June 1857, and died in Buffalo, NY on 25 June 1913. The cause of death listed on the certificate is listed as "Lobar pneumonia; contributory cause: acute alcoholism." That last bit shouldn't have surprised me so much - after all, he was a saloon-keeper. The most exciting part of the certificate is finally having his parents' names: Conrad Kirchberger, and Anna Kirchberger. (No maiden name, curses!)

This is one of the few pictures I have of Erhard and his family. Erhard is sitting in the front row with his wife Sophia (Beck) Kirchberger (1863-1937), and their son Arthur (1899-1955). The back row from left to right: Anna (1882-1954), Hertha (1883-1918), Erhard (1885-1973), and Rose (1886-1920). Anna, Erhard, and Arthur never married or had any children (that I know of!), and both Hertha (Lempke) and Rose (Schenk) died relatively young (35 and 33, respectively).

Out of all the families I research, this one is probably my favorite. I am lucky enough to have several letters written by members of this family, so I've really been able to get a glimpse of their everyday life and feel like I "know" them. Of course, I don't feel like I know nearly enough - isn't that how it always is with genealogists? ;)

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