Now, I will pick up with our next generation here with Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr. We know he became a Royal Tax and Customs Inspector for the Prussian Army. I am just not sure when he was stationed and sent to the Alsace region of Germany at the time. Just given the magnitude of what was going on in Germany at the time, this was quite an important assignment. He lived in this area until he died. He got married in 1852 to a woman that was born in Mulhausen in the Alsace region (this is now Mulhouse, France), so I believe he must have been there around that time.
I had to hire a genealogist, Sandrine Roux-Morand, to help me out some, but initially got very good at where in the French archives to go, and how to read some of the documents. They are in French of course. This hasn’t made my searching any easier. The nice thing is I found our grandfathers birth record and his four siblings. Given his job, Benno Carl Siegfried Rohr moved around quite a bit within the region, so the children where born in numerous places. I have shown several documents on our great grandfather previously, so you can refer back to those for details and the photos of him and the family. I will focus more on the other family members next.
I will start here with further continued details on our great grandfather Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr.
Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr (also spelled Carl) was born in Rosenthal in the Kreis (district), of Prenzlau, Germany, on September 2, 1840. This Rosenthal was not a village or town of any sort, it was a “gut” or an estate. How the family came to this estate, I am not sure. He was baptized on September 20, 1840 at the Evangelische parish in Groß Luckow, Vorpommern-Greifswald, Germany. This is another town in Pomerania, and is directly south and east of the estate at Rosenthal.
The baptism record was previously mentioned in the last article.
Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr was the oldest child of ten and our father’s middle name namesake. The town he was born in is also west of Stettin, which is Szczecin, Poland now, and north and a little east of Berlin. This area is just south of the Baltic Sea and west of the Oder River. It is also about 73 miles north and east of Berlin.
My thought is as with Sennewitzmühle, where his father and great grandfather lived and which was a mill near Sennewitz, Germany, now in Poland, may have been a farm area just south of the district of Prenzlau, Germany near Landsberg, and he was assigned to the estate of Rosenthal.
[see attachments “Taa” for 2 maps of the estate and the towns that surround Rosenthal].
He married Philippine Louise Moehrlin (also spelled Möhrlin) on May 24, 1873 in a town called Felleringen, Germany which is now the town of Fellering, France. This is known as the Kreis (district) of Thann. Again, this is in the Alsace region, and south of Strasbourg, France today [see attachments “Ua” for this record from the Haut-Rhin archives in France, and I added a picture of the village labeled attachment “Uaa” here].
He died on November 7, 1905 in Saarburg, Germany, which is now Sarrebourg, France today. It was a great find to have this record too. The script is written so well and pretty easy to read. Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr was 65 years and 3 months old at the time of his death at 7 am in the morning. He died in the building he worked at in Saarburg. This is the building that was previously mentioned. This record shows who his parents were, so the documents is another verifying document that I have the correct person. He was of the Evangelische religion. The informant declared he had direct knowledge of his death. My guess is he died of a heart attack [see attachment “Va” for this record].
I wanted to insert a picture of Saarburg, Germany, now Sarrebourg, France here to show where he last lived and died [see attachement “Wa” for this].
Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr was a 1st lieutenant in the Prussian Army. He was also awarded two Iron Crosses. I am just not sure why he received two Iron Cross metals, but perhaps part of it was his service and loyalty to the military. I have numerous military records showing the areas he was in charge of during his time in the military. I have to believe he was involved in the Prussian military from the time he joined in the 1860s until his death in 1905.
At this point I will insert some maps of Strasburg, Germany, now Strasbourg, France where our family lived and two of our great-aunts were born. My hope is to put some context to the cities, towns, and villages where our the Rohr family lived, and were married, and born and baptized. Some of the detailed maps have the actual streets they lived on [see the attachments labeled “Xa” for there. There are 5 pages to show for now]. They actually lived at one point on the Zabernerwallstasse 33, which is today called Rue Adele Riton in Straßburg, Germany.
In addition, I wanted to add 2 additional pages to show the Prussian flag, and the Prussian Coat of Arms for the period our family was in Alsace, Germany [see attachments “Ya” for these]. Adding a little more historical perspective, I wanted to add a photo of the battle of Metz in 1870. Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr and Philippine Louise Moerhlin were living in this area of Lorraine around this period. Metz is just a little west of Saarburg, Germany. In 1874, their first son was born very near Saarburg. More on that later. It is a photo that shows a battle and how these military men dressed at the time, and what the battle may have looked like [see attachment “Za” for this, one page].
Philippine Luise Moehrlin was born September 1, 1852 In Mulhausen im Elsass, Alsace, Germany, now the city of Mulhouse, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France [see attachement “A1” for the civil birth record from the Haut-Rhin archives website in French].
As a matter of mention, Philippine Luise Moehrlin had a sister, Marie Elisabeth Moehrlin, born on July 10, in 1849 in Mulhausen, Germany, now Mulhouse, France.
The next documents show that Philippine Louise Moehrlin moved to Gießen, Hessen, Germany. I obtained these records from the writing to the municipal archives in Gießen. Again, these documents helped greatly to show positive identification of our relative. The one document shows she was married to Benno Rohr.
The one page shows the date of her death, (letters written in red). She died on February 24, 1929 in Gießen, Hessen, Germany. I have an additional document record that show she moved out of Strasbourg, France in 1919, when the Germans were expelled from Alsace-Lorraine in November of 1919. She moved in with her daughter Elisabeth and her husband Fidel Balken [see attachments “B1”, 3 pages for these Gießen, Hesse municipal documents].
I wanted to mention Philippine Louise Moehrlin’s father, our second great-grandfather on our grand father’s mother’s side of the family. I found quite a bit of information about him with some really cool records. Plus, there is quite a bit of information on the internet, including other family trees already done by others, for him on ancestry.com.
Charles Philippe Guillaume Moehrlin was born on May 19, 1809 in the city of Burtscheid, a suburb, in Aachen, Rhineland, Prussia, in western Germany. It was inhabited for many years by the Celts and Romans partly because of the hot springs there [see attachment “ C1” for this record who’s information is on FHL Film number 489831 and also FHL Film number 875236, and 903599]. I consolidated several details from the family on this sheet of paper. So, it’s a little confusing, but it includes additional information from this family line.
He married Salome Madeleine Graff, who was born in 1819.
His father was Guillaume Antoine Moehrlin, and his mother was Catherine Philippine Friederike Giffening.
Charles Phillippe Guillaume Moehrlin is in that family photograph on attachment “W.” He is the little bearded man in the bottom center of the photo. He was a Pharmacist. I found his diploma and other certification documents in the archives in Haut-Rhin [see attachments “D1”, 3 pages]. He was going to university in Mulhausen, Germany at the time, and became a pharmacist around 1837. The family was living in Ranspach, Alsace, Haut-Rhin, France during this timeframe too.
I have included a census record from Ranspach, Alsace that shows Charles Moehrlin, Salome Madeleine Graff, his wife, a daughter Marie, and our great-grandmother who married Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr, Louise Moehrlin [see attachment “E1”].
I included a photo of the town they were from here too [see attachment “F1”]. A beautiful mountain village.
The one main document which enabled me to find our grandparents was from our grandfather’s marriage record in New Jersey. It listed his parents as Benno Rohr and Louise Morlin. Not easy clues, but lead me to the information I have for the family today.
Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr and Philippine Louise Moehrlin had five children, two sons and three daughters. I have found the husbands of the three girls and of course our grandfather who moved to the United States in about 1902.
How did I find our grandfathers other siblings you ask? I wrote to the municipal archives in Strasbourg, France, as I knew they had lived there. After about two months I got a return email with the next attached document: a census record for our Rohr family showing the places they lived from 1875 through 1888, birth dates, and the streets they lived on. It shows three of the five children to Benno and Luise Rohr; Benno, our grandfather’s brother, Elisabeth Margaretha Albertine Luisa Rohr, his oldest sister; and our grandfather, Friedrich Carl Alfred Rohr, who was born on October 23, 1879 in Straßburg, Germany.
In 1888, they were living in the village (commune) of Schirmeck, a small village just outside of Mosheim, Bas-Rhin, Germany, and just west of Strasbourg, France. As you look at the military records of Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr, one of them shows he was stationed in Molsheim [see attachment “G1” for this census record] [see attachment “GG1” for a photo from the internet of the village of Schirmeck].
Benno and Louise Rohr’s first child was:
Charles Benno Adolph Rohr who was born on April 18, 1874 in the village of Vic sur Seille, Moselle, France (which was German territory when he was born). This is the Lorraine part of Alsace-Lorraine in the now Moselle region of France. I have included his civil birth record and the index from which it can be found in the archives in Moselle on www.archives57.com [see attachment “G1a”, 2 pages, for the index page and the actual birth record].
I don’t have much additional information on him at this time, and will need to research Benno further. My hope is I can find that he married and had other Rohr children.
Elisabeth Margaretha Albertine Luise Rohr was born on October 25, 1875 in Straßburg, Alsace, Germany, now Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France. She was born on the Rue du Faubourg de Pierre in Strasbourg [see attachment “H1” for the civil birth record found in the archives of Bas-Rhin in France]. Her name was shortened to “Else” in some records.
I have included another photo of our grandfather’s sisters from 1898-ish when they had the photo taken in Saarburg, Germany at the time. She is the woman on the left side of the photo [see attachment “I1” for the copy of the photo].
She married at the age of 44 to a man named Fidel Oskar Vinzens Balken. They wed on February 14, 1920 in Gießen, Hessen, Germany. This timeframe is probably just after the Germans were ousted from the Alsace region of France in November of 1918. This record can be found on ancestry.com under Hesse, Germany Marriages, 1874-1930. The nice thing about finding these documents is that they were typewritten instead of being in German script. Certainly, much easier to read [see attachments “J1”, 3 pages, for the ancestry.com page and the 2 typewritten pages of the actual record, page 75 of 978].
Fidel Oskar Vinzens Balken was a “Kaufmann,” or a businessman or merchant. He was born in Freiburg, Germany. I am just not sure how they may have met, but Freiburg is just east of Alsace. Fidel’s father was a police commissioner. His mother’s name was Maria Ihle. I have quite a bit of genealogy on this family.
She had no children.
There is also a good chance that they went back to Germany because the French kicked the Germans out of Alsace in November of 1918 as the Alsace and Lorraine area reverted back into French control and these changes were ultimately implemented with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
She died on January 3, 1954 in Gießen, Hessen, Germany. She was 79 years old. She died of lymphatic leukemia, and as a result, had edema in her lungs and it also affected her heart [see attachment “K1” for this type written record, page 171 of 1356 which is on ancestry.com under Hesse, Germany Deaths 1851-1958].
Their third child was Clara Margaretha Luise Salomea Rohr. She was born on May 28, 1877 in Straßburg, Germany, again, now Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, France. She was born at home on the Gailerstraße number 15. Again, the Strasbourg “civil” archive records are in the Bas-Rhin archives and can be found on their website. The children were probably baptized, but I just don’t know what church that may have been in, so I would have to find the church and write to the parish records folks. That is why I emphasize “civil” archive record where applicable [see attachment “L1”, 2 pages, for Clara’s birth record].
Clara married probably one of the more prominent men in the family. She married a man by the name of Doctor Richard Krzymowski. He is in the family photo of the Rohr family on the steps of the tax and customs building in Saarburg, Germany. He is the handsome dark haired man on the left side middle part of the photo.
He was born on September 5, 1875 in Winterthur, Switzerland. He died on August 26, 1960 in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany which is in northern Germany on the North Sea. More on Richard Krzymowski later, as I have quite a bit of information on him.
They married on September 4, 1906 in Saarburg, Germany, which is now Sarrebourg, France. The marriage document is a nice one as it has a good deal of information on it. This document shows Doctor Richard Krzymowski as the “Kaiserlische Landwirtschaftsleherer,” which is an imperial agricultural teacher. They were of the Protestant religion. They were married in Saarburg, Germany but were living in Wießenburg, Germany, which is just north of Strasbourg, France and on the French and German border today.
Clara was a teacher. This is impressive as most women during this time typically were homemakers. (Editor’s note: the teacher’s contract in nearby Zürich state that a woman was not allowed to hang around men or be married. Clara’s story is impressive indeed.)
Her father, our great-grandfather, was deceased at the time of their marriage, which was about one year after his death, and her mom was living in Straßburg at the time of this marriage. I have blown up this record to be able to read it, so I will attach the first two of four pages for her [see attachment “M1”, 2 pages for most of this record]. Per the records sent to me by the University of Rostock, they did not have any children.
The only death information I have for Clara is a obituary type of notice from the Baltic Sea Newspaper with her death information on it. She died on October 5, 1958. They were both buried in the “New Cemetery” in Rostock [see attachment “N1”].
Doctor Richard Krzymowski was a very famous university professor and wrote many books and publications, over 100, on Agriculture in Germany. If you Google search him, there is quite a bit of information on the internet.
I want to thank Bettina Kleinschmidt from the Universität of Rostock for finding and sending to me many of the personnel files of our great uncle. This was the last place he lived and was a teaching professor at the University of Rostock. Much of his research focused on crop rotation, and farming and agriculture techniques, in Germany.
Clara and Richard were dislocated from Alsace in 1918 with the other Germans and moved to Stuttgart for some time [see attachment “O1” for three pages of these records]. These are the actual record lists of Germans that were tagged to be removed from Alsace in November of 1918 by the French, and as a result of the Treaty of Versaille, and the end of World War I. Richards is first, Clara (spelled “Claire” is the second page, and Louise Rohr is the third document of these. Each document shows the street they lived on in Straßburg, Germany. I can only imagine this turn of events in their lives at this time.
I added some “Elsass-Lothringen”–in German, “Alsace-Lorriane”–timeline from a website https://genealoger.com, and the overview from Wikipedia here, to give some context of what was going on during, and just before our relatives were ousted from Alsace, Germany at the time.
1870 Following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, all of Alsace except for the Belfort territory and the northeastern part of Lorraine went to Germany.
1871 Alsace-Lorraine became a buffer zone between France and Germany. Alsace (without Belfort) with Moselle and 1/3 of Meurthe in Lorraine made an imperial state. Prussia, Baden and Bavaria wanted to annex to their states, but it remained a territory of the German Empire.
1872 Part of the Department of the Vosges, (Valley de la Brusche), was annexed to Alsace-Lorraine.
1890 Population was 77% Catholic, 21% Protestant, (which is what the Rohrs were), 2% Jewish, with 678 Mennonites in Lower Alsace, and 1,012 in Upper Alsace.
1919 Alsace became part of France following World War I. The old Alsatian departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin were restored. (Again, this is where I found most of the Rohr family records in these archives for this period). The Lorraine, (German Lothringen), section became the Department of Moselle, France.
“In the wake of the German Revolution, Marxist councils of workers and soldiers (Soldaten- und Arbeiterräte) formed in Mulhouse on November 9 and in Colmar and Strasbourg on November 10, in parallel to other such bodies set up in the general revolutionary atmosphere of the expiring Reich and in imitation of the Russian equivalent soviets. Under the Empire of 1871–1918, the territory constituting the Reichsland (or Imperial Province) of Alsace-Lorrainewas administered directly by the imperial government in Berlin, and was granted some measure of autonomy in 1911. Similarly, the Kaiser was also the local sovereign of the Land, so that Kaiser Wilhelm II‘s abdication on November 9 involved the fall of the monarchy both at the national and at the regional level, with a consequent legal power vacuum. In this chaotic situation the Landtag proclaimed itself the supreme authority of the land with the name of Nationalrat, the Soviet of Strasbourg claimed the foundation of a Republic of Alsace-Lorraine, while SPD Reichstag representative for Colmar, Jacques Peirotes, announced the establishment of the French rule, asking Paris to send troops quickly.
While the soviet councils disbanded themselves with the departure of the German troops between November 11 and 17, the arrival of the French Army stabilized the situation: French troops put the region under military occupation and entered Strasbourg on November 21. The Nationalrat proclaimed the return of Alsace to France on December 5, even though this process did not gain international recognition until the signature of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.”
Clara and Richard then moved to Breslau in Lower Silesia, Germany to the University there where he taught and researched. The town is now the Polish city of Wrocław. It was part of the Prussian territory back then. This was part of the area of the world that was Bohemia and had a Hapsburg presence. They were then removed from that territory when it reverted back to the Polish people. So, excommunication number two for them.
Clara and Richard then moved to Rostock in Germany to research and teach at the University of Rostock. They have over 500 pages of his work in the archives there.
At this point I wanted to place some of the “Lebenslauf” or “curriculum vitae” for Doctor Richard Krzymowski in this section. There are a couple of timelines, too, that he put together to show his background when he was applying for positions at other Universities. The curriculum vitae is somewhat like a resume, but is different that it shows an account of a person’s education, skills, achievements, qualifications, and previous experiences, without specifically mentioning the details of achievements during those times. What is especially nice about having this information is to see his handwriting, and that these documents also show who his parents were, and allowed me to do the research on that family line, which has quite a bit of detail online.
His father was Joseph Krzymowski, and his mother was Lucie Maria Louise Brockmann. They were both born in 1851 in Lübeck, Germany [see attachments “P1”, 11 pages, for these records] [see attachment “P1a” for a photo of the front page of one of the books he wrote and was published in 1914 that I bought a copy of. It has some of his handwriting on it]. “Landwirt” is the German word for farming or agriculture. “Wirtschaftssysteme” is the economics of that system of farming and agriculture.
As I think of the timing of much of this, our grandfather must have been communicating with his sisters during these years. I heard our aunts had letters from our grandfather’s sisters, but I have never seen, or gotten a hold of any of them. It just makes me wonder what their conversations entailed.
There is one additional item I need to mention here. When our grandfather and grandmother were living in that little prefab house on the Pell Farm in Saddle River, New Jersey, there was another family living in the one other prefab house the Pells had built on the farm. This family’s last name was Krzymowski! I have done research in the family, but have not been able to find a link to this Krzymowski family and the Doctor Richard Krzymowski in Germany. It doesn’t mean they couldn’t be related. However, it is not a very common name, and just so strange that our grandfather Rohl (Rohr) was living next to in America a family with the same last name that his sister married.
Doctor Richard Krzymowski died on August 30, 1960 in Rostock, Germany [see attachment “Q1” for this record], and again, I got this from the University of Rostock archives This is a copy of the newspaper “The Baltic Sea” that his obituary was found.
The fourth child was our Friedrich Carl Alfred Rohr, born October 23, 1879 at 4 pm (our, and my, grandfather) in Straßburg, Alsace, Germany, now Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, France. Friedrich Carl Alfred Rohr, or Alfred Rohl and Alfred F. Rohl, as he was known in the United States. (More on him below, after I write about their fifth child.)
The fifth child was Maria Louise Thekla Rohr was born on January 18, 1887 in La Broque, (German Le Bruck), Bas-Rhin, Alsace, Germany, now La Brouque, France [see attachments “R1”, 3 pages, and index page from the Bas-Rhin archives, and 2 of the same page, one blown up, and one showing the full page], of the civil archive record from the Bas-Rhin archives. The civil archive birth records also show her death date and place. This is good for verifying and confirming the information I found for other documents on her. I have added a photo from the internet of Le Broque, France as it looks today [see attachment “S1”].
Maria Louise Thekla Rohr–she went by the name of “Thekla” during her life. As I write this, I am struck to how beautiful our great aunts’ names are. Thekla is the Greek Theokleia, which meant glory of god. It was a name made famous by Saint Thecla, a 1st century Christian martyr.
The place where she was born was just outside of Schirmeck, (Schirmeck was on one of the census documents I provided above), and Molsheim, where our great-grandfather was stationed at one point in the small town of La Bruck, Germany, which is now La Broque, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France.
She is the only one who stayed in France. She married a man named Carl Flesch. I don’t have any information on him or when they were married.
I found a census-like record for her, or a residence record from Rueil Malmaison, Versaille, France where she lived. “Rueil-Malmaison is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, in the Hauts-de-Seine department of France. It is located 12.6 kilometers from the center of Paris. It is one of the wealthiest suburbs of Paris.” This document shows who she was married to, Carl Flesch, and helps confirm the information I received from the archive in Saarburg, Germany, now Sarrebourg, France, where Thekla’s daughter left details and photos of our family [see attachment “T1” for this record].
She died on June 15, 1972 in Versailles, France. I know she lived in a very affluent area of Versailles from documents. They had at least one child whose name was Madaleine Mitteau-Flesch. I am still looking for information on her. I have one clue that suggests she may have lived in Saarbrücken, Germany just above the French border before she died [see attachment “U1” for her civil death certificate]. This document shows her birth date, again another confirming document that matches other records, her death date, who her parents were, and who she was married to–Carl Flesch.
I am not sure why she was not excommunicated from Alsace as her other sisters and mother were or why she chose to stay in France. I find that curious though.
Before I go back to our grandfather I wanted to add some photos and details to the actual places our relatives lived in Straßburg. So, some pictures and photos of Straßburg, Germany through the ages. Strasbourg, France was a Roman camp way back then, and was originally called “Argentoratum,” hence the name “Argentina” on the first picture. You’ll also notice the pattern and layout of the city over the years. Our family lived here from about 1860 through 1918 when the Germans were ultimately deported from the Alsace and Lorraine region. I attempted to keep the photos and pictures chronological. There will be 16 pages total here. What the city looked like and it’s layout, and pictures of the Siege of Straßburg in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. Our Rohr family lived here then. The latter pages are two photos of Straßburg at the time the Rohrs lived there and four photos of the places they lived and how they look today, and when they lived there. And lastly, a recent postcard from Jonathan Christie, Aunt Peach’s’ son, Frank’s youngest son, who just visited Strasbourg in November of 2018 [see attachments “V1”, 16 pages, for these pictures and photos].
Friedrich Carl Alfred (Rohl) Rohr, our, and my, grandfather was born on October 23, 1879 in Straßburg, Germany, now Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, France. He was the fourth child of Benno Karl Siegfried Rohr and Philippina Louise Moehrlin. His civil birth record was found in the Bas-Rhin archives in France [see attachment “W1” for this civil archive record from Bas-Rhin area in France now].
As I write about our grandfather who I never knew, I will report from census record data, and family stories, and offer some snippets of my own personal thoughts based on information I received from other family members. This research started from one main document which was the marriage record to Ella Mae Simon in Allendale, New Jersey on April 15, 1913 [see attachments “X1”, 2 pages, for these records from the New Jersey State Archives, and the New Jersey Marriage Index from 1901-1914]. Notice the spelling of the parent’s names for him, “Benno Rohl” and “Luise Morlin.” He was listed as a “Painter” at the time.
This information was just enough information for me to find his parents in Germany and this all initially started with www.ancestry.com and www.familysearch.org. I tried to find his passage information in 1900 or 1902 but haven’t been able to confirm it. I have a record that I think is it, but still needs to be verified some way.
I am not sure how Alfred and Ella Mae met. The stories I listened to from my grandmother, Ella Mae Simon, at my Aunt Peach’s house in Waldwick, New Jersey I never wrote down as I was a young boy and wasn’t even thinking about genealogy back then.
I have attached a few photos of my grandfather here from Saddle River, and Allendale, New Jersey where he lived [see attachments “Y1” for these, 2 pages]. I have a few more photos from the family in the 1930 and will add them throughout these pages.
Friedrich Carl Alfred Rohr (Rohl) died on November 10, 1949. This was at the Rosary Hill Home in Mount Pleasant, New York. He died of throat cancer. According to my father and Aunt Peach he was a prolific cigar smoker all his life, and was also an alcoholic. He smoked “Leroy” cigars according to my dad. His death record from the Rosary Hill Home will be below on attachment “MM1.”
Alfred Rohl (Rohr), as he was known as in the States, grew up in Straßburg, Alsace, Germany in probably pretty nice conditions as his dad was a very prominent in the Prussian Military, as mentioned above.
My understanding is he was a very accomplished piano player, although he never pursued this in the States other than in the local “gin mill.” A story from one of my aunts was that they would go to the Allendale Hotel where he drank and watched him play. They did this, unannounced, to my grandfather.
I have to speculate as to why he immigrated. The story goes that he did not get along with his father, and/or perhaps did not want to submit to military conscription. So, he moved away.
In the 1910 census record for Upper Saddle River, New Jersey I found him living with a family named the Kramers, Otto and Louise. It lists his first name as “Albert.” This was the only “Rohl” on Saddle River at the time. Census records have numerous misspellings, so one has to take all the information in them, and from this, utilize the numerous compelling facts to come up to what should be an accurate conclusion. I am not sure how this came about living with these folks, but perhaps he knew them or was recommended to stay with them. In this record, it says he immigrated in 1902. He was a laborer in a packing plant [see attachment “Z1”, 2 pages, the reference page and the census page for these records]. I cropped the census record to show the name and some details in larger font to it is more easily read.
In the 1915 New Jersey census, they are living in Allendale, NJ (listed with last name interpreted as “Kohl,” which was needed to find this record). He was married to Ella, born in February of 1890 in New Jersey. He has his birth year as 1883 which is incorrect. His birth month is October which is correct. Ella is listed as “Black,” more on that later, and more specifically with the Simon family, as they were part of the “Jackson Whites” community. Aunt Elsa was born and her birth date is listed as November of 1913, and Stephen was born with his birth date listed as February of 1915. Alfred was a day laborer. Both of his parents are listed as born in Germany. Ella’s brother Nelson M. (Miles) is living with them and he is also listed as “Black.” He was a “Hack Driver,” which is essentially a horse drawn wagon driver [see attachment “AA1” for this record].
I will attempt to stay chronological with the records I provide, so I will insert here Alfred F. Rohl’s WWI registration card. These are interesting records because they have some additional personal details for one’s relatives. This was done in September 12, 1918. He was “short,” “slender,” had “blue eyes,” and “light brown” hair. It has his birthday as October 23, 1881. The month and day are correct; however, his birth year as we know from his civil birth record from the Bas-Rhin archives in France was 1879. I am not sure why he put 1881. He was a “packer” for the Ho-Ho-Kus Bleachery. I think they tanned deer hides at this place. It shows his wife as Ella May Rohl, and they lived in Allendale [see attachment “BB1”].
I will get to the 1920 New Jersey census after this record. My cousin Jo Ann Bolt, nee Ferguson, sent a few documents she had of our grandfather. This next one is from March 15, 1919. It is an examination record certification letter from the Erie Railroad Company. Alfred F. Rohl was “carefully examined” for his job as a “crossing watchman.” He didn’t have this job for too long, as when you read the profession portion of the 1920 New Jersey census, Alfred F. Rohl was a “wagon driver” for a “lumber co.” [see attachment “CC1” for this record].
The next record that pertains to this is from 1919. It is Alfred F. Rohl’s ID card for the Erie Railroad. What is interesting is that he worked between Paterson and Hillburn. Hillburn is interesting here in that this was an area called the “Hillburn Tract” up near Mahwah and Ramapo, New Jersey. This is an area where the community known as the “Jackson Whites” lived. Our family has an association with this group as Alfred’s wife was Ella Mae Simon. Her father married a “Jackson White” woman in Mary Elizabeth Moore [see attachment “DD1” for this record].
Next is the 1920 New Jersey census record for Allendale, NJ. He is listed as Alfred F. Rohl. It says here he immigrated in the year 1900. This is two years off from the 1910 census, but fairly close. I find it interesting that the census taker put down the city of Straßburg as his city of birth. They usually only gave the country name for folks that immigrated. This helped in searching back in his home country. I believe our grandfather went out of his way to emphasize this. He was working as a “wagon driver” for a “lumber company.” They lived on Mallison Avenue in Allendale. The Mallisons were a fairly prominent family in the area at the time, and developed the area of homes around Mallison Avenue. These were rented out and sold. The other interesting thing here is the other German side of our family, the Simons, lived next door! Both families rented their homes. In fact, Alfred F. Rohl never owned a home [see attachment “EE1” for this census record, and an 1876 map of Allendale, New Jersey showing Mallison Street, 2 pages total here].
The next record here is the naturalization record for our grandfather, Alfred Rohl. He finally became a U.S. citizen on February 3, 1928 in Hackensack, New Jersey. This page is from Jo Ann Bolt, nee Ferguson, my cousin. She has the original. He was considered an “alien” up to this point, as he had immigrated in 1902. By marrying him, Ella Mae Simon also was considered an “alien” because she married a foreigner. Back then, it was difficult getting citizenship status after you did this. Why he waited 28 years to get this done, I am not sure [see attachment “FF1” for this record].
The 1930 New Jersey census had the Rohls living for the first time in Saddle River, NJ. This record shows he immigrated in 1900 once again. He was working in general farm “labor.” This was on the David A. Pell Farm in Saddle River. All the children had been born and Stephan had already died at the age of 5. They were living on East Saddle River Road. He rented this place for 15 dollars a month. They were living in the small house that was built on the Pell Farm at this time. David A. Pell was a prominent land owner and politician in Saddle River. It shows Alfred at age 49, which would have had him born in 1881. Not correct of course, as he was really born in 1879. However, that is what he must have told the census taker [see attachment “GG1” for this census record].
I have included to additional 1930 New Jersey census pages here too, just as reference. Page 4 of 14 has the Pell family on West Saddle River Road. David A. Pell, who our grandfather had worked for, was deceased at this time. His wife Catherine is listed, with his son David A. Pell junior, who ran the farm at this time.
Also, on East Saddle River Road in Saddle River, is one of our Simon relatives. George Dewey Simon, who was married to Edith L. Burres. This was one of our grandmother’s brothers.
The other 1930 New Jersey census is of page 11 of 14 on East Saddle River Road in Saddle River. I hand wrote some notes on the page, but essentially, the four family names listed here are either related or the Rohls had some kind of link to [see attachments “HH1”, two pages for this information].
The next page is a map of Saddle River Valley from 1776-1876. It shows the D.A. Pell land and farm on it. Other land owners names on the map are Winter and Tricker, families that had businesses in the area that our dad worked for [see attachment “II1” for this map].
The next page is a letter of recommendation from Henry J. Knack, a general contractor and builder in Allendale. This was written on April 28, 1934. It gives us another clue as to what our grandfather did for a living [see attachment “JJ1” for this letter].
The next document is another letter of reference for Alfred Rohl from David A. Pell junior. The same one mentioned in the 1930 New Jersey census record I included in attachment “HH1.” This was written on December 12, 1937. It looks like he worked part time for the Pells for 6 years [see attachment “KK1” for this letter].
I have not been able to find Alfred Rohl in the 1940 census. I did find Ella Mae Rohl, nee Simon, in the 1940 New Jersey census in Allendale though. I will include that in her information.
The next document for Alfred F. Rohl is his WWII registration card. There are two pages here. It shows him on Allendale Avenue in Allendale. I am not sure why I couldn’t find him in the census. Perhaps he was at the Allendale Bar and Grill having a drink. It lists his birth place as Straßburg, Germany in Alsace-Lorraine. This confirms family stories and the records I found in Strasbourg, France today. He was married to Ella May Rohl. Numerous spelling errors on this one. It shows his signature too. He was “white,” 5 foot 6 inches in height, weighed 132 pounds, had a “light” complexion, and his hair was “gray.” This document is dated April 26, 1942 [see attachment “LL1”, 2 pages, for these records].
Friedrich Carl Alfred Rohr (Rohl) died on November 10, 1949 of esophageal cancer. This was at the Rosary Hill Home in Mount Pleasant, Westchester County, New York. The nice thing about this record is that it lists who his parents were and helped me later on confirm who I needed to look for back in Germany. Throat cancer was the cause of death. He smoked “Leroy” cigars according to my dad. Ella May Simon is listed as his wife. I had to order this document from the New York state health department [see attachment “MM1” for this record].
The last document for Alfred Rohl I will include here is a photo of his gravestone. This one is from www.findagrave.com. Again, the birth year is incorrect. He was born in 1879 from his civil birth record in Straßburg, Germany. I am not sure why he chose to tell all that he was born in 1881. He is buried at the Zion Lutheran Church cemetery in Saddle River, New Jersey. He is buried by himself.
A few notes from my dad and my aunt Peach, Patricia Christie, nee Rohl. I learned he was not a very nice man. Dad said he never really knew his dad. I have always wondered why a man that comes to this country with the background of his family didn’t choose a higher path. His older girls used to go to the Allendale Hotel, also know in later years as the Allendale Bar and Grill, where he used to hang out and listen to him play the piano there. When he got paid, he would give his Ella Mae just an amount of money to put food on the table for the kids. I was told if he made 18 dollars, he would give 3 dollars to Ella Mae for food and taking care of the children. He and Ella Mae had 9 children.
Ella Mae Simon was born in 1890 in Saddle River, Bergen County, New Jersey. She died on January 18, 1980 at Aunt Peach’s house at 22 Bergen Street in Waldwick, New Jersey.
They had 9 children:
I think Aunt Elsa was taking this photo as she is not pictured here. One of my favorite photographs. Ella Mae Rohl nee Simon was always smiling in photos. Robert Benno Rohl, my dad, is in the upper left of the photo.
Elsa Mae Rohl was born November 1, 1913 in Allendale, Bergen County, New Jersey. She married Joseph Howard Ferguson on May 23, 1937. Joseph was born August 26, 1910 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The had two children who were, Robert Barry Ferguson who was born December 7, 1941, and Jo Ann Ferguson who was born on February 9, 1919 in Paterson, New Jersey. She died on July 29, 2000
Steven (Bubby) Alfred Rohl was born on February 8, 1915 in Allendale, Bergen County, New Jersey. He died at the age of 5 from typhoid fever according to his death information at Valleau Cemetery in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He died from typhoid fever on October 14, 1920, and is buried at Valleau Cemetery in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
Estelle (Sis) Elizabeth Rohl was born on February 14, 1916 in Allendale, Bergen County, New Jersey. She married Albert (Allie) Lewis on September 13, 1932 at the Zion Lutheran Church in Saddle River, New Jersey. Albert was born on January 10, 1904 in Dutchess County, New York. They didn’t have children of their own, however adopted a girl. Her name was Patricia Ann Garden. She was born on February 18, 1946 in Tewksbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Aunt Sis died on August 17, 2003 in Zebulon, Wake County, North Carolina. She is buried there.
Fredrick Carroll Rohl was born on March 15, 1917 in Allendale, Bergen County, New Jersey. He married Vivian Dagmar Kauvo on May 21, 1940 in Saddle River, New Jersey. They did not have any children. Vivian was born on June 17, 1919 in Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota. Uncle Fred died on February 28, 1968 on Johnsonburg Road, Allamuchy, Warren County, New Jersey. He died of a heart attack while driving in his car.
Nellanna (Nel) M. Rohl was born on May 8, 1918 in Allendale, Bergen County, New Jersey. She married Roland Mckinley Coolong who was born on March 4, 1916 in Winn, Penobscot County, Maine. They were married on December 25, 1936. They had four children who were, Roland Mckinley Coolong junior. He was born on October 24, 1937. He was nicknamed “Chicky.” Then Roland Maynard Coolong who was born on February 15, 1939 and he died young on September 2, 1958. He was stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas. He and four other soldiers were killed in a car crash in just west of Sandusky, Ohio. They were all at Camp Perry participating in the National Rifle Matches that were being held there. Next born was John Warren Coolong who was born on July 30, 1940. He was nicknamed “Jack.” Their last child was Denise May Coolong. She was born on September 8, 1950, Aunt Nel died on June 12, 2012 in West Milford, Passaic County, New Jersey. I was told her heart eventually gave out.
Nelson (Nim) Miles Rohl was born on April 4, 1920 in Saddle River, Bergen County, New Jersey. He married Jean Elizabeth Christensen, who was born on February 26, 1926 in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey. The were married on December 1, 1947.
Aunt Jean died on October 28, 1991. They had one child who was Donna Jean Rohl, who was born on August 20, 1958 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Uncle Nim died on May 17, 2003 in Accord, Ulster County, New York.
Caroline (Cara) Ruth Rohl was born on July 5, 1921 in Allendale, Bergen County, New Jersey. She married William Feathers junior who was born on October 14, 1916 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. There were married on November 19, 1939. They did not have any children of their own, but adopted a girl. Her name was Anita Louise Feathers, who was born on March 26, 1946 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Her shortened name was “Ginny.” My understanding is that she was the child of one of our Coolong relatives. Please let me know if this I am correct here for whomever reads this. Aunt Cara died on September 9, 1998 in West Milford, Passaic County, New Jersey. She died of colon cancer.
Robert Benno Rohl (our dad) was born on July 11, 1924 in Saddle River, Bergen County, New Jersey. I now know where his middle name came from. “Benno” in German means “Brave like Bear” or “Strong Bear.” He married Rimke Douwtje Zittema, “Ruth Dorothy“ who was born on July 3, 1925 at 318 Central Avenue in Holland, Ottawa County, Michigan. They were married on September 20, 1945 in New Jersey. My mom died on March 1, 2000 at the Saint Peters Hospital in Albany, New York. She died of cirrhosis of the liver and emphysema. My dad died on April 16, 2016 in Bonita Springs in Florida at a hospice facility. He essentially died of Aspirate Pneumonia. It weakened him to the point he lost his balance one morning and hit his head on a night stand. He was then in the hospital for about five days and then to hospice. He was living with my brother and sister-in-law in Fort Myers. He lived to the age of 91.
Bob and Ruth had five children who were: my brother, Robert Lee Rohl, who was born on July 2, 1946 at Paterson General Hospital in Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey. My sister, Sharon Ann Rohl, was next who was born on July 4, 1950 at Hackensack Hospital in Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey. Joyce Marie Rohl was next, and she was born on December 5, 1951. John Lee Rohl came next, (that’s me!) and I was born on October 2, 1955 at the Hackensack Hospital in Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey. I married Lisa Ann Gerios on January 16, 1993 at the Haig Point Club on Daufuskee Island in South Carolina. Lisa was born on February 2, 1958 in Warren, Macomb County, Michigan.
We had one son and his name is Alaric Lee Rohl who was born on March 8, 1997 at the Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Arapahoe County, Colorado.
Lastly, my parents had Diane Lynn Rohl who was born on December 1, 1956 at the Hackensack Hospital in Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey.
Patricia (Peach) Lillian Rohl was born March 12, 1926 in Saddle River, Bergen County, New Jersey. Aunt “Peach” married Franklin Everett Christie who was born on October 3, 1924 in Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey. They got married on December 30, 1944. Uncle Frank died on May 30, 2004 at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, Bergen County, New Jersey. Aunt “Peach” died March 31, 2015 at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, Bergen County, New Jersey after a bout with Pneumonia at the nursing home.
Frank and Peach had one child who was my cousin, Frank Everett Christie junior. Frank, or “Skip” as he was known, was born on January 7, 1948 at the Hackensack Hospital in Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey.
Many thanks to Frank and his son Johnathan Everett Christie, who was born on October 5, 1981, who helped me obtain many old photos and heirlooms of the family from Aunt Peach, Skip’s mom.
So, I wish to suspend the Rohr family genealogy lineage at this point. I have a number of stories, and photographs from Saddle River, Allendale, and Midland Park from the 1930s.
I will add specific stories of our more recent history in the near future, but for now I wanted to get this information out.
Always feel free to give me a call if you have any questions. As I mentioned this is a dynamic process, as I keep searching for specific family members to build on this story…. and this is only one-fourth of our family history.
Please call me with any stories, information on specific documents on our family I may be missing, corrections, and anything you want to share, or would like to add to our family history and story. Good or bad.
My cell phone number is 303-809-1232.
My address is 1621 Bent Grass Circle in Castle Rock, Colorado 80109.
My email address is [email protected].
For now, and rather list them all here, you can reach out to me for any references. I can document all of this. Thanks.