Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Robel Family Emigrates

Well, after decades of neglect I have started to update my family history files. In looking over the plastic tubs of books, artifacts, pictures and correspondence, I just have to say the task seems overwhelming at this point. But, with all of the information I have received recently and the new research that has been accomplished by cousin Kathy (Wilebski) Schafer, I thought it was time to get back to it.

In looking at my notes and the "facts" that I had in my files, I see that it's time to set the record straight in terms of a lot of rumors and other assorted stories. Since Grandma Mary is somewhat of an icon for our family, I thought I'd start with her and pull the facts together as best I can. As I was piecing things together this morning, all I can say is it was very interesting. And if you recall all of the stories that Grandma was famous for, it may provide the flavor you need for the facts that will be presented.

First off, Mary Robel was born in a little village named Komorowka in what is today the Ukraine back on April 19, 1888. Many of you also know that her family was part of a settlement of Czech families that relocated here at the urging of the Catholic church. Her roots and that of our Chod ancestors are from the Klenci, Czech Republic area.

In any event, due to a number of factors such as the occupation by foreign forces, lack of economic opportunity among others, Mary and many of her siblings were forced to find greener pastures. Apparently America/Canada offered those opportunities.

FYI, from what I have found, Mary was the 6th of 7 children of Fredrick Robel and his wife Maryanna Nejedli. Of the children, the first 2 boys remained in the old country, John and Jacob "Jack". The remaining 5 children emigrated to America and Canada.

Of the remaining siblings of Mary, the oldest was Thomas who went to Winnipeg. FYI, this is the grandfather of our Hallama cousins who live in Grande Pointe, Manitoba. And without their help in this effort over several decades, would almost certainly not have occurred. Thanks to Agnes, Mildred and Ed for all of their patience and contributions of knowledge. For the record, Tom came over at the age of 14 in September 1898.

Following Tom in order of birth were Veronica, Anton "Tony" Robel, Marianna "Mary" Frances, and William "Frank".

According to the Hallamas and Jennie Koss (Robel), Tony Robel followed the year after in 1899. And lastly Frank Robel came a little later with his sisters Mary and Veronica. Another tidbit about Veronica is that she ended up in Chicago and died at the age of 19. I have included a picture of the Robel brothers that came to the new world so you can see if any of the current batch of cousins and offspring bear any resemblence. Also Tony Robel's wedding picture. I will continue more on Grandma Mary's adventures in the next blog.


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