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Ancestral Villages

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Below is a link to films of the villages, churches and homesteads of where our ancestors use to live.



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Here is a pictorial story of our family's travels across continents and oceans in the quest for a better life for their offspring.

Our story begins in Goersdorf, Alsace, France with the arrival of Jacob Bürger in January, 1736.

To view, click on the photo then follow the story beneath by using the Right Arrow.

Goersdorf in Alsace.
Goersdorf in Alsace.

The village sign of Goersdorf in Alsace. This is where our story starts in 1736 when Jacob Bürger arrives and purchases a home.

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Goersdorf in Alsace
Goersdorf in Alsace

Goersdorf, the houses shrouded in flowers. Jacob Bürger owned land including forestry and vineyards. We know this from his will of 110 pages which was decided in Court in Wissembourg in 1765.

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St Martin's Catholic Church. Goersdorf, Bas Rhin
St Martin's Catholic Church. Goersdorf, Bas Rhin

In about 1742, Jacob met and married Maria Magdalena Biesser. They were to have five children. Maria sadly died in 1754.

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Goersdorf in Spring
Goersdorf in Spring

In 1754, Jacob met and married Anna Maria Huttler. They were to have two children, one of them being Mathias in 1759. Looking across the fields to Goersdorf, the Catholic Church on the left, the Protestant Church on the right.

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Freckenfeld, Rhine Palatinate.
Freckenfeld, Rhine Palatinate.

The family were forced from their home in Goersdorf in 1780 by the advancing army of the French Revolutionaries that confiscated all of their belongings including their homes.

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Freckenfeld, Rhine Palatinate.
Freckenfeld, Rhine Palatinate.

The main street through Freckenfeld. Mathias and his mother, Anna Maria lived in Freckenfeld from 1780 until 1789.

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Minfeld Church, Rhine Palatinate
Minfeld Church, Rhine Palatinate

Mathias met Maria Catharina Hüener in Freckenfeld and they were married in Minfeld on the 10th October, 1786 as Freckenfeld at that time, never had a Catholic Church.

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St Dionysius Catholic Church, Jockgrim, Rhine Palatinate.
St Dionysius Catholic Church, Jockgrim, Rhine Palatinate.

In 1789 the family had to once again move to a safer town, Jockgrim had steep stone walls around it. This is where the surname Berger was entered into the birth records from 1790.

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47 Mittelstadtel, Jockgrim, Rhine Palatinate
47 Mittelstadtel, Jockgrim, Rhine Palatinate

This was the family home from 1789 until April 1809. We know this from the records of Jockgrim and from when Mathias sold the house in 1809.

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Jockgrim in the Rhine Palatinate
Jockgrim in the Rhine Palatinate

The high walls of Jockgrim as you enter through the town gate. The town was well protected.

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Jockgrim in the Rhine Palatinate
Jockgrim in the Rhine Palatinate

The main hostelry in Jockgrim. I enjoyed an evening dinner here overlooking the terraced gardens at the rear.

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Jockgrim in the Rhine Palatinate
Jockgrim in the Rhine Palatinate

As Mathias was listed as a Military Fugitive in 1799, the family decided to make the long trek at the request of Catherine the Great to live a new life, with freedom from military service and religion to the Beresan District of Odessa in Russia. They sold their home in Jockgrim and started on the long journey with other families from the region.

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Speyer, Beresan District of Odessa
Speyer, Beresan District of Odessa

Mathias Berger was a founder member in 1809 of the village of Speyer, It was named after the city of their homeland. This picture shows the main road through the village.

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Speyer in the Beresan Valley, near Odessa
Speyer in the Beresan Valley, near Odessa

When the family arrived in Speyer in 1809, they were each given plots of land to farm and money to purchase seed and stock.

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St Martin's Catholic Church, Speyer
St Martin's Catholic Church, Speyer

St Martin's was built circa 1863 by the Speyer villagers. It was used by the Catholic community until 1934. Prior to this, the Catholic Church in Landau was used.

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St Martin's Roman Catholic Church, Speyer
St Martin's Roman Catholic Church, Speyer

The inside of St Martin's Church. Johannes Dionys, son of Mathias married Katharina Senn in 1815. Also their son George married Elizabeth Wetzstein here in 1860.

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The Beresan Valley, Odessa
The Beresan Valley, Odessa

The family lived and farmed here until many bad crops and exorbitant prices drove them away. They left Speyer in 1903 and travelled by train to Hamburg to set sail for America.

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Speyer, Beresan District of Odessa
Speyer, Beresan District of Odessa

A Memorial to the founding members of the village of Speyer. The village is now called Peschany Brod and is in the Ukraine.

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St Mary's Catholic Church Richardton. North Dakota.
St Mary's Catholic Church Richardton. North Dakota.

When the family arrived in America, Richardton in North Dakota was their destination. Other family members had arrived earlier and had sent back favourable reports of the life that could be had there. St Mary's was the church where the children born here were baptised.

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Taylor, North Dakota
Taylor, North Dakota

George Berger lived just north of Taylor and in 1904 started farming 960 acres there with his wife Elizabeth. His sons were neighbours.

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George Berger Homestead, North of Taylor, North Dakota.
George Berger Homestead, North of Taylor, North Dakota.

Above is a photo of part of their land. George and his wife Elizabeth then went and lived in the village of Taylor in 1917.

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St Mary's Cemetery, Richardton, North Dakota.
St Mary's Cemetery, Richardton, North Dakota.

A number of the family were buried here, next to St Mary's Catholic Church. Film of the cemetery can be viewed on our YouTube Channel.

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St Mary's Cemetery, Richardton, North Dakota.
St Mary's Cemetery, Richardton, North Dakota.

To say I was surprised to see this grave marker was an understatement. George and Elizabeth Berger were very well off. George's grave is next to hers, there is no marker. As one can see, Elizabeth's grave has just Eliz Berger on it. Film on our YouTube Channel.

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Court House in Manning, North Dakota
Court House in Manning, North Dakota

This is the court house where Kasimir sold his homestead by auction in April 1913. He owned 168.49 acres of arable land.

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Manning, North Dakota
Manning, North Dakota

Brian with Willard Kovalof who at the time of my visit in 2002, owned the land where Kasimir used to live.

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Kasimir Berger Homestead, Manning, North Dakota
Kasimir Berger Homestead, Manning, North Dakota

Kasimir and Julianna lived and raised seven children here on the homestead.

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Forget, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Forget, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Kasimir and the family lived in a variety of properties near Forget in Saskatchewan. They lived in this house in 1918.

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Forget, Saskatchewan
Forget, Saskatchewan

An old homestead residence in Forget, Saskatchewan. A number of the children of Kasimir and Julianna were born in this region, including my father in 1919.

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Regina, Saskatchewan
Regina, Saskatchewan

The grave marker of Julianna, wife of Kasimir Berger. Buried in the Riverside Cemetery, Regina on February 2, 1921, South Plot 8, Block 113.

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Whitewood Cemetery, Saskatchewan
Whitewood Cemetery, Saskatchewan

Grave marker of Kasimir Berger. In his last days, he was a patient at the Joan of Arc Home, St. Hubert Mission, Wolseley, Saskatchewan.

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