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.
The village sign of Goersdorf in Alsace. This is where our story starts in 1736 when Jacob Bürger arrives and purchases a home.
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.
In about 1742, Jacob met and married Maria Magdalena Biesser. They were to have five children. Maria sadly died in 1754.
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.
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.
The main street through Freckenfeld. Mathias and his mother, Anna Maria lived in Freckenfeld from 1780 until 1789.
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.
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.
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.
The high walls of Jockgrim as you enter through the town gate. The town was well protected.
The main hostelry in Jockgrim. I enjoyed an evening dinner here overlooking the terraced gardens at the rear.
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.
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.
When the family arrived in Speyer in 1809, they were each given plots of land to farm and money to purchase seed and stock.
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.
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.
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.
A Memorial to the founding members of the village of Speyer. The village is now called Peschany Brod and is in the Ukraine.
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.
George Berger lived just north of Taylor and in 1904 started farming 960 acres there with his wife Elizabeth. His sons were neighbours.
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.
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.
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.
This is the court house where Kasimir sold his homestead by auction in April 1913. He owned 168.49 acres of arable land.
Brian with Willard Kovalof who at the time of my visit in 2002, owned the land where Kasimir used to live.
Kasimir and Julianna lived and raised seven children here on the homestead.
Kasimir and the family lived in a variety of properties near Forget in Saskatchewan. They lived in this house in 1918.
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.
The grave marker of Julianna, wife of Kasimir Berger. Buried in the Riverside Cemetery, Regina on February 2, 1921, South Plot 8, Block 113.
Grave marker of Kasimir Berger. In his last days, he was a patient at the Joan of Arc Home, St. Hubert Mission, Wolseley, Saskatchewan.