The trail leads to Dillheim

Original German Article can be seen here.

Ancestry research: William Colehours ancestors lived at the river Dill

by: Gert Heiland

EHRINGSHAUSEN: We all want to know where we are from, right? William Colehour is no different. The man from Florida has been searching for his ancestors for the last 30 years - he finally found Dillheim and Kolschhausen.

Together with his wife Jean and friends he was in town on Tuesday.

In April he contacted Karl Heinz Witzel in Kassel, the person in charge of the internet registry of Kolschhausen. The request was forwarded to Rudi Kopp. And he was the man who welcomed the guests in Dillheim.

"This is the home of your ancestors" Kopp told his guest, meaning Dillheim as he pointed to the church "and here they were baptised".

He did point out that the current church is only 150 years old, so the baptism took place in the previous wooden church. The tower was built in 1804, the year the couple Johannes Kohlhauer, together with the children and the brother of Johannes, Johann Heinrich, left for Philadelphia. 4 children were born in the US, at the time spelled "Colehowers".

There are plenty of old graves left in the cemetery, but no head stones, Kopp told William. Too bad, said Colehour.

Shortly thereafterm in the church office, Kopp brings out old church records and is checking for names. He is checking for Johann Conradt Kohlhagen (later Kohlhauer) in Ehringshausen. He married Maria Katharina Schafer on June 10, 1763 in Kolschhausen. It is about their 4 children, and about their children, and so on and so on. It is about who came from where, who married whom at what year, where the children were baptised and what their names are. And, and, and. Lets face it, for people sitting around the table not familiar with the subject, it's confusing.

Elke A. Austin-Foote feels that way. She translates and writes everything down for the Colehours.

"I can't believe how old this book is" an amazed Jean Colehour says.

There is mention that the Kohlhauers arrived 300 years ago from Brandenburg here to the river Dill. Where is that, asks Bill. Well, near Berlin. Too far for a day trip. Also, many villages received new names. Many towns mentioned in the church records would most likely have been renamed.

For the last 30 years the 65 year old has been searching for his ancestors, and finally he found his roots on the internet. He had planned to fly to Germany with other US-Kohlhauers, but none joined him.

Rudi Kopp points to the date on the cover. Jean Colehour is surprised "Bill, this book started 1637", "oh my God" - she is thinking about the time that has elapsed. "I can't believe how old this book is" - certainly true.

Kopp keeps thumbing thru the old documents, discovers, reads, translates old words into contemporary German. Jean Colehour smiles about old words like "Eheliche Hausfrau" (married housewife) - and Kopp points out "this was 300 years ago".

Copies of family trees are being passed around, notes checked, fingers moving across old pages, names are being put in the right contents. "This is your Opa?" Jean Colehour asks Bruno Kohlhauer, and he nods.

In Kolschhausen the visitors meet the current minister Dagmar Krauth-Zirk. But before their meeting a visit to the Dillheimer church is on the itinerary. The guests are amazed about the old building, check out the inside of the church, ask many questions and take lots of pictures.

At the end Bruno Kohlhauer and Bill Colehour stand together outside the church for a picture.

It was 1734

Bill Colehour was especially attracted to one of the writings of 1734.

Dnica = Dominica - Sunday

XV Trinit = (Trinitatis) - was October 3

Johannes Kohlhagen and Maria Christina - brought a son to be baptised, who was born September 24.

Godparents were Johann Bernhardt Neuweger; Johann Conradt Bender; Anna Catharina Hermann Closeners, former housefrau and

Anna Margaretha, Philip Grosen, former hausfrau. The child was named Johann Conradt