The story below appeared in the Bayerwald-Echo newspaper in Bavaria, Germany a few days before the dedication of an historical marker for the 150 year anniversary of the emigration of Paul and Walburga Kraemer from Bavaria to America. It has been translated by Christa Senft and better quality photos have been added.
The Way Into an Uncertain Life
The Kraemer family emigrated to America 150 years ago and had the courage for a new beginning. A marker in Irlach will remind them.
By Ingrid Milutinovic, Bayerwald-Echo, Monday, May 23, 2016
Waldmünchen, Bavaria. There is a good reason for Konrad Blattmeier from Irlach to say that this is a historic moment. His house is on the land of the former house of the Kraemer family, who emigrated like many others – exactly 150 years ago, he tells us. That is why a historical marker will be unveiled on Thursday and thus a piece of history comes to life.
Paul and Walburga Kraemer with their children Franziska and Peter belonged to the courageous people who left their homeland 150 years ago in May 1866 to cope with an unknown future in a completely strange country. Paul was born in Irlach in 1828. He married Walburga Stangl in 1854. He earned his living by being a weaver and a farmer.
Until the decision to leave their homeland they had never left Irlach. But poverty and the lack of work places left them and many others from the Waldmünchen area little choice.
The emigrants Paul and Walburga Kraemer and family
Left to right, standing: George Laubmeier, Peter Kraemer, Joseph Kraemer, John B. Kraemer, Margaret Kraemer, Martin Meister; middle row: Mary Kraemer Laubmeier, Paul Kraemer, Walburga Kraemer, Theresa Kraemer Meister; front row: Frances Kraemer Weidner (widowed) and Anna Ring Kraemer.Photo: Family
In 1723, the Kraemer family who originally came from Tiefenbach, moved to Altenschneeberg and in 1770 Michael Kraemer bought the house – at that time # 27 in Irlach – after his marriage with Magdalena Rettinger which since was the home for generations of Kraemers.
# 27 Irlach house and stable
Photo from B. Ann Neviaser.
In 1866 – before the emigration – the house was sold to Johann Blattmeier, whose family still is the owner of this land, though the house has been pulled down in the meantime and a new one has been built behind at # 116 Irlach.The house Irlach # 27, known as the “Stricker-Haus” ever since the Blattmeiers moved there, has been pulled down meanwhile. Today there is a grassy area where it once stood.
A dangerous crossing
When they came to their decision three of their children had already died. And so only Franziska and Peter undertook the long and difficult trip. Their third child, Mary, was born on the ship. A long crossing on the ship, the danger of a rough sea, the arrival in a land where you had great difficulties to understand a new language: the family was ready to bear all this in the hope of offering their children a better future.
Like many other people from the Waldmünchen area the family settled in Plain, Wisconsin and started into a successful new life. Meanwhile the Kraemer family spread out across America – perhaps one reason that the contacts “backwards”took place relatively late – as the immigrated Kraemers had to find their ancestors first of all.
First contacts to the homeland
In 1952 there were the first contacts of the American Kraemers into the old homeland. Language problems prevented an exchange of information. And so it took some more time until in 1983 when Kenneth Kraemer from Irvine in California came to Irlach. He found the old estate and he probably was the one who started the contacts between the other members of the widespread family in America. Not an easy task when you can only count on stories of parents or grandparents, to find ones relatives. Long distances made the search difficult.
So it is not surprising that about the same time B. Ann Neviaser had no idea of the Kenneth Kraemers researches. She had done her own researches and had found the former estate in Irlach by the help of a student who studied in Germany.
Gradually the idea was developed in the American generation of Kraemer decendants to put up a historical marker on the site of the former home farm to remember the emigration 150 years ago. Maria Blattmeier and her son Konrad were the partners for this undertaking. Until this time they did not have much connection to this event – beside some visitors from the USA. The public interest for this event is almost a bit uncomfortable for them. They were supported in their tasks by Rudolf Rettinger, a friend of the family and a distant relative. In the meantime Konrad has a big folder of documents, that show the life of the Kraemers. Beside Maria Blattmeier and her family a lot of other people from the Waldmünchen area are involved in this story. Like Johann Krämer, the last weaver of the Tiefenbach branch, but also Christa and Willi Senft as well as Hansjörg Schneider, hobby genealogist. They had collected historical information about the emigrants from Waldmünchen like the deceased Georg Ederer.
Dedication on Corpus Christi day
The unveiling of the marker will take place on Corpus Christi Day. Beside Kenneth L. Kraemer and B. Ann Neviaser, family members from America will arrive that have never seen the homeland of their ancestors before. Other participants include Waldmünchen county president Franz Löffler, the mayors of Tiefenbach and Waldmünchen, Ludwig Prögler and Markus Ackermann. Father Albert Hölzl will take part in the dedication.