Originally Post on December 18 2009:
The next step I took was to sign up on the mailing list for DDVH.com. I wrote out what I knew of my grandmother’s family and asked if anyone had any connections to this same family. I received a few e-mails about the history of Backi Jarek. It was great to get a better understanding about how my grandmother’s life would have been like been coming to Canada. I also received an e-mail with a link to someone’s Morgenthaler family tree that had my great-grandmother (Katarina Morgenthaler b. 1895) and great-grandfather (Georg Klingler b. 1885) on it. The birth dates and locations were the same. My grandmother had written that her mother had two sisters named Barbara Morgenthaler (b. 1889) and Sofia Morgenthaler (b. 1894) with the years they were born. Looking at the tree, I was in shock. I had just discovered that my grandmother’s family was part of a very interesting migration of Germans into the Balkans known as the Donauschwaben. Now this family tree goes all the way back to Bendicht Morgenthaler (b. c1565) from Ursenbach, Bern, Switzerland. Bendicht is 12 generations above me, so he is my 10 times great-grandfather. I now have two branches of my family tree already researched back to the 1500 or 1600s.
Unfortunately, I have not found out much about the Klingler side further past my great-grandfather. My grandmother wrote that he fought in the first World War on the Austrian side. Towards the end of the war he was captured by the Russian army and kept captive for a year. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to confirm this or not, but definitely an interesting story. Shortly after he returned to Backi Jarek, he married my great-grandmother (Katarina Morgenthaler). My grandmother also wrote that she had an aunt named Anna, Georg Klingler’s sister. My father remembers hearing family rumours that Georg Klingler went to the United States around 1910. He got a woman “in trouble” and came back to Europe where he was quickly conscripted into the army. When my father was young he remembers the family traveling to the Cleveland, Ohio area to visit his grandfather’s cousins. That is really all that I know about the Klingler side.
Originally Posted on December 7 2009:
My father’s side was a little more mysterious. I’ve only ever known my grandmother, and my aunts and uncles. That’s it. My grandparents got divorced when my father was young. The family moved away from the Leamington, Ontario area and ended up in Toronto. They never had any contact with their father’s family since.
Before I started looking, I didn’t know very much about my grandmother, Katharine Mary Klingler. I knew that she was German and born somewhere in Europe. Her and her family came to Canada while she was young. I remember one Christmas around 1993, my grandmother brought a magazine article about the war in the Balkan states. She showed us the map from the article. She pointed at an area north of Belgrade in Serbia and told us that was where she was born. I thought that was weird, because I thought she was German and Serbia was not part of Germany.
My father and his siblings were born in the Leamington area of Essex county and that was where their father, Harold Rivait’s family was. While I was growing up, the only Rivait’s in the Toronto area phone books were my uncles and us. However, I heard there would be at least a full page of Rivait’s in the phone book in Essex County. Rivait is a French name, but that’s all I know about our family.
When I visited my parents after they came home from Arizona, I looked for any information that they had. Luckily, my dad had given my grandmother a Family Tree book to write down all that she could about her family. My grandmother had written down all about how her family came from a little German village in Yugoslavia called Backi Jarak. With a quick Google search I found DVHH – Remembering Our Donauschwaben Ancestors . It was a wealth of information on the German migration into the Balkan states. I had no idea that there were any German villages there. Now the story my grandmother told us made sense. She was born in 1920 in Yugoslavia and came to Canada in 1930 with her parents, sister and brother. They settled in Kamloops, British Columbia for about 15 years and then moved to South-eastern Ontario.
This was my introduction to my father’s side of the family. I had no idea what a rich and interesting heritage we belonged to on my German side, but little did I know, there was more amazing information to come…