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Harold Schiffman

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1 Harold Schiffman


3 Zerchers came from Zürich (Switzerland) after 1648 Zercher means person from Zurich in Pfälzisch dialect Zercher became the family name of several different families who emigrated to Hassloch from Switzerland after 1648 When Opa Keller came to St. Louis, his name was Friedrich Zercherhe changed it for some reason after he got to St. Louis Sounded funny in American pronunciation?

4 After 1648, Peace of Westfalia ended the religious wars Cujus Regio, ejus Religio (Whoever the ruler was, his religion [Protestant or Catholic] became official) People who didnt accept that religion had to leave Many parts of Europe were devastated by the 30 Years War and 100 years war, so they recruited people to resettle in their territories Our Zercher ancestors would have been Protestant refugees from some Catholic canton in Switzerland Hassloch was a Protestant island in a larger Catholic area

5 For some time there was some mystery about the Keller name and whether it was Keller before Frederick and Barbara Hauck Keller left Germany. Catherine may have discovered this when she discontinued her compilation of the history of the Keller and Weis families, and Mathilda and Merl Schiffman came across some evidence when they visited Germany in 1971 and asked Cousin Heinrich Denzer (from the Weis side of the family, see below) to phone the town clerk in Hassloch and see if they could locate records. When they arrived the next day in Hassloch the clerk excitedly told them that there was no Keller family that fit the description they had given (names, birthdates), but there was another family named Zercher with the same first names and birthdates. This was somewhat disturbing, and since Mathilda felt that Grandpa Philip Keller had not wanted anyone to go to Hassloch to look up family (he conveyed a sense of debt or obligation owed to someone there) Mathilda felt that the name may have been changed to hide something, or anyway was connected with Grandpa's perception that there was a black mark against the family name. Leon Scherrer indicated to me much later that Tante Emma had also told him of once finding some letters in a dresser when she was a child with the Zercher name on them, but couldn't figure out what it meant.

6 Friedrich Zercher came to St. Louis in 1893. No record of his arrival in America Barbara Hauck Zercher and Elisabeth (10), Philipp (8), Adolph (6) and Emma (2) arrived at Ellis Island on the S. S. Colombia on June 15, 1894. Her sister Mary and her child were also with them. They took a train from NJ to Buffalo, then on to St. Louis. But they mistakenly got off the train in East St. Louis and there was confusion until they got reunited with Opa.

7 Born in Trier (Kurpfalz), Germany on Sept. 14, 1858, the son of Elisabeth Bach Weis and Joseph Weis.


9 Trained as a sculptor at the Cathedral in Trier, then left to come to America to avoid the Prussian draft Sometime before 1884 he met Katarina Roser in St. Louis and they were married in that year Founded a marble worksWeis & Jennett



12 Marriage License of Josef Weis and Katie Roser, in St. Louis, on 17 th of September, 1884. Married by Justice of Peace because Josef was Catholic and Katie was Protestant

13 Katarina Roser was the daughter of Magdalena Reinacher Roser and Christian Roser and was born Oct. 29, 1864 in Tutschfelden bei Kenzingen (Baden)

14 Tutschfelden is also an isolated Protes Tutschfelden is a Protestant hamlet surrounded by mostly Catholic towns (also a relic of 1648)


16 Seems like Katie Roser didnt like to have her picture taken very much because there arent any of her as a girl or young woman except the family picture back in Tuschfelden.

17 Katie Roser left Germany after her mother died and her father remarried. Other sources indicate she left on Sept. 10, 1882, and arrived in October 1882. She went first to Indiana, to stay with an Aunt Imhof and then on to St. Louis. Worked in a boarding house, where she met Josef Weis A sister, Luisa, also came to St. Louis later and married a Kümmerle, also from Tuschfelden


19 Dear Mathilda, Merl, Gordon, Harold. I received your letter along with the birthday greetings, and Im glad that you have not forgotten me. I wanted to write for so long but kept putting it off until now. I always ask your Mother, how you are doing, and am always happy, when I hear that you are doing well, and are all healthy. We are having cold weather now, winter has arrived; last week it was so nice and warm. I think your children have been looking forward for a long time now to Christmas, and are hoping for nice gifts. Herewith I send you a check, so buy something for the children and yourselves, and I hope that youll have good times for the Holidays, and hope this writing finds you in good health. I continue to be healthy, so far, and can still do my own housework, although sometimes it is difficult for me, with my 76 years, now thank God, its still possible, [taking it] slowly. Now I wish you all a merry Christmas and a good, blessed New Year, and take care until we meet again. Grandma, Greatgrandma Catherine Weis. St. Louis, December 17. 1940

20 Claudia and Harold visit, October 2007 Keller family home on Missouri Avenue, near the corner of Pestalozzi Street. Grandpa built this house for the family, and they lived in the upper apartment


22 Joseph William Weis, born June 20, 1985 Friedrich H., born Nov. 28, 1886 (died March 18, 1894 after a short illness) Mina Katherine Weis Keller, born April 22, 1889 Gustav Adolph Weis, born Oct. 3, 1890 Karl Johann (Carl John) Weis, born Sept. 14, 1892) Frank Christian Weis, born Dec. 24, 1899

23 Born Dec. 5, 1884 in Hassloch married Friedrich Wilhelm (later Frederick William) Wilking on August 28, 1907 Also known as Lizzie or Lizette. Was an excellent seamstress Died September 4, 1908, after giving birth to Arnold Philip Wilking on (date?). Arnold married Martha Brumby of Louisiana on November 3, 1937

24 Arnold Philip, (born July 4 th, 1940) Myrtle Angele (born February 20, 1943) Now known as Myrtle Blanton Richard Bruce (born August 22, 1950)

25 Philip was taken to a German-medium church-sponsored school but refused to answer the questions put to him by the principal (Arnold Wilkings grandfather) He then entered the public school, and advocated strongly for English-medium for all his siblingsthe language of opportunity. Mina and Philip(p) may have attended the same public school (Clinton), but also their families attended the Ebenezer Church


27 One of the few pictures we have of Grandma Keller alone, i.e. not in a family context Mina was known as Minnie in English


29 Wedding took place on September 10, 1910






35 The first three…The first five…

36 Mathilda, in CollegeEdna, aged 16

37 Lillian, in high school

38 High School Graduation picture

39 Family home at 526 Sheffield Avenue, Webster Groves. Grandpa designed and built this house

40 Maid carrying platter of hot foodButcher tempting cat






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