Shafter CA
N Dakota
S Dakota
Progenitor - An originator of a line of descent

The Progenitor of those Dirksens who immigrated to Dakota Territory from 1876 to 1885 and those Duerksens who immigrated to Kansas from 1874 to 1884 is a Dutch Mennonite named Kornelius Dircks, born sometime during the early 1700s and who lived about 40 miles south of Gdansk, Poland near the Vistula River. Some early records at indicate he may have lived in Dragacz. We only know about him because the 1835 Russian Census of Molotschna Colony assigned the father's name as a middle name for the residents, one of whom was Johann Kornelius Duerksen, a grandfather of the above immigrants. Johann's was 69 years old then, so he must have been born in Prussia about 1766.

Johann Kornelius Duerksen had six sons and three daughters, their births recorded in the nearby Tragheimerweide Church. All but two sons and a daughter died young. Here are their birth records. Johann, born 26 May 1801, Heinrich, born 7 April 1809 and Eva born April 7 1813.

Johann was a butter, cheese and sausage trader who owned one morgen of land (just over 1 1/3 acres) in a village named Schweingrube (53.8754702, 18.9391284).

A translation of the 1928 papers of John Funk Duerksen (1863-1932) include a report that during the 1812 humiliation of Germany by Napoleon, French soldiers came to Johann Kornelius Dircks' house and took up lodging. He was very liberal with them and they treated him kindly, the soldiers paid for everything they used.

In 1819 Johann sold his land, bought passports and then with his wife, two sons and one daughter, joined Elder Goertz's congregational emigration to Russia, where he died about 1855.