Schurdel Chronicle
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This is a reconciled version, combining the English translation typed by Clara Dieball and the Latin-script German transcription hand copied by Edeltraut Schurdel, daughter of Otto Ernst Schurdel, son of Gustav. Reconciliation by Mona Houser, March 1997. A portion of a photocopy of the chronicle.

Clara Dieball, daughter of Clara Straumann nee Schurdel wrote: Following is a translation of pages 1 and 2 of a set of twelve pages of family history, written originally in German (Old script handwriting) concernng the Schurdel family. They were in possesion of my Uncle Theodore Schurdel (born 1871, died Nov. 1938). They were written by [Gustav] the son of Count de la Chorle's youngest son, Martin Schurdel. Uncle Theodore told us about it when visiting our family in Chicago, probably sometime between 1920 - 1925. Theodore then lived in Cleveland, Ohio.



The important name from our family tree is Gustav Ernst Schurdel; at this time, teacher and choir director at Friedheim/Eastahn, teacher of Music, Latin and French. He comes from a long line of teachers, choir directors, from East Prussia. They lived at the royal estate Podangen, close to Koenigsberg. The owner was a representative to the state of Berlin, a knight to the Johnnites Orden, the majesty the Kaiser and King. He was a Knight with many decorations. He {the owner of the estate} belonged to the Corsair Regiment. And eleven of his brothers are still high-ranking officers in the Prussian Army. The new owner of the royal estate, Count Hans von Kanitz, (he also was a representative to Berlin and belonged to the house of the Kaiser Wilhelm II.) was my age and a playmate of mine. And his older brothers, Georg, Conrad, Willi and Freid. Georg is a Knight to the King Friedrich Carl; Conrad is a Sgt. in Kaiser Franz army in Berlin. Fried is a Sgt in the Husaren-Garde, -Grenadier Regement in Berlin. The other brothers I don't know anything about.

My Father taught the elementary level to all these high men. I myself taught harmony (or the harmonium) to Fried von Kanitz during my leave time. Later I was 2nd teacher at the Church school at Doebern. I stopped teaching when I was called into the army, in the campaign against Austria.

My father's name was Martin Schurdel and we went to the same teacher-seminar; Seminar to {at} Pr. Eylan. Dad went from 1836-38. My Seminar time was from 1858-61. My Dad was born Jan. 7, 1816 in Guhren, at the main royal estate of the Count zu Dohna, Schlobitten. At the time commanding General and State minister of Domestic Affairs. At this royal estate stood our cradle.

Our ancestors came from France. They left during the big revolution. At that time their name was Count de la Chorle. 1793 Count de la Chorle was stripped of everything and escaped to Germany {The Reign of Terror began in 1791}. Count zu Dohna was his friend and he took him in. The Commanding General let Count de la Chorle rent Guhren with the option to buy. He also installed a new water system. (We do come from a French Count family. Maybe we will get a big inheritance one of these days!?)

He did away with his title and took the legal name Schurdel. Grandfather from Schlobitten/Guhren died in the year 1823. Dad was 7 years old. Grandfather's father in France died when he was 108 years old. (France Providence Dauphine) Our grandmother died Nov. 15, 1855 and was 86 years old. I don't know of other dates or ages. My father had two brothers and one sister. His oldest brother also was a teacher choir director, and helped Dad with his education. He died in the year of 1880.

FACTS: Chronicle was written by Gustav Ernst Schurdel in 1901; he died 1902. He was the son of Count de la Chorle's youngest son, Martin. He was born in 1840, baptized September 20, 1840. "On 3rd Christmas Day" Gustav married Amalie Radtke, born March 19, 1848. (Amalie) was born March 19, 1848 on the night of the terrible revolution at Berlin." Gustav's parents were Martin Schurdel, born January 7, 1816, married Nov. 7, 1838 to Elisabeth Ehlert, born August 9, 1820. Amalie's parents were Wilhelm Radtke and Andrew Buhser's Daughter, born July 15, 1818. {These "Facts" were added by someone--the typist, perhaps?}

Schurdel history, Pages 3 and 4

He (the oldest brother. Is this "old Uncle Christian"?) died in the year of 1880 at the age of 75; he died as a teacher and choir director. He was three times decorated soldier. The bronze star, the special Kingsmedal with the Eagle, and the Crownmedal! His two sons died very young in their 30's. They both were teachers and school inspectors: cousins Theodore and Gustav.

Theodore had T.B. He went to the sanitorium Viohungen, but could not be helped. Then went to Bladiau to his parents and died there. He wanted to visit with us on his way to Bladiau, Heiligenbeil, East Prussia. That he wrote us. But he was too weak to leave the train. Before he got ill, he visited with us on my wedding day, and two times one day after the wedding. (or while I was in the army.)

Theodor and Gustav both were very smart. Gustav Schurdel died only last year, at Alt-Landsberg a.d. Wartke. He left a wife with four children behind. All four of the children are attending the best of Berlin's higher schools. They are able to do so because Gustav had married a very rich girl (75000 Mark). He died of a liver disease.

My father's second brother was a master bricklayer and had served in the 3rd Cuerassier-regiment. He died in the year of 1860 at Schornstein-Muehle, close to Marienwerder. My father's sister, married to a Blacksmith, died at that same town. (These are memories out of my younger days.) She had worked for a judge at Koenigsberg and later had a nervous breakdown. She want to a health spa and there she met her future husband. I will have to mention: this sister became a Baptist and we did not stay in contact with her after she did that! Because she belonged to this religious group we did not attend her funeral. Her grave is at Schornstein-Muehle/Marienwerder. I could not go anyway because I was a soldier at that time.

I don't have any birth dates of any of these relatives. Only of old Uncle Christian Schurdel who also died at Bladieu. He was born on Dec. 3, 1808 at Guhren, today the royal estate Schlobitten. I remember two of his girls. Auguste Wiede, her husband was a teacher at Labiau. They both died very young. She died at childbirth and he went out of his mind and died at a mental hospital. Friedericke Lottau, her husband's name was Heinrich Lottau. Heinrich was a music teacher and Choir director at Grunau/Heiligenbeil. Now retired at Konigsberg, East Prussia. He wrote a lot of elementary schoolbooks. That made him rich. He gets a big pension plus the money from the 500,000 schoolbooks he sold.

[Edeltraut's paper adds: The 3rd daughter of Christian Schurdel, but the oldest, Wilhelmine, has been a widow for over 20 years. She had married a royal estate owner who died very young. Heinrich Schlenger from Bladiau. Now she keeps house with her son in ___ (Kl. Alschrangen bei Udertrangen in Eastprussia, Kreis Koenigsberg.) She has a daughter who for many years was substitute 2nd post of teacher in Steegen/ Bladiau. ]

My father {Martin} died Dec. 13, 1874. He worked hard for 42 years. He wasn't even 60 years old when two illnesses struck him. The liver and a kidney infection did it. He couldn't be saved. Down with the fever he thought he was at school. Just before he went to sleep forever he told his class to learn three Christmas songs. He was a dedicated teacher. My oldest brother told me all about it. Fritz {the next-oldest after Gustav} is Master Blacksmith at Podangen. This is about all I know about my father's side of the family, the ones we kept up with.

I myself had seven teaching and choir director positions. I changed so much because of my military status. This was during the wartime 1861-71. People who are not associated with the military made a lot of fun of me, especially my two brother-in-laws, Wegener and Schultz. Mentally and physically the Schurdel family was very strong. The Radtke family tree is completely different from the Schurdels: farmers and country people. That's Mama's side. {Teacher Edward Wegener married Auguste Radtke; Teacher Schultz married Caroline Radtke.}

Schurdel History, Pages 5 and 6

There was always a shortage on money and food. A teaching position is a high-class job, but does not pay well. I struggled all my younger years, but God helped me. Sometimes unbelievably, God's help was always near.

My mother's maiden name was Elisabeth Ehlert. She was raised in Steegen in Preussen Holland, a big royal farming town. That's where I was born. My Dad had his first teaching position here. Here he worked from 1838 until we moved to Podangen [in 1841].

My mother was born August 9, 1820. She married my father November 7, 1838. They were married by Pastor Kaehler at the church at Marienfelde. Pastor Kaehler also baptized me on the 20th of September 1840.

I am the oldest child of my parents. The two brothers born after me died at the ages of 1 1/2 and 2 1/2, Christian and Adolf. [They died of scarlet fever and diphtheria] One is buried at Marienfelde and one at Dobern. I had four other brothers:

Friedrich-Wilhelm, born Dec 15, 1844. Now master blacksmith at Podangen. Two times he went with the 24th regiment to the battlefield. The oldest sister is taking care of his household.

Otto-Adelbert, born August 23, 1846; now forest overseer and gardener at Iserlohn/Westfalen. He went to the battlefield 1870-71 with the 3rd Hunters-battalion.

Ferdinand, born May 25, 1850; he now works for the railroad at Berlin. He also went to the battlefield 1870-71 with the first Hunters battalion. He only has one son who works for a big book company in Berlin.

Edward, was born September 12, 1852. He now is a gardener for the Reichsbank in Berlin. He is doing very well financially. He went to war 1870/71 with Kaiser Alexander's regiment No. 1. He is the tallest of us. He has no children.


Marie-Auguste born June 19, 1848, as old as my wife. She took care of the house for Blacksmith Fritz at Podangen. He is not married .

Elisabeth, born February 27, 1853. She has been in poor health ever since she was operated on {in the clinic in Berlin}. She lived with the brother {Fritz} in Podangen. He had to feed and dress her. She was 15 years old when she fell down some stairs. She was in constant pain and asked God to let her die.

Fredericke, born January 27, 1855. Married to August Krueger, a master shoemaker. They live in New Koenigstrasse in Berlin. They are doing well, moneywise. She was a saleslady [in a confection factory] in the Adlerstrasse in Berlin. Fredericke had a nervous breakdown after having a baby and stayed at the Dalldorf/Berlin sanitorium for two years. She is completely well now. [Edeltraut's paper does not mention the nervous breakdown or the baby.]

Now, the parents and relatives from my mother's side. The names of my Mother's parents? The names of my mother's parents and birthdates I have forgotten. I have not been home the last 26 years and I have nothing on paper.

Schurdel History, pages 7 and 8

No information! They both died relatively young, at the big estate von Fichtenweld/Steegen. My mother's oldest brother, Christoph Ehlert became the new owner of the estate of my Grandparents. He was born Oct 1818 and died 1872. Six Hufen {Acre} of Land and a big forest. The present owner, cousin Ephraim, {son of Christoph} gave his daughter 75,000 Mark as a dowry. Some say it was 90,000 Mark. He had 300 guests for her wedding!--Christoph was married a second time and his oldest son Ephraim takes care of the estate.

My mother's second brother Christian Ehlert, born Sept. 9, 1822 was working as a court writer, worked after his training years at the court Deutschendorf/Kr. Preussen Holland, actuary at a provincial court at Koenigsberg and after that court secretary in Proekuls near Memel, from there he became court-secretary. Then he worked as a county collector at Neidenburg.

There he [married] a preacher's daughter, Ottilie von Wasgien of Johannisburg. They had two sons, both studied. Oscar studied building and Herrmann law. Both died very young, shortly after their graduations. Oscar as a construction supervisor died with a stroke [abdominal paralysis?]. Herrmann, a Tax Assessor had a hemorrhage. Both brothers died the same year, 1877. Two years later the Uncle {Christian, d. 1879} died too, of a heart defect; [as a court-case counselor?] at Wormditt /Kreis Braunsberg-Ostpreussen. He was so sad losing both sons at such an early stage, it left him with the heart illness. It cost him 6,000.00 Taler to let the boys study. They studied at Braunberg and finished when they were 16 years old.

Aunt Ottilie moved in with her relatives in Neidenburg and is getting a pension from the government. [Her husband had worked many years in the court. He was also at the same time a prison inspector.] She had 2 grandmothers in her preacher family who lived to be over 100 years old. Her great-grandmother Antonie von Wasgien lived to be 112 years old.

My mother's younger brother Ephraim Ehlert, born Sept 22, 1828, worked at the estate with Christoph Ehlert. He died very young in the year 1855. Beside him, my mother had a real sister, Louise, who died the 4th of April 1857. She was married and about 30 years old.

Then she had two half-sisters. They were married to Farmers. One lived in Steegen, name Luedau. The other one lived in Jonickosse [Jonikan] at Schlobitten, by name Hoffmann. One son was Braille teacher at Berlin. And another son, Jacob, died during the war against Austria, 1866. A horse trampled him.

The second aunt was married for a second time and her name was Neuber. She had 3 more girls which I got to know but lost track of them.

From Hoffmann is one son alive in Doebern. His name is Friedrich Hoffmann, is a farmer and has a large family of ten children. Most of them are girls. His brother, the Braille teacher at the Institution for D and D in Berlin died in the year 1867.

Now I need to mention the half-brother of my mother. He has his own place in Briensdorf/Preussen Holland. His name is Johann Ehlert and he brought by horse the (tax or rent) money that was due my mother. I don't know his birthdate nor his day of death.

Now follows the line from my Wife--your mother--mother-in-law--and Grandmother.

She came from an estate from Schneidemuehl. The name was Neufier. Many different people owned it since. Her dad's name was Wilhelm Radtke and owned Neufier at the time. He died shortly after mother's birth. He drowned in a lake. Mother [the youngest daughter Amalie] was born March 19, 1848 on the night of the terrible revolution at Berlin. [William Radtke's wife] Grandma, now at Stuesselsdorf with her daughter, was born July 15, 1818. Today is her birthday, she is 83 years old--

[Edeltraut's notes add something about "the death of the author Gustav, Dieter's greatgrandfather, then grandfather (Otto) had lost his father at age 20, because grandfather (Otto) was born in 1882.]

The estate was sold and a new one bought, called Moschuetz Krojanke. Here Grandma [the widow] married again. He was an Inspector and came from the estate Bondez from Erlau/Nakel and his name is William Doering. He lost his estate to a crooked (not honest) Jew! Doering took his only son Richard [from his first marriage] and went to America. They are both dead by now. Grandma went to visit them one time in America. Since then, she moved in with her son-in-law and worked for him here at Friedheim.

He was married to her oldest daughter Ottilie. His name was Wilhelm Schmidt. [Edeltraut's paper here gives the names of 4 children of Wilhelm Radtke: Ottilie, b. 28 Sept 1841; Auguste, b. 26 Nov 1844; Caroline, b. 10 April 1846, and Amalie, b. 19 Mar 1848 whom I married on the 3rd Christmas day 1869 . I married her the 3rd Christmas day 1869.] Schmidt and Ottilie both died just 48 years old. My sister-in-law, born Sept 28, 1841--died Oct. 24, 1886; her husband Wilhelm Schmidt, born Feb 12, 1840, died Dec. 18, 1887. [Wilhelm Schmidt was the 2nd husband of Otillie and was a merchant. The first husband was August Arndt and was a merchant.] Their oldest son, Wilhelm Arndt, only 25 years old, died April 11, 1886 [as an innkeeper and merchant].

He owned a guesthouse and a store at Erpel/Friedheim. His name was Wilhelm Arndt, because he was from Ottilie's first husband. His name {Otillie's first husband} was August Arndt and also was a salesman [merchant].

There also is a daughter, Pauline Arndt, now Pauline Treder. They have a big estate at Ush-Hauland. It burned completely down only 8 days ago. Someone set it on fire. Pauline Arndt was born Feb. 17, 1858. She and Wilhelm were both very good students. They learned easily, were exceptional in Math [and ---].

The Father of our Grandmother was Andres Busse. He was a private [and feudal] teacher at Walkonitz/Schonlanke; he lived to be 78 years old. He was our great-grandfather, your great-great grandfather. His wife, our great-grandmother was Karoline Jaensch. She came from Hasenberg/Schneidemiehl. She lived to be 68 years old.

A brother of Grandmother lives in Walkonitz. His name is David Busse. His late wife's name was Louise Krueger. I don't know their birthdates.

Another daughter of Grandmother is Auguste Radtke, wife of Teacher Wegener of Stuesselsdorf near Friedheim, born Nov 26, 1844. [Edward Wegener was born Sept 29, 1839 at Klebs/Dramburg Pommern. ---Wegners have 2 children, a son, a merchant in East Prussia, and a daughter who married a merchant named Schmidt.] The 3rd daughter is the wife of teacher Schulz in Wolsko near Schneidemuehle. Caroline was born April 10, 1846. Teacher Schulz was born on October 7, 1845 in Anida/Nakel. Before, he taught in Schmilau, near Friedheim. Both teachers got their degree at the Seminar Bromberg. [Schulz's children: a son Paul, teacher, (something about WWI), has a wife and 2 sons, Gerhard and Karl August, both teachers; 1st daughter Martha, married a teacher Hennike, and has a daughter Edith who married Paetzold; 2nd daughter Meta, unmarried; 3rd daughter [Herta?] married teacher Wenske, has daughter Herta Wenske, who studied in Berlin and later married Lohfs, and a son who after the war studied in Munich, another daughter Lotte Wenske, teacher, who married Heusemann or Heuremann, and had 2 children Dieter and Christa;]

There are other relatives of Grandma [Mrs. Wilhelm Radtke] in Behle per Schonlanke, also some of her Grandkids.

Schurdel History, pages 11 & 12

Our great-aunts, sisters of grandmother, all lived there. They all died over ten years ago. Their name was Kuhn (Kuehn) and had many positions. I met all of them at a wedding at Behle, but did not get any birthdates at that time.

I know Eduarth and Adolf the best. Adolf was a very likeable and jolly person. He married the richest girl in Behle, with 25,000 Mark. They are in their late forties and have 3 children going to the Gymnasium at Schneidemuehl. Another brother, Richard Kuehn, went to America and is a cook on a ship. We have not heard from him in years.

One sister of William Radtke was married to a farmer by the name of Gottfried Zahn. They lived at Schneidemuehl. Her name was Emelie Radtke and died about 12 years ago. Her husband had died many years before her. Their only daughter married a royal railroad man, Hermann Schilling; now they live at Stallupoehnen at the Russian border. Her name was Emelie nee Zahn. Her husband went to war 3 times. He blew the bugle and was with the 4th Ulanen regiment; its home base was Schneidemuehl. He had different jobs. Once he was with the border patrol, then a policeman; he was a clerk at the courthouse and finally he went to the railroad and got promoted till he made 2nd class Stationmaster. He had a good job and invested all his money in property [at Schneidemuehl].

Four daughters are grown and at home. The only son, Emil, is postmaster in Hamburg. Mrs. Schilling's brother was the royal postmaster in Osterode/ East Prussia. He even went to the University for 2 years. He died in the age of 32. Both Schilling and Zahn are unforgettable because of their humorous attitude. Schilling and his wife visited us a lot.

Now there is another family I need to mention. They also came from Grandmother's side.[from the wife of Willhelm Radke, owner of the estate of Neufier] One daughter from estate owner Johann Kuehn from Behle, Elizabeth, [sister of Adolf Kuehn] is married to a director of the Central Institute for the deaf and dumb at Elberfeld/ Rhein. His name is Eduard Sawallisch. He has a very good job for just Elementary schooling. He did go through training at Bromberg and later at the Central Deaf and Dumb Institute in Berlin. They have a big family, 8 or 9 children. Three years ago I met them in Behle at Adolf Kuehn. We spend our summer vacation there.

Sawallisch is a very happy and funny person. They put a new organ in the church at Behle. We all went to see this new organ and try it out. I played several good songs. Then Sawallisch took his wife by the arm and walked to the altar. And said to me, "Play our wedding song for us." [Play a prelude and then my wedding song: Auf Gott und nicht auf meinen Rat will ich mein Glauben Bauen!" This I did with great devotion and with ---] This I did and I played the best I could with heart and soul. It was a beautiful moment.

Both Adolf Kuehn and Sawallisch had gotten married in this church years ago. But then, their song was not played on a 10,000 Mark organ.

With this I want to close my family chronicle!


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