On this site, you will find information on the Felker Family, their origins and relationships.
According to my research and best of my knowledge, all information and data is correct. I’ve eliminated all mistakes and discrepancies as I’ve found them.
Very little or no information is available about the parents of Ferdinand Felker or his wives: Hulda Friedrich, or Berta Raschpichler.
In the past, the family name Felker occasionally shows up, but is difficult to match or verify. Further information is difficult to find because church records were likely destroyed or lost. Some of them are recorded on microfilm, but need further research and evaluation.
Displaced and Fled
Over 13 years, the family was displaced and fled 2650 km from Ledachow, Poland to Neuhemsbach, Rheinland Pfalz, Germany.
My Investigation Results
On 1928-1931 maps of Volhynia, are little villages named Ledachow, Leduchow and Ledochow in the region of Wladimir-Wolynsk. They speak and write German, Ukrainien, Polish and Russian. That's why the towns and villages are written differently.
From the results of my investigation, I believe Leduchow is where Ferdinand was born on May 5, 1905. The settlement Leduchow was in Poland; today it is Ukraine. The lend-lease settlement Ledochow (Ledachow, Leduchów) was a German community with 385 Protestants in 1909.
The settlement Leduchow was between Tumin and Apanowszczyzna--a few kilometers to the west of Ozdziutycze.
If you search at Google Maps for Tumyn, Wolhynien, Ukraine the town Tumin is a little larger. Nothing remains where Apanowszczyzna and Leduchow once stood.
Neither location is registered today. Hulda’s place of birth, Kisielowka, was northwest of Leduchow.
Ferdinand and his family lived and worked at a manor near Ledachow. The manor was managed by Johann Friedrich. Ferdinand married the manager’s daughter Hulda.
You can find the villages at: polish maps sheet P45 S39 Odziutycze.
NOTE: On this map 20 km south of Kowel, you can find Tulichëv, Tuliczów and Tulichuv, which are all the same village. I want to point out how the different spellings complicate the research.
See the map below.
Gottfried Felker, father of Ferdinand, was born about 1882.
Hulda Friedrich was born August 22, 1902 in Kisielowka/Volhynia/Poland (today Ukraine).
Father: Johann Friedrich, Mother: Emilie Lenz
Martha Felker was born January 01, 1903 in Julianowka, Volhynia, Poland
Martha married Adam Hoffmann before 1926.
The certified transcript generated December 20, 1940 in Haselberg/East Prussia says:
Ferdinand Felker, son of Gottfried Felker and his wife Matthilde Fandrich was born May 5, 1905 in Ledachow. He was baptized May 7. 1905.
Eduard Felker was born December 9, 1906 in Ledachow, Volhynia, Poland.
Gottfried and Matthilde Felker had four children: Adolf, Eduard, Martha and Ferdinand.
My aunt Erna (Felker) Rödler told me Gottfried immigrated to the USA.
The passenger manifest of the SS Lutzow in 1908 shows:
The farm laborer Gottfried Felker left Bremen, Germany on May 16, 1908. He arrived in New York on May 28, 1908 at the age of 26. His last residence was recoreded as Tuliczow, and next of kin was his wife Matthilde Felker in Tuliczow, Volhynia.
The record also says he was sick with trachoma, a communicable eye disease that is hard to cure and sometimes fatal. This means that hospitalization at Ellis Island was required, and immigration into the USA was immediately and temporarily denied.
Laws required that you must be healthy or go back. Some immigrants died during this period of quarantine and were cremated.
Normally, records were kept if you were quarantined directly from the ship, but Gottfried Felker’s name does not appear in these medical records or in deportation documents. This may not be unusual because of the high numbers of immigrants processed and the likelihood of oversights.
Nothing else about Gottried Felker appears in the passenger records or documentation by immigration officers. Sadly, no medical records exist of his hospital stay. His name is not found in any US census records from this time.
When Ellis Island was closed, millions of records were lost or destroyed. Today Ellis Island is a museum that documents the history of immigration.
Three other men from Tuliczow arrived with Gottfried in New York:
Weber Gottlieb, age 35, last residence Tuliczow,
next of kin: wife Emilia Weber, Tuliczow Wolhynia
Fritz Julius, age of 25, last residence Tuliczow,
next of kin: wife Paulina Fritz, Tuliczow, Wolhynia
Fritz Wilhelm, age 35, last residence Tuliczow,
next of kin: wife ??? Fritz , Tuliczow,Wolhynia
Gottfried Felker and his fellow travellers wanted to go to the Carl Kettner Agency for employment, through Adolf Herzog 1669 71 Street, New York..
This is the last recorded information about his short trip to America.
It is unknown why Gottfried made this long journey to America, but perhaps he thought he could make a better life for his family.
Felker Adolf was born January 11, 1909 in Ledachow/Volhynia/Poland
Berta Emilie Raschpichler was born October 22, 1914 in Bakschischken, Lithuania.
Paul Hoffmann was born October 21, 1926 in Kiselovka, Volhynia, Poland.
Adolf Felker was born in 1927 in Ledachow, Volhynia, Poland.
Adam Hoffman, who was married with Ferdiand’s sister Martha, sold his farmstead in Wolhynia. He bought a larger property for his family in Grenzkrug, East Prussia.
Erna Felker was born in 1929 in Ledachow, Volhynia, Poland.
Frieda Felker was born in 1932 in Ledachow, Volhynia, Poland.
Herta Felker was born in 1935 in Ledachow, Volhynia, Poland.
1937 - 1938
Grandfather Ferdinand Felker (lumberjack), left Ledachow with his wife Hulda and children Adolf, Erna, Frieda and Herta.
Ferdinand’s brothers and sister, Adolf, Eduard and Martha Felker, also were displaced and left Volhynia. The same happened to Hulda’s Family. They trekked by foot and horse-drawn wagon all the way (615 km) to Haselberg, East Prussia.
Many ethnic German people left Volhynia, including the local Pastor of the community, Albert Arthur Schoen, who took the church register to East Prussia.
If you are interested in this historical period and why the Germans left Volhynia, visit: http://www.wolhynien.de/
The Felker family arrived in Haselberg, East Prussia sometime after August 10, 1937 and before January 13, 1938 because my mother Frieda’s birth record is dated August 10, 1937, Wlodzimierz, Volhynia by Protestant Pastor Albert Arthur Schoen. My Aunt Hildegard was born January 13, 1938, Haselberg, East Prussia.
Hildegard Felker is born January 13, 1938 in Haselberg, East Prussia.
In the spring of 1939, tragedy struck.
The family went by train to visit Hulda’s brother Fritz Friedrich, who lived in Grumbkofsfelde, East Prussia. At the station, a train hit and killed Hulda.
Ferdinand Felker and Berta Emilie Raschpichler are married February 2, 1941.
Erika Felker was born February 24, 1941 in Haselberg, East Prussia.
Manfred Felker was born November 14, 1942 in Haselberg, East Prussia.
November 1942 – July 1945
Ferdinand and his son Adolf had to join the German army to protect East Prussia.
Berta, Erna, Frieda, Herta and Hildegard tried to escape, but no trains ran because the railway tracks were destroyed. All trucks, cars, and motorcycles were confiscated by the German Wehrmacht.
Once again these Germans had to trek with a horse-drawn vehicle and by foot.
My mother told me that they only had a trolley, on which one of the children could occasionally rest.
Sadly, the family had little to eat or drink. This was the worst part of their escape.
They scavenged the fields for some food, but the ground was frozen, which made it very difficult to find anything to eat.
They looked for potatoes, grain or anything else, but everything was frozen. Mother and her sisters had to go to farmers to beg for any food. Sometimes they were given something, but most of the time not.
Mom told me she will never forget a ‘special’ soup Berta made for them. Frieda asked what the white things were in the soup that looked like maggots. Berta told her, “This is rice; you can eat it, don't worry.
Because the trek was very slow and the Soviets made 60 or 70 kilometers a day, the next disaster reached them. Erna got separated from the family. What happened to her is unknown but it is believed she was captured by the Russians. She never talked about.
Without Ferdinand, Adolf and Erna the Family came to Westerheim. All were very sad because they did not know if they would see the others again. They prepared to hear the worst. It is unknown when they arrived at Ober-Westerheim.
The family must have fled in the beginning 1945. Thankfully, everybody of this little part of the family survived.
Other family members were still missing after getting separated in East Prussia. These members included:
Adolf Felker, son of Gottfried Felker and Matthilde Fandrich
Eduard Felker, son of Gottfried Felker and Matthilde Fandrich
Martha Felker, daughter of Gottfried Felker and Matthilde Fandrich
Martha was married to Adam Hoffmann and they had seven children. One of the seven was named Harry and one was named Paul. They also fled East Prussia.
Paul searched in 2012 for his Family in a forum for Wolhynia. I didn't notice because my search had temporarily stopped at this time. He died in 2014
Martha and Adam Hoffmann lived with their children in Grenzkrug, East Prussia until 1944.
Adam and Paul Hoffmann (at the age of 18) also had to join the German army and fight at the frontline in the West. At this time, Martha fled with the other six children to Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. One child died during this flight.
Ingrid Felker was born August 06, 1945 in Ober-Westerheim and died October 03, 1946 in Ober-Westerheim, which today is Erkheim.
The exact arrival of the Felker family to present day Germany is not recorded. The registration office of Westerheim registered them as Ober-Westerheim 4, and later Ober-Westerheim 44b.
The Red Cross searched for Ferdinand, Adolf and Erna.
Ferdinand was found in Lehrte and reached his family March 14, 1946.
My mother was confirmed April 14, 1946 in the Lutheran Church of Erkheim.
Adam Hoffmann came back from captivity after the war.
More than a year passed before Erna was returned to the family. The Red Cross found her in Roda, Ilmenau, Thüringen. On May 22, 1947 she also arrived in Westerheim.
Adolf was found by the Red Cross too. He lived in Herne, where he stayed to work in a coal mine.
After being held captive during the war, Paul Hoffmann came back. He met Hertha at a dance, and married her December 25, 1948 in Heiligenstedten, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
Wilfried Felker, the last child of Ferdinand and Berta was born September 04, 1949 in Westerheim.
Hans Dieter, son of Erna, saw the light of day. He was born April 24, 1950 in Westerheim.
By 1950 all the Felker family had arrived to their new homeland in Germany.
The registration office documented their address as
Alsenborner Strasse 71 in Rockenhausen, Germany on December 15, 1950. This street no longer exists. Investigations in Rockenhausen brought no result
The registration office in Enkenbach-Alsenborn listed them on December 12, 1950 arriving at Enkenbach-Alsenborn.
In Neuhemsbach, there is a house once called it “the refugee house.” They lived here in the early years until Ferdinand built his own house.
The refugee house still exists. If you arrive in Neuhemsbach from the direction of Enkenbach-Alsenborn, it is the 4th house on the left side: Neuhemsbach Alsenborner Str. 25. It was used for refugees until 1973.
In 1952, Paul and Hertha reached Zimmern, Rottweil, Baden-Württemberg and settled there, building a house in 1969. Records from 2013 state they had two children, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Later Ferdinand built a house for his family and himself.
Ferdinand and Berta lived and worked on their house in Neuhemsbach until their deaths on January 07, 1985 and September 07, 1992. Wilfried also stayed there until he died.
All the children left Neuhemsbach and settled in other towns nearby. The family still owns the house and the grandchildren of Ferdinand still live there.
A Delay in Searching
I stopped my family search in 2010 because my wife Petra died.
Sadly, when I began searching again recently, all of the siblings are dead.
Ferdinand, Berta, Adolf, Erna, Frieda, Herta, Hildegard and Wilfried have all passed away.
I don’t know what happened to Manfred.
Years ago I spoke with his grandchild, but no longer have current contact information.
My efforts began again in 2015 with an unexpected surprise that increased our family numbers. Gail Chamberlain from America contacted me because of the data on my website that she searched and found.
Her husband is Stephen Bryan Mills, my cousin in Oklahoma. He was adopted out of Germany as an infant and born Edwin Felker. His mother was my Aunt Hildegard.
Sources: My own investigations
Translation: Gail Chamberlain Mills
Map extract 1929