Welcome to the Wendish Research Exchange's WendBlogs section. Here you will read the musings and advice from one of several Wendish Blogmeisters whom have generously volunteered their time to participate. Please recognize that responses to your comments may or may not be forthcoming, but you are certainly encouraged to comment.


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Frank Wissel (The Seach for Pat…): To tljwy – You can send email to me at fwissel@yahoo.com. Frank Wissel
tljwy (The Seach for Pat…): Hi, Frank – I am curious as can be about the passage I’ve quoted below. I’m researching my geneol…
Barbara J Womack (New Book about 18…): Frank, My name is Barbara Tate Womack, my mother was Louise Minnie Matthijetz Tate, her father was H…
Frank Wissel (Is it possible a …): I received an email from Richard Gruetzner with an update about Julius Seydler. From the email: “I…
Dan (August Schkade): How fascinating, to read the patent! And how you’ve helped the family learn more about the mechanica…
Frank Wissel (Symmank Family Pa…): Thank you for the additional information regarding the Symmank families. I appreciate the updates. I…


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Welcome to Frank's Findings!

Saturday 01 December 2035 at 8:44 pm

My name is Frank Wissel. I have been interested in geneology for many years, but I did not have much time to do very much with my family research until I retired from my job as a software engineering manager in May 2013. About 30 years ago I realized I was part Wendish and wanted to learn more about this part of my family's culture and background.

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Was Johann Gerhard Kappler awarded a patent?

Wednesday 16 August 2017 at 3:27 pm

I recently received an email from George Nielsen about a patent.   Patent number 948,508 was for a Cotton Oil Mill Seed Huller and was awarded to John G. Kappler and John Gaines of Giddings, Texas on February 8, 1910.   Mr. Kappler and Mr. Gaines filed for the patent on January 25, 1909.  George thought John G. Kappler was Johann Gerhard Kappler so I started doing some research.  Here is what I found.

Johann Gerhard Kappler was born on February 2, 1872 to Andreas Kappler and Agnes Groschel in Serbin, Texas.   Johann Gerhard was the eighth child and fifth son of Andreas and Agnes.  The 1880 U.S. Census listed Andreas Kappler and his wife Agnes with children Ernst (age 21), Paul (age 17), Agnes (age 14), Emma (age 11), Gerhard (age 8), Bernhard (age 5), Herman (age 3) and Otto (age one month).

The Baptismal Records of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Serbin, Texas 1854-1883 [records originally written by Pastor John Kilian and translated to English by Dr. Joseph Wilson] agree with the U.S. Census of 1880 listing Ernst Albert as the oldest son and child (page 31), then Hanna Maria as the second child and first daughter (page 53).   Hanna Maria was not listed on the 1880 census with the Kappler family because she had married Ernst Friedrich Weise on November 16, 1879 (ancestry.com).  Andreas' and Agnes' unnamed third child and second son was born on January 8, 1863 but died before being baptized on January 11 (page 75).   Paul August was their fourth child and third son born October 29, 1863 (page 83).   Their fifth child and second daughter Agnes was born on March 11, 1866 (page 101) and Emma Paulina was their sixth child and third daughter born on June 13, 1868 (page 125).   Carl August, their seventh child and fourth son was born and baptized on November 7, 1870 and died on November 8, 1870 (page 155).   Then came Johann Gerhard (page 171), their eighth child and fifth son born on February 7, 1872, listed as Gerhard in the 1880 census.   Andreas' and Agnes' ninth child and sixth son was born on January 5, 1875 and was named Carl Bernhard (page 201), listed as Bernhard in the 1880 census.  Carl Hermann (page 239), their tenth child and seventh son was born on March 12, 1878 and listed as Herman in the 1880 census.   Their eleventh child and eighth son was William Otto and was born on May 9, 1880 (page 267) and listed as Otto in the 1880 census.

According to ancestry.com, Johann Gerhard Kappler married Johanna Maria (Mary) Berger on January 13, 1895.   The 1900 U. S. Census lists a "J. G. Kappler" working as a "cotton ginner" and living in Giddings, Texas.  J. G. Kappler's date of birth was listed as February 1872, and his place of birth as Texas.  The 1900 U.S. Census also states that J. G. Kappler and Mary had been married for five years, again consistent with Johann Gerhard Kappler and Johanna Maria Berger.  I think it is safe to say that J. G. Kappler and Johann Gerhard Kappler are one and the same person.   J. G. Kappler and his wife Mary had four children: Walter age four; Clara age three; Matilda age two; and Louis age one.

The 1910 U.S. Census shows a John G. Kappler and wife Mary living in Lee County Justice precinct 1, with children Walter age fourteen, Clara age thirteen, Matilda age twelve, Louis age ten, Ellaise age five and Amelia age seven months.  According to the 1910 U.S. Census, John G. Kappler was born about 1872.  It also states that he and his wife Mary have been married for fifteen years, again consistent with Johann Gerhard Kappler and Johanna Maria Berger.   Therefore, with confidence, I will proclaim that John G. Kappler, J. G. Kappler, and Johann Gerhard Kappler are the same person.

J. G. Kappler listed in the 1900 U.S. Census that his job was a cotton ginner in Giddings, Texas.  In the U.S. Census of 1910, John G. Kappler listed his job as manager at the "Creased Brick and Gin Co." I could not find any information about the Creased Brick and Gin Company, but since J. G. Kappler was a cotton ginner in 1900, it is not a big stretch to believe that the Gin in the name Creased Brick and Gin Company meant a cotton gin.   Therefore, I believe that Johann Gerhard Kappler was awarded patent number 948,508, along with John Gaines for their invention of a Cotton Oil Mill Seed Huller.

The patent may be seen at texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth511581/.

William Kieschnick Patents

Tuesday 18 July 2017 at 6:29 pm

William Friedrick Kieschnick Junior was born on January 5, 1923 to William Friedrick Kieschnick Senior and Effie Meador Kieschnick.   He is a great grandson of Andreas Kieschnik. Andreas Kieschnik was born in Dauban, Rothenberg on November 13 or 15, 1828 and was a Ben Nevis passenger.  Andreas Kieschnik married Elisabeth Louise Koerner and they had six children.   Andreas' and Elisabeth's son Johann Carl August Kieschnick was born on August 3, 1865.  Johann was the father of William Friedrick Kieschnick Senior and grandfather of William Friedrick Kieschnick Junior.

William Friedrick Keischnick Junior went to college at Rice University, but before he received his degree, he left Rice University to join the Army during World War II.   While in the Army he went to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) where he was trained as a meteorologist.   He served in Africa and Italy as a Captain and was part of the invasion of Italy at Anzio Beach, where he was awarded a bronze star.  After being discharged from the Army, William returned to Rice University and received his bachelors of science degree in chemical engineering in 1946 and went to work as an engineer at the Atlantic Refining Company.

As an engineer at the Atlantic Refining Company, William was granted three patents.  His first patent was filed on August 22, 1960 with Loyd R. Kern and William J McGuire Junior.   Their patent was awarded patent number 3155159, titled "Increasing permeability of subsurface formations" on November 3, 1964.  On September 5, 1961, the three engineers collaborated on a second patent filing and on February 15, 1966 they were awarded patent number 3235007 titled "Multilayer propping of fractures".   On February 19, 1962, William Kieschnick teamed with Thomas K. Perkins and Reece E Wyant and filed for a patent on "Plugging materials for vertical fractures".   They were awarded patent number 3249158 on May 3, 1966.

In 1966 the Atlantic Refining Company and the Richfield Oil Corporation merged and formed the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO).   William Kieschnick rose through the ranks of ARCO and became the president and chief executive in 1981 and held those posts until he retired in 1985 at the age of 62.  He was active in his communities until his death in 2013 at the age of 90.   William was a member of the boards of trustees at both the California Institute of Technology and Rice University, supporting higher education and engineering.   William was also a member of the President's Circle of the National Academy of Engineering.  The ARCO/Kieschnick Chair of the Neurobiology of Aging at the University of Southern California (USC) is an honor bestowed on William for his support of science.  William was also a patron of the arts and was a supporter of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles.  After William moved to Napa California, he helped restore the Napa Valley Opera House.

William Friedrick Kieschnick, Junior was married three times.   His first wife was Betty Jane Camp ("Camp" from Ancestry.com and may not be accurate).  Betty Jane passed away September 14, 1977.   William married his second wife on April 21, 1979 and her name was either Keith Ann Allen or Keith Ann Chapman (California Marriage Records as shown by Ancestry.com show both Keith Ann Allen and Keith Ann Chapman married William Friedrick Kieschnick on April 21, 1979).

William Frederick Kieschnick Junior passed away on October 13, 2013 and was survived by his third wife Carol Kieschnick, son Michael and daughter Meredith, his stepson David, and two stepdaughters Cynthia and Lynn (San Francisco Chronicle).

Sources for this article are:



and the Napa Valley Register.

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More on the Life of Robert (Bob) Gloyna

Thursday 22 June 2017 at 7:41 pm

On June 9, 2017 I posted an article "Search for Wendish Patents Continue".  Part of that post focussed on Robert Gloyna and his brother, Dr. Eanest Gloyna, with more of an emphasis on Dr. Gloyna's accomplishments.  Since then, I have learned more about Bob Gloyna and would like to share that here.  This was shared with me by Bob Gloyna.

Bob Gloyna always wanted to build things. His early years were spent on the farm and ranch, but when he had a chance to attend college, he gladly took the opportunity. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas in 1951, was married, and was called to active duty in the Army in the same year. The Army provided a good training experience because his unit, the 332nd Engineer Aviation Battalion, was primarily made up of experienced construction personnel and was used in training other units and personnel in airfield and general construction techniques. Bob started out as Platoon Leader in charge of heavy construction equipment, and after promotion to 1st Lt., he was appointed Company Commander of Headquarters Company.

Bob joined Phillips Petroleum Company upon release from active duty, and was employed at McGregor, Texas, in their solid rocket fuel and rocket booster development program. Construction consisted of a pilot plant, a semi-works plant, and finally, a production plant which required extensive remote control systems. Bob transferred to Philips Chemical Company near Houston in 1956. He was engaged in engineering design and maintenance in a complex of chemical units, which included a new polyethylene manufacturing process. During the years with Phillips, Bob attended the University of Houston night school and received a MBA in Management.

Bob's interest in polyethylene led him to join U. S. Industrial Chemicals (U.S.I.), a division of National Distillers and Chemical, in Deer Park, Texas, in 1962. U.S.I. was in the process of developing a new high pressure manufacturing process for polyethylene. As a result, Bob's expertise grew with the developing process, and he was soon called on to join design and construction teams to build the new plants, not only for U.S.I., but for licensees all over the world. He made trips to Japan, Germany and Switzerland, as well as U.S companies, to procure and inspect equipment. Bob was part of a start-up team for a plant in Taiwan. Bob moved his family to Holland in 1970, where his team designed a newer version of the plant. Two plants were built in Europe and one in Brazil from this design. Later, Bob and family moved to Brazil, where he was assigned as Engineering Manager in charge of the civil and mechanical portions of the work. His duties also included hiring and training Brazilian personnel for engineering department positions. Several trips were made in the following years to operating plants in Japan, Belgium and Brazil to assist with mechanical maintenance and training.

The final years of employment before retirement in 1961, were in Port Arthur, Texas, where Bob was appointed Engineering Manager of the Quantum (name change from U.S.I) multi-plant complex, composed of four different varieties of polyethylene manufacturing units and other chemical units.

Immediately after retirement, Bob accepted a project management position, in Austin, Texas, to design, build and start up a unique process plant for Huntsman Chemical, to convert hydrocarbon contaminated waste water to pure water and CO2. After this assignment was completed, Bob continued to perform consulting services in civil and mechanical areas in and around Austin. He served on the Board of Directors of an emerging engineering design company for two years and finally retired again in 2002.

Bob married Edna Knippa in 1951 and they have two children. After retiring the second time, Bob researched and wrote a genealogy book on the family of Edna's great grandfather, who immigrated on the Ben Nevis in 1854. The book is in the Wendish Heritage Museum at Serbin. Bob and Edna are now living in a retirement facility in Austin.

Search for Wendish Patents Continues

Friday 09 June 2017 at 4:50 pm

After the article about my search for Wends who had been awarded patents was published in the TWHS Newsletter, I received several emails from TWHS members who had either been awarded patents, or who had relatives who had been awarded patents.  I was excited by all of them and I wanted to share with you what was shared with me.

The first email I received was from Richard Gruetzner, Vice President of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and Museum.  Richard told me about a patent that was awarded to the Reverend Johann August Proft (John A. Proft).  Reverend Proft was the brother of Magdalene Proft Gruetzner, Richard Gruetzner's 2nd great grandmother.

Johann A. Proft, as a young man in Bautzen, completed an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker before studying to become a missionary.  After arriving in New York with a group of other missionaries, Johann Proft travelled to Saint Louis and enrolled in the seminary.  Reverend Proft was the first pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fedor.  Reverend Proft used his wood working experience to build a house in Fedor and the baptismal font for St. Paul Lutheran Church in Serbin.  In 1880, Reverend Proft moved to Springtown, Missouri .  While there, he used his wood working skills and ingenuity to file a patent titled "Extension table" on September 24, 1881, and was awarded patent number 255,454 on March 28, 1882.

If you would like to find out more about Reverend Proft, there is a nice article about his life on the Wendish Research Exchange written by Robert Proft and George Nielsen.  You can find the article on George Nielsen's blog using this link http://wendishresearch.org/blog_nielsen/?e=44.  Additional information regarding Reverend Proft can be found on the Wendish Research Exchange under the Forum titled "Texas Place Names" with the subtitle, "Fedor, Lee County, Texas – Daughter of Serbin" using this link: http://wendishresearch.org/a_board/viewthread.php?tid=2711.

James Dube also emailed me to tell me that he was awarded a patent.  The patent is co-owned with Ralph Miller.  The patent is titled "Process for the purification of O,O-di(lower) alkyldithiophosphoric acids."  The patent was filed on May 10, 1977 and awarded on June 24, 1980.  The patent number is 4,209,491.

I received two emails from Robert Gloyna.  Robert and his brother Dr. Earnest Gloyna, were both awarded multiple patents.  The Gloyna brothers' paternal grandparents immigrated from the Bad Muskau region in Upper Lusatia (now part of Germany and Poland) in the 1880's to Texas.  For more information about their family, please see the Gloyna/Hentschel Genealogy Book in the Serbin library.

Robert R. Gloyna has had over fifty years of engineering experience.  Fifty of those years have been as a licensed engineer.  He and Travis R. Dickinson filed for a patent on November 30, 1959.  They were awarded patent number 3,010,151 for a "Modified double-barrel extrusion apparatus" on November 28, 1961.  Robert R. Gloyna, and four other applicants, filed for a patent for a "Supercritical oxidation apparatus for treating water with side injection ports" on April 1, 1994.  Their patent number is 5,582,715 and was awarded on December 10, 1996. Robert Gloyna's brother, Dr. Earnest Gloyna was also very talented.

Dr. Earnest Gloyna was the Dean of Engineering at the University of Texas from 1970 until 1987.  Dr. Earnest Gloyna was awarded one patent before becoming Dean of Engineering, and another six after his tenure.  His first patent had two co-signers, and was awarded patent number 5,358,546 on October 25, 1968 for a "Method and Apparatus for Multiple State and Recycle Wet Oxidation."  His other patents are:

• "Apparatus for Reverse Injection Wet Oxidation, Sintered Material Catalytic Reaction" was awarded on June 6, 1995 to Dr. Earnst Gloyna and one co-signer. The patent number is 5,421,998.

• "Method and Apparatus for Reverse Injection Wet Oxidation, Sintered Material Catalytic Reaction, Sintered Material Filtration at Supercritical Conditions, Sintered Material Gas Separation, High Temperature Pressurization", patent number 5,454,950; was granted on October 3, 1995 to Dr. Earnest Gloyna and one co-signer.

• On June 18, 1996 Dr. Earnest Gloyna, and one co-signer, were awarded patent number 5,527,466 for "Cross-flow Filtration Apparatus and Method."

• Dr. Earnest Gloyna and two co-signers were awarded patent number 5,565,616 on October 25, 1996 for "Controlled Hydrothermal Processing."

• Patent number 5,578,647 was awarded to Dr. Earnest Gloyna and one co-signer on November 28, 1996 for "Method of Producing Off-Gas Having a Selected Ratio of Carbon Monoxide to Hydrogen."

• And last but not least, Dr. Earnest Gloyna and one co-signer were awarded a patent for "Method for Selective Separation of Products at Hydrothermal Conditions" on July 28, 1998.  The patent number is 5,785,868.

While searching for Dr. Earnest Gloyna I found this from the May 2008 edition of the "Engineering Our Future", from Texas Tech University College of Engineering:

"On January 28, 2008, Dr. Earnest Gloyna, D.E., P.E., D.E.E., former Dean of the University of Texas College of Engineering, received The Presidential Citation for 2007 from the University of Texas at Austin.
According to The University of Texas, "The award was created in 1979 to recognize extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the university's commitment to the task of transforming lives." Other recipients of the 2007 award include Hector De Leon, an Austin attorney, and the late Mrs. Lyndon Baines "Lady Bird" Johnson. Dr. Gloyna, Mrs. Johnson, and Mr. De Leon will have Presidential Citation Endowed Scholarships named in their honor.

Dr. Earnest Gloyna earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas Technical College in 1946, and was named a Distinguished Engineer for the College of Engineering in 1971."

Dr. Earnest Gloyna received his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas in 1949, and his doctorate degree (PHD) in Engineering from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1951.  If you would like to know more about Dr. Earnest Gloyna's life, check out the book written by Davis L. Ford, Reflections of a Soldier and Scholar: The Life of Earnest F. Gloyna.

Reverend Proft, James Dube, and both Gloyna brothers (Robert, R. and Dr. Earnest Gloyna) are incredible engineers.  While I cannot tell you the details of all of their patents because I do not understand them, I realize they are all people who wanted to improve things for others.  Based on the number of patents they were awarded collectively, they have succeeded.

If you would like to know more about any of these patents, please leave me a comment and I will be happy to respond to you.

Dr. Ernst Kiesling - The Father of the Safe House

Friday 07 April 2017 at 1:48 pm

In 1854 Johann Kiesling who was sixty seven years old decided to leave his home and head for Texas on the Ben Nevis with about 600 other people to make a new home and start a new life. Johann brought with him his wife Hanna, age fifty seven and their three children; Johann Kiesling, age twenty two, Magdalena Kiesling, age eighteen, and Ernst Kiesling, age fifteen. Johann and his wife Hanna did not survive the trip. They died from cholera in Queenstown, Ireland. Johann died October 17, 1854 and Hanna succumbed the next day. All three children survived and raised families. This story is not about them, but about another Kiesling who takes survival very seriously. Dr. Ernst Kiesling is all about survival and is a great grandson of Ernst Kiesling who was fifteen when he arrived in Texas in 1854. Dr. Ernst Kiesling has been called the "Father of the Safe Room." I became aware of Dr. Ernst Kiesling while searching for patents by the Ben Nevis Kiesling family. Dr. Ernst Kiesling was very courteous and responsive to me when I emailed him and asked if he was related to the Ben Nevis Kieslings. He responded to my emails, answering my questions and helping me put this together.

Dr. Ernst Kiesling studied mechanical engineering and received his Bachelor's Degree in 1955 from Texas Technological College. He received his Master's Degree in Applied Mechanics in 1959 at Michigan State University and then received his Doctorate in Applied Mechanics in 1966 at Michigan State University. Dr. Kiesling went on to teach and do research at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

In 1970 a strong tornado struck Lubbock, Texas and Dr. Kiesling and other faculty members of Texas Tech studied the damage from the tornado to learn more about tornado wind speeds, wind-induced damage, and to determine ways to counteract the winds. On March 10 1973, Burnet, Texas suffered severe damage from a tornado. There were no deaths in Burnet associated with the tornado, but thirty people were injured in the town of 3,500 and 300 homes and businesses were destroyed, along with a school. Dr. Kiesling and his team went to Burnet to survey the damage. They came across a small pantry near the center of a house with all four walls intact. The house had no roof and several walls were destroyed, but the walls of the pantry survived. This is when the idea of an above-ground storm shelter was born.

On April 3, 1974 an F5 tornado struck Xenia, Ohio. It killed thirty three people and injured over 1,300. The tornado damaged or destroyed 1,200 houses, many businesses, ten churches and several schools. There were 148 tornados that struck several states over two days with Xenia, Ohio suffering the worst damage. Dr. Kiesling's team went to Xenia, Ohio and there, amidst the rubble, they found an interior bathroom intact. The above-ground shelter idea continued to evolve. Dr. Ernst Kiesling, and graduate student David Goolsby, presented the concept in Civil Engineering magazine in 1974.

Dr. Kiesling and his team at Texas Tech University determined that tornadic wind speeds were not nearly as strong as previously thought. At one point, it was thought that tornados had wind speeds in excess of 600 miles per hour. The team worked on a shelter design that could withstand wind speeds of 250 miles per hour, higher than the ground-level wind speeds observed in any of the teams' post storm inspections.

In the 1975, Dr. Kiesling built a storm shelter in his own house and opened it for public inspection. He and his colleagues continued to research wind and storm related damage, trying to find shelter designs that were inexpensive and yet saved lives. Dr. James R. McDonald developed a missile impact facility that could launch large 'missiles' at high speed. This was used to test the shelter designs for debris impact resistance. The team at Texas Tech University made their designs public for anyone to use.

Jarrell, Texas, a town of 410 people, was struck by an F5 tornado on May 27, 1997. Twenty seven people were killed and the Double Creek Estates subdivision was destroyed, a total of thirty eight homes. The storms received a lot of media coverage which included information about above-ground shelters. Within a week, Texas Tech University's Wind Engineering Research Center of which Dr. Ernst Kiesling was a part of, received over 1,000 requests for shelter plans.

In October 1998, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published a booklet entitled Taking Shelter from the Storm – Building a Safe Room Inside your House or Small Business that included the team's residential designs. This booklet became known as FEMA 320 and was revised in 1999, 2008 and 2014 to which Dr. Kiesling contributed. Over one million copies have been distributed and many more have been downloaded from the web.

On May 3, 1999, Oklahoma City was struck by an F5 tornado. A storm shelter survived the storm and received as much publicity as the storm damage. Many companies were building storm shelters at that point, but they were not all high quality shelters. A storm shelter standard did not exist. Within a year after the Oklahoma City tornado over twenty companies had their storm shelters tested at Texas Tech University for debris impact resistance. Dr. Kiesling invited companies to Texas Tech University to address the issue of quality in the storm shelter industry. The National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) was born in order to promote quality in storm shelter designs and develop industry standards for above ground shelters. In 2001, Dr. Kiesling was appointed as Executive Director of the NSSA, a position which he still holds today.

In May 2002, the NSSA agreed to develop a national standard for storm shelters with the Southern Building Code Congress International, Incorporated into the International Code Council. At the 2008 Structures Conference, held in Austin, Texas April 30

through May 2, Dr. Ernst Kiesling and Mark L. Levitan presented "Design and Construction of Storm Shelters – Introducing the new International Code Council (ICC)/National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) Standard" at a pre- congress seminar. It was later accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and became known as ICC 500. The ICC 500 was updated in 2008 and again in 2014 and the current edition is known as ICC 500-2014.

Dr. Ernst Kiesling is also a partner in the Federal Alliance for Safe Houses (FLASH). He is featured in the FLASH "Partners in Prevention", March 2017 issue (Volume 19, Issue 3). Dr. Kiesling continues to work with FLASH, FEMA, the ICC and the NSSA.

Dr. Ernst Kiesling, a great grandson of Ernst Kiesling who survived the cholera outbreak on the Ben Nevis in 1854, has helped many people survive with his past and present work with regard to above-ground storm shelters. We thank him for his 50 years of work and are proud of all he has done for others.


1. Chicago Tribune, "Tornados Rip 8 Texas towns – 4 killed", March 11, 1973, http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1973/03/11/page/1/article/tornados-rip-8-texas-towns-4-killed.

2. Meteorologist Ted Fujita devised the Fujita Scale as a way to measure maximum winds within a storm based on the damage caused. The scale goes from 0 to 5 with 5 being the most severe. An F5 tornado estimates wind speeds to be between 260 miles per hour (mph) and 320 mph.

3. Dayton Daily News Archive, "Xenia Tornado of 1974", https://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/ddn_archive/2011/04/19/xenia-tornado-of-1974/, April 19, 2011.

4. Wikipedia, "1997 Central Texas Tornado Outbreak".

5. National Storm Shelter Association, "History of the National Storm Shelter Association - Major Milestones", August 2015.

The Seach for Patents

Tuesday 15 November 2016 at 9:05 pm

I have always found patents and inventions fascinating.  A few years ago I found out that my Wendish great grandfather, Andreas Mattijetz, had been awarded six patents during a ten year period (1888 - 1898), thanks to the help of Kathe Richards and Weldon Mersiovsky of the Wendish Research Exchange.  Since then I have been interested in finding other Wends who have been awarded patents.  With the help of readers of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society quarterly newsletters, I have been made aware of the patents of August Schkade (one in 1889), Herman Symmank and Ernst Matthijetz (one in 1893 and one in 1896), and William Daniel Symmank (thirteen patents between 1959 and 1988).  After writing about these people and their patents on my blog Frank's Findings on the Wendish Research Exchange, Weldon Mersiovsky asked me if I would be interested in looking for more Wendish patents.  I thought, how hard could that be so I agreed to do it.  It is much harder than I thought.

I started my quest by deciding my source of Wendish names would be the book written by Weldon Mersiovsky, Passengers on the Ben Nevis and Their Families.  Weldon's book includes lists of Wendish families who immigrated to Texas between 1849 and 1860.  I started my search with the families of 1849 and am now in the process of checking the families of 1854.  The search can be tedious and frustrating at times.  It can also be interesting and exciting.  As I was going through my process, I found out that my first cousin Danny Mattijetz, who is also part Wendish, was awarded a patent in 2001.  I took a break from my research, and with Danny's help, wrote a short article about Danny's patent for my blog Frank's Findings where I have also written about all the other patents listed above.  After that, I went back to my research.

So far I have not found one additional patent that I can truthfully say was authored by a Wendish immigrant or ancestor.  But I am not giving up!  While searching the names of those who arrived prior to 1853, I have found patents issued in the last 50 years by people who share the same surname of some of the settlers.  Could they be descendants of these early settlers? Sure they could, but for me to determine that, I would have to try to build their family trees.  Other things I have found associated with some of the surnames are cancer research papers and addresses and telephone numbers of living people with the same or similar names.  I also found websights with Arabic, Korean and Slavic characters.  None of which I reviewed because I could not read them if I tried!  I was getting a bit frustrated but I continued on.

When researching the names of the Wendish settlers who arrived in 1853 I was feeling better.  At least while searching these names I found posts on the Texas Wendish Heritage Society webpage or the Wendish Research Exchange.  Some of these posts were the writings of George R. Nielsen, Wendish historian.  Others were links to Weldon Mersiovsky, Wendish genealogist, and some were even my own posts on Frank's Findings.  At least I knew I was spelling the names correctly!  Then it was time to start looking at the Ben Nevis passengers.

While searching for patents for Peter Fritzsche, I found eighteen patents awarded to Peter Fritzsche of Germany awarded between 1989 and 2004.  If anyone knows if these two people are related, please let me know.  I also found multiple patents for Carl Jaeger, and a Karl Jaeger.  The first one I found was awarded to Carl Jaeger, citizen of Germany living in Seattle, Washington in 1910.  There were two more for Carl Jaeger and Bertha Jaeger.  The first one lists them "of Los Angeles, California" in 1912.  The second patent in their names lists them in Houston, Texas in 1936.  There was one more patent awarded to Carl Jaeger "citizen of Germany, residing at Waldhof near Mannheim" that was awarded in 1923.  Another patent was awarded to a Carl Jaeger in 1951 but no details were available.  There also are at least three more patents for a Karl Jaeger between 1931 and 1972.

I found two patents for Carl Lehmann.  One was awarded to Carl Lehmann "citizen of Germany, residing at New York, in the county and state of New York" in 1890.  The other one was awarded to Carl Lehmann "of Hamburg" in 1927.  The patent awarded in 1890 falls in the timeframe for Carl August Lehmann born December 10, 1866 in Yegua, Texas except for the fact that he would not have been a "citizen of Germany."

Taking a break from searching for patents, I decided to read Weldon Mersivsky's post titled "Serbin in the News by Weldon Mersiovsky" on the Wendish Research Exchange, under Wendish Blogs, and part of Weldon's Wendish Works.  While reading through Weldon's post, I found a reference to a patent awarded to a J. H. Dunk.  After contacting Weldon I found out that J. H. Dunk was not Wendish but German.  However, J. H. Dunk is a relative of Joyce Bise, the Executive Director of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society.  Weldon had also contacted a cousin of Joyce's named Ray Mickan.  Ray had knowledge of a story of the surname being changed from Dung to Dunk during the Civil War.  You can find out everything I found out on my Frank's Findings post "The Discovery of J. H. Dunk".

Continuing to go through the list of the Ben Nevis passengers, I found that patents were awarded to the following people: two for Johann Nowak, one for Wilhelm Nowak, one for Peter Pampel, three for Adam Ritter, one for Hans Schneider, three for Michael Schneider, nine for George Schubert, three for Johann Schulze, four for Carl Schuster, two for Johann Sommer, one for Johann Spann, five for Andreas Urban, four for Johann Urban, seven for Michael Urban and four for Andreas Vogel.

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The Discovery of J. H. Dunk

Thursday 15 September 2016 at 6:57 pm

Last month I was reading through the post titled "Serbin in the News by Weldon Mersiovsky" on The Wendish Research Exchange website under the "Wend Blogs" on "Weldon's Wendish Works".  I found the information to be very interesting.  There were several references about some kind of disagreement between two doctors named Molette (also spelled Mallette and Molett) and Manning.  There were also articles about train collisions, train wrecks, history, crops, rain and deaths.  I found them all interesting but the one I did some research on was reported by the Hereford Register on May 31, 1901 and The Schulenburg Sticker on June 6, 1901.  Both newspapers reported the awarding of a patent to "J. H. Dunk, Serbin, wire fastening clip."  For those of you who have read my blog in the past, you know that I am interested in patents and have written about several Wends who have been awarded patents, so I had to research this one further.  Finding the patent was easy, but the harder questions to find answers to: 1. Was J. H. Dunk German or Wendish, and 2. who was J. H. Dunk?

First, I tried to answer the question of was J. H. Dunk Wendish or German.  I looked through the list of "Texas Family Names" found on the "Forum" of The Wendish Research Exchange but the name Dunk was not there.  Then I looked through the books I purchased that contain the baptism and confirmation records from St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Serbin.  There I found a baptismal record from 1860 that listed as a witness "Heinrich Wilhelm Dunk, only son of Johann Heinrich Dunk, farmer on Long Prairie Branch".  Had I answered my second question while looking for the answer to my first question?  Was Johann Heinrich Dunk the J. H. Dunk who was awarded the patent in 1901? So I turned to Weldon Mersiovsky, the expert Wendish Genealogist.

While I waited for Weldon's response to my email, I went on Ancestry.com and searched for Johann Heinrich Dunk who lived in Serbin, Texas.  What I found was the grave of Johann Heinrich Dunk on findagrave.com which had some interesting information.  First, Johann was born in Germany on April 14, 1814 and died in Paige, Texas on June 12, 1890.  That ruled him out as the patent holder, but there was something else I found on the site: Johann Heinrich Dunk was born Johann Heinrich Dung, the name listed on the headstone.  There was also a document attached to the site that was originally typed in German that someone had written the English translation on it, stating that Johann Heinrich Dong married Anna Elisabeth Hempel on November 11, 1837.  That brought up a third question: when was Dung changed to Dunk?

About the same time as that discovery, I heard back from Weldon that Dunk is German not Wendish, but that John Henry Dunk is the great great grandfather of Joyce Bise, the Executive Director of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society.  I traded a few emails with Joyce trying to find out more about the J. H. Dunk that was awarded the patent.  I asked Joyce if she knew about the patent and if the Dunk name had originally been Dung.  Joyce shared some of her family tree with me and did not know when the name had been changed from Dung to Dunk.  I shared with her what I found regarding the name change and a copy of the patent.  It looks like the name was changed when the family emigrated to the U.S.  However, Weldon Mersiovsky spoke to another member of the Dunk family who had heard a story about the name change that had a different reason for the name change.

A first cousin of Joyce Bise by the name of Ray Mickan told Weldon that the family changed their name from Dung to Dunk during the Civil War because someone told him the difference between Dung and Dunk.  This person fought for the Confederacy, but it is unknown whether or not he volunteered or was drafted.  So I went to work trying to see if I could find this person.

While searching, I came across a record on Ancestry.com of an H. Dunk who served with the "5th Field Battery, Texas Light Artillery".  Having already written about Julius Seydler having served with Cruzbauer's Battery of the 5th Texas Artillery, I went back to what I had found previously.  According to the book Victory at Calcasieu Pass by Michael Dan Jones, the 5th Texas Artillery was predominately formed by Germans from Fayette County in central Texas.  When I looked at the roster for Cruzbauer's Battery, I found the name of Henry Dunk.  When I revisited the Ancestry record I noticed that for alternate names it had "Henry/Dung."  Heinrich W. Dung/Dunk would have been about twenty three years old at the start of the Civil War so its possible that the story told by Ray Mickan is true.  Putting everything together I received and discovered resulted in the information below.

Johann Heinrich Dung (grave stone found) and Anna Elisabeth Hempel had five children:

Heinrich W. (August 14, 1838 - January 7, 1911) (witness found in 1860 Baptismal record, possibly changed surname to Dunk during the Civil War),

Anna Elisabeth (September 9, 1842 - July 9, 1937),

Maria (August 2, 1844 - March 5, 1927),

Johannes Wilhelm (February 2, 1846 - March 8, 1926),

Dorothea Elizabeth (June 27, 1851 - January 27, 1885).

All five children were born in Prussia/Germany and all five, at some point, immigrated to Texas.

Heinrich W. Dunk, the eldest son of Johann Heinrich and Anna Elisabeth, married Anna Kattner.  Together they had six children, three boys and three girls:

Frank (August 4, 1867 - March 3, 1947),

Pauline (October 1, 1869 - October 22, 1936),

William H. (September 1, 1872 - August 9, 1950),

John Henry (July 10, 1877 - August 26, 1950) (Patent Holder),

Bertha Marie (November 26, 1881 - May 6, 1958),

Amalie Mary (November 1, 1884 - February 5, 1960).


John Henry Dunk, the grandson of Johann Heinrich Dung and the son of Heinrich W. Dunk was the J. H. Dunk who was awarded a patent.  The patent was filed for on November 6, 1900 and was awarded on May 21, 1901.  The patent is number 674,403 with the title "Wire-fastening clip".  It was designed mainly for metallic fence posts and the object of the invention was "to provide a cheap and simple construction of clip which may be adjustably secured to the fence-post in such manner that it may be readiy raised and lowered, whereby the wires may be spaced as desired without necessitating boring of the post."

The mystery of who J. H. Dunk was has been solved thanks to the help of Weldon Mersiovsky, Joyce Bise and Ray Mickan.  I think all of us may learned a little something in the process.

I also tried to find the history of metal fence posts but I was unable to find anything definitive.  I did find two patents for metal fence posts.  The first was awarded in 1926 and the second in 1928.  The one awarded in 1928 looked like it could have incorporated J. H. Dunk's patent but it did not mention it.  I do not know how long the rights to an invention last, but I do know that the licensing rights are limited and had probably expired for J. H. Dunk's patent at the time of the 1928 fence post patent.  Click on the links below to see the J. H. Dunk patent and the documents showing the name of Johann Heinrich Dung.  The book Victory at Calcasieu Pass can be found online at http://library.mcbeese.edu/depts/archive/FTBooks/jones-victory.htm.

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Modern Day Inventor

Wednesday 17 August 2016 at 6:41 pm

Danny Mattijetz is my first cousin on my mother's side of the family.  The Mattijetz family was a close knit family so we saw each other often as we grew up.  We continued to stay in touch. Recently, we both started posting on Facebook, and that is where Danny found out I was looking for Wends who had been awarded patents.  Danny contacted me and told me that he had been awarded a patent.  The search was on, and  I found his patent.

Danny's patent is number US 6,330,107 B1 and is titled "Multi-image display screen".  Danny has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from California State University in Los Angeles (Cal State LA), and used his knowledge to develop his idea.  Danny designed a lens and screen system that used his knowledge of light and optical refraction to make a 2 dimensional image appear to be 3 dimensional.  Danny submitted his design to the US Patent Office on March 4, 1999 and was awarded his patent on December 11, 2001.  In an email, Danny told me "it was a fun project that probably would have worked, but it cost more and more money to pursue, so I finally gave it up.  The end result would have been a television that could produce 3D without glasses or any other viewer."  Below is Danny's description of his design.

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Is it possible a Wend named Julius Seydler was a Confederate Soldier?

Monday 20 June 2016 at 06:11 am

I was searching Google using the names of the Texas Wendish settlers to see if any of them had been awarded patents. While looking at the results of the search for "Herman Julius Seydler patent" I found one that piqued my curiosity. However, it was not about a patent but about a book detailing a Civil War battle. In the description of the search result, there was the name Julius Seydler. So, to find out more I clicked on the link and started reading.

What I found was interesting. The book is titled Victory at Calcasieu Pass. The battle took place on May 6, 1864 between a small group of Confederate soldiers on land and two Union gun boats where the Calcasieu River feeds into the Gulf of Mexico in the Southwest corner of Louisiana only 40 miles from the border with Texas. Thinking about the proximity of this battle to Texas, my curiosity increased and I looked further into it to find out who the participants were. Scrolling down, I found that Cruezbaur's Battery of the 5th Texas Artillery were participants.

The descrition of this group really caught my attention as "Almost  to a man ... were natives of Germany...[and] most were residents of Fayette County in Central Texas." But I still had not seen anything about Julius Seydler so I scrolled the page some more and found rosters for all the units engaged in the battle. Scrolling down the list of the members of Cruezbauer's Battery of the 5th Texas Artillery, in the list of privates was the name Julius Seydler.

As I went back and read more about the battle, I found some translated letters from some of the participants detailing the battle. One of the letters was written by a member of Cruezbaur's Battery of the 5th Texas Artillery named Henry Kneip, "who settled in Round Top, Fayette County, Texas in 1852." He had two brothers, "Adolf and Ferdinand, apparently twins at 17, [who] served in another Confederate unit, Waul's Texas Legion."

If you look at the Hot Project/Topics on the Wendish Research Exchange you will find a write-up about the Civil War and Waul's Texas Legion. The particpation of the Texas 5th Artillery and their connection to Waul's Texas Legion and Central Texas are strong indications that the Julius Seydler was one of the Wends who emigrated to Texas in 1849. Herman "Julius" Seydler was born July 7 1832 and would have been about 29 years old at the start of the Civil War (from Weldon Mersiovsky's new book Passengers on the Ben Nevis and Their Families, page 123). I feel the information above is too coincidental to not be about the same Julius Seydler but I have not done any additional research to try to prove it. Could there be other Wendish men in this unit? Probably, but I have not delved into that.

To read about the battle of Calcasieu Pass look at the link http://library.mcneese.edu/depts/archive/FTBooks/jones-victory.htm

I'm now on Facebook!

Saturday 11 June 2016 at 11:03 pm

If you think there is something I should be researching, you can now contact me at FranksFindings on Facebook. I am currently looking for more Wends who have been awarded patents. If you know of anyone in your family who has been awarded a patent, or even you yourself, let me know and I will be happy to write about it. Currently, I am going through the passengers of the Reform and the Ben Nevis searching for new inventors.

I am also willing to research anything else you have an interest in, just let me know and I will try my best to find what you are curious about.

New Book about 1853 Voyage of the Reform

Tuesday 19 April 2016 at 4:33 pm

I am very excited and wanted to let you know that I have written my first book, and after sending it to at least a half a dozen publishers and receiving as many rejections, the book has been published. A big "Thank you!" goes out to Weldon Mersiovsky of the Wendish Research Exchange and Mr. Ron Lammert from HPN (Historical Publishing Network) without whom the book would not have been published. The book is titled A Voyage of Hopes and Dreams. Eighteen year old Andreas tells the story of his trip from Kaschel, Saxony to New Ulm, Texas that he took when he was 6 years old. The story is historical fiction. The dates used are the dates of the trip the 35 Wends took in 1853 and includes the joy of the birth of Andreas' sister Agnes during the voyage on the Reform, the heartache of the death of a 1 year old boy, the tragedy of the running aground of the brig Reform off the coast of Cuba, and the generosity of total strangers who helped the crew and passengers of the Reform to get to their desired destinations.

A Voyage of Hopes and Dreams is a quick read that can be enjoyed by both young and old. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book, you can contact me directly by commenting on this post or you can purchase it at Amazon.com for $7.95 (I am offering it at the same price as Amazon but my price includes shipping). I would also love to hear any and all comments you have with regard to the book.

Symmank Family Patents

Tuesday 29 September 2015 at 8:47 pm

Herman Symmank and his grandson William Daniel Symmank were awarded a total of 15 patents in the United States during their lifetimes. Herman was awarded 2 patents with his co-author Ernst Matthijetz on their plow designs in 1893 and 1896. William Daniel Symmank was awarded 13 U.S. patents between 1959 and 1988. Del Symmank, son of William Daniel Symmank has helped me compile the information listed here.

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August Schkade

Monday 20 July 2015 at 4:54 pm

Weldon Mersiovsky sent me an email earlier this year and asked me if I could help a woman named Carol Watson find a patent issued to her grandfather.  I agreed to take on the task and contacted Carol Watson.  She told me that het grandfather was August Schkade and that he was born on September 22 in 1854.  She also told me her grandfather was a miller and a ginner and thought that his patent was for a cotton gin. 

I was able to find patent number 399,441 for a stamper attachment for a cotton gin issued to August Schkade on March 12, 1889.  I emailed the patent to Anne Nash who is Carol Watson's daughter, and asked if they had any stories about August Schkade that they would like to share with me. I told them that I would like to write about August and his patent on my blog.  The following story was dictated to Anne Nash by Carol Watson and sent to me:

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Wendish Inventors (To be continued)

Monday 29 June 2015 at 4:21 pm

After the TWHS printed my article on Andreas Matthijetz's patents, Weldon Mersiovsky cotacted me and asked for my help.  A reader of the article had told Weldon that she thought that a relative of hers had been awarded a patent for a cotton press and wanted to find it.  Weldon asked me if I could help her out.  I agreed, and after some research I found the patent and contacted the family.  The family has agreed to give me some family history in the coming weeks.  Once I get that information, I will post it on this blog with the family's permission. 

I am interested in hearing more about Wendish inventions so if anyone has any information about patents by Wendish relatives, I would love to hear from you.  I will post the information on this blog if you are willing to share the information with others.  You can contact me by commenting on any of my blog posts.

1853 Wendish Migration

Wednesday 28 January 2015 at 9:01 pm

In mid-2013, I looked at the Wendish Research Exchange website for the first time. I started to explore it from top to bottom. While I was exploring "The Wendish Research Project" Blog, I came across an item titled "Contemporary Materials Concerning the 1853 Emigration of Wends to Texas" by Dr. Joseph Wilson. What I found there verified something I had thought was true, but just could not find anything to prove it. I found that my mother's great grandparents and their family had migrated to Texas in 1853.

In addition, I also found that they were one of eight Wendish families who travelled together trying to get to Texas. They were all on the brig Reform when it ran aground off the coast of Cuba. I was excited and left a comment on the page. Then Weldon Mersiovsky, who had given me some help with my family tree and who had recommended I look at the Wendish Reasearch Exchange website, sent me an email.

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The Other Patents of Andreas Mattijetz

Friday 12 December 2014 at 7:25 pm

Andreas received an additional 3 patents from 1892 to 1898. Two were for farm equipement and the other one was for a metallic railroad tie. Between Andreas' last two patent submissions he moved his family from Texas to California. Why did he make that move? Why did he invent a metallic railroad tie?

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Andreas Mattijetz' Baling-Press Patents

Monday 08 December 2014 at 6:04 pm

Andreas Mattijetz' first three patents were for a baling-press. His first design was awarded a patent in 1888. In 1890, Andreas redesigned the baling-press and was awarded his second patent. Andreas was evidently not completely happy with his baling-press design as he modified the 1890 design and was awarded his third baling-press patent in 1892. With these three patents, Andreas showcased his love for farming and his skills as a mechanical engineer.

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Wendish Inventors

Monday 01 December 2014 at 8:17 pm

Did you know that Andreas Mattijetz, a Wend, was an inventor? Neither did I and he was my great grandfather (my mother's paternal grandfather). Thanks to Weldon Mersiovsky and Kathe Richards of the Wendish Research Exchange, I found out Andreas was awarded six patents!

Weldon Mersiovsky and I had been corresponding with each other through email about various relatives of ours for several months, when Weldon forwarded an email to me he had received from Kathe Richards. Kathe's email stated that she had 'googled' Andreas Mattijetz and found he had several patents. I did my own google search and found six patents. After I had shared the information with Weldon he asked me if I would like to write an article about Andreas and his patents. I was excited to do so and with Weldon's help, and the help of George Nielsen, I wrote an article that was printed in the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Newsletter. To read the article and to see what Andreas Mattijetz looked like, and to find out what happened after the article was published, click on the link below.

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