Merck Family - Random Notes

Joseph John Merck, with his wife, Katherine Cecilia Eberle, brought his family from the Ukraine to the United States in 1912. This site will contain some random notes and comments about the family background, their experiences, the places they lived, and other subjects related to that topic. No particular organization of comments or articles should be expected.

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Location: Jacksonville, Arkansas, United States

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Return to South Russia Considered

Joseph Merck brought his family from South Russia to Brazil in December 1910. Finding the living conditions completely unsatisfactory, the family moved on to Argentina after only two months in Brazil. They did not find what they wanted in Argentina either, and in 1911 Joseph wrote that he would be leaving South America. His army buddy, Johannes Bullach, wrote in a der Staats Anzeiger letter of May 26, 1911 that he advised Joseph that living conditions in Saskatchewan were much improved over South Russia. "I advise you not to return to Russia until you have seen North America and Canada. It cannot hurt for you to do so.", he wrote. He likely received similar advice from Eberle brothers-in-law in North Dakota, because that is where he headed when he was able to do so in 1912.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Some Other Mercks

There are several prominent persons who share the surname Merck for whom I have not found a link to our family line.

Several Merck families reside in Southeastern United States, descendants of Andrew, Balthasar and Conrad Merck who arrived in this country in 1764 among the Palatines from the Rhine Valley who settled in South Carolina. A descendant, Baulser Merck, born in Alabama, was among those who participated in the famous Oklahoma land rush. His descendants now reside mostly in Texas. Others include George W. Merck, scientist and president of the American giant Merck & Co., who was an adviser to President Roosevelt during World War II and an early backer of the political ambitions of Eisenhower. He established the Merck Family Foundation which supports conservation efforts, and founded an area in Vermont now called the Merck Forest and Farm. Earlier, Friedrich Jacob Merck purchased a small pharmacy in Darmstadt, Germany, which was the beginning of the oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company in the world, Merck KGaA. His son, Johann Heinrich Merck was an author and critic and good friend of the young genius Goethe. John Merck is a lecturer and Assistant Director of the Earth, Life and Time Program at the University of Maryland.

Read more about some other Mercks at the link.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Am I German?

When I was young we always referred to ourselves as being German because my Dad's family spoke the German language in their home. It never did enter my mind that we should refer to ourselves as Russian or French. Yet my Dad, his father and grandfather were all born in South Russia (now Ukraine). Their ancestors came from Alsace (now France). Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1648, was added to France in 1697, and became part of Germany in 1871 when several German-speaking states joined to form the German Empire. This was long after Engelhard Merck had left to help settle the village of Elsass in South Russia. Engelhard was born in Alsace as had his father and grandfather in German-speaking communities.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Alsace Map - Merck Home Villages

Mercks in my direct line of ancestors, from Johann to Engelhardt, Joseph, Engelhardus, and Engelhard, lived in the villages of Schoenenbourg and Beinheim in Alsace during the 1700s. It was Engelhard who emigrated in about 1809 with many others of the area to settle in the Kutschurgan villages of South Russia (now Ukraine). Others in the Merck family remained in France at that time. This map shows the Rhine River separating Alsace (France) from Germany with Beinheim near the center of the map close to the river and just West of the German city of Rastatt. Schoenenbourg is approximately 15 km Northwest in the upper left corner of the map. The German resort city of Baden Baden is in the lower right corner.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

29th Bundestreffen of the Germans from Russia, May 26, Wiesbaden

The Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, Stuttgart, Germany, will sponsor the Russlandeutschen Bundestreffen at Main Rhein Halle, Wiesbaden, Germany beginning May 26, 2007. The NDSU Homeland Tour group will be attending this historic event and others from the USA who will join the tour group in Wiesbaden to attend the Bundestreffen and assist at the Amerika Haus information tables.

Many attending this national event have immigrated to Germany from the former Soviet States since the late 1980s. Families are searching for their long lost relatives in North America and South America. About 20,000 persons are expected to attend this event.

More information about this event is at the NDSU website available at the link.