Thursday, September 27, 2012

Little Graces Connecting the Generations

I love it when I find a "connection" to my people.  Not just the genetic connection, but ones that are "real" for me today.

I admit that I am obsessed with uncovering as many details as possible concerning all of my people.  Where did they live?  What were their occupations?  Where did they go to school?  What Catholic churches did they go to?  I even want to know the priest's name who married them. :)  No detail is too small.  Because every single one of them gives me a new little insight into who my people were.

Through cemetery records, I knew that both Casper and Lisette Kerkhoff (my great, great grandparents) were buried from St. Anthony Catholic church at 1119 Budd St. in downtown Cincinnati.  Unfortunately, the church was closed in 1963.   It's gone.  Torn down.  Too many of our old buildings have been destroyed in the name of "progress."

Of course I wanted to find out everything I could about St. Anthony's, so I once again used my best friend, Mr. Google.

There are times in my genealogy quest that I know, I just know, that God and my ancestors are smiling and making sure I find a "gift."  And this was one of those times. (Update--Blog has been removed)

“A stone tower standing on the church’s north side contains the baptistery and a belfry whose three bells, cast in 1868, were used for many years in St. Anthony’s Church, Budd Street, Cincinnati."

Unknowingly, for over 21 years, I have been hearing the church bells my great, great grandparents heard.  The bells that tolled for each of them at their funerals.  Because I go to the parish that received these "hand me downs."  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  Lucky?  Sure.  A little gift that God sent my way?  A big yes.

Now, every time I hear those bells as I walk out of mass or throughout the day, it's as if Casper and Lisette are telling me that they love me.  That they're praying for me and for our family members.

The day after my nephew Brandon died (And the strength continues.....), I was leaving mass with tears streaming down my face.  I couldn't believe that he was gone.  I couldn't think of anything else.  I had my head down and was praying.  And then I heard the bells.  Those magnificent bells tolling away.  And it was as if my Kerkhoffs were telling me that even though Brandon was gone from us here on earth, he was with them.  And if there's any comfort that I can take in Brandon's death, knowing that Opa Casper and Oma Lisette are with him is something I hold onto.


  1. Congratulations on your blog!! Mine is new today on geneabloggers.

  2. Marti, I just found your blog today, courtesy of GeneaBloggers. I am totally in agreement with you about wanting to know every little detail of what my ancestors were really like. Falling in love with your ancestors certainly includes sharing their stories with others--especially those others in the coming generations!

    Since you write of your Catholic roots, are you aware of the guest-posting opportunity at the blog, The Catholic Gene? You might consider contributing an entry to their "Doors of Faith" collection before October 5. You can see the details at

    Best wishes as you continue blogging!

  3. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  4. Grant, Jacqi, and Dr. Bill

    Thanks for the greetings and great suggestions! Jacqi, I will definitely check out "The Catholic Gene." I've never heard of it before, so I can't wait to read it.


  5. Marti -

    I absolutely loved reading this story and would like to share it along with your other article within the "Doors of Faith" celebration at The Catholic Gene.

    What a wonderful family connection to discover!


    1. Lisa, I would love it if you also included this story. I smile every single time I hear those bells. :)


    2. Love the story! My research has led me to believe that my husband's family attended St. Anthony in the 1800's. His great grandfather owned a saloon at the southwest corner of Budd and Harriet, so it makes sense that (as German Catholics) they would have belonged to St. Anthony. They lived on Clinton Street--another street that no longer exists.

      Interestingly, my husband lived in Madeira in the 1960's, so perhaps he heard those same bells!

      Do you know if there is any list of the St. Anthony parishioners from the 1800's?

      Thanks in advance!


    3. Jeri, I'll bet that my great, great grandfather and his sons (including my great grandpa) frequented the saloon that your husband's great grandfather owned. Heck, they probably even got thrown out of it a few times, too. :)

      I don't know of any list of parishioners, but if there is one, the Archdiocese would have it. However, their archive office has been closed for a year, and they don't know when it will reopen.

      Do you know where in Germany your husband's family came from?