24 February 2013

Black Sheep Sunday - An as yet Unconfirmed Possibility

Preserving our family's history and stories, is always interesting to the family historian, but let's be honest, most times it can be a bit dry.  Our ancestors lived, worked hard, dealt with life's ups and downs and died.  But, every now and again, we come across that one ancestor, that, well, just can't seem to get a break - make the right decisions, live a 'proper' life, stay away from drink or any other number of vices and troubles - and, that's what makes family histories and stories come to life!

My maternal Grandfather's ancestry can be traced back to the mid-1600's in Silesia, Prussia.  My work on this side of the family was made that much easier, both by the stories that my Grandfather shared with the family while I was growing up and by the efforts of the Dr. O.S. Kriebel, Mr. Elmer K. Schultz, Mr. Wayne C. Meschter, Mr. Samuel K. Brecht, Mr. Samuel Yeakle and Mr. J. E. Brunett Buckenham, MD - the publishing committee - who endeavored to document and record the family genealogy of the original Schwenksfelders who emmigrated to the Pennsylvania Colony in 1734.  My Grandfather's Kribel (Kriebel) ancestors were among them.  I knew from listening to my Grandfather's stories about his family, that one Kribel (Kriebel) ancestor chose to stay in Prussia (Germany) - Hans, the brother of my 8x Great Grandfather.  And, Grandpop would also say that anyone who spelled their surname like he did, was most oft related to us in someway.  I have since learned, that he was right, and wrong.

If you are not familiar with the history of the Schwenksfelders, I encourage you to visit http://www.schwenkfelder.com/museum/SchwenkfelderGallery.htm to learn more.

So where is our black sheep?  You ask.  Well, remember that at least one (known) ancestor of ours chose to stay in the Father Land and in doing so, I am sure that they and their family members took part in many of a historical event, up to, but I am sure not limited to WWII.  I have always had an interest in current events and have also been an avid reader of history, particularly WWII, and back in 2001 I picked up the book "THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY OF ADOLF HITLER" by Mr. John Toland.  When I scanned the photographs that were included in the book, my eyes fell on one that depicted Adolf Hitler in the Landsberg Prison; Hitler was sitting with Emil Maurice - his chauffeur and companion - and, with . . . wait for it . . . Colonel Hermann Kriebel!  Yup, KRIEBEL.  I have yet to connect the Colonel with my family tree, but I must admit I am intrigued.  Is this Colonel Kriebel a descendant of Hans Kriebel, the known ancestor to have stayed in the Father Land?  I hope to one day answer that question.

The picture in the book resides in the Library of Congress.  I do know that Colonel Hermann Kriebel participated in the November 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.  I also know from a cursory Google search that Hermann Kriebel, after serving his sentence with Hitler in Prison for his participation in the Putsch,  was released and while maintaining his ties with the Nazi Party, did not benefit from Hitler's rise to power.  He retired and went on to become the German Consul General in Shanghai. 

Circle - Colonel Hermann Kriebel
Is this 'my' family's black sheep?


  1. Interesting. I wonder how popular that name was in Prussia/Germany?

  2. Heather, thank you. I am told, but have nothing to date to substantiate it, that it was a very popular surname. Silesia, Prussia / Germany is now located in Czechoslovakia (known as Slezsko), Poland (known as Slask) and Germany (known as Silesia / Schlesia).

    I am interested in some day day learning IF / what the surname variations of Kribel / Kriebel are in Poland and Czechoslovakia.

  3. Dear Tracy,
    My name is Roberto Werner Griebel, sorry for my poor English, I am Brazilian and live in São Paulo. My father was Kurt Werner Griebel born in Leipzig in 1906. I m suspect that my father was
    bastard son from Hermann Kriebel. My father never commented about his past,but I know that he hated his father and left Germany with 18 years old. I realized he changed his surname for Griebel
    here in Brazil,therefore I m also investigating the issue. Octuber I will travel to Germany, ( I have a half sister there...,but this is other history )and I will try to get more info there and if you want I will let you know.
    Best Regards
    Roberto ( roberto.griebel@terra.com.br)

  4. Tracy my name is Perry Kriebel, im from the us and im interested in my family history they never really talked about my ancestors so im not to sure exactly where to start

    1. Perry thank you for visiting. To start your family history journey, begin with yourself and then work backwards from there. Your parent's names, dates of birth, date of marriage(s), then your grandparents - dates of birth, date of marriage(s), date of death; collecting source documents (birth certificates, baptismal records, family Bible, marriage license, divorce papers (if applicable), death certificates, etc.) along the way. And, go from there.

      I am not a professional genealogist by any stretch of the imagination, but I've been doing this for sometime and I certainly will help in any way I can; discussing and guiding your foray into this addicting hobby.

      The most important thing I want to stress is, no matter what information you come across and no matter who or where it is from - book, online, family member or even in the family Bible - do NOT take it at face value. Really examine and review the information and research each piece of information out to its logical conclusion. Best case scenario; you'll find more than one source document to support the information you've found. But, sometimes it will come down to logical reasoning. To see what I mean and how I do this, I recommend you read "My Gut Tells Me I'm on the Right Track - What say you?" "The Learn Family Reunion;" "Mystery Monday - Understanding Beardsell ~ McLean ~ Brown;" and "Mystery Solved . . . Almost." posted here in Family Preserves.

      Best wishes and happy hunting. Don't hesitate to contact directly if you'd like to discuss your 'tree climbing.' My contact information is located under the Surnames and locations tab.

      I am so excited for you! Enjoy!

  5. Tracy: Thanks for this. I am a Kriebel, and like you I grew up among some amateur genealogists who visited Silesia and supported the Heritage Center in PA, etc.. I also been curious about Hermann's relation to my (our) PA clan, but not gotten very far on that research. The fellow from Brazil is intriguing -- I wonder if you heard back from him? Some years ago I did an intensive online search about Hermann and found some reference to his possibly having been commandant at a gypsy labor camp, but I can't find that reference now (hmmm....). Still looking for that because I am wondering in fact whether Kriebels don't have early gypsy (Sinti?) roots.

    I am also aware that Kriebel is a fairly common name in the area of Saxony and Silesia, and my current quest is to try to find out if it is possible to pin down the origins (or the originating place) for that surname. It may not be possible, but I'm pursuing several different threads of research --some of which reach back to Holland/Belgium in 14/15th centuries.

    This family research stuff is a long work in progress, isn't it?
    Leslie K. (leskriebel at Comcast.net)

    1. Leslie, good to meet you. Funny you should ask about the fellow from Brazil, I was just thinking about him the other day. In our past correspondence he mentioned that he'd be visiting Germany in October (2013), hoping to find out more about his father and his ancestors. I'll have to drop him an email and see how his visit / research went.

      Gypsy labor Camp? It would be interesting to learn more. Note to self: File this 'bread crumb' away for future research.

      I agree, family research is a work in progress; a hobby or profession of love of family and a never ending passion. I would love to hear about your Kriebel ancestry; do we share a collateral line?

  6. Looks like I have some embarrassing family history...

    1. Oliver, thank you for visiting Family preserves. While the circumstances and the history our ancestors may have participated in are embarrassing, I'm more intrigued - and dare I say a little hopeful - "Black Sheep" generally create records, lots and lots of records! And, while I am just as proud of my ancestors that were hard-working farmers, I have to say I'm itching for a story - some grit and tooth type of story - to add to my family history. After all, from those trials and tribulations come a stock who persevered and prevailed.

      Have a great week and I hope you will visit Family Preserves again in the future.