Return to Sulzau

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” said Laurence, as we drove from the train station in Horb toward Sulzau, Germany, the tiny village where my great-great-great grandfather Franz Kotz first learned his trade as a schreiner (cabinetmaker) and which he left in 1848 to find a new life in America.  I never imagined that I might be back in Sulzau so soon, in search of the Sulzau-Kotz connection – and I certainly never imagined I would meet a distant cousin, today.  Read on!

Franz Kotz, 1822-1887
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Bremen and Worpswede

A weekend to visit family in Bremen.

After visiting Munich we continued north across the pastoral plains of Germany to reach Bremen, where Pam has relatives.   We changed trains in Hannover (with the requisite joke about our “return to Hanover”), where met Andy after his arrival from Zürich.  Although the skies were grey, the onward train to Bremen passed through pretty countryside. Check out the gallery and read on.

The Schnoor is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Bremen, with tiny houses packed side-by-side.
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Munich

A quick visit to Munich on our way north.

On my first trip out of the country since January, we’re headed to northern Germany to visit relatives. (The Schengen area largely reopened to cross-border travel on 15 June.) We decided to make a stopover in Munich, to break up the long train trip and to enjoy visiting the sights of this historic city. Although our one-day visit just scratched the surface, I hope you’ll read on and enjoy the gallery.

Munich Rathaus (town hall).
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Franz in West Virginia

Six days after my visit to Franz Kotz’s hometown in Germany, I visited his hand-built home in West Virginia.

Just six days after our visit to Sulzau, Germany – the original home of my great-great-great grandfather Franz Kotz – I was chatting with another direct descendant inside the home Franz built in West Virginia, holding his Wander-Buch and following his youthful travels in my imagination. Read on!

Kotz homestead, Wardensville, WV Continue reading “Franz in West Virginia”

Sulzau – ancestral Kotz home

A trip to Germany, and back in time, to discover our family heritage.

Franz_KotzOn a late-winter day more than 180 years ago my great-great-great grandfather walked out of the Main Office of the Kingdom of Württemberg carrying his Heimath-Schein (Certificate of Residence) inside his Wander-Buch (“wandering book”). On that day, March 8, 1830, he was just fifteen years old. This ‘passport’ allowed Franz Kotz to travel beyond his home village of Sulzau – now part of southern Germany.  Sulzau, still a tiny village tucked alongside the Neckar river, is just a two-hour drive from Zürich, so we decided to make a quick visit.  Read on as we wander the quiet streets of Sulzau, dine in a castle, and dig into our family history.

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