Originally Posted by redsmetz
I searched the internet for Darpels in Emsburen and came up with a webpage of someone with that name, a military chaplain nearby. I wrote to him in my "so so" German and told him who my great-grandmother and asked if he knew any Darpels in that village. It was his family, he wrote back, and said he remembered the Metz, Bens & Werdmann families well (I hadn't mentioned the last two names). My grandma's family began sending CARE packages to the family after World War II, a great help to his family since his father (my grandma's cousin) died from an illness the day the British occupied his town. In 2001, Hermann came and visited and it was jarring how much he looked like my dad and how he had mannerisms that were like my dad, even though the families had been physically separated for 120 years. He brought with him a present for my son since he arrived on my son's 13th, a cross that his brother had carved from an oak tree from his sister's farm, a farm that has been in the family since the 1600's. Whew. Some of my family have since visited over there and seen the farm and the church where our ancestors were baptized in a font given to the parish by Charlemagne. Yeah, that Charlemagne!
Part of our family is from the Ems region. I have old letters from my great-great grandmother to her family from varying times in the early to mid 20th century. One of her grand sons, my great-great uncle was a bishop and former Army chaplain (WWI) and had arranged sending shoes and clothing to them after WWII. Since they were in the British sector, he was not allowed to continue and eventually they lost contact. All we had, in terms of a location was a postcard with the village church on it.
A few years ago, my aunt visited and found the church. She asked at the rectory about the family ("Albers") and was directed to a house down the lane. She asked the occupants about the family and then produced a picture of my great grandmother in her wedding dress and sure enough the family had the same picture! And it was the same dress my aunt had worn at her wedding.
The other side of the family is well documented by a relative. I email with my cousins in Riemsloh occasionally- they live on the dairy farm that has been in the family since 1100. Interestingly, they seem just as interested in the family history as we are. There were three out of four men who left for the states in the 1870s (the farm passed to the eldest) and it was a complete mystery to them what had happened to them.