The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Category Archives: The Family Tree Project

Halleluja by Leonard Cohen

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An Amazing New Year’s Greeting

For New Year our friend in Germany sent us a couple of videos of his family celebrating Christmas, enjoying an impressive fireworks display on New year’s Eve and of his wife Edda playing the Halleluja by Leonard Cohen. Edda is the granddaughter of my Uncle Bruno. If you look at the Kegler family tree, you will find her on Chart IIc. Never have my wife Biene and I received a more touching and more precious New Year’s greeting than this video. A big thank you goes out to Dieter, Edda’s husband, who made this beautiful recording! It is my hope that you like it as much as we do.

Kindred Time Travel Narrative by Justin Shaw

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Please note: Justin’s great-great-grandparents are my grandparents Carl and Elisabeth Kegler. Inspired by an account of my uncle’s (Günther Kegler) near death experience on the battle field in WW1, he wrote this highly creative piece and gave me his kind permission to publish it as a guest post in the Klopp Family Blog.

Kindred Time Travel Narrative

A deafening explosion burst nearby, sending a fountain of soil all around me. I fell to the floor, knocking the air out of my lungs. As I rolled over and gasped for air, another shell exploded near the trenches not too far away from me. Paralysed for a second, my mind started whirring through the countless questions that arose from my situation: Where am I? How did I get here? Am I going to die?

Yet, I had nowhere near enough time to think as a round of bullets caused me to dive into a trench. Spitting out dirt, I looked up through the smoky air to see a face looking down at me.

“Who are you?”

A young man in his early 20s wearing a military uniform peered down at me. I coughed, preparing to answer him, when I realised that I had just understood what seemed to be perfect German.

“What- what year is it?” I managed to sputter out, the words finding themselves without me having to attempt to translate.

“1917- what’s going on?” the German man shouted, confused. I would have answered him, but my mind was going through a thousand thoughts at once. I felt myself falling to the floor, but before I hit the ground, I was gone.

Gasping for air, I shot up to find myself half-asleep at my kitchen table, head buried in an old family tree. I picked myself up cautiously, half-expecting to find myself back on the Western front. I blinked once or twice, taking a moment to assess my situation. My experience felt surreal, but too lifelike to be a dream. Rubbing my eyes, I was still feeling remnants of the smoke and dirt that filled the air of the battlefield. World War I… Germany… Slowly things began to click into place. I turned towards the record of my family’s history and began to flip through the pages of information feverishly, looking for a clue as to where I had just been. Pouring through the text, I skimmed for any clue related to what I had just witnessed. Finally, something caught my eye.

It was a distant relative, Gunther Kegler. He had been born in Germany in 1894, and had joined the army at the beginning of WWI. In 1916, he became the commander of a machine gun company and traveled around Europe, fighting in many different battles for the Imperial German Army. Next to the description I found an aged picture. The man was much older than the boy I had seen in the trenches, but his face was familiar.

As I gently touched the photograph, I began to slip away again. I found myself back on the battlefield. Quickly, I threw myself to the ground expecting hails of bullets, but this time, none came. The battle must be over, I thought as I pulled myself up relieved. I began to look around the large expanse of land that had been home to the violence and human misery I had briefly witnessed before.

Trying to find my only link to this place, I scanned the scene for Gunther. As I looked around the battlefield, my eyes found large large craters from shells, and extensive networks of trenches carved like scars into the ground. My gaze came to rest on a large military truck. It was filled with corpses, a gruesome image. But my expression froze with surprise when I saw Gunther lying in the hearse. I rushed over. This didn’t make sense, Gunther didn’t die in this battle! What was going on?

“Gunther!” I shouted loudly. I ran over to the edge of the truck. He was lying still, and it looked like he had been very badly injured.

“Gunther!” I called again desperately. Had history changed itself? Was it my fault?

Gunther coughed gently. He was still alive! I pulled him out of the truck and glanced around worriedly. Nobody seemed to be around. Straining myself, I lifted him onto my back, barely able to stand under his weight. I began to slowly lumber over to the camp in the distance.

After struggling forward slowly for what felt like hours, I made it to the tents. Looking around frantically, I saw wounded soldiers slowly shuffling into a hospital tent. Pulling Gunther towards them quickly, I called out for help.

Weary eyes turned to face me, but I was already gone.

 

Works consulted: “The Kegler Tree.” The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project, klopp-family.com/our-family/the-kegler-tree/. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

Our Son’s Guest Post on Norway

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A Bridge of Stone in Norway

by Robert Klopp

As my father turns 75 this week, I felt compelled to finally fulfill a promise to make a contribution to his Blog with a personal narrative, touching on some of his favorite themes: history, heritage, and family.

Fjord

Several months ago I received an invitation to visit Norway to attend a conference. I usually would not attend such things, but I had some vacation to use up and going would give me an opportunity to meet up with a school friend that I hadn’t seen in almost exactly 20 years. So I registered and when the time came, I headed north.

Travelling in Norway can be strange sensation if you have grown up or travelled in British Columbia, as there are times you would swear you have just been teleported there.   (There are of course many areas that are uniquely Norwegian.)   Having visited the city of Stavanger, I was now driving east to Oslo where I had to be at the end of the week. The weather was what it should be near the beginning of spring, grey and rainy bordering on snow, so I was considering leaving the country roads I was on and getting on the main highway to drive through to Oslo, to spend an extra day there.

Norway1

For some reason, shortly before getting to the highway, I decided to stop at a geographic tourist information point. The map contained many geologic points of interest of the area. I gave it a quick look and was about to go when something caught my eye: a place named “Terland klopp” and it wasn’t far from where I was.

Norway2

So off I drove, curious to what I might find. As I headed inland, the landscape quickly changed. I crossed the main highway and the road became smaller and traffic almost disappeared. Thinking I had missed the location of which was likely to be only a small historic site; I was already looking for an opportunity to turn around. Fortunately this was not possible due to the road improvement work that was in progress.

Just then, over the river to my right, a stone pedestrian bridge appeared. Impressed at this beautiful simple structure in the middle of nowhere, I stopped in the only space available and got out. A sign, in three languages, provided some information. Terland klopp was built about 200 years ago – the longest bridge of its kind in Norway.   There was no information on who built it – but I figured it could have been named after the builder, or perhaps one of the main users.

Bridge

After having photographed it from as many vantage points as possible, I explored a bit more. Heading further up this valley, the dark granite walls on either side continued to rise and became steeper.   I soon reached a pair of lakes.   These mirrored the extreme calmness I felt around me. I stopped to take it in as everything, the lakes, mountains and fog blended into each other, part of each other.

Regular readers of this blog will know that my father lives in a fairly sparsely populated area of British Columbia. And while this particular region of Norway is more like the coastal areas of British Columbia, I couldn’t help but think that perhaps there would be something here that would explain the deep attachment of my parents to the place which they eventually made their home.

Egersund, which is the nearest major town to the bridge, is an ancient port on one of Norway’s best natural harbors. It was named after an Oak forest that used to exist there.   Historically people have lived here since several hundred years BC.   As a historical reference marker typical of Europe, the first church is mentioned in 1292. The ancient Norwegians (aka the Vikings) had travelled extensively and had been known to cross and settle in Northern Europe – perhaps there was some ancient link?

Ship

I finally got on the highway to Oslo.   Later in the week, I hit the internet trying to find further potential links to this region, either through language, person, or history. It took some time. With some careful research over the next days the mystery was solved.

As it turns out, the key was located right next to the bridge.

Map

Across the 42 “Sidalsveien” road I was travelling on is a smaller one called “Terlandsveien” that leads up a hill to some farms.   In Norwegien, “-veien” is fairly common suffix that translates to –you guessed it- , road. So if “Terland” is the name of the road, it was also the name of the bridge. But Bridge in modern Norwegian is “Bro” and “Bru” in ancient Norwegian, so what exactly did the klopp mean?   Again the solution lay nearby, a small group of houses named “Kloppa”.   This translates to small bridge. Further searching also led me to “Kloppen”, which means footbridge in Norwegian.   So, with slight bitter-sweetness, I had found the explanation.

Epilogue: As I was shutting down my computer, I found a reference for a small community incorporated into Tønsberg, not far from Olso. Tønsberg is generally regarded as the oldest town in Norway. In the late medieval period it served as one of three Hanseatic trading posts in Norway, with ties to Northern Germany. Tønsberg is a part of Vestfold, which is mostly dominated by lowland and is among the best agricultural areas of Norway. And that community is called Klopp. And there is not bridge anywhere in the vicinity….

Creating and Managing Menu Items for your Family History Blog

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A Very Basic Tutorial – Part III

Top User Menu

With this post I will conclude the tutorial sessions on creating and managing menu items. Click Part I and/or Part II, if you did not yet read them. I will use the ‘Klopp Story’ tab above as an example of the hierarchical nature of a more complex menu structure.

Hierarchical Structure of a Menu Design

As you can see from the tree diagram above, the ‘Klopp Story’ page (Parent) has two children (sub items) ‘Book One’ and ‘Book Two’. The latter is still empty waiting for the Grandchildren to be written. Book One has five sub items, which are the grandchildren of the ‘Klopp Story’. As the diagram indicates, I had to create seven pages all together. To avoid confusion, it is important to note that each page you create must have its own unique name.

Partial Menu Structure

In the ‘Menus’ section that you control as the administrator you find that your sub items may scattered all over the place in a fairly unorganized fashion. Click and drag the sub item ‘Book One’ under the ‘Klopp Story’ and move it a bit to the right to make it a Child (sub item). Then click and drag the Chapter sub items and move them a little more than before to the right as shown on the diagram above. Treat the ‘Book Two’ sub item the same way as the ‘Book One’ item. Make sure to save the changed main menu, when you are done. Please note you can experiment without fear of messing up your blog site, since you can always the Menus section later and delete all the undesirable pages. Happy Blogging!

Creating and Managing Menu Items for your Family History Blog

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A Very Basic Tutorial – Part II

Once you created a new page on your family blog (see Part I), it is actually quite simple to fill it with content from your posts. Let’s assume you just posted the first chapter about your grandparents. To copy the post onto your new page, e.g. ‘My Grandparents’, you follow the standard editing commands. Click anywhere on your post and select its entire content by pressing Ctrl + A and then copy it by pressing Ctrl + C. Then to the left of your post click on Pages and then on All Pages at the drop down menu. Then click on the list item that contains your page. Once you see the page on the computer screen, click at the top of the page and press Ctrl + V to paste the entire post content. Make sure to save the page before leaving it.

Now when you post chapter 2 or the next part of chapter 1, go through the same process, but make sure to paste the new content at the bottom of the previous post. That way you will allow your readers to read your family history in perfect chronological order.

In Part III I will introduce you to multiple pages and explain how to structure them to accommodate the various branches of a family tree. Until then happy blogging!

Creating and Managing Menu Items for your Family History Blog

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A Very Basic Tutorial – Part I

The klopp-family.com blog is now in its third year. While I absolutely claim no expertise in setting up and managing a blogging website using WordPress, I do believe that I have learned a few things during the past 24 months that are worth sharing. Let me state right from the outset that the tips on organizing a family history blog are for the novice to help him/her avoid the common pitfalls in a genealogy oriented blog. This article is also targeting all those who are struggling with keeping a semblance of order  in their blog with multiple strands of topics. So if you are just publishing one genre, such as poetry, short stories, book reviews, photographs etc., then this post is not for you.

The first thing to notice is that your home page presents your posts in reverse chronological order. What you published most recently, will appear on top of the stack. So the readers who join you much later will be annoyed that the great chronicle of your grandparents or your latest crime thriller are presented backwards.

new-page

The remedy is to create at least one page for every major topic you plan to cover on your blog. For a starter let’s keep it simple. On a subsequent post I will explain how to create multiple pages and even sub-pages. Let us assume you want to embark on writing  your autobiography. For this you need to create a new page. You do this by clicking on Pages, then on Add New,  and enter the title, e.g. ‘“My Autobiography” and Publish the page. Unfortunately, when you want to preview it on your website, it does not show up yet on the menu bar. Go back to the dashboard, click on Appearance and then on Menus. There check off the box for the page you just created and press save. Now this page should show up as a menu item on your website.

Menus.JPG

On my next post I will demonstrate how to fill this page in the correct chronological order with the posts you created on your home page. Till then Happy Blogging!

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