So far I have confirmed generations to our Great Grandparents, Christian Kroening and Louise Zabel. All indications are that Christian's parents were Christian Kroening and Anna Dorothea Fenske and he was born in 1851 in Ilow and named Johann Christian. Still working on this, but it's looking extremely probable.
We have many in the family who say that there were other siblings who stayed in Ukraine that were last heard from in the 1930's, and then never heard from again. They may have been lost in the Great Famine (Holodor) or WWII. An interesting site on the Holodor can be found at http://www.infoukes.com/history/famine/ .
We do not know the fate of the family of our great grandparents but Ben Kraning said his father Christian told him his parents were arrested one day in the Zhitomer area and never seen again.
As the story goes, the family was Lutheran German, but from how far back is anyone's guess. We know from records in Canada that in the early to mid 1800's they were living in what is now Poland in the the Warsaw area. The family lore says they were "of substance" owning orchards, (Christians son said they had a crabapple tree). Uncle Richard once told me that an ancestor fought with Peter the great, and that someone was killed in Warsaw in a fire...this may relate to Robert Litz's alleged father's story, from Uncle Albert.
From Ferdinand's records we can see that he was born in Warshau, Poland and Christians 1940 record says his parents were both born in Poland. So we have the family migrating from Poland to Volhynia between Ferdinand's birth in 1873 and Christians in 1975.
In the early records from Zhitomir in the St Petersburg Archives, I have found Christian's parents named as Christian Kroening and Louise Zabel. There is another record for an August Kroening born later to the same parents. There are other Zabel's and Kroening's in the area as well, and we can assume that they may be related...but assumption doesn't make it fact.
And just to make things interesting there is an Alwina Kroening 19 yrs old who came over with Christian's wife and daughters. There is nothing further on her that I can find. Where did she go, and how does she fit in in the grand scheme of things.Both Ferdinand and Christian settled on farms, but only Ferdinand took out his patent with the Government of Canada Western Land Grants.
The family was illiterate, as were many in that generation from that area. This caused errors and much confusion in documents. All forms, correspondence and letters were written either by the younger children here in Canada where they had some schooling or the local priest.
There are two families related to the Kroenings by marriage and they are the Radons and Yessie Families. The Yessie family that immigrated are related to Hulda and therefore related to us Litz's, as her sister, the 1st Mrs Yessie, had 2 children born in Russia. She died before immigrating and her widower, Rudolph remarried a Radons. (is everyone confused yet???) Hopefully the pages on these "related" families will clarify the situation.
The ties from the Old Country, carried through to Canada with these three families and I remember my father talking about his childhood in Beausejour with the Kranings, Yessies, Riedels and Guttmans.
With the passing of time and our parents, the 2nd and 3rd generation Canadians have lost touch with the extended families. It is my hope that these pages may help them find one another, share stories of the past, and share time in the future, so our history is not lost to the upcoming generations.