The Volk Ancestral Trail from Prussia to the US
** Compiled and written by one of the Ancestors around the 1980’s. This information has not been fully vetted and is not up to date.
In the province of Saxony, Prussia, (now part of Germany) during the year of our Lord 1843, Herr Herman Theodore Volk, age 24, who was born in 1819, became united in Holy matrimony with Fraulein Emilia Erixon, age 17, who was born December 26, 1825.
Since this was the land and the era of the infamous Prussian war-lords, where peace loving fathers and sons were forced to bear military arms, in sacrifice for the glory of the ruling King, it was only natural for our great grandparents to dream of someday join the vast numbers of other Prussian families who were immigrating to the new land of freedom and opportunity, between the years of 1843 and 1880.
Some of the known brothers and sisters** of Herman were:
Johann (John) born 1821 in Prussia. He came to Detroit, MI where he married Fredericka Hauk) (also from Prussia) in the Lutheran church, on July 25, 1863.
Ludwig, born in Prussia in 1825. He also came to Detroit, where in October 2 1853, he married Charlote Earnestine Walter (German decent) in the German Lutheran Church.
Anton, born in Prussia 1829. He married Caroline Fohl, also German, in Detroit.
Paul, born in Prussia in 1834, immigrated to Detroit, but moved to Westphalia (Clinton County). In 1871 he married Alma Gruber.
Valentine, born in 1843 in Prussia, first came to Detroit and then moved to Bay City where he married Margaret Schindler.
Anna Marie, born in 1843 in Prussia, married William Schnyder on March 14, 1866.
All members of this generation, as well as the following generation were self-employed and independent, and as a result of having their own enterprising ventures, such as grocery store, tavern, tin-smith, tailor shop, dress making shop, selling rubber stamps and stencils, painting of homes and horse carriages, farming, etc. they were able to make a living for themselves, helping each other when necessary.
Children born to Herman and Emilia Volk while still living in Prussia were as follows:
Herman Theodore Jr, born December 25, 1847.
Ernst (Ernest) E, born in 1850.
Anne, (Anna) born in 1852, married in 1879.
An unidentified child was born between 1854 and 1859, and died while the family still lived in Prussia.
After immigration to Detroit during the summer of 1860, two more children were born:
Heinrich (Henry) J born November 1863
Emelia (Amelia) born 1869, married 1899.
With exception of Herman Theodore Jr, all members of this generation continued living in Detroit during the remainder of their lives. At age 72 Ernest was still a bachelor and was earning his living as a professional cook in his later years. Henry married Anna ______? and had several children.
Having led his family to citizenship and peaceful living in their new land, Herman Theodore Volk concluded his 25 years of adventure in Detroit at age 65 in the year 1885. He rests in Elmwood cemetery which is close to downtown Detroit and the river.
Emelia lived another 16 years. Her life came to a peaceful conclusion on May 16, 1901 at age 75. She rests next to her husband and lifetime companion in Elmwood cemetery. Her death certificate lists “old age and paralysis as contributing causes.
Herman Theodore Volk Jr, (eldest son of Herman J and Emelia Volk) immigrated to Detroit in 1880 with his parents. He married Sarah Elizabeth Wood, age 23 who was of English and Scotch heritage. She was the daughter of Henry Wood, who was born in England, and Sarah A Chatterson, also born in England, but of Scotch ancestry. Sarah Elizabeth was born in 1850 while the family was living in London, Ontario Canada. They moved from London to Detroit sometime between 1853 and 1854. The marriage took place in the downtown Episcopal Church (present day Mariners Church) on July 13, 1873 with the English Pastor Thomas Pitkin officiating.
Their children were:
Herman F, born in Detroit, June 21, 1872 (between the time of betrothal and wedding)
Elizabeth Sarah, born in the city of Kalamazoo on October 10, 1874.
Ernest William, born in Grand Rapids in 1877.
Sarah Elizabeth Wood Volk died on July 8, 1889 at the age of 39. The news was published in the Grand Rapids City Directory for that year. She rests in Oak Hill Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI.
On June 10, 1901 Herman Theodore Volk, after 12 years of remaining a widower married Adeline Closson Echert, a widow, age 33, and apparently childless. She was of German ancestry, living in Detroit. They met while Herman T age 53 was living temporarily in his deceased mothers home. The marriage ceremony took place in the Lutheran church in downtown Detroit, Pastor Charles Hass officiating. Only one child was born of this marriage.
Arthur Volk, born in Grand Rapids, on April 27, 1905. He lived next to John and Hattie Roetman on Belfast Ave.
Herman Theodore died of pneumonia on June 14, 1915, at age 65 while living at 253 Dean St, Grand Rapids, MI, and is burried in Oak Hill cemetery in Grand Rapids.
Herman F, age 24, son of Herman Theodore and Sarah Wood, was married to Rose Coster, age 18 from Chicago, IL, where Rose was born. The marriage took place at the Second Congregational Church in Grand Rapids, on September 30, 1896. Pastor JT Hasted officiating. Two children were born, one dying before 1900. Raymond L Volk was born in October 1898, in Grand Rapids. The family moved to Detroit several years later for improved work conditions. He became a finish carpenter. They purchased a home at 8947 Sherwood ST. On January 30, 1921, at age 48, Herman F succumbed to tuberculosis. He rests in Gethesame cemetery, in Detroit. His son Raymond, continued living in the home with his mother for a number of years while employed as a machinist. Family pictures indicate he served in WW1.
Ernest Volk, age 22 married Libby Sperry, age 18, born in Ohio, and daughter of William Sperry, and Katie Norton. The marrige ceremony was held at St Mark’s Episcopal church in Grand Rapids on August 1, 1899. Pastor John M McCormick officiating. Their children include:
Earl J, born October 19, 1900, and died November 1, 1902. He rests in Valley City cemetery, in Grand Rapids.
Fredrick A, born April 7, 1903 , and died September 4, 1904. He also rests in Valley City cemetery.
Marie Elizabeth, born March 1, 1906
Dorothy G, born December 20, 1908
Kathryn born 1911. Ernest T, born 1912. Lived in Louisville, KY.
Elizabeth Sarah Volk, age 17, daughter of Herman T and Sarah Wood Volk, entered into Holy matrimony with Leonard Roetman, age 18, who was born April 16, 1872, in the Netherlands, a son of Johanes (John) Roetman and Catherine Theresa Dupree (Depree), at the Children od Zion Evangelical Tabernacle in Grand Rapids on April 8, 1891, with Pastor H A Olmsted officiating. Children of Leonard and Elizabeth Sarah are:
Helena (Helen) Elizabeth, born January 1892
Gertrude, born February 14, 1894
John, born April 30, 1896 (children: Betty, Mary Ann, Eleanor, Sue)
Leonard Jr., born December 24, 1899, died January 1, 1901, at age 1 year 8 days.
Herman Theodore, born September 2, 1901 daughter Deloris (Dolly)
Sarah born 1905 (died)
Ernest Leonard, born July 14, 1906 (children: Janet and Alfred Diehl)
Lenora Cathrine, born August 23, 1908 (children: Ralph, Alvin Jr., and John Westgate)
Ruby Ruth, born August 6, 1911 Rubys name was changed to Hellen Louise by her adopted parents. Her daughters were Jerri Jean, Peggy, and Charlene Cole.
Leonard Roetman died November 16, 1930, at the age of 56. He was living at 1927 1/2 S. Division St. He is buried in Fairplains cemetery, Section X, row 13, in Grand Rapids. Cause of death was Bright’s disease and uremic failure.
Elizabeth Sarah Volk died at age 66 from the results of a stroke after living her remaining years with her two eldest sons. She rests beside her husband in Fairplains Cemetery, section X row 13, in Grand Rapids.
** This does not pass vetting and it is improbable that these are our ancestors.