Monday, August 31, 2015

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monday, March 19, 2007

Why I'm writing this.

I am including here detailed biographical information about myself because I want to demonstrate that I feel strongly about the truthfulness of the ideas in my blog and I am willing to stake my reputation on my posts.

Secondly, I have an impression that many readers of my blog are curious about who the author is, so I am including this information.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

more about me

date of birth: 08/20/1960
place of birth: New York City
I was adopted as an infant by Lewis and Anne Epple, since my birth parents were unmarried. The Epples are Lutherans who from 1966 until 1976 were not members of a church.
I was named “Lee Scott Epple” by my adopted parents, however I have since changed my name legally. I chose the name “Jacob Stein” following my conversion since it is easy to pronounce and spell and it is a common Jewish name.
I met my birth mother, Ann DuBois, on 6/6/1996. My adoption agency, Spence Chapin, introduced us.
Except for my nine years in Israel from 1977 until 1986 I have always lived within 30 miles of my place of birth.
education:  11 years in American government funded schools, mostly at Little Tor Elementary School and Clarkstown Senior High School North
9 years rabbinical seminary in Israel, primarily in Bnei Brak
profession: 7/1987 - 10/2009 computer programmer
            9/2011 - 5/2012 aide for special needs child
6' 1" tall, blue eyes, brown hair, prematurely grey
converted to Judaism on 3/23/1977 under the auspices of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein obm
During my years in Bnei Brak, I was fortunate to become well acquainted with the Steipler obm.
ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Rabbi Nissim Karelitz Bnei Brak, Israel 11/10/1984
Member of American Mensa

Supporting documents:
conversion certificate
rabbinical ordination
American Mensa acceptance letter

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Complete text of a letter written by me to my adopted parents in November 1977

I'm sorry that I haven't written lately, however, I wanted you to know that I'm
all right. I'm in good health, I feel fine, I'm among friends and living
comfortably. I expect this situation to continue indefinitely and I want you to
know that I am the last person in the world that you should worry about. I am
doing jus what I so often dreamed of, and I can only see things getting better.
Let me assure you again that I am well taken care of.

I want to make it very clear to you. I'm not coming home. Ever. Period. It is
quite unlikely that you will ever see or speak to me again. Please don't think
that I write this without feeling. I cried when I told you of my plans and I
cried when I left you and I cry now when I try to imagine the awful pain I have
caused you. Don't ever think that I have felt a moment's pleasure over the
things I have put you through. However, you must accept the fact that the boy
you raised does, for all practical purposes, no longer exist. As far as you are
concerned, Lee Scott Epple suffered a long illness and died on March 8, 1977. [the
date I left home] You must stop living with his ghost, waiting for his return
and get on with life. If your hopeless obsession with my memory in any way
decreases your attention to Doug [my adopted brother; born 1962], I'm afraid you
will be faced with two tragedies rather than only one. [Doug in fact did suffer a
mental breakdown at the time I wrote this.] Make him your sole concern and stop
wishing for what can't happen.

Let me explain why I cannot return. I'm a Jew and I fear my G-d. This means that I
cannot eat in your home, or wear your clothes, or marry your neighbor's
daughter, or go to your schools, or read your books, or watch your television.
It means that I will probably never excel in what you would consider a useful
profession and I will most likely never be a wealthy man. I hope to spend the
years ahead learning, during all of my spare moments, the Torah and, if I am
ever not able to support myself within the Yeshiva alone, I will probably work
only part time in a non-professional occupation. It is generally known that
people learn by example and this is why the Jews keep themselves separate from
other people in all ways as it is said, 'You will be a people of priest and a
holy nation'. This is , in essence, why I am unable to associate with you or
participate in your community. Don't think that I'm staying away due to foolish
pride or fear of rebuke. Even if I were to be left back a year, here in Yeshiva
I'm starting ten years behind. Don't imagine that for some petty reason I would
be willing to sacrifice everything and everyone I have ever known and loved, we
both know that I am not that stupid.

Now I want to explain, clearly and finally, why I became a Jew. About four years
ago I became serious about religion in general. I realize that it was something
which had a powerful hold over many people, yet I was quite ignorant of it. I
first turned to Christianity, being fascinated by its size and splendor and
particularly to Catholicism. That's when I bought the New English Bible (still
the best translation I've seen). I also, through other readings (The Jesus
Party, the Passover Plot, etc.) began to see the absurdity of Christian Doctrine
(why did G-d have to commit adultery with a married woman, and unmarried girl
wouldn't have sufficed? If there had been a spectacular `virgin birth', why is
it unmentioned in two gospels and why were his own relatives and neighbors
unwilling to accept his messiahship, when they themselves witnessed his own
`divine' nativity and upbringing? Where in the Old Testament is there even the
slightest hint of a `Second Comimg'? And what crime can possibly merit eternal
punishment, which I suppose I am now, as an apostate and non-believer, entirely
eligible for?) In all, I think my only attachments to Christianity were based
upon my fascination with cathedral architecture. Even today, if I had nothing
better to do, I might be tempted to take a tour of the great cathedrals of

In any case, about three years ago, I read THE SOURCE by James A. Michener. Here
Michener presents a very basic and glorified picture of Jewish history and this
book basically got the ball rolling, so to speak. After finishing it, I began to
read more and more about Judaism,practicing it with greater conviction, a tide
which began with a sort of vague curiosity and continues to raise even to this
day. For the first couple of years, I was content to sit quietly, doing
everything out of sight, with only one or two people in on my secret. Then about
a year and a half ago I began contacting rabbis, who at first did everything
possible to dissuade me. If you'll look in the Book of Ruth you'll find in
Naomi's attempt to send away Ruth on the way to Bethlehem the classic example of
how a would-be convert must be handled. In February, however, I received word
that the rabbis were satisfied by my sincerity and the conversion itself was
merely a formality. The only impediment was that I would have to leave home.
This problem was removed when you allowed me to go and the conversion took place
on March 23. Since that time I have been a more than welcome member of the
Jewish Community, since more than two dozen times in the Pentateuch is repeated
the command, `You will love the stranger' (meaning convert). I have been
studying in a Yeshiva and my progress has been amazing. I am regarded by some as
genius. I will, G-d willing, marry in a couple of years and I hope to continue
my career at the Yeshiva indefinitely, for the time being as a student and
perhaps eventually as a teacher. But, in any case, even while living at home it
became more and more difficult for me to hide my convictions, as I wanted to
observe the Torah more fully. Finally, in order to avoid eating non-Kosher
meats, I invented the ruse about vegetarianism and then, a year ago, last
September I told you of my plans, largely because I wished to keep the Sabbath
and I knew you would have to be aware of that and there was no way of hiding it.
Finally, I left, because I knew that I would be unable to convert or go to
Yeshiva while living with you.

Now that I've filled in a lot of the background, the question still remains -
`Why was I so convinced of the truth of Judaism?' The answer is, that the more
involved I became, the more I read and prayed, the more strangely I felt that
something, some powerful, supernatural, intelligent force was guiding me toward,
and helping me in my observance of the Torah. This is difficult to explain,
especially since today I am so accustomed to this type of assistance that I
almost expect it as second nature and it all goes unnoticed. However, I began to
realize as the months and years passed that I consistently ended up at the right
place at the right time. Whoever I met was just the right person for me to meet
at that point and whatever advice he gave me was just what I then needed to learn.
Consider that in spite of all the Jewish books I `smuggled' in and out of the
house for all those years, I was never really caught, in spite of countless close
calls. And also I, completely by chance, managed to contact exactly the right rabbis
to do the conversion. You must remember that almost any rabbi in his right mind would
hand a 16-year-old a cookie and a glass of milk and toss him out, while these men in
spite of their positions and excellent reputations, agreed to go ahead. If you
understood how difficult it is made for a 20 or 25 year-old to convert, you
would be stunned by this alone. I also might point out that no one I have ever
heard of or read about has, at my age - 16, done anything even approaching what
I have done, and this in itself may point out that something extraordinary is
involved here. In conclusion, either 1) I was suffering from some bizarre and
subtle mental disorder (however I think that Dr. Imas, the school psychologist,
with whom I spent six months discussing this question or, for that matter, any
trained psychologist or psychiatrist you choose to talk to about me will assure
you that this is not the case), or 2) I have been the witness to an interlocking
series of unusual coincidences which would appear to be quite unlikely, or 3) or
the L-rd is G-d and he wishes me to observe his Torah. After what I can assure
you were hundreds of hours of agonizing deliberation over a period of many
months, I have concluded that the correct choice is 3 and I have decided to act
on the basis of it.

This is not to say that my only attraction to Judaism is mystical and otherwise
I would despise it. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no way of
life which is as dignified and ennobling and beautiful as that which is
expounded in the Torah, and which is still practiced by religious Jews today. (I
am referring to the Chassidic Jews and the Yeshiva Communities which, until
about 80 or 90 years ago, is how nearly all Jews had always lived.) In Judaism,
no facet of human nature is eliminated or suppressed, but rather everything is
controlled, and directed toward the service of G-d. This is not a mass of
comforting but absurd hypocrisy which is isolated to a brief weekly service, but
it is rather a working system of decent living which regulates and elevates life
from cradle to grave. Every moral principle which you, or anyone else in the
western world, actually lives by can be traced directly back to its source in
the Talmud. It is only this thin veneer of Judaism garbled by Christianity, that
has lent even a semblance of civilization to the last fifteen centuries of
western history. Do you realize that, in the Jewish Community (again, I am
referring to the religious element of for example, New Square or Phylis Terrace,
not the lately Americanized fools you have been acquainted with) it is
considered to be a serious transgression subject to severe punishment and rebuke
for a man to make a statement about someone else if it is, even by implication,
derogatory although it is one hundred percent true and it is said only to his
wife, in the privacy of his home, with the mentioned party 10,000 miles away and
never having any way to hear or be affected by the remark. Among us this is
considered slander and the offender must, 1) ask the injured party for
forgiveness, if necessary on three separate occasions, 2) ask G-d for
forgiveness and 3)promise G-d that he will never do such a thing again, and only
then is his sin forgiven. I invite you to find such respect for ones fellow man
practiced, or even preached, by any other people on earth. As far as hospitality
is concerned every Jewish home has an extra room specifically set aside for the
lodging of guests who if not readily available, are actively sought out and
never have I seen a Jewish family that could not accommodate an extra two or
three places at the dinner table. Seldom does a week go by that guests are not
present in a Jewish home, their absence being considered a real failure and loss
of opportunity on the part of the host and hostess.

In the name of charity, no people have ever excelled the Jews. Every Jew is
obliged to give 1/10, not 1/5 of his income to charity. To check this out for
yourself, pick out twenty homes at random on Phyllis Terrace (with an average of
7 children per family, an average per capita income of maybe $1,000 to $1,500)
and another 20 homes in Dellwood (average per capita income, maybe $20,000 to
$25,000). Then go ringing doorbells for, let's say, for the American Cancer
Society. I think I can almost guarantee you better results in Phyllis Terrace
than in Dellwood and, even in Dellwood, I'll bet that the only ones who give are
Jews. That's how strongly this practice is ingrained in us.

Things like charity, hospitality and respect for others are a bit subjective so,
if you still question our superiority, please take a look at some statistics.
Compare, for example, New City and New Square. Although they are geographically
adjacent, I think that you will find that as far as murder, rape, assault,
robbery, theft, vandalism drunkenness, etc. are concerned they are worlds apart.
Violence and dishonesty or theft are abhorred and almost unknown among the Jews
(except for those who imitate Gentiles). You may make the same comparison using
any other Jewish Community and any other Gentile Community you wish, going back
through history if you like, and you will arrive at identical results.

Much of this may seem strange and incredible to you, so let me explain why.
Please take a moment out and read over the 39th Chapter of Genesis. In it, we
see how Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph, pleading with him to `Lie with'.
He, because of his righteousness refused and the woman then turns around and
accuses Joseph of immorality, exactly the same crime for which she herself was
guilty, and had Joseph imprisoned for it. Here we see the history of the Jews in
Europe. The Church, unable to seduce the Jews by every lure into converting,
finally accuses and punishes the Jews for the same foul crimes of theft, blood
shed and immorality, which it itself is guilty of. This is the root of your
attitude toward my people. In sum, the Jewish way of life is so intricate,
complex and incomprehensibly perfect, that if you were to ever objectively and
thoroughly investigate it, you would stand astonished, like a simple, desert
nomad watching a commercial jet streak across the sky above him.

Finally, I invite you to investigate, first hand if possible, everything which I
have written and I think that the longer you look at the Jews, the more you will
realize that nothing I have written is false. There are sizable communities in
Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Boro Park in Brooklyn as well as in Monsey and
New Square. The New York Public Library has an excellent collection of Jewish
books and I'm sure that the staff there will be pleased to assist you. If you
have any doubts about this letter, please don't take my word for anything. If I
have erred it is only by understatements.

I intend to write to you about every month, in order to assure you that I am
still alive and well. I hope that you are also well and will always do what G-d
expects of you. And remember, that those who suffer in this world will only
rejoice more in the world to come.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

me with brother Jack Kliever January 2000

me with adopted family 1975 New City, NY

me with adopted brother July, 1964

me with adopted grandmother Nov. 1960

my father c. 1951

my mother c. 1958

my ancestry (3 generations back)

my parents:

Name: John Henry Kliever (formerly John Henry Kliwer)
social security number: 493-32-1962
date of birth: 12/24/1932
place of birth: San Diego, CA
date of death: 11/24/1995 8:30 pm
place of death: New York City
place of burial: cremated, Garden State Crematory, North Bergen, NJ
residence: Kansas, New York
from about 1970 until his death he resided at
30 W. 76 St. Manhattan, NY the back first floor
married: Janet 1953, divorced 1958
Ann DuBois 1961, divorced 1966
children: Jacob Stein 8/20/1960
John DuBois Kliever 5/7/1966
possibly one other illegitimate child
education: graduated high school 1947
received bachelor of from the University of Chicago 1950
"Great Books" course
graduated from medical school University of Kansas
at Kansas City c. 1956
interned in psychiatry and neurology at Kings Co Hospital in Brooklyn
interned at New York University Hospital, Veterans'
Administration Hospital, Belvue Hospital, New York City
profession: psychiatrist
religion: atheist
comments: He was 6'2" tall, had light brown hair and blue eyes.
He suffered frequent bouts of severe depression as well as some degree of alcoholism and drug addiction. He was often hospitalized. To the best of my knowledge this was a result of some sort of child abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother, but was never willing to discuss with anyone. Apparently, she did not approve of his choice of a career or choice of a spouse, and he despised her for that. He also may have been depressed by the fact that his career didn't bring him the happiness he sought. During his last few years he spent part of his time in Berlin and was diagnosed, two years before his death, as terminally ill. During this period he was less unhappy and more relaxed.
He was, however, extremely intelligent and well read. He was very insightful into human nature and very interesting to talk to. He was an eagle scout and a prodigy in school as a young man, but chose to live on disability insurance the last 20 years of his life. He had relationships with numerous women.
In general, I get the impression that he was too weak willed and selfish to live a truly spiritual life, but too intelligent to be satisifed with a material life. Therefore, he was just very unhappy.
sources: death certificate of John H. Kliever, NYC Dept. of
Vital Records
letter from Spence Chapin Adoption Agency to Jacob Stein
oral testimony of John DuBois Kliever, Mia Lancaster

Name: Ann DuBois
date of birth: 12/26/1933
place of birth: Queens, NY
residence: New York
married: John Henry Kliever 1961, divorced 1966
children: Jacob Stein 8/20/1960
John DuBois Kliever 5/7/1966
education: college, art
profession: painter
religion: vague spirituality, Ethical Culture
comments: She is 5'10" tall, with black hair and green eyes.
She turned grey prematurely.
She tends to be gentle and loving on one hand, but very demanding of people on the other. In general, I get the impression that she has been hurt very badly by other people and therefore has chosen to withdraw somewhat from society. She cannot tolerate the company of other adults and really prefers to be alone. Perhaps she cannot trust any adults, after having been abused by her husband and her mother.
sources: letter from Spence Chapin Adoption Agency to Jacob Stein
oral testimony of Ann DuBois, Jacob Stein

my grandparents:

Name: Henry John Kliwer
relationship: father of John Henry Kliever
social security number: 487-12-1083
date of birth: 10/10/1895
place of birth: Emporia, Kansas
date of death: 6/13/1964
place of death: 3 miles east of Bonita, Kansas
cause of death: self inflicted gunshot wound to head
place of burial: cremated in Elmwood Crematory,Kansas City, Missouri
residence: Kansas
married: Elsie Newman 6/12/1928 in La Porte, Indiana (50 miles
south east of Chicago), died 2/28/1962
Gertrude about 1963
children: John Henry Kliever 12/24/1932
education: some college (Kansas State U.)
military: private, US Marines Second Division, WWI
He received basic training Paris Island, SC 2/13/1918 until 5/12/1918.
He served 14 months in France 5/23/1918 to 7/25/1919. He was wounded 7/19/1918 near Vierzy, France during the Aisne-Marne offensive. He was wounded in the forehead
and right forefinger by a high explosive [shell?] and received a wound chevron. [A family story tells of doctor who knew him from Kansas finding him in the military hospital in France and saving his eyesight.]
He fought at Chateau-Theirry (Belleau Woods) 6/8/1918 to 7/3/1918, at Aisne-Marne 7/18/1918 to 7/21/1918 and Meuse-Argonne 11/1/1918 to 11/11/1918. From 11/17/1918 to 12/12/1918 he marched to the Rhine and occupied the Coblenz bridgehead.
His military record shows no offenses and a rating of 4.7 (excellent) on a scale of 0 to 5.
He was awarded 3 Bronze Stars.
He was released from active service on 8/15/1919 and remained in the Marine reserves until 2/12/1922.
The battle at Belleau Woods, a one mile square forest about 45 miles east of Paris on the road between Paris and Reims, was the first clear defeat for the German Army on the Western Front in the First World War and it was the first sign that Germany would lose and France would win.
(The war ended on 11/11/1918.) Until then the balance had been more on the side of Germany. Belleau Woods was the closest that the German Army had come to Paris during their spring 1918 offensive. In June, 1918, at Belleau Woods the Germans were driven back by the Second Division of the U.S. Marines who became famous as
the most aggressive fighters on the Western Front. They suffered heavy casualties.
profession: salesman
religion: Lutheran
comments: I believe that he was light colored and tall.
During the Great Depression, 1930 to 1936, I believe that California was somewhat more affluent than the Midwest. Perhaps that's why Kliwer and his wife were living in San Diego when my father was born in 1932. And Blanda Newman, Kliwer's sister in law, apparently remainded there, dying in San Diego 1995.
He was basically a nice quiet person, but suffered an emotional breakdown after first wife died.
[Both he and his son John Henry Kliever seem to have been unable to cope with stress and chose some means of escaping from an unpleasant situation rather than deal with it constructively.]
The fact that he had only one child seems to have been a matter of choice; he and his wife were very intellectual and not family oriented.
sources: oral testimony of Ann DuBois, John Kliever, Jr., James Kliwer
Emporia Kansas newspaper clippings courtesy of Emporia
Historical Society
death certificate of Henry John Kliwer

Name: Elsie Newman
relationship: mother of John Henry Kliever
social security number: 495-42-9128
date of birth: 8:00 am 7/7/1901
place of birth: Wisconsin
date of death: 2/28/1962
place of death: Kansas City, Missouri
place of burial: Elmwood Crematory, Kansas City, Missouri
residence: Wisconsin, Kansas
married: Henry John Kliwer 6/12/1928 in La Porte, Indiana (50 miles
south east of Chicago)
children: John Henry Kliever 12/24/1932
education: college
profession: elementary school teacher
religion: Lutheran
comments: I believe that she was blonde as a child, later
light brown, and tall.
A very ambitious and aggressive woman, she put her husband and son under great pressure to succeed.
She apparently grew up in grinding poverty in extreme northern Wisconsin. She was orphaned age 8 and was the oldest of three sisters.
sources: oral testimony of Ann DuBois, John Kliever, Jr.
Federal Census of Wisconsin, 1910, 1920
death certificate of Elsie Kliwer

Name: Charles Stephen DuBois
relationship: father of Ann DuBois
social security number: 097-03-2168
date of birth: 2/16/1898
place of birth: Flushing, NY
date of death: 12/1978
place of death: College Point, NY
grave: Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY
lot 5495 section 62 just south of intersection of
Walnut Ave and Lake Ave
residence: Queens, NY
He lived in College Point in 1917 and after the Navy he married and remained there the rest of his life except for several years when he and his parents, wife and siblings lived in Wisconsin during the Great Depression.
married: Josephine Shaw 5/21/1920
children: Stephen DuBois 1921
Frank DuBois 1925
Dorethia ("Dolly") DuBois (Mrs. Jacob) 1930
Ann DuBois 12/26/1933
education: high school
profession: factory worker
military: seaman second class, US Navy, WWI
He entered the Navy on 5/17/1917 and was trained in Newport, RI. [America declared war on Germany 5/6/1917.]
He served as as seaman second class on the USS America from 9/30/1917 until 9/26/1919.
The USS America was actually a German civilian ocean liner, the Amerika, which was built in Belfast, Ireland in 1905. When America declared war on Germany in May, 1917 the Amerika was seized by the US government in Boston, Mass. It was transfered to the Navy, renmamed America, and began military service on 8/6/1917. She transported troops back and forth between America and France during WWI. Each round trip took about a month and she carried about 5,000 soldiers at a time. The USS America's service was uneventful except one time it accidentally hit and sank a British steamer on 7/14/1918 and then the America herself sank at her dock at Hoboken, NJ on 10/15/1918, drowning six sailors. She was raised and repaired and back in service on 2/12/1919. I guess my grandfather was at a naval base in the New York area during that four month period. My grandfather was in the war zone from 11/8/1917 until 10/15/1918. Presumably he washed floors, cooked meals, etc. for the thousands of soldiers who were being transported on his ship. [The war ended on 11/11/1918.] His military skills were poor but his behavior in general was very good. He did not have a drinking problem, however he was slightly nsubordinate a few times. He received an honorable discharge. (Eight months months later he married his 18 year old bride, my grandmother.) On the whole his miltary career was respectable but undistinguished.
religion: Roman Catholic
comments: He was 5'7" tall, had red hair and green eyes.
He was a sweet person with a good sense of humor but drank heavily when younger. He typically would go into a bar and order drinks for all the customers earning him the nickname "good time Charlie". He also enjoyed barroom fights, typically challenging the biggest man there to a fight. His wife, however, disapproved. She collected his paycheck for him before he could spend it in a bar. (At least in the 1940's his favorite bar was called "Baldy's" in College Point, Queens located at 23-02 College Point Boulevard, College Point, NY 11356.) He did not actually study for the priesthood or attend high school, as he sometimes claimed.
sources: Federal Census of NYS 1900
marriage cert. of Charles Stephen DuBois NYC Dept. of Vital Records
oral testimony of Ann DuBois, Stephen DuBois, Frank DuBois

Name: Josephine Shaw
relationship: mother of Ann DuBois
social security number: 079-05-8859
date of birth: 3/19/1902
place of birth: College Point, NY
date of death: 6/1983
place of death: Groton, Connecticut
grave: Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY
lot 5495 section 62 just south of intersection of
Walnut Ave and Lake Ave
residence: Queens, NY
married: Charles Stephen DuBois 5/21/1920
children: Stephen DuBois 1921
Frank DuBois 1925
Dorethia ("Dolly") DuBois (Mrs. Jacob) 1930
Ann DuBois 12/26/1933
education: high school
profession: seamstress
religion: Roman Catholic
comments: She was 5'7" tall, had black hair and blue eyes. I believe
she turned gray prematurely.
She was orphaned at age 3; briefly lived in a Catholic orphanage but then went to live with her older married half sister Mary Henrich (nee Shaw). She was very tough and cold. She didn't like to discuss her ancestry. [It is interesting to note that both of my grandmothers were orphaned at a young age from their mothers and both had hard childhoods, one in Ashland, WI the other in College Point, NY. It is interesting to consider how much their experiences may have damaged their skills as mothers of my parents.]
sources: Federal Census of NYS 1900
birth cert. of Josephine Shaw NYC Dept. of Vital Records
marriage cert. of Charles Stephen DuBois NYC Dept. of Vital Records
oral testimony of Ann DuBois, Ruth Budzick (child of Mary

my great-grandparents:

Name: Johann Kliewer (later known John Kliwer)
relationship: father of Henry John Kliwer
date of birth: 5/31/1864
place of birth: Ellerwald, West Prussia
[To the best of my knowledge, according to my study of Prussian maps, Ellerwald was not really a village but rather was an area of fields and farmhouses, about 4.7 miles east to west and 2.3 miles north to south, between the town of Elbing, now Elbag, Poland, and the Nogat River. Ellerwald included several hundred farms each about 500' by 1000'. Since my great-grandfather was the smallest of a half dozen children, perhaps he was forced to leave farming and go into milling, finally emigrating to Kansas, since there was not enough land for him.
The modern highway E77 between Elbag and Jazowa apparently goes right through the middle of Ellerwald, following the path of the village road that was there in the 1800's. It may today be named "Olfzanki" in Jez. Druzno, Poland but I'm not certain.
It was a flat area, irrigated by canals, in the Vistula River delta. It was within the Land-Kreis (county) Elbing. The area was divided up into five "Trift" which seems to mean "meetings", maybe refering to some sort of religious or govermental district.
Elbing was one of the oldest towns in West Prussia and was early settled by Scandinavians, with the graves of Swedish traders there going back to about 650 CE.
Ellerwald was settled by Mennonites about 1556.
In the 18th century there was a small Jewish community in Elbing.]
died: 5/24/1928 5:00 am
place of death: Emporia, KS
place of burial: Maplewood Cemetery, Emporia, KS
[block 18, old cemetery]
residence: West Prussia, Emporia, Kansas
immigration: arrived in America in 1891, first lived in Buffalo 2
children: Henry John Kliwer 1895
Arthur Kliwer
Marie Kliwer (Mrs. Buck)
Otto Kliwer (died 12/1902 age 3 years)
Marie Kliwer (died age 9 months 7/18/1903 pm)
profession: miller; manager City Roller Mills
married: Marie Krogoll, Lindsborg, KS, 12/22/1894
religion: originally Mennonite, later Lutheran
comments: He drank a lot of beer and was not very generous
with children; the house he built in Emporia was still
standing recently (820 State St.?).
He is reputed to have had relationships with many women.
He traveled to Europe 6/1926 to 10/1926. I have the impression that he and his future wife Maria Krogoll both came to America through some sort of Prussian immigration organization which was operating in the 1890's bringing young people from the Danzig region to Kansas via Buffalo, NY. I don't know any details about it, though. This may have been typical of Prussian immigrants - to arrive in New York City, then travel on to Buffalo and from there go to the midwest. Johann Kliewer was certainly the most affluent of my great-grandparents, although not wealthly he was well off. And I have impression that even in Europe his family was not poor.
sources: oral testimony of James Kliwer, son of Arthur Kliwer
Emporia city directory
Emporia newspaper obituary
IGI of the LDS Church

Name: Maria Caroline Krogoll
relationship: mother of Henry John Kliwer
date of birth: 5/22/1870
place of birth: Christburg, Germany
[now called Dzierzgon, Poland approximately
62 kil. ese of Gdansk, Poland]
died: 2/4/1920 8:30 pm
place of death: Emporia, KS
place of burial: Maplewood Cemetery, Emporia, KS
[block 18, old cemetery]
residence: West Prussia, Emporia, Kansas
immigration: arrived in America in 1893, first lived in Buffalo 1
children: Henry John Kliwer 1895
Arthur Kliwer
Marie Kliwer (Mrs. Buck)
Otto Kliwer (died 12/1902 age 3 years)
Marie Kliwer (died age 9 months 7/18/1903 pm)
married: Johann Kliewer, Lindsborg, KS, 12/22/1894
religion: Lutheran
comments: Perhaps being the 11th of twelve children in a family, she was forced to immigrate as a young woman to America.
sources: Emporia newspaper obituary

Name: Emanuel Newman
relationship: father of Elsie Newman
date of birth: 10/2/1870
place of birth: Skarper farm, Kjerklax village,
Maxmo parish, Finland
[Maxmo is a village about 15 miles north up the coast from the provincial capital Vaasa. Vaasa today is a city of about 55,000 people, 27% Swedish speaking. It seems to be nice, quiet little seaside town, although a bit chilly.]
date of death: after 1920
place of death: Wisconsin (?)
residence: Finland, Wisconsin
between 1905 and 1916 he was a border in the
home of his older brother John (car mechanic)
at 2705 2nd St. Ashland, WI; apparently this is
the place where my grandmother grew up
married: 1/20/1900 to Lise Nylund, Ashland, Wisconsin
children: Elsie Newman 7/7/1901
Blanda Newman 10/14/1904 (married Mr. Born;
died 11/30/1995 in San Diego, CA ss# 324-34-1695;
registered nurse)
Edna Newman 1908 (librarian)
immigration: arrived in US 4/1890 at New York, naturalized
11/24/1905 in Ashland WI
profession: laborer, lumber mill worker, dock worker
religion: Lutheran
comments: He was Swedish speaking.
Certain extreme western and southern parts of Finland are Swedish speaking. Finland belonged to Sweden from 1154 until 1809.
sources: Federal Census of Wisconsin 1900, 1920
marriage certificate Emanuel Newman
naturalization papers of Emanuel Newman (Wisconsin
State Archives)
Maxmo Parish Church records

Name: Lise Nylund
relationship: mother of Elsie Newman
date of birth: 12/13/1872
place of birth: Finland (possibly near Vassa)
date of death: 8/15/1909
place of death: Ashland, Wisconsin
place of burial: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Ashland, WI
residence: Finland, Wisconsin
married: 1/20/1900 to Emanuel Newman, Ashland, Wisconsin
children: Elsie Newman 7/7/1901
Blanda Newman 10/14/1904 (married Mr. Born;
died 11/30/1995 in San Diego, CA ss# 324-34-1695;
register nurse)
Edna Newman 1908 (librarian)
profession: housewife
religion: Lutheran
comments: She was Swedish speaking.
sources: marriage certificate of Emanuel Newman Ashland Co. WI
death certificate of Lise Newman Ashland Co. WI

Name: Frank W. DuBois
relationship: father of Charles Stephen DuBois
date of birth: 3/1868
place of birth: New York City
date of death: 3/20/1928 12:30 pm
place of death: Sheboygen, Wisconsin
grave: South Side Catholic Cemetery, Sheboygen Wisconsin
residence: Queens (282 1/2 Lawrence St. Flushing 1897)
married: Catherine Anne McConnell 1891/1892 (probably in Flushing)
children: Mary DuBois 1893
Francis DuBois (Mrs. Gottfried Oertel) 1895
Charles and Eugene DuBois 1898
Herbert DuBois 1900
Helen DuBois (Mrs. Al Schoen, Mrs. William
Drossell) > 1900
profession: machinist
religion: Protestant Episcopal; later Catholic
comments: Frank's mother died when Frank was a small child and he was raised by his DuBois grandparents in Flushing. Frank was disowned by his family when he married Catherine McConnell and converted to Catholicism. Frank and his wife and children lived in Sheboygen, WI during the 1920's and he died there. The family moved there after his daughter Helen married Al Schoen, a Sheboygen man. They lived there until the late 1920's when Schoen had a mental breakdown and he and his wife separated.
sources: Federal Census of NYS 1880, 1900, 1920
death certificate of Frank W. DuBois Wisconsin Dept. of
obituary of Frank W. DuBois Sheboygen, WI

Name: Catherine Anne McConnell
relationship: mother of Charles Stephen DuBois
date of birth: 11/1861
place of birth: Flushing, Queens
date of death: 7/16/1935
place of death: 12-42 150 St. Whitestone, NY
grave: Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY
lot 5495 section 62 just south of intersection of
Walnut Ave and Lake Ave
residence: Queens
married: Frank DuBois 1891/1892
children: Mary DuBois 1893
Francis DuBois (Mrs. Gottfried Oertel) 1895
Charles and Eugene DuBois 1898
Herbert DuBois 1900
Helen DuBois (Mrs. Al Schoen, Mrs. William
Drossell) > 1900
profession: housewife
religion: Roman Catholic
comments: She was a very nice lady.
sources: Federal Census of NYS 1900, 1920
baptismal record, St. Michael's Church, Flushing, NY
death certificate of Katherine H. DuBois NYC archives
oral testimony of Elsie DuBois

Name: Richard Shaw (formerly Richard Bushell)
relationship: father of Josephine Shaw
date of birth: 8/21/1857
place of birth: Congleton, England
date of death: about 1950
place of death: New York (?)
immigration: arrived in US 1866 via Switzerland together with
parents; he had become a Swiss citizen
became a US citizen 10/18/1880 in Passaic Co., NJ
residence: England, Switzerland, New Jersey, Queens
married: first wife died about 1884 (she was Swiss born and
German speaking)
Catherine Bluxome 6/7/1886 Hoboken, NJ died 9/29/1905
Lucy Cochran 10/12/1929
children: Mary Shaw (Mrs. Nicolas Henrich) 1884
a few other children who died in infancy
Richard Shaw Jr. 1/1889 (died 6/23/1911)
Catherine Shaw (Mrs. Joseph Timmann, died childless)
Francis Shaw 11/1893 (died 3/5/1913)
Josephine Shaw 3/19/1902
three other children who died in infancy
profession: silk weaver
religion: Anglican
comments: It should be noted that Congleton was one of the major centers of silk weaving in England in 1850. Most likely Richard Shaw's father was involved in silk weaving and Richard learned from him.
He may have been illegitimate, his parents only marrying shortly after his birth.
He may have been a silk workers' union organizer.
He became an alcoholic, but later recovered through the Salvation Army.
His children lived in dire poverty. His daughter Mary had to collect fragments of coal from the street to heat their home in the winter.
He fathered a child at age 80 according to a newspaper report. He is reputed to have had relationships with many women.
He was very tall, skinny and British.
[My theory about Richard Shaw, based on the few facts I've been able to gather, is as follows:
His parents were average factory workers in Victorian England. His father was from Congleton and his mother perhaps from nearby Birmingham. They were both Anglicans. Perhaps they met in the silk weaving mills of Congleton. They were in their early twenties and his mother became pregnant and bore Richard out of wedlock -a terrible scandal by the standard of that time. Soon afterwards, Richard Shaw's parents went to Switzerland, perhaps to escape the criticism of their peers, and married there. After a few years in Switzerland, they emigrated to New Jersey, perhaps to work in the silk industry in northern New Jersey. Richard was intelligent and attractive, but stigmatized and abused as being a "bastard". He went into silk weaving but deteriorated into alcoholism, poverty and ultimately homelessness. His first two wives and nearly all of his many children died at a young age. Eventually, however, he recovered.]
sources: Federal Census of NYS 1900
birth cert. of Josephine Shaw NYC Archives
marriage certificate of Richard Shaw NJ Dept. of Vital
citizenship papers of Richard Shaw
oral testimony of Ann DuBois, Mrs. Stephen DuBois, Ruth
Muriel Standring family Bible

Name: Catherine Bluxome
relationship: mother of Josephine Shaw
date of birth: 5/21/1866
place of birth: Jersey City, New Jersey
date of death: 9/29/1905
buried: Flower Hill Cemetery, North Bergen, NJ
block T row 2 grave 43 (no tombstone)
residence: Jersey City, Hoboken, Queens
From 6/1866 until 1877, her parents owned the property 596 Bergen Ave, Jersey City, NJ. Her father is listed as living there from 1872 until 1874. I would assume that she grew up at this address. The house currently at that site was built in 1898. At the time of her marriage, she, her sister, mother and husband lived at 45 Willow Terrace, Hoboken, NJ. Willow Terrace is a pair of alleys in the block between Clinton, Willow, 6 and 7 streets in Hoboken, NJ. The alleys are lined by very narrow, two story homes which are still there. In 1886, they were new.
married: Richard Shaw 6/7/1886 Hoboken, NJ
Church of the Holy Innocents, Protestant Episcopal,
corner 6 st and Willow (the building is still there,
but is not used today; it was a church for working
class people)
children: Richard Shaw Jr. 1/1889 (died 6/23/1911)
Catherine Shaw (Mrs. Joseph Timmann, died childless)
Francis Shaw 11/1893 (died 3/5/1913)
Josephine Shaw 3/19/1902
three other children who died in infancy
profession: housewife
religion: Anglican
comments: She was mean to stepdaughter Mary, who apparently left home by age 16.
Some of my relatives have an impression that she was Jewish. Oddly, I cannot find any evidence whatsoever to support this and on the contrary her background seems to be purely Christian. It's my guess that her mother had Jewish neighbors and friends in Harlem, NY in the 1890's, and possibly even converted to Judaism.
sources: Federal Census of NYS 1900
birth cert. of Josephine Shaw NYC Archives
marriage certificate of Richard Shaw NJ Dept. of Vital
oral testimony of Ann DuBois, Ruth Budzick

For my earlier family history, click here.