Kienow Family History and Heritage

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Pommern To Minnesota

Since the 1992 and 2001 editions of the Kenow family history were printed much new information has been found. We now have specific information about Albert's birth in Germany from microfilm available through the Latter Day Saints Family History Center in Salt Lake, Utah. Additional information was obtained from Martin Sohn, a researcher in Germany, and from Joyce Gardner who obtained material from the church books of Roggow and Meesow in a visit to the Greifswald Archives. This update will help fill in some items not previously known. While the primary purpose of this Family History was to follow the family of Albert and Mary Smetana Kenow, information has been included for other family members as it became available. The original format allowed additional information to be added to each family section. I have added a narrative history based on information that has been discovered to date.

From Pommern to Minnesota - Albert Friedrich August Kienow

(Compiled by Harold R. Kenow )

October 5, 2008

Albert Kienow was 5 years old when the family left Pommern (Pomerania) to begin their trip to the U.S.A. Pommern was a province of Prussia, the largest state in the German Empire. Pommern had an area of about 11,650 square miles just south of the Baltic Sea. Under the feudal system of Pommern, land was owned by members of the aristocracy. Prussian law dictated that the oldest son inherited the estate which was not to be subdivided. These estates were often 4000 to 6000 acres in size. Most Germans living in Pommern would never be able to own their own land. Some changes were made in the mid 1800's in land ownership but did not benefit a large number of people. These estates lasted until the end of WW II in 1945 when Pomerania was made part of Poland. Albert's birth was recorded in the village of Roggow, Kreis of Regenwalde for the village of Meesow where the family lived.

These records included a death record for Bertha Bartelt Kienow, the first wife of William Kienow. William and Bertha had three children, Helene, Albertine and Herman. Helene died in 1871 before the age of 2. Bertha died on 4 Sept. 1875. William's second wife was Henrietta Stark. In addition to Albert, Robert and Anna were born in Meesow before the family left for America. Another daughter, Ida, was born in Faribault on 1 Oct. 1883.

"In 1791 the village of Meesow contained 21 farmsteads, 2 sheep farms, a blacksmith shop, a watermill and 40 furnaces. It later became the train station for the train line between Regenwalde to Sallmow and Labes to Daber. The Roggow Evangelical Church served the residents of Roggow, Meesow, Haselow, Sallmow, Margarethenhof and Hoffeld. Meesow and Roggow were the largest of these villages. The church records for the Roggow Evangelical Church are stored at the Landeskirchliches Archives in Greifswald, Germany."
(From ... urches.htm)

Since no known written history is available from any of our ancestors I can only attempt to put together their story from information I do know. The family names Bartelt, Malluege, Steffen, Pofahl and Wolf appear in the records of Trinity Lutheran Church in the 1870's before the arrival of any of the Kenow family. Church records at Trinity record the marriage of Henrietta Pofahl and Louis Malluege on April 30, 1873. Also recorded at Trinity was the marriage of William Bartelt and Wilhelmine Pofahl in 1872. Other Trinity information records an Albert Steffen married to Wilhelmine Bartelt and a Carl Steffen married to Wilhelmine Malluege.

Fredericka Kienow married Ferdinand Pofahl in Germany. They emigrated to the U.S. in 1878 with their three children, Herman, Robert and Bertha. Fredericka, her husband Ferdinand and children Herman, Robert and Bertha arrived in New York on April 25, 1878 on the ship Victoria. Church records at Trinity Lutheran Church record the birth of Emma Pofahl on 24 June 1879.

In April of 1881, Wilhelmine Kienow and her daughter Emilie Kienow Wolf and family arrived in New York on their way to Faribault. Their names are on the passenger list of the ship "Hohenstauffen". (See Vol. 37, page 343 of Germans to America). Church records at Trinity Lutheran Church show the birth of Otto Wolf on 25 NOV 1881.
The name of Bertha Bartelt appears in the Kenow family history as the first wife of William Kenow. She was the mother of Helene, Albertine Kenow Niner and Herman Kenow. Bertha died in Pommern in 1875. How the Steffens, Pofahls, Wolfs, Mallueges and Bartelts living in Faribault were related to these newer arrivals is as yet unknown.

There was a village or estate in the Kreis of Kolberg-Korlin, Pomerania named Kienow. How this estate or village fits into the family history is as yet unknown.

It appears that the name Kienow was changed to Kenow through usage rather than an official application for a name change. Albert's Declaration of Intention to become a citizen dated May 28, 1910 has the spelling Kenow. Most records at Trinity used the the original Kienow spelling.

William's parents were Ludwig and Wilhelmine Steffen Kienow. Ludwig and Wilhelmine had four children, Fredericka, William, Frank and Emilie. In the 1874-1882 records for Meesow, currently Mieszewo, Poland, a marriage record for William existed that provided information of his birth in Meesow in 1846. References to the Kienow family living in Meesow are found in church records in the late 1700's. Civil records for Meesow begin in 1874. Until that time only church records were kept. The birth records for Meesow from 1846 to 1866 are missing or were destroyed. There are some church records for Meesow stored in Germany. Meesow was a village or an estate of about 275 people. Even though Meesow is about 600 miles farther north than Faribault, its winters are not as cold as those in southern Minnesota. People living in this area would have farmed, harvested trees, hunted and fished. This is an area of Poland that today attracts vacationers for hiking, camping, hunting and fishing.

An old barn in Meesow as it looked in 2002.
Photo courtesy of Joyce Gardner.

Most Germans who left their homeland did so for one or more of the following reasons. Food shortages brought on by floods, droughts, bad weather or crop failures caused inflation. Poverty was common. The many European Wars had caused much devastation in Germany. This was followed by a period of economic insecurity, political upheaval and religious oppression. Government regulations created one protestant church angering Lutherans, Reformed and other protestant groups who wanted to maintain their own forms of worship. The prospect of owning their own land in the U.S. was very enticing. All of these combined to stimulate emigration to America. Over 5 million Germans arrived at American ports during the 19th century.

The family of William Kienow left Meesow and most likely traveled by train to the port of Bremen. In the spring of 1883 they boarded the ship HOHENZOLLERN and arrived in Baltimore, MD on April 18, 1883.


The description of this ship found in "Czech Immigration Passenger Lists, Vol. II" by Leo Baca was as follows: Hohenzollern (1873) North German Lloyd. Built by Earle's Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Hull, England. Tonnage: 3,288. Dimensions 353' by 39'. Single screw, 12 1/2 knots. Compound engines. Triple expansion engines 1890. Two masts and one funnel. Iron hull. Passengers: 142 first class and 800 third. Launched 24 May 1873. Maiden voyage: Bremen-Southampton-Panama, 7 DEC 1873. Also in Bremen-New York service. Placed in Bremen-Far East trade in 1886. Sold in 1899 and broken up for scrap.

In "Germans to American, Lists of Passengers Arriving at U. S. Ports, Vol. 45 page 405", Edited by Irs A. Glazier and P. William Filby are listed the names of the William Kienow family. They included William, his wife Henrietta, children Ernestine (Albertine?) 8, Herman 7, Albert 5, Robert 3, and Anna 11 months. William came directly to Faribault to be reunited with his mother Wilhelmine, sisters Fredericka Kienow Pofahl and Emilie Kienow Wolf. There are German birth records for Albert, Robert and Anna. The fate of Robert is unknown. Harold F. Kenow remembered hearing a story of someone dying and being buried at sea on the trip to America. He thought it was his grandmother Henriette but we know that she did arrive in Minnesota and that she gave birth to a daughter Ida in Faribault on Oct. 1, 1883.

Interior of Trinity Church built in 1871

On May 24, 1884, Frank Kienow and his wife Albertine arrived in Baltimore on the ship "Strassburg". (See Germans to America, Vol. 49, page 271). They arrived in Faribault shortly after.

Church records at Trinity list the marriage of William Bartelt and Wilhelmine Pofahl in 1872 and Henrietta Pofahl and Louis Malluege on April 30, 1873. Other Trinity information shows an Albert Steffen married to Wilhelmine Bartelt and a Carl Steffen married to Wilhelmine Malluege. At this writing I have not been able to find the relationship of Ferdinand Pofahl to Wilhelmine and Henrietta Pofahl or the relationship of Wilhelmine Steffen Kienow to Albert and Carl Steffen or the Mallueges. It looks like this might be the key to the Kienow family choosing to come to Faribault.

1888 Trinity Choir

The pictures of Rev. Henry Schulz below would have been a face seen by our ancestors as they arrived in Faribault and as he appeared later in his ministry at Trinity. Rev. Schulz came to Trinity Lutheran Church in Faribault in 1881 and served the congregation until 1932. In addition to being pastor he also taught the children of Trinity School until 1884 when Martin Kirsch became the first full time teacher and principal. Pastor Schulz would have been the first teacher of Albertina, Herman and Albert. Rev. Schulz married Albert and Mary Smetana Kenow in 1901 and baptized their 12 children.

Rev. Henry Schultz as a young man and later in his ministry.

The obituaries of Herman, Albert and Anna tell of them attending Trinity Lutheran School. School was conducted in the combination parsonage/school (below) until 1884 when a frame school was erected.

Trinity Parsonage and School
The children of William Kienow would have first attended school in the parsonage and then in this frame building erected in 1884. It measured 45 by 26 feet and housed 100 students.

Frame school built in 1883
This frame school was moved and converted into an apartment after the old church was remodeled into a two room school in 1902.

The following picture shows the students in front of this school in 1914. Myron "Pat", Harold, Albert and Edgar should be in this picture somewhere.

1914 - Students in front of School housed in the old Church
Martin Kirsch was the teacher and principal of the school from 1884 to 1913. In 1902 an enrollment of 130 children was reached and a second teacher was added. The children of Albert and Mary Smetana Kenow would have attended school first in the remodeled church and then the new school built in 1915. Classes were held for grades 1 through 7. In 1922 the eighth grade was added to the program. After attending Trinity the children continued their education at Faribault High School.

Instruction at first was in German, then in German and English and after 1925 in English only

1901 picture of the students of Trinity Lutheran School in front of the frame school built in 1884. Grades 1-7 were taught by Mr. Martin Kirsch who served Trinity from 1884 to 1913. The children of William and Henrietta Kenow attended school in this building. This building was used until 1902 when the first church was remodeled into a two room school.
In 1915 a new school building was opened and a third teacher was added. The Kenow children and many grandchildren attended school in this building.

1915 Trinity Lutheran School
The following picture of the confirmation class of Trinity Lutheran Church in 1898 was apparently taken outside the frame Trinity School.

1898 Trinity Choir

Below: The Kienow family attended services in this church built in 1871. It was in this church that the children of William Kienow were confirmed. This building was remodeled into a two room school in 1902 after the new church was completed in 1901. Church records at Trinity list the following confirmation dates for the children of William and Henrietta Kienow.

Albertina 29 Mar 1885
Herman 14 Apr 1889
Albert 22 Mar 1891
Anna 18 Mar 1894
Ida 29 Mar 1896

25th Anniversary of the First Trinity Church Building

Henrietta Kienow died on January 1, 1886 leaving her husband and five children ages 3 to 15. How did William manage to raise these children? What was the roll of Grandma Minnie Kienow? Albertina? Herman? Other relatives? Perhaps we will never know the answers to these questions. The children of Albert and Mary didn't recall hearing any conversations about what it was like for their parents when they were growing up.

This picture shows construction of Trinity Church in progress in 1901. It would serve the congregation until 1990 when a new church was built.

Trinity Lutheran Church Under Construction 1901

Albert and Mary Smetana Kenow were married on Oct. 1, 1901 by the Rev. Henry Schulz of Trinity Lutheran Church. Their marriage took place before the dedication of the second Trinity Church on November 10, 1901.

Mary Smetana was born in Montgomery, Leseur County, MN to Joseph and Anna Soukup Smetana on Feb. 27, 1882. She was the oldest of 10 children. Joe owned and operated a shoe store in Montgomery.


Trinity School picture of 1904, Miss Emma Suess was the primary teacher until 1912. She was the first teacher of Myron and Harold Kenow.

Trinity School picture of 1904. Mr. Martin Kirsch was the teacher of grades 4 through 7. (The eighth grade was added in 1922)

The interior of Trinity Lutheran Church c1914. The organ from the old church was used until 1914 when a new Wicks organ (pictured here) was installed. It was in this church that Albert and Mary Kenow would bring their children to be baptized and then to worship. Later the children would be confirmed.

Children of Albert and Mary Smetana Kenow Birth and Baptismal Records from Trinity Lutheran Church - Faribault MN

Baptism 28 December 1902, Sponsors - Otto Behlke, Hermann Wolf, Ida Kienow
Baptism 25 September 1904, Sponsors - Albertine Niner, Friedrich Wolf, Frank Kienow
ALBERT ROBERT JOHN KENOW born 8 September 1906
Baptism 7 October 1906, Sponsors - Robert Pofahl, George Behlke, Emilie Leitow
Baptism 15 November 1908, Sponsors - Michael Niner, Gustav Harmel, Bertha Bartelt
Baptism 18 December 1910, Sponsors - Friedrich Radtke, Wilhelm Leitow, Maria Harmel
Baptism 27 October 1912, Sponsors - Albertine Kenow, Auguste Lindenberg, Edward Pofahl
LEONA BEATRICE KENOW born 20 August 1914
Baptism 20 September 1914, Sponsors - Robert Wolf, Martha Wolf, Carolina Pofahl
MARIE ANN ELISABETH KENOW born 17 October 1916
Baptism 19 November 1916, Sponsors - Anna Schmidt, Elisabeth Monson, Wilhelm Pofahl
GEORGE PAUL FRANK KENOW born 10 October 1918
Baptism 10 November 1918, Sponsors - Bertha Harmel, Paul Bartelt, Frank Steffen
Baptism 17 April 1921, Sponsors - Johann Teske, Bernhardt Niner, Edna Niner
HARLAN ALFRED KENOW born 29 July 1923
Baptism 24 August 1923, Sponsors - Emilie Schwarz, Ernst Mager, Georg Paschke
RAYMOND KENNETH KENOW born 19 February 1926
Baptism 18 April 1926, Sponsors - Alma Kenow, Martin Monson, Edmund Bisping
Albert and Mary first lived in a house on the Northwest corner of First Street and Irving Avenue. In 1914 they purchased a home and seven acres of property on Prairie Avenue. They built a barn and other buildings and purchased an additional 8 acres in the years following. It was here that the family would expand to 12 children, 9 boys and 3 girls. The family was able to raise much of the food needed by the growing family. In addition to the fruits and vegetables, they raised chickens, geese, ducks, pigs, and dairy cattle for milk and to butcher. The family horse, Barney, was used to plow and cultivate the land. The photo below was taken about 1925. The Pond was a good place for the ducks and geese in summer and for ice skating in the winter.

Kenow Home on Prairie Avenue

Kenow, Albert Chronology

1877 22 April, born in Meesow, Pommern, Germany (from German records)
1883 8 April arrives in Baltimore MD
1883 Arrives in Faribault MN
1884 Attended Trinity Lutheran School
1891 22 Mar was confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Faribault
1895 Spinner Faribault Woolen Mills, was a Boarder northside 1st, 3 E Lincoln - City Directory (First Street, 3 houses East of Lincoln)
1899 Laborer, C M & St. Paul Railway, Bds ns2 St. 3E of Lincoln, Faribault - City Directory
1901 1 October married Mary Smetana
1910 28 May signed Declaration of Intent to become a citizen of U.S.
1911 Laborer, H.H. King Flour Mill Co, living at 100 Irving - City Directory
1912 6 July signed Petition for Naturalization
1912 1 Dec signed Oath of Allegiance to U.S.
1913 8 Jan became a naturalized citizen of the U.S.
1915 Labor, C M & St. Paul Railway, living on Prairie 1 S Tracks - City Directory
1921 Sewer, H. H. King Flour Mill Co, living on Prairie Ave - City Directory
1926 Laborer, living on Prairie Ave - City Directory
1929 Laborer, C M & St. Paul Railway, living on Prairie Ave S Tracks - City Directory
1936 Laborer, living at 519 Prairie Ave - City Directory
1939 Laborer, living at 519 Prairie Ave - City Directory
1945 Laborer, living at 519 Prairie Ave - City Directory
1948 City Employee, living at 519 Prairie Ave - City Directory
1950 Laborer, living at 519 Prairie Ave - City Directory
1951 11 December Albert dies in Faribault, age 74

The obituary for William Kenow in 1903 tells us that Albert worked in the Sheffield-King Flour Mill. In Albert's Declaration of Intention to become a citizen dated May 28, 1910, he listed his occupation as Spinner in Woolen Mill. Nutting Truck Company, in paying tribute to Albert in the company newsletter after his death said: "Mr. Kenow helped build the Nutting Plant having at times, worked with construction of additions to the buildings as well as being employed in the Foundry." Albert also worked for The Milwaukee Road as a section laborer. The letter from the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company dates his retirement effective 27 Nov. 1949 and notes his 10 years of continuous service to the Company.


Last modified on 2008/12/26 by skenow

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