War, Starvation, and Smallpox Decimate the Rode Family

By – Don Taylor 

I have many interesting stories in my family tree, but never have I found a story as heartbreaking, or as compelling, as the story I found regarding my friend’s family.  It is the kind of story that I would expect to see on Who Do You Think You Are, or some other television program. As I unraveled and confirmed the story facts of my friend’s ancestors and their lives, I was mesmerized as I read of the tragedy and inspired by the survival of these Rode (pronounced row-dee) ancestors.

Biography – Adolph Rode (1876-1954)

Adolph Rode was born 28 September 1876 in Poland.  At an early age, his family moved to the Ukraine where he grew up.

In 1902, he married Louise Rode.  Louise had the same surname as Adolph. However, there was no known relationship between the two.

Life as a farmer Ukraine was hard, but okay, and the young family prospered. They began having children. First Rudolph in 1903, Reinhold in 1905, and Leonard in 1906. Another boy was born about 1908, a girl about 1910, then another boy in 1911. Knowing the unrest in the Ukraine and sensing that a great conflict should soon envelop Russia and all of Europe. Because the turmoil in the Ukraine, Adolph decided to seek his fortune in America and save his family from the ravages of war. In 1913, Adolph left his wife and six small children in the Ukraine with the intention of obtaining employment in the United States and sending money back to them for them to join him a year or two.  Adolph arrived in New York on 25 April 1913. Adolph then made his way and settled in Nebraska and set himself to work on getting his family to join him.

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.com Then, before Adolph could send for his wife and children, the Imperial Russian Army invaded the Ukraine on 18 August 1914.  The Army pillaged the Ukraine as it prepared to invade Austria to crush the Austrian-Hungary Army. Adolph’s greatest worries came to fruition. War came to the Ukraine, and he hadn’t been able to get his wife and children to the safety of America before the war had come. He wasn’t quick enough to earn the money necessary to send for his family.  He frantically tried to contact his wife and children but couldn’t. Finally, he received word that the Russians destroyed his farmstead in the Ukraine, and his entire family was dead.

Even after the war ended on 11 November 1918, Adolph’s reasons for living, having a reunion with his family, were gone. The 1920 Census shows Adolph as a hired hand living with the Fred Settje family in Dimick, Stanton County, Nebraska. To his credit, he hadn’t given up all hope as he identified himself as married, and not widowed, in the census.

The years passed, then in 1922, nine years after he left the Ukraine, another Ukrainian contacted him and told him that his wife was alive. His wife had lost his address during the war and finally contacted this compatriot.

Photo of starving children, Ukraine, 1922 - [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Children affected by famine in
Ukraine – 1922

In a flurry of letters, Adolph learned that his homestead in the Ukraine had, in fact, been pillaged and destroyed. He family became refugees and moved between various countries during the nine years.  One of his four sons had died of starvation. His only daughter had died of smallpox.  But, Louisa and four of his children were still alive. He quickly sent money for his two oldest boys, Rudolph and Reinhold, to come to the States. They would be able to earn more money in the United States than they would in Europe.  Bringing the rest of the family to America was paramount. On 26 September 1922, the two boys arrived in New York and made their way to Nebraska as quickly as possible.

It took nearly a year for the three to earn enough money to bring Louisa and the two younger boys, Leonard and Otto, to America. But on 4 August 1923, Louisa and family arrived in New York.  Within days they were reunited with Adolph in Nebraska.

In December 1926, Adolph and Louisa welcomed another daughter into the family. Margaret would be their last child.

The 1930 Census indicates Adolph and Louisa were renting a farm in Slough, Pierce County, Nebraska. Adolph could not speak English in 1930 but could read and speak German. Living with him were his wife, son Rudolph, and daughter, little three-year-old Margaret.

In 1935, Adolph was living in rural Pierce County, Nebraska. And by 1940, they had moved to Willow Township, Antelope County, Nebraska where Adolph, Louise, and daughter Margaret lived next door to his son Reinhold and Reinhold’s family of wife and four children. Sometime between 1930 and 1940 Adolph and Louise became U.S. citizens.

Marker – Adolph & Louise Rode
Courtesy: Find-a-Grave

Adolph died on 6 March 1954 and is buried at Zion Cemetery in Norfolk, Madison County, Nebraska. His wife Louisa died within the year on 1 February 1955 and is buried with Adolph.

Further Actions: 
• Order copies of the Alien Case Files from the National Archives.

List of Greats
1. Aldolph Rode

Sources:

1920 Census; Adolph Rode; Dimick, Stanton, Nebraska; ED 204, Sheet 8B, Line 65; Family Search.

1930 Census; Adolph Rohde (Rode) – Slough, Pierce Nebraska, Sheet 4A, Line 12; Family Search.

1940 Census; Adolph Rode – Willow Twp, Antelope, Nebraska – ED 2-32, Sheet 4A, family 63; Family Search.

Find A Grave; Adolph Rode – #57149363; Findagrave.com

The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska); 1941-01-05 – Page 29; Nebraska and Nebraskans; Holiday Story; Neligh News – Adolph Rode; Newspapers.Com

New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957; Rudolph and Rheihold Rode – SS Caronia 1922; Ancestry.Com

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995; 1922 City Directory, Norfolk, Nebraska – Adolph Rode – Farmer, Madison, Madison, Nebraska; Ancestry.Com

newspapers.com newspapers.com

Reinold Rode (1905-1992)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 39

Reinold
Rode (1905-1992)

By – Don Taylor

No Story too Small 
I have a friend that lured me into researching some of her Eastern European immigrants. Actually, she didn’t lure me; she just told me her story and I bit. I had never searched Eastern European immigrants and had no idea how perplexing such searching can be. My friend provided what little information she knew.

Her grandfather is “Reinold Rode and [she is] not certain where or when he was born. We have always gone by April 28th 1901. He was born in either Zhytomyr, Ukraine or Minsk, Belarus.” My Google search showed them over 300 miles apart. Hopefully, I could improve on that location.

I thought that should be easy to figure out when and where he was born, and where he lived before immigrating to Nebraska.

Thanks to
Ancestry.Com, I quickly found him in the 1940
Census[1].  Born in Russia about 1906. Not much help
there.

Continuing on to the 1930 Census I found him again born in
Russia about 1906[2].
Humm, it seems that the 1901 birthdate is probably incorrect – me thinks that 1905 or 1906 is correct. 
RMS Caronia
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia.Com

I figured that if I could find his immigration record I would know for
sure. So, I looked closely and couldn’t find it. (Grumble, Grumble – It is
never that easy.) The 1930 Census indicated his immigration year as 1922 so I
cast a search for his record looking for anyone named Rode who came to the country in 1922. Then I found him (spelled Rheinhold Rode). Arriving on the SS Caronia
in New York on 26 September, 1922. He was heading to Nebraska to his father, Adolph, (whose name I already had from my friend) with a brother, Rudolph. Reinold was
17 years, 4 months old when he arrived which would put his birthdate in 1905
and his birth month in April or May.  But
most important to my quest it gave a birthplace of “Marijantje, Russia.[3]” Got
it.

Detail of Passenger List which shows
Rudolph born in Lindental and
Reinold born in Marijantje – Image from Ancestry.Com  

A quick search of Marijantje in Google maps found nothing; likewise no results on Wikipedia. Maybe his brother Rudolph’s birthplace Lindental, Russia, will help. Again nothing on Google maps nor Wikipedia. Finally, a Google search yielded a link to the “Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online” (GAMEO). It mentioned that “Lindental was a small Mennonite settlement in South Russia near the railway station Sinelnikovo,” So, where is Sinelnikovo? Google Maps suggested three different places all in Eastern Urkrane, none anywhere near the Belarus border. Also on the GAMEO there is an entry that says that “The village of Lindenthal was located between Kutuzovka and Zhitomir.”

Now I still can’t figure out where Lindental/Lindenthal nor Kutuzovka are but I’m fairly certain that Zhitomyr and Zhitomir are the same place which would put Rudolph’s birthplace near Zhitomyr which is where I guess I’ll tentatively place Reinold’s birth. Am I sure, no, but I think Zhitomir is more likely than Minsk.

I learned how place names in Cyrillic are translated into English in lots of different ways. It seems like every translation becomes a unique spelling. Also, place names changed dramatically in the past hundred years as countries rose and collapsed. Prussia no longer exists, parts became part of Russia and parts became Poland. Today there are Belarus and Ukraine that overlap the same area.

I still have a lot more research to do on Reinold Rode (pronounced “roe-dee”). I know he was a German speaking Russian from the Prussian, Polish, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia area. Maybe a naturalization record can be found, that might clinch it. I definitely have a lot more work to do.

Bio – Reinold Rode (1905-1992)

Reinold Rode was born on 29 Apr 1905[4] in Marijantje,
Russia, which is probably near Zhytomyr, Ukraine today.

S.S. Caronia
Thanks to Great Ships

When he was 17 he immigrated from “Ober Cyrus, Germany” to
the United States aboard the SS Caronia with his brother, Rudolph. The two
brothers met up with their father, Adolph in Madison, County Nebraska. 

Reinold met and married a Nebraska native, Delilah Hefner (Hoefener)
about 1928.
He rented farmland, which he farmed, in Pierce (1930 Census),
Cumming (1935), and Antelope (1940 Census) Counties, all in Northeast Nebraska.

Marker: Rode – Reinold & Delilah
Courtesy: Find a Grave

Sometime before 1992 the Rode’s moved to Tacoma, Washington
where Reinold died on 18 Apr 1992.

He is buried at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery,
Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington State. His wife Delilah passed three years
later and is buried with him.

  
Further Actions:
·      Narrow down Reinold’s birth location.
·      Find Reinold’s naturalization records.
·      Research Reinold’s siblings for additional insight.
List of Greats
1.    
Adolph Rode



[Disclaimer:  The links to Ancestry.Com are connected to an affiliate program which provides a small reward to me if you purchase from them.  Although I receive a reward from them for a referral, my comments regarding Ancestry are based solely upon my experiences with them.]

Endnotes:

[1] 1940 Census; Census Place: Willow, Antelope, Nebraska; Roll: T627_2236; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 2-32. Line 19, Junold Rode See http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1940usfedcen&h=61663652

[2] 1930 Census; Census Place: Allen, Pierce, Nebraska; Roll: 1290; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0001; Image: 11.0; FHL microfilm: 2341025 – Line 20.

[3] Year: 1922; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3186; Line: 30; Page Number: 77.

[4] Social Security Death Index, Number: XXX-XX-6745; Reinhold Rode, Issue State: Nebraska; Issue Date: Before 1951.


Start Looking