If you’d asked me this time last year if I ever thought I’d make any further progress on researching my father’s side of the family, I’d have said it was a lost cause. Conflicting information and lack of immigration records and names that were difficult to research had discouraged me greatly. Then last summer my cousin sent me a box of old family papers that pertained to my paternal grandmother’s side of the family, the Kranz family. With that I was able to make some really good progress over the pond. They came from Arzheim, Bavaria, Germany. I knew my Great Grandfathers brothers names and parents names. I found information on familysearch.org on his mother’s family (the Hahn’s) and to be honest I was pretty content with that as I had thought I’d never get anything on them anyway.
Then right around Thanksgiving last year, I got it into my head that Arzheim was in German wine country. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a bottle of wine from grapes from Arzheim for Christmas dinner. I went to my big local wine store and asked if they had any wine from the one little vineyard tha I had found on-line that had wine that was grapes grown exclusively in Arzheim. The answer was no, they didn’t. They looked up the winery and it looked like they didn’t sell their wine in America. So I went home and emailed the vineyard directly and asked if they sold in America because I wanted to get a few bottles because that was where my family was from. A few weeks went by with no response. Then I get an email from them saying, no, they are a small vineyard and they dont’ sell outside of Germany, but what was the name of my family that lived in Arzheim? So I emailed them back with some info on my Kranz family. So a few more weeks go by and I get a response. They said that they knew some Kranz’s and they owned a vineyard in the next village over and they were forwarding my email to them. A few minutes later I get an email from them saying “we always wondered what happened to Johann” (my great-grandfather!) Turns out the vineyard is owned by Robert Kranz who is the grandson of Robert Kranz who was brothers with my great grandfather John/Johann. Basically he is second cousins with my father. Robert emailed me some great info on the Kranz family that stayed in Germany and also gave me info on a line of Kranz’s here in America, the descendants of Stephen Kranz, another brother who had come to America after my great grandfather. I did a little googling and found an email address and emailed my cousin Jack in Reno, NV and have no connected with him as well. Jack had connected with Robert a few years back while visiting Arzheim. He ran into on of the Kranz cousins while there and was now in touch with them. Hard to believe after all these years we’re finally starting to find each other!
So my message today is never give up hope! You never know how looking for a bottle of wine will lead you to the discovery of long-lost family.
Come visit my website at www.FamilyHistoryDetectives.net and let us help you trace your family tree!