Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hatzenbuhler Family Reunion - Bismarck and Mandan, North Dakota

The Hatzenbuhler Family Reunion was a neat experience. My grandmother and grandfather were born and raised in North Dakota. After they married and had two of their ten children, they moved to Billings, Montana to raise their family. They left behind a large and extensive family - not only sisters and brothers, but cousins, aunts and uncles too. Although my mom and her siblings returned for regular visits as children, most of them (if any) have not returned as adults. I personally had never visited North or South Dakota. So, Joshua and I jumped at the chance to meet my grandma's extended family, the Hatzenbuhlers. Everyone at the reunion could be traced back to John Hatzenbuhler, born December 17, 1860 in Russia to German immigrants. He died on October 17, 1946. My great-great grandfather had several children. There were 215 John Hatzenbuhler decedents present with many more missing The photo above only shows his son Joseph's decedents who attended the reunion. 

In Bismarck, ND, Joshua found the Germans From Russia Heritage Society. Many of my ancestors were Germans who moved to Russia and then came to the United States. They still spoke German. They still considered themselves German, even though many of the younger generation were actually born and raised in Russia. 

The GFRHS was amazing. They had a ton of information on my family and we barely scratched the surface with the little time that we had to visit.

Here is a photo of my great grandparents house in Mandan, ND. It is the house that my Mom remembers visiting as a little girl. Look at all of those steps!

We found time to take a walk along the Missouri River after the reunion, just at sunset. It was really pretty!

My great grandparents are buried in the Mandan Cemetery. We stopped on our way out of town to pay our respects. 

A few hours later we pulled into a small farm cemetery where my great-great grandfather and grandmother on my mom's paternal side of the family were buried. It was BEAUTIFUL and so peaceful!

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