Zacherle in the USA

Well, this is the most lengthy story yet. An interesting one, and it includes a lot of very nice people and three visits as to this date.

It all started in the middle of the '90s when I was looking up "Zacherle" on some search engine. This was way before Google started! I hat three hits: me, myself and I. Some time later I tried this again, and apart from me there were two entries: one was a doctor (nephrologist) and one a former moderator and actor in New York. I was very excited about that! Until then, I thought my family to be pretty small, with just some people still living. Fortunately this changed at that time!

After some months I got an email from the doctor. I wrote back immediately, and this has been the start of my genealogical research. More than that, it had been the first contact with people I love. I even got an invitation to visit them!

We stayed in loose contact - christmas eMails and the like. When in 2003 I had to take part in a conference in the US I asked whether this invitation was still valid. It was, but this person (the doctor) was not at home. But he invited me to come two weeks later, and I did this! Together with my girlfriend Suzanne I flew again to the US and met the doctor and his wife. It was a wonderful time, and one of the best moments was to sit on the porch, enjoy some white wine and see the sun go down while finding out that we are really related! At the age of 35 I got a new uncle.

In the summer of 2004 we met again when I visited my girlfriend after her internship in Oregon had ended and we had three weeks of holiday. There were my uncle and my aunt, my nephew and my niece with husband and kid. We were together for some days until Suzanne and I had to go northwards so Suzanne could have her final presentation. After the presentation we went north again to visit some more Zacherle's in Washington.

The Washington Zacherle's are native americans. They are members of the Colville Tribe that live near the Grand Coulee Dam. It turned out that a german Zacherle was sent to america more than 100 years ago by his mother because she didn't want him involved in the wars that took place at that time in europe. He arrived in New York without being able to understand english. He not only learned this language, but he tought himself to read, so he could read the bible! It was his dream to shoot a bear and to meet some native americans. Well, I don't know whether he shot his bear, but he definitely met native americans: he married a native girl in Washington when he helped to build the St. Mary Mission in Omak. The girl was a niece of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe. They hade some children, and together with the following generations there are now 270 people that are descendands of this couple. We were invited to meet some of those, and it was a good time we had there. We talked about all those people, and later I was able to do a family tree of all of them. Unfortunately I do not yet know how they are related to me, but as their origins are said to be in Bavaria or in Württemberg (where my family originates from) I feel pretty confident that I will find the missing link sometime.

In September 2004 Suzanne and I visited the former moderator and actor John Zacherle in New York. He is such a nice and funny man, it's really incredible! While being 86, he drove us around in his own car, from St. John's Cathedral to Fifth Avenue to Wall Street. Fortunately he and his relatives care about family history, and he was able to give me a complete family tree that went back five generations, starting with a man that came from Dietenheim. Back home, I was able to add two more generations that I was able to look up in old documents from Dietenheim, and the next job will be to go further into history, until I can finally link his family to mine.

In june 2006 I was visiting members of the different Zacherle branches in the US again. Playing with my nieces, a native american giveaway memorial for my uncle, brewing beer with my cousin and sitting on the porch with my aunt and uncle looking for the stars - I really felt like a king. Aunt Alice from the Colville Tribe remembered the place called Vöhringen in Bavaria (southern germany) - in that town one of my own ancestors was born! That's a new lead that I can follow soon.