Our Gollnick German Ancestors

We have compiled this family history with stories about our ancestors so that our children can know from whence they have come. When we were first married, we did a lot of family research to find our “roots.” Then as our children started coming, we focused on posterity instead of ancestry. Now that most of our children are grown and gone, we have begun again to do family history research.
Within the past 30 years a lot has changed in the world of genealogy with the computer and Internet available. We have found much information that was previously hidden. With just the push of a button we can instantly access information that took us hours and hours of scrolling through microfilm rolls years ago.

As we have examined census records, land records, military records, death certificates and obituaries, cemetery records, www.familysearch.org information, church records, county histories and biographies, birth and marriage records, and maps, many discoveries have been made on our Gollnick family line. One of the most rewarding resources has been the census records. When finding a family on a census record, it is like opening their door and walking into their home to meet them, and we found our family in many census records.

We have found the name “Gollnick” spelled many different ways: Golnik, Gollnik, Golnick, Goldnick, Gollnick, Golnieck, Gulnik, Galnick, etc. We have chosen to spell a person’s name the way it was spelled in their birth record. So, Michael Golnik is spelled without the double “L” and without the “c,” and August Herrman Golnick is spelled with one “L” in Golnick and a double “R” in Herrman.

The first Gollnicks in America were probably cousins or second cousins to our Gollnick ancestors. With more research we will find the connection, I’m sure. Ernst Gollnick arrived in America in April of 1861 and his brother Charles (Carl) arrived in May of 1864. These brothers, Ernst and Charles (Carl), are listed on the 1870 Census living in Cedarburg, Ozaukee, Wisconsin, as is their oldest brother, Frederic. They came from Gramenz, Pommern, Germany (Prussia), which was 100 miles away from Nakel, Posen, Germany (Prussia), the area where our Gollnick ancestors came from. [Gramenz is now Grzmaica, Koszalin, Poland, and Nakel is now Naklo nad Notecia, Poland.] “In the 1830’s Lutherans in Prussia, because of their opposition to the state church, met with bitter scorn, persecution and often imprisonment. In order to escape this oppression and to assure themselves and their children the freedom to worship and serve God as true Lutherans, many of these people emigrated to America. It was a group such as this, under the leadership of Rev. Adolph (or Johann) Kindermann, who came to this land in the fall of 1843, settled the area along Cedar Creek and founded the city of Cedarburg.”
(This information was found at: rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wiozauke/cemeteries/FoundersPark.html.)

We have researched all of the Gollnick families listed in the 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910 Censuses. There were Gollnicks in Chicago, many in Wisconsin, some in Michigan and Minnesota. A family of Gollnicks moved to Texas, another settled in Indiana, our great-great-uncle Emil Gollnick and his family moved to Florida, and our direct ancestors migrated west to Washington State and then south to California.

We found our Gollnick family in the German Lutheran Records on microfilm from the Salt Lake City Family History Center. Our Gollnick brothers, John and August, came to America in the late 1860s and their parents and younger siblings came in June of 1872. How grateful we feel for the courage they had to come to a new land. We are blessed to be in this great country and to have the freedoms of life we enjoy because of the sacrifices our ancestors made for us.

The earliest Gollnick ancestor we have found so far is Johann (Joannis) Golnik who was born in the early 1700s in Germany (Prussia). He was the father of Christian Golnik, who was the father of Martin Golnik, who was the father of Michael Golnik who was the father of August Golnick, our immigrant to America.

Worth noting is the fact that most in our Gollnick family neither smoked nor drank. At a large family picnic in the 1900s, a match could not be found to light the fire. They finally solved the problem by using a cigarette lighter from Elsie’s car to light some toilet paper to start the fire! The fact that our ancestors lived a good code of health has blessed us all with good health. Many Gollnicks lived long lives. Grandpa August lived to be 85, Aunt Elsie lived to be 90, Uncle Alvin lived to be 91, and Aunt Grace lived to be 98 years old!

A special thanks to Dad, Leonard William Gollnick, Jr., for his stories. He has kept the memories alive.

We have many records of not only our ancestors, but of their children and families, including original birth, marriage, and death records. We have not included all of those records in this document, but if you want more information or sources, please let us know. The information from The Sentinel newspaper was extracted by Frances B. Krechel and put on microfilm in 1985 (FHC Film #1321033 Item 14). It chronicles the Gollnicks and Boggans and extended families in Asotin County, Washington.

As we continue to do research, more information will be found, but for now we want to share what we have discovered. This is a work in progress. Maybe you can add information to help us.

– Norman and Mary Ann Gollnick