German-American Cooperation

                  THE LOST AND FOUND CHURCH

              By Madge Johns

As I stand on the hilltop overlooking the red-roofed houses of
my maternal ancestral village, Reusten, Germany, I think of
those who made my journey to this place so remarkable:

  o Those online who sent addresses of the pastors of Reusten
and the surrounding villages that I would be visiting.

  o "Hans," who lives in Altingen, near Reusten, who e-mailed
maps of the villages.

  o "Jerg," a young man, who, after the Easter Sunday church
service in Reusten, heard my query as to the location of the
village cemetery.

  o "Simon," his history professor father, who along with
"Jerg" then took me up the outdoor winding stairway behind
Reusten houses to the hilltop where the cemetery is located.

  o "Simon" who, while on the hilltop, lifted up branches of
ivy covering an ancient wall, then pointed out a stoned-in
entryway and said, "Your ancestors would have entered (the
churchyard) through here."

For six years I'd looked at Family History Library films of
birth, confirmation, marriage, and death documents in German
covering five generations of my maternal ancestors, so carefully
recorded in the original Reusten church on the hilltop where I
stood, only to learn from "Simon" that the church no longer
exists, a reality difficult to accept.

  o "Hans," who continues to keep in touch from Altingen by
e-mailing old records which contain my ancestral surnames from
that region, while carrying out his own research.

  o "Hans," who presented me with a "gift" that lifted my
spirits by e-mailing an old drawing by Andreas KIESER, 1680-
1687, of the village of Reusten with the hilltop crowned by a
church, enclosed by a wall. Now, I could "see" the church of
my maternal ancestors!

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