Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Friday, June 27


We got up very early to get a good start on our trip. The hotel didn’t have an elevator so we had to come down the stairs rolling our suitcase. In the process we made quite a commotion and were scolded by the hotel concierge. We had breakfast and began our journey.

The drive was perfect. We had beautiful weather and saw some of the best scenery of any of our trips. The car worked perfectly, and we found gas stations with clean restrooms (another mini miracle).

We had planned to stay in Strasbourg, but by the time we got to Mulhouse there was a terrible accident on the freeway – nothing was moving at all. We were just by the off-ramp to Mulhouse, so we took the off ramp and proceeded to try to find a hotel room for the night. First we needed to cancel our reservation in Strasbourg before 6:00. It was 5:30 and our cell phone won't make long distance calls. We easily found a McDonald’s with an Internet but we couldn’t connect.

We decided we would just have to pay for the other hotel because we couldn’t give them notice. We found a hotel that had no vacancies, but they sent us to a place with several other hotels. They had the same chain there that we were to stay in in Strasbourg so they cancelled our reservation for us. There were no vacancies at this hotel, so we went next door and found another hotel which was much nicer and larger. It had no air conditioning but it was much cooler here so it was okay. Another plus was that they had a restaurant so we didn’t have to get lost looking for a place to eat.

After dinner we went to our room to try to send some emails. JoAnn took a shower while Arnold tried to get the computer to connect to the Internet. JoAnn was just coming out of the bathroom after her shower when the electricity went out. It was a blessing that the lights had not gone out while she was in the shower. Since the electricity was off, we just went to bed and got a good night’s sleep.
In the morning the electricity was back on and the computer was working. We sent a few emails and decided to try to find the Mulhouse chapel.

Arnold finished his mission in Mulhouse in 1963 when they didn’t have a chapel and only had a small branch meeting in a small rented “Salle” (a meeting room in a hotel). Now there is a ward with a beautiful chapel and grounds like a small park. There was a car in the parking lot but no one answered when we rang the bell on the side door.

We then took off for Strasbourg passing through Colmar, the birthplace of Albert Schweitzer and Bartholdi who was the artist who designed the Statue of Liberty.

Colmar was in the Mulhouse district
when Arnold was the District Leader there
House across the street from the Bartholdi statue
We were so late getting out of Colmar on our way to Weitersviller, and we had cancelled our hotel in Strasbourg the night before, so we were worried about a place to stay Friday night. We drove into Strasbourg finding a huge metropolis had grown up from what Arnold remembered of 45 years ago. We said a little prayer and just then saw a sign showing the way to a small village called Illkirch south of Strasbourg. Arnold said “the spirit says we should go there.” So we got back on the road and took the off ramp at Illkirch. The first thing we saw were signs to a hotel called “Domino.” We followed the signs and found ourselves in a quiet residential neighborhood. Thinking we had misread the signs we continued to the end of that street and looked to our left and “Voila” we found the most charming small bed-and-breakfast type hotel operated by a family.
The room was clean and comfortable and the best part… the price was right. We stayed there, had a good night’s sleep, got up and ate a nice breakfast, then hit the road once again for Weitersviller, the place where Arnold’s 2nd great grandfather and his forbearers, going back five more generations to 1603, were born.

All the way from Mulhouse to Weitersviller we passed through what Arnold remembered as nothing but vineyards of days gone by. But now those same fields are filled with a patchwork of corn and wheat as far as the eye can see.

 Alsace must be France’s bread basket as Bordeaux must be its wine cellar. A short drive from Strasbourg going west we passed through several small villages finally arriving at Saverne. Saverne was once an ancient Roman garrison established in the Vosges Mountain range where there were established three taverns to serve the Roman soldiers. The place was called anciently “Tres Tabernes.” The leveling process of languages took affect eventually, changing the name of the place to Saverne. Some of Arnold’s ancestors were born there.

We then took a winding mountainous road through dense forests up through Bouxviller, another place of ancestral heritage, finally arriving at our ancestor’s home town of Weitersviller, a charming Alsatian village on a hill surrounded by forests and farmland.
 We found a group of locals having a barbecue on the street near a small restaurant. Several of them wore Tee shirts identifying them as firemen. We approached them and said in French “We’ve come from America in search of long lost cousins.” Seeing our FamilySearch missionary badges identified our last name as Miller so Arnold explained that his 2nd great grandfather’s name was Müller but that he changed it to Miller when he emigrated to America in 1831. They were most friendly, and all of them remembered a Müller family that used to live there but they moved two years ago. Arnold then explained that there were many other family names from that village. When he mentioned the name Gimbel, several of them pointed out that there was a Gimbel still living up the street around the bend but that he lived alone and he was recovering from surgery on his leg. So it was decided not to bother him since he would have difficulty coming to the door.

Next door to where they were having their barbecue was a charming little restaurant so we decided to go in and order lunch.

Expecting a small lunch we were treated to a three-course meal

of the most delicious leek soup,

followed by some cold cuts of local making,
followed by a main course of roast pork, green beans, salad and potato pancakes and ending with two scoops of ice cream with some whipped cream on top and a heart-shaped chocolate covered cookie. The whole meal was only 8 Euros each, which included a soft drink.
This was the view from the restaurant windows.


The red doors are the doors to the firehouse

We then decided to try the local cemeteries, but again were disappointed to find that the most recent graves dated to the 20th century. It appears as though older graves are recycled to newer burial sites. We assumed that if we found a family name it might be a relative buried in the site of an ancestor.

These are the older grave sites that have no names or indication of anyone caring for them.

We then went through Neuviller, another place of ancestral heritage.


Blogger Karen said...

Beautiful pictures!

2:20 PM  
Blogger mdwaite58 said...

Great photos and story. My brother, Glenn, went to the same mission in '75-'77 and saw some of the same sights. I took the liberty to forward your blog link to him so he could enjoy them also. Thanks

Marlon Waite

5:13 PM  

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