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Various "editions" of the letter below have been sent to Ahlfs to gather information on our family. Thank you to those who have responded. 

Kent Ahlf
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November  2012

Dear Ahlfs

In the fall of 1996, I expanded my Ahlf family tree project. I had been gathering data on the US Ahlf families for almost 20 years but had little to show for it. In the last 4 ˝ years, I have written to over 250 Ahlfs in the US and more in Germany. (I would estimate there are about 400-500 Ahlfs in the US currently - parents and children). Over the years several hundred Ahlfs have responded with letters, Emails and calls to me. This includes 1 family (the only) in Canada and a many from. In the last couple years, I have been finding an increased interest among the Ahlfs in Germany and that part of my data base has been expanding. (I would like to find a German Ahlf interested in Genealogy to help broaden the project). A number of individuals have been very helpful and supplied much information. 

In addition, I pulled well over 3000 names from Social Security files, the Internet, LDS Family History files/microfiche and national phone book records. As a result I have collected a very large data base of US and German Ahlfs. In total there are now almost 5000 Ahlf's identified.

From this I would guess that about 20 individuals/families of Ahlfs migrated from Germany during the period 1860 - 1880, +/- a few years. 

When remembered, they were from a limited number of villages in the area midway between Cuxhaven and Hamburg, Germany (Osten, Isensee, Oederquart, Kajedeich, Freiburg, Cadenberge, Oldendorf, Neuhaus, etc.). They appear to have settled primarily in the Upper Midwest (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri), and California (some came for the gold rush). They later spread out to the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington), Texas and one family branched into Alberta. The later arrivals (around 1900) stayed on the East Coast (New York, New Jersey). Through time all these have spread out. The data base I have lists about 170 families. I also have a list of about 130 Ahlf immigrants including the date and ship on which they arrived.  

This data base has been assembled into distinct Home and for villages/farms/estates in Germany. These groupings has me very convinced that we are all related. (The only exception is the "Burg" family, which comes from north of the Elbe River but has links to Bulkau and to Osten?).

I have tried to construct all this data into family trees on a state by state (see above states) and family basis. I have similar data for the 10+ small villages in Germany. They vary significantly in completeness. (If you are interested, I would be happy to supply the directory and copies of the family trees by state and village as you request.) With this letter, I am enclosing partial family trees for families in your area.

Would you please look them over closely, I can not promise they are 100% correct. Please make any corrections, add any additional information you may have and return to me. I will promptly return a revised and updated copy to you.

This has been a fun project for me. A great bonus has been meeting many Ahlfs. They have all been very terrific people. (I apologize to Mrs. Ahlf in California who thought I was prying and could have an criminal motive).

Sincerely

Kent Ahlf
Seattle, WA 98034

425-820-7563                                 Please feel free to call!!!!
kentahlf@comcast.net

PS: Briefly my part of the family are descendants of Barthold Ahlf of Bruch/Isensee. His son, August Ahlf, my great grandfather, settled in the LeSueur, Minnesota area in about 1875. August was a carpenter/cabinet maker, born in Germany in 1853 and died in 1925. My grandfather, Elmer, my father, Douglas, and I all are all pharmacists. My family owned a drug store in Worthington, Minnesota from 1925 until 1982 when my dad retired. He now lives in Phoenix. I worked for Eli Lilly and Company for 30 years (1969 to 1999) and have been in Seattle since 1984. My sons are 24 and 27. The older one is a recent graduate from  the University of Washington (now working for Eli Lilly & Company) and the younger from Western Washington University (working as an accountant for a food broker).

 

PS: An additional note of interest. I am finding two ways to pronounce Ahlf 1. "Alf" (like “elf”)  2. "Awl-f" as my family does. A large family in Southern Illinois from Kajedeich uses "Alf" as well as a family in the Oakland area. Several from Osten use “Awl-f”.