Fechenheim am Main, Hessen, Germany
Part of Frankfurt am Main
Home of My Kaiser Family from 1636 to 1949
Ursula Kaiser was my maiden name. My mother called me Ushi, the German nickname for Ursula. My stepfather and stepgrandfather couldn't pronounce my German name, so they called me Rosalie. At school and in public, I used the name Ursula Kaiser until I went to college at Brigham Young University. There my roommates decided to shorten Ursula to Sue. A year later, I got married and got a new last name as well. Ever since, I have been known as Sue Foster.
When my mother reached the age of 21, she got a job in Fechenheim, part of Frankfurt am Main, at a chemical factory. This location was about 60 kilometers SW of her home in Oberkalbach, just south of Fulda. In Fechenheim, she met and married my father, Richard Kaiser, in 1931. They settled in Fechenheim across the street from the factory and had my brother. I was born six years later. My Kaiser ancestors lived in Fechenheim beginning in 1636, when Georg Keyser came across the Main River from Rumpenheim to Fechenheim and married Margaretha, the surviving daughter of Ludwig Spuell, who had died before 1636, probably in the 30-Year War. Georg and Margaretha had eight children. Three of their four daughters died as little children. Three of their four sons lived past childhood and were the ancestors of the Kaiser families in Fechenheim.
I lived the first six years of my life during WWII. My father was drafted into the army when I was two. Our lives were a nightmare of air raid sirens, rushing to the bomb shelter, destroyed buildings, etc. My father died in Albania when I was four years old. All my uncles on both sides of my family were drafted. All except one survived the war. He starved in a Russian prisoner of war camp at age 24.
When I was ten, my mother, having been widowed for 6 years, married an American soldier and we left our large extended family in Germany to live in the U.S. When I was 16, mother and I went back to Germany for a visit. After that, we knew for certain that America would be our permanent home. In 1955, although rebuilt somewhat from the war, Germany was still in a sad state of ruins and a depressing place to live.
At age 17, I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, which was the best decision of my life. I graduated from high school in Connecticut and after a year at BYU, I married an Ensign in the U.S. Coast Guard. We criss-crossed the 50 states during his 20-year career, living in 10 different places, and had six children and adopted a Korean girl. Then we settled in the Seattle/Tacoma region. Here my husband worked for Boeing as a spares engineer, retiring after 23 years.
I have had many interests over the years, including genealogy, reading, crocheting, macrame, ceramics and playing the folk guitar. I also taught pre-school in my home for 12 years. Genealogical research is still my favorite hobby. Between 1990 and 2004, I served as the director of the Family History Center in the Puyallup Washington South Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I still volunteer there for 3 hours a week. My husband and I supervise about 100 volunteers that are indexing the genealogical records in the microfilms of the Family History Library, the colossal project that will culminate in the free accessibility by genealogical researchers to the scanned images on the Familysearch.org web site.
I have an associate degree in Arts and Science and another in Early Childhood Education, and on 16 August 2007 I received my Bachelor's Degree of General Studies with an emphasis on Family History from Brigham Young University, finally attaining the education goal I had begun working toward 49 years earlier. In my graduation cap and gown, I was the oldest member of the August graduation class!
This web site is a way for me to share some of the information I have gathered about Fechenheim, its people, its history and its records with others who may have had ancestors in this area. I also have a web site about the village of my mother's birth to which I have added information interesting to people whose ancestors lived in that area. Many of these descendants have contacted me with gratitude for that information because there was no other way of knowing more about their ancestors' lives.
When I was growing up, my father's parents also lived in Fechenheim until a bomb destroyed their apartment. Then they moved to Offenbach across the Main River to the south. During WW II, we were evacuated from Fechenheim for a time when the bombing became intense. Then we lived with my mother's relatives in smaller villages for a while. I know of no close relatives of my Kaiser line who live in Fechenheim today.
Through this web site, I hope to find people in the U.S. and Germany who are related to me through their roots in Fechenheim.
Copyright 2008 Sue Foster