CORNIES genealogy - CORNIES genealogie - CORNIES genealogia - КОРНИС генеалогия

Friday, January 29, 2010

Origins of the Cornies Surname

In a previous post, I suggested that the Cornies surname was a derivation of the eastern European name Kornis. The following articles suggest that the name really originated in the area of Friesland in present day Holland or Netherlands.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Johann Cornies (1789-1848) - Part II

This photograph was taken in Ohrloff and shows part of the business premises or estate once belonging to Johann Cornies.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Johann Cornies (1789-1848) - Part I

Much has been written about this one individual and his contributions to the Mennonite settlements in the Ukraine.  His contributions ranged from improving agricultural practices to introduction of silkworm farming to reformation of the educational system.  More can be read about his life story here.
His great, great-grandson Johann Cornies (1898-1919) was killed by bandits during the Russian Revolution.  This was the last male descendant of Johann Cornies (1789-1848) so his remaining descendants to this day do not carry the Cornies surname.
In 2004, bicentennial celebrations were held in Molotschna and the contributions of this Johann Cornies were recognized.  The following newspaper article describes some of the planned celebrations at that time:

Plans were also made to unveil a monument in memory of Johann Cornies.  The monument was planned to look like this:

Perhaps a reader of this post has been on one of the Mennonite Heritage Cruises to the old Molotschna settlement of Ukraine or knows of someone who has visited these sites and has taken photographs.  It would be greatly appreciated if photographs of these sites were forwarded to

Friday, January 8, 2010

Modern Ukraine

It appears that most of the second and third generation children after the original four Cornies brothers (Johann 1789-1848, Peter 1791-1847, David 1794-1853, Heinrich 1806-??) were born in the village of Ohrloff in the Molotschna colony.  This is where the Cornies family settled after arriving from the Chortitza colony.

Today, many of the Germanic names of those villages in Molotschna have been changed to Russian/Ukrainian names.  The map below shows that the village of Halbstadt is now called Molochansk, the village of Ohrloff is now called Orlove and Yuschanlee is called Kirove.  The map still shows the river running through the area as the Molochna.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Heinrich Cornies (dates unknown), grandson of Heinrich Cornies (1806 - ??)

Heinrich Cornies married Sara Nickel in Melitopol, Ukraine.  They emigrated to Canada at some point between 1924 and 1926 and lived in British Columbia.  This couple had five children being Agatha, Heinrich, Georg, Wilhelm and Alexander.  Their son Wilhelm also had a son Wilhelm who is the subject of the post here.   Their son Alexander had a son Elman (1929-1986) who lived in Newton, Kansas.

Thanks to information provided by N. Nickel and P. Stephenson.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Heinrich Cornies (1870-1944) Collected Photographs

Heinrich Cornies, grandson of David Cornies (1794-1853), arrived in Canada with memories of Molotschna in the form of photographs. There are six photographs of men shown below. The photograph in the bottom right corner was marked "Cousin D Cornies" on the back.  We are trying to identify these individuals.  Perhaps there are others who have old photographs passed down from previous generations who can identify these men.

Other photographs in Heinrich's possession were those shown below.  Again, any assistance in identifying these people would be greatly appreciated.

Thankfully submitted by Rose Sirman, granddaughter of Heinrich Cornies.

Jerry Dick adds the following analysis of the image above...

"In the absence of definitive information, I have concluded that the young woman in the middle of the top row in the middle group of above pictures is Helena Cornies (1850-1882) (GRANDMA #352851).  My rationale is as follows:
1. It seems highly likely that a "Cornies" picture collection containing a photograph of Anna (Töws) Hübert (1875-1944) (GRANDMA #473749) and her family would also include a picture of her mother, Helena Cornies (1850-1882).
2. The photographer's Logo at the bottom of the photograph of Anna (Töws) Hübert and her family is the same as that for the young woman I believe to be Helena Cornies (1850-1882).  It seems reasonable that Anna would have chosen a photographer that her family was familiar with and had used before.
3. The photographer for both pictures would have been an "Ohrloff" photographer as his Logo is also found on pictures of other known Ohrloff residents.  As indicated by the birth/death records in the GRANDMA database, Helena's parents and grandparents, Helena's family, and Helena's children's families all lived in Ohrloff too.
4. The young woman that I believe to be Helena Cornies (1850-1882) has an unusually strong chin, and that physical characteristic is clearly visible in her daughter Anna as a teen-ager, and in her granddaughters Anna (GRANDMA #463693) and Margaretha (GRANDMA #465236) as young women, see attached photographs. None of the other women in the Cornies picture collection seem to have this characteristic.
Jerry D."

Russian Revolution and Exodus from Ukraine

The Russian Revolution of 1917 marked the beginning of the end of the Cornies' family roots in the Mennonite settlements of the Ukraine.  Since their arrival in Ukraine in 1804, the Cornies family had become wealthy and prosperous as part of the Mennonite communal estates and were regarded as "Kulaks" (wealthy landowners) by the surrounding Ukrainian peasants.  The anarchy that followed forced the dispersion of the Cornies family from their Ukrainian land to Canada, United States, Paraguay, Germany and Russia.
One anarchist of that time who operated in the area of Schoenfeld and Molotschna was Nestor Makhno.  This name was well known to those who survived the Revolution and emigrated to other countries.  A short clip of the infamous Nestor Makhno can be seen here: