Katharina Barkman Koop: Nameless in Blumenort Cemetery #2

We first visited this cemetery in 2012. We were on our way back from Harvest Sun Festival in Kelwood. There was just something about having driven all those miles, for all those hours… it made us curious, it made us see things we’d never noticed before… like this cemetery. We were almost home… but maybe weren’t quite ready for our weekend of adventuring to be over just yet. We veered off Highway 12, and ventured into the cemetery for the first time.

We’ve returned several times since then, as our interest in Mennonite stuff — and our own histories — has taken root.

When we visited last year, I wandered around in a state of confusion. I was pretty sure there were ancestors there somewhere… but I had forgotten to bring my little binder of Grandma Online printouts (nerd) and all the names were swimming together, either all the same, or their headstones worn and difficult to read.

A few weeks ago, Andrew’s parents asked us to drive around with them and show them a few sites of interest. We’d learned that Andrew’s great-grandfather had died four years before Andrew’s dad was born. My father-in-law had never visited his grandfather’s grave. But Andrew had discovered it there in the Blumenort #2 cemetery, so we stopped in to see it.

While they were looking the Unger headstone, a different one caught my eye:

I stood there a while, staring at the stone until my mother-in-law came near. She knows German, so I asked her what “witwe” means. She told me it means “wife of”.

“Here lies Grandmother, wife of Johann Koop. South Russia. Born April 4, 1832. Died July 28, 1923.”



I consulted Grandma Online to see if I could identify this mystery woman.

Thanks to the birth and death dates (and the spousal information) I have learned that she is Katharina Barkman Koop.

I feel like I should try to tell you a bit about Katharina Barkman Koop. Here’s what I’ve gleaned from Preservings issue 10:

“She was a slight woman of medium build, about 5’6”.”

“Even at Katharina’s death at the age of 91, hardly a grey hair were visible as she lay in her coffin.”

I wish I could learn something of her personality, what was she like? Perhaps I’ll come across this info in my continued reading about Katharina Barkman Koop.

I’ll write it again, trying to make up for her name being left off her own tombstone: Katharina Barkman Koop.

My great-great-great-grandmother.