The Shattuck Public Library

The next day I took another brief walk around the windmill museum again, enjoying the atmosphere.

Then I set out for the Shattuck public library, where I might find some additional info about the Birkel/Birkle family.

Along the way I took in some “local color”.

Unfortunately I didn’t have an ugly sweater with me, so I couldn’t stick around and take part in the Christmas parade.

The Shattuck public library was pretty cozy! It was also nice to see they were encouraging proper COVID protection measures. Not the norm here in the middle of the country.

The Shattuck library is a cozy place.

Sitting down to do some research.

Librarians are good at enforcing the rules!

When the old building got damaged, the library was relocated into a building that was previously a bank.

This is how you can tell the library building used to be a bank.

I didn’t have much luck browsing around, until a clerk offered to help and led me over to a very small section containing books related to local history and lore. There I found a self-published paperback, of only a couple dozen pages, that was almost exactly what I’d been hoping for: “The Other Germans: Settlements Of Germans From Russia In Oklahoma And Texas,” created last year by Philip C. Bryan, M.D.

I sat and read the book, making a bunch of notes, and photographing a few pages as well. One of the most exciting discoveries was an explanation for why my grandfather has changed his last name from “Birkle” to “Birkel” upon arriving on the west coast. He was trying to avoid mistreatment from other Americans who were suspicious of his Russian and/or German heritage during World War I.

I decided to take what I’d learned and combine it with the narrative my father wrote several years ago, to come up with as clear a picture of our Russian German past as we could manage. (That narrative follows in the next post.)

As I made my way back to the house, the sky looked ominous again. It would be another stormy night.

Storm a' comin'. Yup.

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