They Didn’t Need Facebook to Connect

One name stood out to me in the St. Malachy’s record books – it definitely wasn’t Irish and I didn’t think it was French, so I wondered what could be the origin of Birhanzel.  For a good chunk of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there was a Birhanzel baptism, first communion, or confirmation on nearly every page of the record books. Read the Birhanzel family history (from the 1978 history booklet) to learn more…

Charles Birhanzel Family Story

Charles Birhanzel was born in Czechoslovakia in 1873.  While crossing the Atlantic during the immigration period he met Patrick McCarthy of Ireland.  Years later after Charles had moved to Clontarf Township he happened to stop in at Pat McCarthy’s blacksmith shop in Clontarf and the two shipmates reunited.

Charles settled in Iowa after arriving in the United States and he married Mary Rose Slemenda.  He and Mary Rose moved to the Clontarf area where they raised eleven children: Joseph, Alvina Ann (Hamann), Matilda (Franzmeier), Thomas, Anastasis, Fred (married Adele Hamann), Charles Jr. (Isabelle Palmer), Emma (Michael Zinda), Emily, Rose (Silas Tilotson, and Mary (Walter Wallace).

Descendants that are still living in this area are (in 1978): Joseph in Clontarf, and Mrs. Fred and Mrs. Charles Birhanzel living in Benson.

Would Patrick McCarthy be “Crackers” McCarthy?  Anything to add about the Birhanzel and McCarthy families?




Filed under Clontarf, Family Histories

9 responses to “They Didn’t Need Facebook to Connect

  1. Dawn Johnson

    there are several birhanzl aand birhanzel families around montevideo, mn…but am not familiar with the families

    • Thanks Dawn…it sounded like such a unique name, I wondered about it. Odds are, the Montevideo Birhanzls are related to the ones who lived in Clontarf. Thanks for reading the blog!


      • James Nickel

        Yes the two families are related. Two brothers Charles and James came over first to Hancock County, Iowa. Got themselves each a wife and each had one child and then came to Chippewa County shortly after that. The two families lived close to each other through at least 1910. Sometime after 1910 the James Birhanzl family moved to Chippewa County.


  2. Anne Schirmer

    Mary Birhanzel Wallace had some great photo albums. Her niece got them after she passed away a few years ago at the age of like, 95. She let me copy a few of them for the Clontarf history books. One is of the family, a formal portrait! Mary had no children. Alvina was known as “Al-beena” Hamaan
    so it was written Albina. Lonny Birhanzel was a friend of my brother. I’ll see if I can get him to repond to this blog. He would be about 64, maybe…
    He was the youngest of 7-8 children, I think. Mary’s niece that got her keepsakes was from Starbuck area….

  3. Anne Schirmer

    “Cracker” McCarthy (singular) was George McCarthy. I’ve asked a few people.

  4. James Nickel

    Charles Birhanzel was born: Karl Bierhansl, on 20 Dec 1873 in Malkov, Bohemia, Austria to Matej Bierhansl and Katerina Janotova.

    His brother James Birhanzl was born Vaclav Bierhansl, on 1 Sep 1871 also in Malkov.

    It was convenient for my researching that the two brothers decided on different spellings of the last name. Birhanzel vs. Birhanzl.


  5. James Nickel

    My research indicates that Emma Helen Birhanzel married a John Leonard Zinda not the Michael Zinda you have listed.

    I haven’t seen any records for Emily or Thomas Birhanzel in any of the census records. Perhaps they died as children between years. I have the 1900, 1905, 1910, 1920 and 1930 records for Charles.

    Re: “Read the Birhanzel family history (from the 1978 history booklet) to learn more…”

    By any chance is there an electronic copy of the book or at least those pages?


  6. James Nickel

    I suppose if I don’t write this now, I’ll forget. Better to leave it now for some future researcher. I don’t think Emily was a daughter to Charles Birhanzel and Mary Slemenda. I can find a birth index record for an Emilia Margaret Birhanzl. Her mother’s maiden name is Jakoubek and she was born in Chippewa County on 18 Mar 1913. That would make her a daughter of James Birhanzl. The brother of Charles.

    Certificate Number: DC-08607

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