Spring 2006 Visit To Haida and Steinschönau


Rosemarie and Joe Voyles (USA)recently made the “pilgrimage” to Steinschönau (Kamenicky Senov) with Kelvin and Sue Bell (UK).  They were joined for a day by Jakub Smid, well known researcher in the Czech Republic.  They spent the day tour about Steinschönau, Meistersdorf, and Wolfersdorf.  While in Steinschönau, they lit candles for their ancestors, and also for Isolde Knechtel who had recently passed away.  Below are pictures they shared from the journey.


The Bells and Voyles drove to the Czech Republic from their “rendezvous point” in Germany.  Their “base camp
 was the town of Haida (Novy Bor) about 10km from Steinschönau.  There Jakub Smid met up with them and joined them on their adventures.  The picture to the left is of Sue Hackell Bell, Kelvin Bell, Joe Voyles and Jakub Smid.  To the right, in front of the Church of Mary of the Assumption is Kelvin, Joe, Jakub and Rosemarie.  One can see the Bohemian style homes behind the group in the one picture. 

Here is a picture of the steeple of the Church of Mary of the Assumption – a dominate landmark in the community.  The group started their travels early that morning and returned to Haida late that afternoon. 


With a map from 1905 showing the house numbers used in Meisterdorf, the group headed to that ancestral village.  Rosemarie reports that “some houses were still standing.  Others had been replaced.  We found empty lots by a side street and brook, and referred to the spot as “Hackel” corner.


Rosemarie noted that the road from Haida to Steinschönau goes uphill amongst forests.  After passing through the village of Parchen/Prachen, the group visited the basalt cliffs of Panska Skala – Herrenhausfels.  This well known landmark shows up in postcards, memories and even postage stamps! 

Here we see Joe and Kelvin – somehow Rod’s scanner flipped the two men in this picture – before the Basalt cliffs.  In addition, to give a person an idea of the size and scale of this formation, we have a picture with Jakub in the foreground.  An impressive geological formation that our ancestors would have been very familiar with.



After a quick, pleasant hike back to their cars, the party headed into Steinschönau.  Their first stop was the Glass Museum there in Steinschönau with all of its wonderful treasures.  With the help of “the friendly, German speaking woman” at the Museum, who helped them locate Marie Elisabeth Palme’s home – House No. 115 in lower Steinschönau, they wandered over to the Church.

The Church of St. John the Baptist, is in the heart of the City.  It is a remarkable building and the inside is beautiful.  Click here to see a picture of the interior of this breathtaking landmark.  Here the party met with an elderly priest who spoke English and who showed them the beautiful church of our ancestors.  It was built in 1718.


In the vicinity, is the old school that is still in use today.  Our ancestors knew this building as the German Folkschool.  It was built in 1896 and the first class started there on the 1st of September 1896. 

With map in hand and the location of Marie Palme’s ancestral home marked, the party headed down the hill into lower Steinschönau and to the house.  Here a picture was taken of Rosemarie and Sue in front of the home of Marie Elizabeth Palme – great grandmother of Ignaz Hackel, father of Emilie Hackel – a shared relative.  For more the lineage – click here. 


After the visit here the group visited the cemetery in Steinschönau in hopes of finding some additional trace of their ancestors.  While they had no luck in finding a cemetery marker, they did find this rather striking memorial to Franz Anton Knechtel – Glashändler. 


[Note Dr. Stephan Barta provided some additional information regarding this remarkable monument.  The inscription for Franz Anton Knechtel includes an inscription that says:  „der leidenden Menschheit Vater“, translated:“father of the suffering mankind“, for he founded an orphanage and a home for old and poor people.  Here is a picture from Dr. Barta  Franz Anton Knechtel was born in 1756 and died in 1822.  The monument is listed with the government which is required to protect it. 

Franz Anton Knechtel was married to Maria Anna (1781-1756?) and the following watercolor portrait was done in 1819.  Truly a treasure!  She was the mother of Clemens and Emmanuel Knechtel.


It was a wonderful adventure for these folks – who just so happened to have met via this website!  Thereby fulfilling the goal of reconnecting the scattered descendants of the men and women who once called Steinschönau home.