The kunitzer family from Dombie

Emma Kunitzer and William Sendtko at their wedding
Dombie, Polad from an old NatGeo map.
Natalie and Emma Kunitzer
Adolph Kunitzer
Mathilda Schnek Kunitzer

Family Group Sheet

Name: Adolph E Kunitzer


Birth: 18 Dec 1855 Dombie, Poland, Death: 20 Jan 1917 Sagnaw, MI

Burial: Lutheran Cem. on Brockway, Saginaw

Father: Adolph Kunitzer (~1830-)

Marriage: 7 Nov 1886


Spouse: Mathilda Schnek


Birth: 24 Dec 1863, Death: 26 Aug 1916 Sagnaw, MI

Burial: Lutheran Cem. on Brockway, Saginaw

Father: Gottlieb Schnek (~1830-)

Mother: Carolina Noack (~1830-)




Emma Kunitzer

Birth: 12 Jul 1895 Chicago, IL, Death: 10 Oct 1962 Saginaw, MI

Spouse: William Frederick Sendtko (1886-1951)  Marriage: 18 Feb 1917 Saginaw, MI


 Albert Kunitzer

Birth: 5 Aug 1893 Dombie, Death: 30 Nov 1913 Saginaw, MI

:Never married.


Roman Kunitzer

Birth: abt 1890, Dombie, Death: abt 1902 Marion Springs, MI

Never married.


4 F: Natalie Kunitzer

Birth: 11 May 1889 Dombie, Death: 7 Dec 1962 Sagnaw, MI

Spouse: Herman Ganschow (1883-1926)

Spouse: Louis Kepp (~1890-) Marriage: 1928

Spouse: Charles Ludwig Jr Marriage: 23 Jun 1907 Saginaw, MI



Adolph Kunitzer was born on 18 Dec. 1855 in Dombie (now Dabie, Poland.)  It is about 30 miles north west of Lodz.  He had three siblings: Samuel (1860 – ?), Julia (1861 – ?) and Carolina (1862 – ?)  Samuel may have emigrated to America, but the sisters stayed in Poland.

Adolph and Mathilda Schnek (1863-1916) were married in Dombie, they had three children there:  Natalie (1889-1962), Roman (1890-1903) and C. Albert (1893-1913). Emma was born in Cook County. IL in 1895.

Adolph became a Naturalized citizen on 19 June 1899 in Cook County, IL.

On 20 June 1900 Mathilde Kunitzer bought 40 acres of land in the area of Marion Springs, MI.  S2N2SE1/4 Sec 21, T10N1 (or 9) E in Marion Township for $550.  The land was purchased from Wilhelm and Katherine Kienitz.  William August Kienitz was born in 1867 in Poznan, Poland.  He lived in Chicago in 1892 when his son William Gustav was born. Another son, Adolph (1895-1946) was also born in Chicago.  A daughter, Martha Wilhelmina (1898-1991)  was born in Marion Springs.

It is clear that the Kunitzer and Kienitz families knew each other in Chicago.  I don’t know if they were acquainted in Prussia.  Kienitz moved to Marion Springs before 1898 and persuaded the Kunitzer family to follow them in 1900.  They bought 40 acres from Kienitz sight unseen and moved but things didn’t work out well.  The land was poor and in March 1903 their son Roman drowned in a ditch or creek. Roman was buried in the St. John’s Lutheran cemetery in Marion Springs. They let the land go for taxes and moved to Saginaw.  Adolph and Albert got jobs at U. S. Graphite, which is still in business but UK owned now.  By 1913 they owned a home at 922 Hill St. in Saginaw.

Tragedy struck again when Albert died of typhoid fever on 30 Nov. 1913 after suffering for five weeks.  The City directory for 1914 listed Adolph, Edward (laborer, U. S. Graphite), and Emma E. Kunitzer all living at 922 Hill, and Rudolph R. Kunitzer, a machinist at Wickes Bros. and living at 401 Hermansau.

Natalie Kunitzer married Charles Henry Ludwig (1885-1971) in 1907, but they were divorced on 23 March 1911 then she married Herman Ganschow (1883-1926)  They had seven children two of whom, Adolph and Edward died fighting in Europe during World War II. Ernie Ganschow also served in the war and had a metal plate in his head. The other children were Bertha, Albert, June, and Elmer.

The loss of their two sons was hard on the Kunitzer and she died on 26 August, 1916.  Mathilda was only 52, but had suffered from stomach trouble for years.  Her health had been impaired since 1913 when Albert died.  Within 6 months Adolph also died of a broken heart, he also had been depressed since their son died.  He was only 61 years old. Both were buried in the Holy Cross Lutheran cemetery on  Brockway Rd.

Adolph’s obituary said that he had worked at US Graphite at the time of his death, however Daniel Sendtko said that he also had owned a gas station at the corner of Fayette and Genesee which Emma inherited.  There was a feud between the sister because Natalie thought she was entitled to a share since she was older. She hired an attorney named Otto and it was eventually sold and the proceeds split.  Less than a month after Adolph died, Emma married William Sendtko. 

After her parents died, Emma was not alone.  Two of Samuel Kunitzer (Adolph’s brother) sons: Rudolph (1877-1929) and Adolph (1881-1847) also lived in the area.

Rudolph Kunitzer immigrated in about 1900 according to census records.  He married Mary Kronawald 1878-1945, also a recent immigrant, 27 May 1903.  They lived at 401 Hermansau and had 5 children:  Elsie, Ursula, Barbara, Ralph, and Daniel.

Adolph Kunitzer (1881-1947), Samuel’s other son, arrived 29 Oct. 1901 in New York. He was from Dombie,  sponsored by his brother Rudolph, and headed for Saginaw. On 25 Feb. 1906 he married Ida Schoenheit at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. They had 10 children, 8 lived to adulthood. Paul Kunitzer (1907-1961) had oil fields & wells in northern Michigan. Daniel Sendtko had summer job driving truck for him.

Herman Ganschow died in 1926, leaving Natalie a widow, and she married Louis H. Kepp(1883-1942). They had a son Louis Kepp (1930-2007).  That Louis was adopted by the Hetzners and used the name Hetzner. After Louis Sr. died, Natalie went by the name Ganschow.

Emma died on 10 Oct. 1962 at 67 of a heart attack, and within two months, Natalie died at 73 – on 7 Dec. 1962. 

The Lodz Mystery.  There was a Jewish man named Julius Kunitzer who owned a textile factory in Lodz, Poland.  He was assassinated in 1905 by disgruntled employees.  My first Ancestry DNA results showed that I had 1% Jewish ancestry. It now shows that I have 1% Portuguese ancestry.  All of the non-Saginaw Kunitzer people with Ancestry trees are Jewish. All of the Saginaw Kunitzer were Lutheran.  Dabie is about 30 miles north west of Lodz, and in an area where Julius Kunitzer lived in his early life. The Wikipedia article about Dabie says it was founded before 1232.  Before WWII about 1,000 Jews lived there, but almost all were exterminated. About 2,000 people live there now. The mystery is whether we have distant Jewish Kunitzer ancestors.