Bertsche/Kinsinger Reunion

A reunion of the Bertsches and Kinsingers is held annually on the first Sunday in June, at the Meadows Retirement Home in Meadows/Chenoa, IL.

The address and phone are:
Meadows Mennonite Retirement Home
Rr 1 Box 310,
Chenoa, IL 61726

This is on US 24 half way between Chenoa and Gridley. Maps: Yahoo Switchboard

Invitation to the 1997 reunion:


The Bertsche-Kinsinger Reunion will be held Sunday, June 1, 1997 at the Campus Center (air conditioned) of the Meadows Mennonite Home located 4 miles west of Chenoa with a potluck dinner at 12:30. Bring your favorite dishes or stop at the nearest "deli" an have them do the work for you. Please bring your own table service but drinks will be provided.

We also will be passing on family activities and whereabouts, so if you're unable to attend please pass on all your exciting news!! We need our younger generations to know their family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Send replies to:

Maxine Koopman, Box 134, Flanagan IL 61746, 815/796-2242
Joe Bertsche, RR 1, Box 40, Chenoa IL 61726, 815/956-5922
Lois Yordy, Chenoa IL, 309/747-3331

BRING PICTURES !!!!!!! (Past & Present)

Newsletter from the 1995 reunion:


The historical information of the Bertsche-Kinsinger reunion date back to September 9, 1928 when the Kinsinger reunion was held at Miller Park in Bloomington. The first Bertsche reunion was held Sept 2, 1933 at the Play Park in Pontiac. Following the 1956 reunions they were merged into one.

The first Kinsinger reunion had 62 members present. Most of the reunions were held at the farm home of John and Phoebe Bertsche at rural Flanagan with a few exceptions. The 1930 reunion was held at Fountain Park in Remington, IN where it rained. At the 1932 reunion Dr. S. K. Mosiman, president of Bluffton College told of his trip to western states to visit relatives. The 1933 reunion was held at the D.K. Roth home south of Gibson City, IL. The reunion was no held during 1940. The 1944 reunion relates Joe Bertsche as the youngest present at 4 weeks old. The 1945 reunion listed post card costs of $.50, plates $.50, napkins $.10, coffee $.72, ice cream $9.75 with 70 attending. The 1953 reunion listed being held at Sarah Bertsche's as Aunt Phoebe died prior to the reunion listed that year. he final single Kinsinger reunion, the last Sunday of August 1956, gives the following account: Maxine Koopman, Clara Salzman, and Lucille Augsburger as serving on the table committee. Walter Bertsche was president and Galdys Bertsche was secretary-treasurer. The elections were to plan the merger with David Bertsche Chairman, Clair Yordy VP, and Howard Oesch sec-treas.

Many familiar faces of living and deceased family members are listed as officers, program chairpersons, and entertainment given by the children. The first meeting in 1928 listed Andrew Salzman as the oldest member present, and Howard Zehr as the youngest at 6 weeks of age. The first meeting to organize was called to order by Arthur Bertsche and it was decided to make it an annual event. Linda Bertsche was the secretary. Officers elected were: Milton Oesch pres, John Salzman, and Walter Bertsche were appointed as the organizing committee, to arrange future plans. A collection of $9.50 was taken. The Kinsinger reunions were held during late August and early September. The minutes listed this as the John Kinsinger reunion. Families were larger than present day and it was interesting to see all the children participating in singing, playing instruments, and readings. Carrie Ulrich gave invitations to hold the reunion at Mineral IL, but for the most part the vote was to return to the John Bertsche home. The good times we had in the spacious front yard of John and Phoebe Kinsinger Bertsche and the barn yard when games were played by the children.

John Kinsinger, the grandfather of the cousins Almon, Arthur, Eula, Madie, and others was married first to Barbara Smith with both immigrating to Butler Co. in Ohio. Their children were: John, Magdalena, Barbara, Jacob, Christian, Emma, and Elizabeth. After the death of Barbara, John then married Barbara Wagler. Their children were: Joseph, Susana, John, Lena, Peter, Barbara, Jacob, and Phoebe. Historically we can trace the Kinsinger family back to Switzerland and Germany, with such names as Ulrich, Schrag, Imhof, Esch, Liechti, Schwartzentruber, Stalter, Hauter, and Eymann.

The Bertsche reunion was started Sept 2, 1933 at the Pontiac Play Park. Officers elected were: Nyle Bertsche pres, Herb Fitz VP, and Lucille Bertsche Sec. Henry Bachman recorded the minutes. The collection taken was $6.41 with expenses of $5.50 for ice cream and $.20 for cones to leave a balance of $.21. The 1934 reunion was held Sept 22. The 5 gallons of ice cream cost was $1.25 a gallon. The 1937 reunion was held at the Flanagan artesan park. The 1941 reunion was held in Gridley. The 1942, 46, 47, and 48 reunions were held at Remington IN. One listed as over 70 in attendance coming from all directions including a truck load of Bertsche children coming from Flanagan. the 1943, 44, and 45 reunions were cancelled because of gas rationing. The 1948 reunion returned to Flanagan. The 1950 reunion was transferred from Flanagan part to Elmer and Lucille Augusburger's home because of the rain.

The first combined reunions were held July 7, 1957 at the Flanagan park. the joint reunion moved to the Flanagan Legion Hall because of the rain. The 1965 reunion was the first reunion with no entertainment listed. The 1957 reunion met following a rain and hail storm. The 1980 reunion had a 6 inch rain fall the night before. Almon Bertsche was listed as the oldest member present at 85 years of age. 1985 was the first attendance of our historian, Mary Chase, from Indiana. 1988 was the first meeting we went to an afternoon ice cream, cake, and cookies. Evan and James Bertsche attended this reunion and Evan said it was his first attendance in 45 years. In 1990 we moved to Milton and Marge Bertsche's home because of the dust, cold, and high winds. The 1992 reunion marked the year we changed to the Meadown Campus Center.

The Kinsinger family has been traced back to 1750 and the Bertsche family to 1795, both of Swiss-Alsacian ancestry. Bertsche names in their background are: Hauter, Nafziger, Kinsinger, Gingerich, Esch, Koch, Imhoff, Schrag, Kolb, Schmocker, and Koch. The fond memories go back many years. We want to invite everyone to our June 4, 1995 reunion. We only have a skeleton of the total relationship addresses, we would encourage your contacting your extended families including children and grandchildren to come. As an addition to the program, Steve Estes, who is also related to some of the Bertsches, will be speaking on the Bertsche-Kinsinger families and will be responding to questions and comments we hay have for him. Steve is the chaplain of the Meadows Mennonite retirement center and is the foremost historian of families from Swiss-Alsacian ancestry. Also there will be a playground with equipment for the youngsters to play on asjacent to the Campus Center where we are meeting. The Campus Center is air conditioned for our comfort. In case you aren't able to be present we would like to have your historical family updating. The last entries Mary Chase has go back to 1990 so we need your family marriages and children births, death information for the past 5 years. If you would like a copy of the Mary Chase Kinsinger-Bertsche family histories let me know and I'll get back to you on availability and prices.

Paul Bertsche, Sec.
17052 N 400 E Rd.
Flanagan, IL 61740

Last modified June 11, 1997 by Kirk Bertsche,