There is a bit of confusion about the origin of the Schunke family, and the following is taken from William Schunke's Memoirs written around 1920 describing what he could learn about the family's origins. Please note that the Memoirs were written in Old German. The family had to find someone who could translate from old German into modern German before the story could be translated into English. This makes names and locations more euphonic than literal.

"A couple of years after we arrived at Koelbchen, a third aunt joined us. Up to then she had lived in Olsnitz, a city in the kingdom of Saxony, not very far from the Bohemian, that is Czechoslovakian, border. This aunt, a person as fine as the two other aunts, provided the opportunity for us to investigate the matter of our ancestors’ nationality, which I want to relate here. As the remarks earlier note, it is clear that our family, the only one in the area named Schunke, had to have immigrated into the area, Since Grandfather was the only one in his family who had male children, we knew no other family which bore the name. One had to assume that our great grandfather or his father had come to Germany from some foreign territory at the time of the seven years’ war, and in fact from Bohemia. The war situation at the time made that easy. Prisoners of war could easily remain and melt into the local population.

"In that case it was easy to understand or explain in connection with some events that I would like to describe here. About the middle of the 1880's, I had to stop over for a long time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I was waiting for a train to Oregon. At that time I came across the local telephone directory and out of curiosity I looked for the name Chunk. I found about 20 entries by that name. I immediately decided I would look these people up in the time that I had left to wait there. But they could speak neither German nor English. Finally, I found a man who spoke German. He explained to me that they all, just recently, had arrived from Bohemia and that in their homeland the name Schunke was very common. This revelation came as quite a shock to me for certain reasons. My amazement comes from the fact that while we were living in Dornburg, a family from Bohemia named Franke settled there. The men had arrived first to look the village over. On that occasion Grandfather received them with particular cordiality which we noted with special interest and found most unusual. We learned that they had bought property in the village from Grandfather. His connection with them we did not learn. After my discovery in Cedar Rapids, it came clear to me that he wasn’t dealing with strangers, but that they were all people that he already knew. Besides, our third aunt had originally been a Franke, now her name was Weingaz, and she had a son named Albert, about a year younger than I. It was understandable that I connected the name Franke, which was the name of the people in Dornburg with this aunt’s family, and that the new arrivals were their Bohemian relatives. That proved to be true. When one considers the fact that Grandfather, in political matters, always took the part of Austria, there remains no shred of doubt that our ancestors came from Bohemia and were Slavs.

"If that was the case for Grandfather, I am almost convinced it was just as true for Grandmother’s side of the family. She was born on June 14, 1814 in Laufleur, a town north of Halle on the Berlin Halle Railroad. The Wendish, very Slavic families, had populated this area more than a 1000 years ago when Charlemagne extended his domain toward the east. In the south and west of this general area, many people of Slavic origin stayed on from before and repopulated the territories. There was much evidence of this, but very far east of Laufleur stood a place called Werningshan, across the Elbe, and only a few miles north of Laufleur on the same roads to the town of Rackwitz, also a Wendish name. In this town, and in Brownach, Grandmother’s relatives live. How I met them I relate further on.

"Grandmother’s maiden name was Kristiana Rosina Schmidt. The area where she grew up had suffered terribly in the war of liberation in 1812 and 1813 against Napoleon. The great battle of the nations at Leipzig in which Napoleon was finally defeated had devastated the whole landscape. The people were reduced to utter poverty. Grandmother was born eight months after the battle. Naturally, her family suffered considerably. Whenever she told the story of what she heard from her parents about those times, it was all misery and deprivation that they were confronted with, according to her account. For that reason it was necessary for young people to leave home and if at all possible to make a living somewhere else. The town of Koelbchen had suffered less in the war; a part of the allied army had bivouacked there a couple of days before the battle. Napoleon had retreated around the town to the south. In that way our hometown was spared. I understand that it was for this reason Grandmother came to Koelbchen and there she got a job as a house maid. Here too she met Grandfather and in 1839 they were married.

"Grandfather had been working at his trade up until then. Grandmother was an outstanding cook which stood them in good stead in times of great need because she knew how with the most meager resources to prepare an excellent meal. This undoubtedly led Grandfather to leave his trade behind and buy the guesthouse in Quedlinburg where Grandmother could use her culinary skills to the best advantage. Even now, after almost a hundred years, her influence is still felt and for all the decades since our family has felt the benefit because our Mama considered it a point of honor to cook like Grandmother. It is a satisfaction to me when I recognize that even among her grandchildren her culinary art is acknowledged. When recently Julius’s sons visited us from California, they had one request, morning and noon stewed prunes and dumplings."