5

So far I found him on the Casualties list but cannot trace him back from there.

His Name is Kasper Ahrem.

I do not know his date of birth or birth place but I know that all five of his children were born in Cologne, Germany.

4

I outlined research options in my answer on How to find information on German soldiers from World War I and World War II?

For research using the Verlustlisten you should choose the one provided by Verein für Computergenealogie (search mask, project page), as it is transcribed manually and complete (Ancestry’s version is not complete as of today).

Searching for Ahrem I found “Ahrem, Kaspar” (not Kasper). As place it states Cöln-Riehl, which is a part of Cologne and had an huge garrison. In most cases the place named in the Verlustlisten is the place of birth. We also find “Ahrem, Hermann” and “Ahrem, Peter”, possibly brothers or cousins, from Cöln-Niehl, a city district nearby.

Back to Kaspar Ahrem: According to the Verlustlisten he was killed in action in 1916. At this time, the Verlustlisten don’t tell the birth date as earlier and later in the course of war. So from the Verlustlisten alone we cannot say for sure if this person is the one your looking for.

We also know the unit now: I. Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 16, 3. Feld-Kompanie (1st Pioneer Battalion No. 16, 3rd field company).

He is not listet at the Volksbund’s grave search.

For further research, we have to use civil registration. If we assume that Kaspar Ahrem did not move, the register office in Köln-Nippes should be the one covering the years in question (according to Riehl (Köln) at GenWiki).

You can look for the record at Historisches Archiv Köln (left navigation bar → Personenstandsregister → Standesamt Nippes → Sterbefälle (deaths) → year).

I would start at the end of 1916, although it is unlikely to find the death record there. You should go on with 1917 to 1919, as it often took a long time to document the death. Searching by name is currently not possible, but maybe in the long term by crowdsourcing (http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/K%C3%B6ln/Standesamt/Sterbeurkunden/Projektbeschreibung)

If you can’t find him, I’d look for the children’s birth records (e.g. by using their death records) to locate the place of residence of the parents around WW I. Then search for the death record there. Finding the death record (and then the birth record) or the marriage record (maybe through the children's records) is the key for further research. City directories of Cologne might help you locate the place of living, as it is a rare name.

Good luck.

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    Would a death while in military service really be documented in the Standesamt at home? Since Kaspar was killed in action, he probably died in France. (If we had a specific death date, we could look for engagements that took place on that date, to get candidate locations. I've done this for other WWI & WWII deaths). – bgwiehle Apr 16 '16 at 12:53
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    @bgwiehle Definitely. During WWI, the deaths were reported often by the last military unit. Later, you find reports from the ministry of war or the Zentralnachweisamt für Kriegerverluste und Kriegsgräber (belonged to the ministery of the interior). I traced losses from whole villages this way. For WWI deaths you often also have some written tradition in church books (either some separate list, often as a note in the birth entry and rarely even as a separate death entry). – lejonet Apr 16 '16 at 14:16

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