Our Family History


Within these pages, you can learn a little of the genealogy of the Fiegenbaum family. The story, in its current form, began in the small village of Ladbergen, Germany in the late 1600s and is presently unfolding on three continents. An ever expanding number of people, living and dead, knowing and unknowing, have roles in this tale.

I have included chapters on subjects that will help to place the bits and pieces of our family in the proper historical context. For the time being, these efforts reflect the current state of my research, and the bias of my own point of view. The facts presented here are one small effort to organize Time and Place in a very relative way. As my skills improve and the collection of data grows, I will expand my awareness and the scope of our story.

I hope that it will be apparent throughout my work that my interests are not limited to only those people who have used the Fiegenbaum surname. As I have stated explicitly elsewhere, I am curious about all of the associated families who are related to a Fiegenbaum in one way or another – the truly extended family.

The sections on Northwest Germany and Ladbergen are introductions to the region of Westphalia and to the small village where the Fiegenbaums seem to have gotten their start.

To understand how our family made the move from one continent to another, read about Emigration to the New World.

The chapter on America will tell you a little about what members of the family encountered when they left home for the United States. Most of the residents of Ladbergen who emigrated from Germany traveled to New Knoxville, Ohio, but the majority of our family members seem to have settled first in Warren County, Missouri in the 1830s and 1840s. By the end of the century, descendants of these Fiegenbaums were scattered from coast to coast, with a large concentration in the middle-western states.

One branch of the family emigrated from Germany to Brazil. I am slowly learning more of this intriguing story.

The Time Line is a simple, visual way to locate some of the events of the Fiegenbaum family history in a global context. What was happening the year Aunt Tillie was born? How many Fiegenbaums died as the Seven Years' War ravaged northern Europe? Who got married the same year Kodak introduced the "Brownie" camera?

It's not easy to say with a great deal of certainty just what Fiegenbaum might mean. The essay on Our Name is my best attempt to pass along an explanation others have considered. You can also learn a little about the logo that is used throughout the web site.

Apparently it is also not easy to spell Fiegenbaum. In the course of my travels through the historical record, I have confronted many flights of fancy. When I look at the list of stumbles and pratfalls, I do not know whether to laugh or cry.

Are you wondering if your family is part of the Fiegenbaums or vice versa? I can't even begin to answer that question without digging through my notes. However, the list of Surnames might help you decide if we at least crossed paths. The list is not definitive, but as I was typing it I do recall thinking it seemed rather long.

The genealogical Database, which is revised frequently, is fully searchable and it will give you access to all of the given names, surnames and basic genealogical facts for everyone I know about. Please note, that for reasons of privacy, some details for persons who are, or may be, living are not available to the public. Except for that restriction, everything I know is available to you.

If you are curious to know what some of us have looked like, take a peek at the selection of family Photos. There are also some family Documents you can browse. The section on Burials shows where some of our family members are buried. The collection of Maps may help you navigate through the geography of our story.

I have made use of a great many Resources in learning about our family and the times in which it has lived. Not all of these exist on the Internet. Perhaps you will find this list helpful as a starting place for your own research.

A great many people have worked very hard to assemble the information presented in the pages that follow and I have attempted to acknowledge the dedication and generosity of these Contributors. I apologize for those I have overlooked and ask you to please bring any oversights to my attention.

I should conclude with one last caveat. This web site has been built and is maintained by a part-time and amateur computer user and genealogist. I hope the quality of my work will not reveal too much of my inexperience and that you will have patience with my efforts to keep these pages accurate and current. A web as metaphor for cyberspace and genealogy is not lost on me. I are taking care not to become entangled in either.

If you care to comment, offer helpful suggestions, share additional information or submit corrections, please read About Our Project and Contact Me. I'd be glad to hear from you and will respond as soon as I am able.

I hope what you find here is both helpful and fun.