8 March 2014


For the longest time I have intended this page to be an introduction to Germany, the ancestral home of most of the family histories included in the genealogical research presented at this web site. And for just as long a time, I have failed to make much progress towards that end. I have not abandoned my goal, but I can not predict when I will find success nor may I continue to say with honesty that it will happen soon.

Germany is a simple word that most people would confess to understanding readily, but behind it lies a rich and also a complicated story . Achieving an understanding of that story that is reasonably accurate and not contorted excessively by the complexity is both my hope and a stumbling block.

The vast majority of the families whose stories unfold here have roots to places in northwestern Germany: Hannover, Lippe, Münster, Lower Saxony, Oldenburg, Prussia, Tecklenburg, Westphalia. Others have ancestral connections to Baden, Bavaria, Hesse-Kassel and Waldeck.

At any point in the geo-political chronology of this region of Europe, these localities might have been part of an Arch-bishopric, Arrondissement, Bishopric, Countship, Département, Duchy, Empire, Free Hanseatic City, Grand Duchy, Kingdom, Principality, Province, or Republic. At least until the next twist of noble lineage, financial crisis, military conflict, statement of faith, or political maneuver re-configured allegiances and re-drew boundaries. A farmstead or village that over many decades changed but slightly could be washed again and again by the ebb and flow of the historical current.

Ladbergen, which appears to be the historical home of the Fiegenbaums, is one place which has had such a fluid history. Part of the story of that village is presented on a separate page of this web site.