Friday, November 5, 2010

Earlier Generations

Hermann Henrich "Henry" VDH was born on March 17, 1839 in Holdorf-Ihorst. I've included a map that shows how close the farming communities were in relation to each other. He was the son of Gerhard Henrich VDH and Maria Catharine Ortmann. (It was traditional in that part of Germany to give a child several names. They were typically "known by" the last name in the list. Gerhard Henrich was born in 1802 in Dinklage and Anna Catherine was born in 1802 in Damme. Damme is a few miles southeast of Holdorf and just off the map.

The earliest records I have for the von der Heides has them living in the Dinklage area. Since all of these towns were within a few miles of each other, we visited each of the communities and the churches where they were probably baptized. The church pictured on the left is the one in Dinklage. The one on the right is St. Victor in Damme.

Once again the baptismal records list the family as "Heuerleute" working as hired hands on the farms of others. The book on the history of Holdorf included pictures of farm families in the early 20th Century. This generation worked the farms a century earlier. They generally had large families and just surviving was a full-time job.

Henry's Uncle Hermann, brother of Gerhard Henrich, emigrated to Cincinnati a generation before Henry and Elizabeth came with their young family. His uncle probably paved the way and made the transition easier. My Vonderheide g-grandparents are buried in St. Joseph Cemetery Old -- the German cemetery located on the west side of Cincinnati.

This is the grave marker for Hermann "Henry" Vonderheide, father of August, Joseph and Henry.

This is the grave marker for Catherine Elizabeth Kamphake Vonderheide, mother of August, Joseph and Henry. They were the first Vonderheides in my direct line to come to America.


  1. I am trying to research my husband's family, as we are planning a trip to Germany in May 2011. Our last name is Vonderheide, and I realize that the spellings have changed over the years. We live in Jasper, Indiana.
    The grandfather that we have information on was named Herman Vonderheide, born in Berge, Amt. Hanover April 29 1817. Her married Antionete Niebur, and they came to the US via New Orleans, LA. They reached Dubois county Indiana on March 19, 1846.
    Does this person come up in the research you have done?
    ellen vonderheide

  2. Ellen,
    You can email me directly at and/or I can give you my phone number. The area "my" Vonderheides came from had NUMEROUS Herman Vonderheides. I also looked up the name Niebur from the same area. Here is what I found:
    Niebur, Bruder und 2 Schwestern des Kolonen Niebur, Ossenbeck 3 1832 Rottinghausen The translations is that a brother and two sisters left in 1832. I can tell you who to contact in Germany.

  3. Ellen,
    I looked at where Berge is and I really don't believe there is any relationship between my Vonderheides and yours. I wiah there was.


Join the conversation. Comments are appreciated and keep me motivated.