Remembering Our Ancestors: Paul Heinrich Bücker

Last Sunday 37 years ago, (Great-) Grandpa Paul passed away in Gütersloh, Germany.

When Paul Heinrich Bücker was born on 26 January 1911 in Balve in the German Sauerland, both his father Josef Bücker and his mother Anna Hotmaker were 35 years old.  He had many brothers but only one sister, Auguste, or Gustchen for short, and she died fairly young.  They all missed her terribly; Paul named his first daughter after her.  From the quiet and beautiful Sauerland, the family moved into the Ruhrgebiet during the 1920s, most likely because Paul’s father had to find work in the city to feed his big family.  Times were hard in the Weimar Republic.

There, in the city of Dorsten, Paul grew into a man and married Anna von Hinten on 23 January 1939.  Paul moved his family out of the Ruhrgebiet to the more quiet Gütersloh close to the Teutoburg Forest – yes, the same area where the Cherusci Arminius (or rather, Hermann) beat the Romans in 9 AD -, where he worked for a private rehab clinic as a physiotherapist.  They had two daughters, one at the onset of WWII and the other when the war was over.  During the war Paul served in a medical unit in Danzig.

Paul with 2 grandchildren

In the late 1940s, Paul’s mother Anna, then widowed, lived with them for a few years in Gütersloh before she died in 1950.  His older daughter remembers well her ‘Strickoma’, and the time spent together.  Paul worked at the same place until he retired when he was 70 years old, so that would have been in 1981.

Paul with his wife Anni on a visit to Bremen, Germany, around 1975

Paul died of a heart attack only roughly two years later, on 12 July 1983, in Gütersloh, and lies buried there, see picture below.  His wife Anny followed him fourteen years later.

buecker hain grave 7-12-2020
Here, Paul and his wife Anny lie buried, together with their son-in-law Ingo Hain, whose 51st birthday it would have been on the day this picture was taken, 12 July 2020.

Rest in Peace, dear Opi.  You had a big heart, and from you, I first learned about Goethe’s Faust, the music of Richard Wagner, and why it is a good idea to eat smoked ham sandwiches with knife and fork.  You also were the most cunning Easter-egg-hider in the family!

We love you, and we miss you.

Paul liked to visit the harbor in Bremen. Here he is watching the ships being loaded and unloaded, in 1982.


Remembering Our Ancestors: Johann Gerhard Büker

This week 206 years ago, our 3rd (and 4th) great-grandfather Bücker passed away.

Johann Gerhard Büker was born on 13 October 1792, in Riesenbeck, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.  His father Gerd, whose last name had been Laumann, had taken on the profession of barrel maker and in the process his last name was changed to fit his craft, first to Boddeker and later to Büker, to which over the years a ‘c’ was added to assure a short vowel sound for the ‘ü’.

The place where young Johann grew up went through a lot of political change during the first three decades of his life.  In 1803, when Johann was 11, his hometown Riesenbeck on the southern slopes of the Teutoburg Forest, which had belonged to the grand duke of Tecklenburg since 1236 and through his intervention was counted with the Prince-Bishopric of Münster since 1400, became part of Prussia.  Five years later, it became property of the Grand Duchy of Berg, and with the end of Napoleon’s time it became Prussian again.  In 1816, two years after Johann had married  Maria Katharina Hünemeyer on 25 July 1814, Riesenbeck finally became part of Tecklenburg again, and such it is to this day.

We do not know much about Johann and his wife and how many children they had, but we do know that they had one son, Bernhard Heinrich Anton (no idea by which name he would have been called!), who went on to become our 2nd (and 3rd) great-grandfather.  What we do know is that the family Büker lived in Riesenbeck for four generations, beginning with Johann’s father, before our great-grandfather moved first to the Sauerland and later to Dorsten.

Johann Büker lived all his life in Riesenbeck where he died on 26 February 1852 at the age of 59.  We assume that he was buried there as well.  Got to wonder if any of the political back-and-forth had an impact on the life of Joe-Average-barrel-maker at all.

Riesenbeck,_Sankt_Kalixtus_Kirche 2013-09-28_14.30 - Edited
Sankt Kalixtus Kirche in Riesenbeck in 2013, with a steeple from the 12th century

Featured the Riesenbecker Berg with the Schönen Aussicht (which translates Beautiful View), a platform at 116m above sea level from which one can see across the Münsterland all the way to the city of Münster, if the weather is just so.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Anna von Hinten

It would have been our (great-)grandmother 105th birthday this week.

Anna von Hinten was born at the onset of WWI, had her first child when WWII had just begun, and for the rest of her life was spared any more immediate war experiences.  I guess that was quite enough for one lifetime.

When Anna von Hinten was born on 29 October 1914 in Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia.  Her father (Karl Heinrich August) Franz was a dentist and well able to maintain his family of 10, with an even amount of sons and daughters.  Anna, or Anny as she was always called, was his oldest daughter and his 4th child.  Her older brother Hans, four years her senior, was always her favorite, but he fell on the battlefield during WWII.

Family Buecker
with her husband and two daughters when she was around 35 years old

When she was 24, Anny married Paul Heinrich Bücker on 23 January 1939, in her hometown of Dorsten.  He was from Balve in the Sauerland which they both visited together often, especially Brilon, although Anny was more drawn towards Oberstdorf and the Alps later in life.

Their first daughter was born late in 1939.  Before the war, the family had already moved to Gütersloh where Paul worked at a rehab clinic, but when the war came, he was moved to Danzig with the medical corps where he worked at a military hospital, probably much like a MASH.  It was hard for Anna to keep herself and her daughter fed in a city where she had neither family nor acquaintances, and so Paul managed to get her a job with a forester who was one of his patients.  Therefore, at some point between 1942 and 1943, Anna and her daughter went out to Danzig-Oliwa and lived there until the Russian army invaded from the East and they fled west again.

in Nds 1975
Anny and Paul 1975 in Platjenwerbe

Back in Gütersloh, the family made their home on the premises of the rehab clinic Paul worked for, and for a short time in the late 1940, Paul’s mother joined them there.  Anny and Paul’s second daughter was born there in 1948.

Grandma in 1986
Christmas 1986

At one point, Anny made a pilgrimage to Częstochowa in Poland to see the Black Madonna there.  Mary had always been her first and foremost friend and helper, but after her visit to Poland, this became ever more pronounced in her life.

Paul died a number of years before Anny, in the summer 1983.  Unfortunately, Anny’s last decade or so was marked by sickness and she eventually moved to her older daughter to Bremen.  There, she died a little more than a week after her 83rd birthday on 7 November 1997, and she was laid to rest next to her husband in Gütersloh.

Rest in Peace, Anny.  We buried your medals that you brought from Poland with you.

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Remembering Our Ancestors: Eight Grandparents

This October-week there are lots of ancestors to remember.

This week, the week from the 13th to the 19th of October, there are eight birth- and death-days of great-grandfathers and -mothers in our family tree to remember, from the 16th all the way almost into the 20th century.  Here they all are, from the earliest to the most recent.

Dorothy Daubeney
BIRTH 1550 • Waxford, Somerset, England
DEATH 18 OCT 1598 • Widworthy, Devon, England
12th great-grandmother in the Snyder line.  She married John Chichester, and their son immigrated to the New World.  Her 5th great-granddaughter Sarah Chidester (the spelling of the name had changed in the meantime) married Abraham Snyder Sr. in 1797 in Berkeley, WV.

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Wynant Melgertse Vanderpool
BIRTH 13 OCTOBER 1683 • Albany, Albany, New York, USA
DEATH 4 APR 1750 • Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
8th great-grandfather in the Denney line.  His great-granddaughter Rebecca Vanderpool married James Denny in Surry Co., NC, from where they went to Ohio and changed their name to Denney.

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Peter Studebaker, Immigrant
BIRTH 16 OCT 1695 • Solingener Stadtkreis, North Rhein-Westphalia, Germany
DEATH 1753 • Broadfording, Washington County, Maryland, USA
7th great-grandfather in the Snyder line.  His daughter Margaret Mary Studebaker, born in Germany and taken by her parents across the Atlantic, married Jacob Snider, himself a German immigrant to the New World, in 1752.

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Andrew Speer Sr., Immigrant
BIRTH 13 OCT 1700 • St. Dunstan and All Saints, Middlesex, England
DEATH Surry County, North Carolina, USA
8th great-grandfather in the Denney line.  His grandaughter Sally Wise Felton married Azariah Denny, father of the James Denny mentioned above, in Surry Co., NC, from where they went to Ohio together with Rebecca and James, and also changed their name to Denney.

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Johan Gerhard Büker
BIRTH 13 OCT 1792 • Riesenbeck, Steinfurt, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
DEATH 26 FEB 1852 • Riesenbeck, Steinfurt, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
3rd great-grandfather in the Bücker line.  The family lived in the Steinfurt area in North Rhein-Westfalia, Germany, for many generations.


Daniel Christman
BIRTH 17 OCT 1801 • West Vincent, Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
DEATH 1857 • Union City, Morgan, Ohio, USA
3rd great-grandfather in the Christman line.  He moved the family from Pennsylvania to coal-miner country, Ohio.

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Anna Maria Schmitz
BIRTH 15 OCT 1804 • Riesenbeck, Steinfurt, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
DEATH Unknown
3rd great-grandmother in the Bücker line.   Her daughter Anna Maria married Berhard Heinrich Anton Bücker in 1862.


Nelson Perry Brown
BIRTH 14 JANUARY 1814 • Ohio, USA
DEATH 16 OCTOBER 1899 • Leon, Mason County, West Virginia, USA
4th great-grandfather in the Denney line.  His grand-daughter was Arilla Harris, who married George Thomas Mulford.  Their daughter Mattie, in turn, married Steward Leslie Denney in 1899.


Also this week, we were contacted by a cousin from NC who sent us a photo of two letters Azariah Martin Denny sent home during the Civil War.  Read for yourself…  Very moving.  The first letter was written in January of 1864.  By June 6th of the same year, young Azariah Martin was dead.

The Denny’s of Surry County, NC, intermarried with the Jones’ and Key’s a lot, and you find both last names mentioned in Azariah’s letters.

AzariahDennyLetter - Edited





Remembering Our Ancestors: Father and Daughter Hotmaker

There are always little oddities to discover when you research your family history. This post is about one such oddity,

You know how it works out:  When you research your family history, you come across these odd coincidences, if you believe in such things.  One such oddity we discovered in my mother’s paternal line:  Father and daughter Hotmaker died on the same day, 40 years apart, and that day was May 11th, in other words, tomorrow.

Julius Hermanus Hotmaker, our 2nd (and 3rd) great-grandfather, was born on 17 June 1844, in Mettingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, in the place that would become Germany within a few years of his birth, and in the same year as Friedrich Nietzsche.  He married Auguste Maria Schuhmacher on 20 November 1872, in Ibbenbüren, which is also in North Rhine-Westphalia.  One of their children was our (2nd) great-grandmother Anna Maria Hotmaker.  Julius died on 11 May  1910, 109 years ago, in Ibbenbüren, at the age of 65, which was ten years after Nietzsche, just in case you wondered.

His daughter Anna Maria Hotmaker, our (2nd) great-grandmother, was born on 19 August 1875 in Ibbenbüren.  In 1911 she married Josef Anton Bücker, and they had many children, among them our (great-) grandfather Paul Bücker, with whose family she lived in Gütersloh before she died on 11 May 1950, 69 years ago, at the age of 74.  She is well remembered by her granddaughter, and with much love.

Funny how her father Julius was born around the birth of the German nation, while Anna Maria died when Germany had just been divided into East and West Germany, with Ibbenbüren and Gütersloh both being in the western part.

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I do wonder if her last thoughts were about her father and that she would follow him, of all the days of the year, on the very same day he left for a different world.



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