Remembering Our Ancestors: ‘Stumbling Stones’ in Honor of Jupp and Änne

Bochum has not forgotten Jupp and Änne. I am sure they’d be happy about that.

Stolperstein for Änne Kappius, nee Ebbert.
Photo: City of Bochum
Stolperstein for Jupp Kappius.
Photo: City of Bochum

Our father and grandfather Jupp Kappius and his first wife Änne Ebbert have been honored with their own “Stolpersteine” in front of Änne’s birthplace, which is also Jupp’s and Änne’s last address in Bochum before the Third Reich began.

When Jupp left his home in Bochum-Grumme to live with the Ebbert family and Änne, they lived at Theodorstrasse 8 in central Bochum, right along the railroad track. Apparently, today this street is called Theodor-Imberg-Strasse, and in front of #8.

Stolpersteine“, or Stumbling Stones, are memorial plaques in the pavements of many European cities in memory of victims of the Third Reich. The City Archive of the City of Bochum oversees the project in their city. For more detailed information about the project, please follow the link provided.

We are pleased and quite happy about the honor, and glad that Bochum has not forgotten Jupp and Änne, both of whom were born in Bochum and counted it as their home town, even if they eventually settled in Dortmund after the war. Although we as Jupp’s and Änne’s family were sadly unaware of the honor until after the ceremony and thus missed the event, we are proud that our husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather and his first wife are now commemorated in this fashion.

Stolpersteine for Jupp Kappius und Änne Kappius, nee Ebbert, in the pavement in front of 8, Theodor-Imberg-Straße in 44787 Bochum. Photo: City of Bochum.

A special Thank You goes to the City Archive of the City of Bochum who helped us acquire photos of the new Stolpersteine in a very friendly and timely fashion, and who unceremoniously allowed us to use their photos on our sites. All pictures in this post are property of the City of Bochum.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Hans von Hinten

Until recently, we did not know when exactly, where or how Great-Uncle Hans died. Now we know.

I heard about “Bruder Hans” a good bit in my childhood:  Julius Hans (nobody called him Julius, however) was my maternal grandmother‘s favorite brother.  Given that she had four of them along with three sisters, that’s saying something.  And while we always knew that he fell during WWII, we never knew when exactly, let alone where or how.  Memorial Day is always a good occasion for research websites to release genealogically interesting material from military records, and this year they released the records of German forces casualties for the years 1939 – 1948, among other data.  And listed there I found my Great-Uncle Hans.

But back to the beginning:

Julius Hans von Hinten, the second son of Franz von Hinten and Johanna Clemens, was born in Aachen, Germany, also known as Aix-la-Chapelle, city of Charlemagne, on 7 June 1910.  Here we have him (on the left) with three of his siblings, some time between 1916 and 1919, I should say.

von Hinten children aroubd 1916
left to right: Hans, Anna, Kurt and Franz Jr.

Times were turbulent in Germany during Hans’ youth.  He was born when Emperor Wilhelm II still ruled Germany, grew up during WWI and the Weimar Republic, and was 23 years old when the Nazi-era began.  The family relocated to Dorsten before 1913, and when Hans had finished school, he became a dentist like his father, although we do not know if he stayed in Dorsten for his studies or went elsewhere.  However, in September 1939 at the age of 29, when WWII was just beginning in Europe, he married Elisabeth Anna Ulrich (or Ullrich) in Eutin, Schleswig-Holstein, close to 300 miles (almost 500 km) north-east of Dorsten.  The Ulrich’s were from that area, and Hans and Lisa settled there, too.  They had two children, first a girl, then a boy, although Hans cannot have seen much of them, as was the fate of many young men during that time:  Hans was a soldier in the German Wehrmacht, and thus he was more away from home than not.  His daughter was around two years old by the time Hans passed away, and his son was born shortly before his death.  Here is a picture of him as a young man, presumably in his late teens or early twenties:

Hans von Hinten
Hans von Hinten (1910 – 1942)

By the time Hans was to die, he served as a private in the 376th Infantry Regiment which was to be included into the 376th Infantry Division that was formed in March 1942 and sent direction Stalingrad to fight Communism.  But Hans never made it anywhere near Russia, it seems.  Death found him on 16 February 1942 in some place we cannot decipher:  Try your luck in the featured image, the word after the date 16.2.1942: Rytr?  Rytv?  Sounds more like an abbreviation to me than a place; maybe he was on his way to France or back home from there.  Regardless, he took a direct hit from an artillery grenade, the above death certificate states, and I guess it matters little where precisely it happened.  I wonder if he has a grave at all, given the circumstances, or if he is one of the countless un-buried soldiers that the history of mankind has produced.

Strangely enough, his family didn’t know a whole lot about this until now.  His mother did receive the news of his hero’s death along with a medal, the “Golden Mother’s Cross”.  Apparently, she did not appreciate it – small wonder – but threw it through the closed window into the street instead where the family then quickly retrieved it to keep her out of trouble with the authorities.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Uncle Hans.  You were loved, and you are not forgotten.


Apparently, Hans does have a grave in Eutin, so we can hope they found his body and brought him home, and it is not just a memorial marker.  Also, it appears that Hans and his brother-in-law Paul, husband of Hans’ sister Anna, met somewhere during the war, and that Hans was anxious to hear if his second child had already been born.  Paul (my grandfather) did not know either, it seems.  This meeting must have taken place early in 1942 or possibly late in 1941.

Remembering Our Ancestors: Johannes Stuttenbecker

Our 8th and 9th great-grandfather Studebaker died this week 292 years ago, only three days before his 66th birthday.

When Johannes Peter Stuttenbecker was born on 10 April 1662 in Solingen in the Bergisches Land in what we now call Germany, his hometown had just become a fortified city after having been a tiny village for about 500 years.  It had also weathered a severe outbreak of the plague with almost 2,000 deaths in town, as well as the Thirty Years’ War within the last 50 years.  Chances are Johannes was actually born in Dorp, a nearby town which was incorporated into Solingen in 1889 and in which his parents Peter and Anna both were born, but we can’t be sure.

Johannes had two older sisters, two older brothers and two younger brothers, which makes them seven children altogether.

Johannes married Catharina Rau in his home town on 9 May 1692, and the two of them had five children together, four boys and one girl.  At least two of their children, one of them being our direct ancestor Peter Studebaker, immigrated into the New World in the first half of the 18th century where the spelling of the last name was changed into something more palatable for English-speaking people.  But Johannes and Catharina, as well as at least two of their children, lived and died in Solingen.

After living all their lives in and around Solingen, Johannes passed away on 7 April 1728.  Catharina had already died 16 years earlier.  Their son Peter and his family arrived in Maryland only nine years after his father’s death.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Stuttenbecker.  According to information on Find-A-Grave, you and your wife lie buried in the Waldfriedhof of the city of Charlemagne, Aachen.

IMG_2764 - Edited

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: Johanna Agnes Clemens

Last Monday 68 years ago, our (2nd) great-grandmother Johanna von Hinten passed away in Minden, Germany.

Johanna Agnes Clemens, mother of our maternal (great-) grandmother Anna von Hinten, was born in Aachen in Germany, an old city steeped in European history:  It was the preferred medieval Imperial residence of Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse, as the Germans call him), and from 936 to 1531, the Holy Roman Emperors were crowned Kings of the Germans there.  To the English-speaking world, the city has been known by its French name Aix-la-Chapelle.

Johanna was born there on 30 January 1884, and grew up in this western-most city of modern-day Germany.  As far as we know, she had four siblings, three brothers and one sister.

By the turn of the 19th century, we find her having married and living in Dorsten.  Her husband was Franz von Hinten.  Most of her children, however, were born in Aachen where she would have visited her mother, something that expectant mothers appear to have done a lot in that family.  Franz and Johanna’s first son was born in 1908, and within the next sixteen years, eight children were born to them, four boys and four girls.  Their fourth child and first daughter was our great-grandmother Anna mentioned above.

Johanna’s husband was a dentist, and after WWII they settled in the small town of Minden in the Weserbergland in Germany.  There, Johanna died on 13 January 1952, a little over two weeks days before her 68th birthday.

Weser Uplands

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma von Hinten.  You raised your children in turbulent times, and were lucky to lose only one of your four sons in WWII.

Featured a panoramic photo of the city of Aachen in 2006.  The cathedral where Charlemagne was laid to rest in 814 A.D. is located in the background on the right.


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.

Czestochowska black madonna.jpg

Remembering Our Ancestors: Ilsa Bergner

What a fitting last name for someone who lived her whole life in the coal-miner town of Clausthal in the Harz mountains.

Half of the stock we are descended from were farmers, the other half coal miners.  Ilsa Bergner was, as the name indicates, of the latter persuasion.  The village she spent her life in is called Clausthal, today grouped together with the neighboring village of Zellerfeld, and lies on a mountain top pretty much in the center of the West -Harz in Germany.  The street shown in the featured image actually goes down the hill quite steeply right after you pass the crossroad shown.

Coal mining in the Harz mountains began around 1000 AD.  The 16th and 17th century appear to have been the hay-day of coal mining in the area, and that is also the time we are going back to today.  The place below is a museum today where visitors can still experience what a coal miner’s life was like three or four hundred years ago.


Ilsa Catarina Bergner, our 7th (and 8th) great-grandmother, was born on 16 November 1672 in said Clausthal, which was one of the mining centers of the Upper Harz (Oberharz).  She married Georg Davied von Hindten, the oldest known ancestor in the von Hinten line, on 11 November 1695.  Chances are very good that he was a coal miner.  They had at least one child, our 6th (and 7th) great-grandfather Heinrich Andreas, but everyone called him Georg after his father, and guess how he earned his livelihood?  He was a coal miner.

When Little Georg was born in 1707, Ilsa was 34.  Unfortunately, her husband Georg Davied died only four years later.  We do now know when he was born, so there is no telling at this point how old he might have been.

Ilsa herself died last Thursday 282 years ago, on 18 September 1737 at the age of 64, 26 years after her husband.  If she ever married again, we do not know.


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.

DSCN9418 (1)

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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