Nieland Family Reunion in Germany
family tree grew on the Internet
Nieland Family Reunion with 64 attendees / guests from the USA
The Borkener Zeitung, Borken, Germany, August
(geg). It's a good thing there are search
engines on the Internet because that's what made the Nieland family
reunion on Saturday possible. "Just for fun" two years
ago Verena Sinnhuber, nee Nieland, entered her surname into the
computer just "to see what happens." She couldn't believe
her eyes because she found that the "Nieland Family Tree"
was nothing other than her own family tree. "I thought that
surely I belonged in this family," she said, beaming, and
in that spirit she filled in the rest of her branch, which ended
in the 60's on the website. Her parents gave her the missing information
and an e-mail was sent to America in an instant.
Photo caption: 64 members of the Nieland
family met this weekend for the first time. Click
image to enlarge
Click to download 300 dpi image,
600 KB file
"I was very happy",
commented the American relatives on Saturday. Elaine Lawson and
Kay Davis have worked on family research for several years and
are the creators of the website that Verena Sinnhuber had found.
When she heard about the American visit, Anneliese Nieland of
Südlohn took charge of organizing the reunion and sought
out the German relatives, many of whom she did not even know.
Altogether 64 people came to the Terhörne hall in Südlohn.
Many were meeting for the
first time so each family member wore a name tag. And many people
there could see their resemblance to each other.
Elaine Lawson spent a day
in Ramsdorf during a visit to Germany in 1984 in order to look
in the right place for relatives. Unfortunately, no one could
help her then. Clearly, there were tears on this visit
tears of joy. For David Nieland, family research was his purpose
the last time he was in "good old Germany" in 1973 but
he never dreamed he would ever see his relatives again.
John Daniel Nieland and
Johanna Enning, both born around 1690, are the common ancestors
in Germany to whom the Nieland roots can be traced. So far over
6,200 descendants have been identified, including several thousand
Nieland descendants born in the USA. Today the number of Nielands
in the USA is greater than in Germany.
The website follows the
history of Johann Daniel Nieland to his son Johann Bernhard (born
1713), to his grandson Johann Daniel (1740) to his great grandson
Johann Heinrich (1778) and so on down through the generations
to the current time.
Maria Gertrude Nieland (1845
- 1912) was the middle child of Johann Heinrich and Elizabeth.
She remained in Germany. In 1873 she married Christopher Bernhard
Funke (1838 - 1918), the American researchers discovered. They
had four children; one died as an infant. There is little information
about Maria Gertrude's descendants, compared to the other branches.
The family now hopes for
a chance to uncover further information in order to complete this
branch like it did with Verena Nieland.
The family tree can be found
at www.Nieland.our kin.com.
Nielands in the USA
Münsterland Zeitung, Südlohn, Germany, August 5, 2004
SÜDLOHN - It
all began when Verena Sinnhuber (nee Nieland) from Ramsdorf searched
the internet simply to find out what she could about the term
It is because of this lucky coincidence
that the Nieland family today was able to welcome American visitors
on Eichendorff Street.
With her Internet search, Verena
Sinnhuber discovered the American homepage of Elaine Lawson, which
included a family tree. From that Verena Sinnhuber found that
her father, Josef Nieland, was a relative of the American. A lively
e-mail correspondence then commenced between Verena and Elaine
Lawson, through which much family-historical information was exchanged.
And so the Nieland family history was pieced together.
John Henry Nieland was born in
Südlohn, grew up on the Nieland farm in Ramsdorf-Blecking,
and then immigrated in 1869 to the USA. Six more members of the
Nieland family also left their homeland and established themselves
Today there are more Nielands
in the USA than here in Germany.
In attendance were Elaine Lawson,
John Henry Nieland's great-granddaughter, together with her husband
Robert Lawson. Another of Nieland's great-granddaughters, Kathleen
Davis, was welcomed from Washington State, and his grandson, David
Nieland, had traveled from Iowa.
A colorful homeland program guided
the four visitors all around Südlohn and Ramsdorf. Pastor
Stefan Scho led the Americans through St. Vitus church [in Südlohn]
and explained its history. "It is unfortunate, that we do
not speak English very well, but communication was good nevertheless,
" declared Ludger Nieland.
The high point for all was probably the family reunion
on Saturday, organized by Anneliese Nieland, at which 64 family
members met one-on-one. Naturally all were very curious and interested
in the American visitors, and it became completely clear that
the Americans surely had made the longest journey.
back to top
to History Page