German Mueggenborgs come to Okarche, OK

The Borkener Zeitung, 11 August 2007

Family Ties Over the Big Pond
Mueggenborgs visit Mueggenborgs

— by Peter Berger

Weseke/Okarche (Oklahoma).  It was a trip into the foreign and the familiar at the same time.  Irmgard and Ludger Müggenborg and his niece Eve Maria shared their summer vacations at a family reunion in Okarche, Oklahoma.  “We were welcomed, as if they’d known us forever,” Ludger Müggenborg (45) said happily, about sincere hospitality of the American relatives, most of whom he had never met.

The approximately 100 year old family tree is richly branched, with his "second great niece" and many other family relationships for which he hasn’t yet found names. At its root are Heinrich Müggenborg and four of his brothers.

A visit to the farm of the forefathers in Oklahoma.  Ludger (far left) and his wife (back row, 3rd from left) were greeted by their American aunts, uncles, cousins for many degrees and their descendants.  Click to enlarge.

Heinrich emigrated in the year 1894 as a 19-year old.  From Weseke, he traveled to Antwerp.  Goal of his ship voyage: New York, the “Land of Opportunity.”  Next Heinrich struck out for Iowa, calling himself Henry and writing his surname Mueggenborg, without the umlaut.  In 1905 he moved to Oklahoma where he established himself as a farmer and with his wife Dora produced a large family.  Believe it or not, 800 Mueggenborgs exist today; not surprising the Weseke Müggenborgs much, as the results of the ancestry research was presented.  

Daniel Mueggenborg assembled the history of the Catholic family.  The American, who holds a position as Monsignor in Rome, published the "family directory" on the 100th anniversary of the [Mueggenborg] settlement in Oklahoma. 

               Welcome at the airport.   Click to enlarge

The ancestral seat is and remains the farm founded by Henry in Okarche, Kingfisher County.  "A tiny village in the flatlands, Weseke is big by comparison,” says Ludger Müggenborg of the area.  They met may times for Barbecues.  Making the rounds, the clan came together in the gymnasium with relatives from Iowa and the neighboring state of Texas.  Many Mueggenborgs are farmers.  “A few even have oil wells on their gigantic properties,” says Müggenborg with a smile.  Another member of the clan, Kay Mueggenborg advertises as a real estate agent in the local paper, ‘Kingfisher Times and Free Press.”  The family reunion was worth a detailed report. 

Again and again the Weseke guests experienced how much interest Americans have in their family history. “One even showed us a Tattoo with the name.  It went diagonally over his back", chuckled Ludger Müggenborg over a funny encounter. 

A souvenier from the US clan.   Click to enlarge

The Weseker had already experienced this curiosity over one’s roots in April.  24 US-Mueggenborgs were in "good old Germany" and visited the farm of Henrys father Josef that still exists today.  The guests from the new world tasted Schnapps from Kiepenkerl and beer made under the German purity laws. 

If we are ever in the States again, we want to bring along another couple of highlights, the Müggenborgs were thinking.  The three-day family reunion was ended with the huge contrast of a visit to the glitzy world of Las Vegas followed by a week in the rugged Rocky Mountains. 

Irmgard and Ludger Müggenborg left with great praise for his 23 year-old niece Eve Maria. “She had organized so much and helped us with interpreting.”  But with their own English training, too, the Weseker couple was quickly on the same wavelength as their American relatives. 




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