Friday, November 18, 2005

HILLENBRAND, Markelsheim, Bad Mergentheim, Wurttemberg, Germany, - Germans of Syracuse and Onondaga County - Karen's Power Tools -

Do you have German ancestors in Upstate, NY? My Dad’s father came from Markelsheim, Wurttemberg in Southern Germany about 20 miles South of Wurzburg and about 60 miles North East of Stuttgart, on the Taube River. He immigrated in 1885 alone, however there were three other men on the same ship Rhatia that were also recorded as being from Wurttemburg when the ship’s manifest was logged in at Castle Garden at the tip of Battery Park in Manhattan. I would like to think that he got to see the Statue of Liberty being constructed because that was about the time that the head of the statue would have been being raised up.

I was lucky enough when first starting out in the research of his family that I was able to locate the Catholic Church record books on microfilm at the LDS Library, and was able to take his family back several generations in the same little town. Gramp was the only son of an only son, so there is not much chance of having any “close” HILLENBRAND family relations in this country other than his descendants. It is odd but for about 15 to 20 years now I have been monitoring and posting messages about Markelsheim on various websites, message boards, mailing lists, etc., and I have NEVER found anyone else working on any families from Markelsheim. That tiny little winemaking town is now sort of absorbed by the much larger county center of Bad Mergentheim.

I have quite a bit of data on my grandfather’s family, but of course would always like more. So if anyone sees this and knows ANYTHING at all about Markelshiem or Bad Mergentheim in the State of Baden-Wurttemberg, please let me know.

If you had German ancestors that ever came to the Syracuse or Onondaga County areas of New York then the very best website to go to is Michelle Stones’ excellent gathering place for items that relate to that particular German community. Many of the settlers of that part of NYS were there because of good farming lands and also there was plenty of employment around the Salt industry that Syracuse was famous for. This means that you will find many of these people in the outlying areas that surround the Salt works and many of them were employed in businesses like coopering and basket making and other jobs relating to the manufacture of Salt and the transportation of same. Michelle Stones’ site is .

More Computer Stuff…

Karen Kenworthy was a writer for the now defunct Windows Magazine at Winmag dot com, but she still is giving us some excellent utilities for free at . There are several very useful tools under the category of Karen’s Power Tools, that will save your bacon if you are a Windows user.

She offers many tools, but some that seem very helpful to genealogists are:

Replicator - (Automatically copy and backup files),

Cookie Viewer - (View and delete cookies),

Directory Printer - (Print names and info of all or selected files and folders on your computer),

Time Sync – (Sync your computer clock with any of the ultra-precise Internet time servers),

and many more.

You will first have to download and run her Visual Basic Module, (the language her programs were written in) before you download, install and launch any of the Power Tools, but it is real easy.

Karen also has a free newsletter that you can subscribe to and keep up to date with her fine collection of utilities.

Want to know what your IP Address is? Just go to and it will show you without having to do anything! is a company that offers website hosting and they are featuring our new website currently in their brag list. A well deserved brag if I say so myself. The other cool thing that you can do at this site is a quick check on a domain name to see if it is registered or if it is available. Check it out.

The website for Upstate New York Genealogy (UNYG) is: .


Jorge said...

Hi Richard,

Interestingly enough I lived in Bad Mergentheim for about 1 year as an exchange student. It seems from your comments that you have not been there but if you have the chance it would be a nice experience for you. The city is small but quite beautiful, with a old castle in the middle of the town and the old center with round streets. The region around it is even more beautiful, especially the valley of the Tauber.

I said interestingly enough at the beginning because it turns out that I also lived in Syracuse as I went to University there.

Good luck, hope you make it to that beautiful part of the Romantische Strasse.


Anonymous said...

My grandfather was from Markelsheim and a few years ago we took a trip there. It was a very lovely town. I searched the town records and found the registration of his birth. He was born to Clara Spindler, married name Klauwun, husband named Charles. When my grandfather came to Ellis Island his name was changed, probably for phonetic purposes to "Charles Klevon.'
He was a chef in NYC and then moved to Rochester.
He died in 1956.

Wonderf if there are any connections with your family. said...

Thank you so much for getting in touch. You are only the third person that I have ever located that knew anything about Markelsheim.

One was the man Jorge that left a comment here, and the other was a young lady who lived in the states now but was from a modern day family of Markelsheim. Her ancestors did not go back too far there.

I did receive some photographs of the town square, market area and the main civic center. It does indeed look beautiful and I do so hope to visit there before I'm dribbling my cereal on my nighty.

Maybe one of these days...

As to your ancestor changing his name. I have read quite a lot about it, and have also visited the museums at Ellis Island. They will tell you that almost never was the name changed at Ellis Island. The authorities had good documentation on the spelling of the names, and on where the people came from through the ship's manifest, and the Captain and shipping company was very serious and responsible about proving the identity of their passengers. Because if there was any kind of a problem or error, then the shipping company had to transport the people back to where they came from at the company's expense.

The names most often were changed locally through mis-spelling in the neighborhood where they lived, or perhaps by the subjects themselves who often wanted a name that sounded a little easier on the American ear.

That is as how I understand it anyway.

I wish I had some information for you on your ancestor but I am not familiar with the name at all.

I did get almost all of my HILLENBRAND documentation out of the Catholic church record books that are on microfilm at LDS in Salt Lake City.

Please do contact me any time if I can offer any advice or suggestions. You can always reach me through my website at and use the email link.

All the best.

Dick Hillenbrand