Friday, January 22, 2016


The first time I viewed the slides of Grandpa Charlie's and Grandma Theresa's month long trip to Europe in 1961, I was in awe of the photo of my Grandma standing in front of the grand Cathedral in Cologne.  As time passed, the Cathedral and the city of Cologne was not only placed on my "bucket list" but was placed near the top.

According to Grandma Theresa's diary -- while visiting Cologne, she made a visit to the "most beautiful cathedral".  Theresa and Charlie also visited with her cousin Richard Nebgen and his brothers Gunter, Sieglinde and Alfous Nebgen while in Cologne.  The photo above was taken during this visit with Grandpa Charlie being at the far right.

What would be for me a perfect way to visit Cologne?  Well, of course, on a river cruise down the Rhine.  That way I could cruise down the Rhine viewing castle after castle for hours,  I could visit my ancestral home towns, located near Koblenz.  And I could see the magnificent cathedral in Cologne!

How great would it be if I could re-create this same photo while I was in Cologne?  Well, I am planning on bringing some of her photos and see what happens.

Monday, January 18, 2016


It was such a wonderful gift to be able to visit 4 of my German Ancestral villages while on my Rhine River cruise this past summer.  While it required extra effort on our part -- renting a car, getting to the car rental agency before it closed at 1pm and of course finding our way back to our ship -- it was well worth it!  I loved seeing the natural beauty of the areas surrounding Helferskirchen, Wirges, Staudt and Dernbach.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that these villages are growing larger and seem to be doing very well.  I wonder if I can find any photos of these villages from the 1700 and 1800's.

I enjoyed the peaceful moments while I sat in the churches where my ancestors attended Sunday Mass -- St. Boniface in Wirges, St. Laurentius in Dernbach and the cute little prayer chapel in Helferskirchen.

While my Grandma Theresa knew that her father Peter Joseph Nebgen was from Dernbach, Germany, I don't think she knew about her ancestors from Helferskirchen, Staudt and Wirges.  I wonder if she had known, would she and Grandpa Charlie stopped and visited these villages on their trip up the Rhine River in 1961?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


My 2nd Great Grandmother Anna Maria Wittayer was born in Dernbach, Germany on 23 Oct 1841.   She married Baltazar Nebgen in Dernbach.  She also gave birth to her children -- Peter (1863), Nicholas (1865), Peter Clemens (1867), Emil (1876), Maria Rosina (1880) and Joseph Laurentius (1884) in Dernbach. Her son Peter Joseph (my Great Grandfather) was born in Eschelbach.  Anna Maria died in Dernbach on 6 Jan 1918.

Since Dernbach is just south of Wirges and southwest of Staudt, my husband and I decided to stop there on our way back to our river cruise ship.  We visited the St. Laurentius Catholic Church in Dernbach.  This church was built in 1863 which is probably where her children were baptized.

Behind the actual church building is another building, shown in the photo below.  I do love the large bell (in the above photo) that is located next to the church.

Dernbach was also the place of birth of Catherine Kasper, who was the founder of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ order.  There is a statue and plaque in her honor in this church.