The Germanna Foundation organizes, plans, and leads special Germanna group tours to Germany. They are very popular and sell out quickly.
These trips visit the ancestral sites of the members who participate in these fascinating Germanna-expert-led tours. This is not a regular tourist trip to Germany… Only Germanna takes you to the villages from which the Germanna colonies emigrated, gets you in the churches where your ancestors worshiped, gets welcomed by the mayor or the local civic or historical society, sees surviving family houses, and occasionally even meets descendants of siblings left behind.
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Germanna Foundation Trips to Germany
The Germanna Foundation trips to Germany get sold out quickly with a cap of around 25 people per trip. See below for recaps.
Germanna Foundation Trip to Germany
June 17-29, 2018
2016 Germanna Trip recap:
We went cuckoo in Germany!
Recap of Germanna Foundation’s 14th Germany Trip with our travelers from across the USA, Germany, Italy and Switzerland led by tour guides, EK Mello and Barbara Price.
We really did go cuckoo in Germany when we celebrated the wedding anniversary of Robert Beverly “Bev” and Barbara Ohrndorf in the village of Neuenberg, drinking wine from the Gugguschnescht “Cuckoo’s Nest” on the day they were married in Cuckoo, Virginia, 57 years ago!
Our visit began in the Siegerland region of North Rhine-Westphalia, home of the 1714 and Little Fork immigrants. The magical historic timber-frame village of Freudenberg was our base for four days, where the new mayor of Fruedenberg, Nicole Reschke, Volkmar Klein, representative of the German Parliament, and many old friends welcomed us.
In the village of Oberfischbach, the Pastor and local historian Teo Schwartz greeted us and explained the history of the communion chalice given to the parish in 1665 by Prince Johannes Moritz and still in use today.
A greeting by the Little Mayor of Niederndorf, a visit to the Cuntze home, Boos Hus, and lunch provided by the Heimatverein at their Meeting Lodge was only outdone by history of the Cuntze family that was shared with us in the way of baptismal and civil records.
Heimatverein President Hildegard Bergmann, a brass band and our old friend Herr Ulrich Vetter, owner of the Otterbach home, welcomed us to Trupbach.
The visit to Müsen was special for Barbara Martin Naef who celebrated her birthday in the village of her Merten/Martin ancestors, toured the 1310 Stahlberg Mine, and searched the church books with her cousins.
Lunch in Eisern with the Heimatverein and DAG (German-American Association) President, Volker Schuettenhelm, was followed by a hike to an ancient Celtic furnace from 500 B.C.
All enjoyed our afternoon coffee and cake at the beautiful home of our long-time friends, Lisa and Hannes Kraemer, in Kaan Marienborn followed by dinner with the DAG and Volkmar Klein at the oldest pub in Siegen, Gasthaus Peun.
We toured Siegen with our expert guide, Alida Mathey, visiting the Upper Castle gardens, where we paid homage to our Otterbach ancestress, Gertrud Stuell, at the Hexenturm (witches tower), the guild quarters of old town Siegen, and the Nikolai Church, where many of our ancestors were baptized and married and where we worshipped on Sunday.
On to the Kraichgau, home of the Second Colony!!! The stunning church in Schwaigern that dates from 1514 was breathtaking with all of its late medieval art, then on to Stetten am Heuchelberg, Germanna’s first visit to the Holt family village. Dieter Schilling, not only gave us the history of the church and the village, but also presented us with transcribed Hold/Holt church records!
Lunch and visit to the private castle of the noble family von Gemmingen completed our journey through Gemmingen, home of the Clores. Then on to the village of Oberoewisheim to hear the history of the church and see the fabulous burial altar located outside the church from 1422.
In the village of Neuenbuerg, the Heimatverein greeted us with Sekt (champagne), took us on a hayride through the vineyards, then serenaded us at the Gugguschnescht for some good, down home cooking!
Rothenberg ob der Tauber served as a free day to shop and explore the historic walled city, then dinner at the gracious Hotel Markusturm, a former toll house dating from 1264.
Our next stop, Bonnigheim, had many surprises in store for our Amburgey descendant, Linda Fifield. Our new contact, Ann Ackerman, an American attorney living in the city, the mayor and a descendant of Conrad Amburger’s baptismal sponsor all welcomed us, provided records, and showed us the location of the Amburger home.
In the village of Cleebron, Liz Sollenberger was honored to play the organ in the very church that her Aylor ancestor attended! Her joy brought us all to tears!
Last, but certainly not least, were the Jaeger/ Yager villages of Falkenstein and Marienthal. The steep climb from the castle fortress at Falkenstein is not for the faint of heart! Our longtime friend, Pastor Sabine Kaffka’s history of the church in Marienthal only added to the joy of seeing Warren Heist and his cousin, Mick Noll, at the baptismal font of their ancestors. It made for a good day and a proper end to our trip.
Do you want to spend your anniversary going cuckoo in Neuenberg, celebrate your birthday in Muesen, play the organ in the church at Cleebron or hold the Communion chalice used by your ancestor? It’s all possible, and more, when you travel with the Germanna Foundation to Germany. Place your deposit now while there is still availability for the 2017 Trip at: www.germanna.org or call 540-423-1700. Don’t miss the trip of a lifetime!
2015 Germanna Trip recap:
Click on photos to enlarge:
Twenty-two travelers met at Keflavik, Iceland, airport early Monday 8 June for the flight to Frankfurt. They had gathered from flights from Dulles, Portland, and Seattle and represented Germanna descendants from at least 7 states. In Frankfurt, a Kentucky traveler and Ulrike Mayer-Mello, leader-in-training, met us and we piled into 4 vans to drive to the Siegerland.
In the homeland of the 1714 and Little Fork emigrants the Siegerlanders overwhelmed us with kindness and hospitality, beginning with a greeting from our longtime friend Eckhard Guenther, Mayor of Freudenberg. The bells of Oberfischbach rang out in our honor as we arrived in the last church that Pastor Haeger and Schoolmaster Jacob Holtzclaw served before Virginia. The Trupbach Heimatverein put on a delicious lunch, a program about village history, music, and a walking tour.
Eisern rolled out the red carpet. Werner Hoffman-Gassner presented 10 more village Wappen for our Visitor Center, and our 38 German friends who visited Germanna Reunion in 2014 hosted a wonderful dinner with music, and brought items for the 2015 Reunion auction fundraiser. A visit to an iron mine nearby brought insight into the hard life that our mining ancestors led. Coffee and cake in the beautiful home and garden of Lisa and Hannes Kraemer was a rare experience for American travelers, and dinner at the oldest pub in Siegen, where our ancestors may have enjoyed a beer, was the hospitality of our friends in the German-American Society of which Germanna is a proud charter member.
A walking tour of Siegen and concert in St. Martin’s Church, and farewell dinner at Ongelsgrob among Germanna friends rounded out our Siegerland stay. Herborn, the town in Hessen where Pastor Haeger studied theology was an interesting stop on our way south from First to Second Colony homelands.
Hospitality in the Rhineland-Palatinate, in the Kraichgau region of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and in the Franconian region of that state and northern Bavaria was just as warm. At least 15 different families and villages from the Second Colony were represented on this trip, and every one visited at least one of their family villages. In Lambsheim a special luncheon at a winery brought a sampling of the unique Palatine cuisine. You would be surprised how many Germannans thought Leberknoedel (liver dumplings) were delicious! In a tiny Franconian village of Bernhardswend, Gaar family descendants welcomed cousins with beer and sandwiches.
We worshipped in the St. John the Baptist Church in Schwaigern (Wilhite, Lederer & Koch village), filled with priceless art treasures of the 15th and16th centuries and received a warm welcome from the pulpit, heard scripture readings in English as well as German, and sang hymns known to the ancestors as well as an American spiritual. Thoughtful touches for us everywhere! Pastors and organists in Hueffenhardt (Utz, Volck), Oetisheim (Broyles, Ruopp) and Sulzfeld welcomed us to ancestral churches and played music for us. Winetasting at an Oberderdingen family winery took us to another Germanna village.
We did some sightseeing as plain old tourists in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bruchsaal Palace, and the Auto and Technical Museum in Sinsheim. We ate a LOT of excellent food, including the fantastic white asparagus, amazing salads, pork in every variety imaginable, venison, wild boar, lamb and remarkable ice cream sundaes. The Heimatverein in Neuenburg gave us a perfect sparkling wine welcome, tour, and evening of hearty peasant food, lots of singing, laughter, and good wine for our final day in Germany.
We were tired puppies by the end, but happy in what we saw and did. One traveler said “This exceeded my wildest expectations in what we have seen and done.” Another said “Every day I think ‘It can’t get better than this, but the next day is even better!”
2013 Germanna Trip recap:
On June 3, 2013, a group of 24 travelers set forth on the eleventh annual Germany Trip to Germany.
The members represented many families among the 1714, 1717, Little Fork, and later emigrants. Among the families with descendants in the group are Fishback, Hitt, Hoffmann, Holtzclaw, Otterbach, Rector, Spilman, Back, Broyles, Clore, Crigler, Fleishman, Kaifer, Weaver, Wilhoit, Yager, Wayland, and last, but not least, Spotswood.
This wide representation of families meant that the group had the opportunity to visit nearly every village in the Siegerland that sent settlers in the 1714 group and the later Little Fork group. In addition the travelers visited the villages of one of two families from the Palatinate, and many of those villages in the Kraichgau region of the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg that were home to the 1717 settlers.
Germanna trustee Katharine Brown and her husband Madison led the group, as they had for each of the previous ten trips.
We had wonderful welcoming friends in Germany in the German-American Association and the League of Heimatvereine in the Siegerland, where Germanna Foundation trustee Horst Schneider plays an active role.
The church in Winnweiler in the Palatinate, where the Yager family woshipped, prepared a warm welcome for the group in that state, and in the Kraichgau our special hosts have been the Heimatverein members in Neuenbuerg, home village of the Blankenbaker and Fleishman families.