39. Reporting on my June 2017 search for Weis(s)enborns: Thursday 22 June.

Posted on Facebook on 13 July 2017.

I had made an appointment to study the church registers of Niederdorla. I arrived at the church well before 9 am. In the church yard I found the grave of Friedrich Weißenborn (1922-1999) and his wife Elisabeth (1919-2007). He had been mayor of Niederdorla until 1986 and was apparently the last Weißenborn who lived there.

The communities of Oberdorla and Niederdorla have been merged since I was there in 2014 and were now served by Pfarrerin Sylke Klingner, When we met at 9 am, Sylke recognized me sitting opposite the church on a stone bench, reading. I offered her a bottle of Weisenborn wine as thank-you for the opportunity to study the registers. Despite her much busier life she was still the outgoing, elegant woman I remembered of 3 year before.

Sylke left me in the care of Doris Schulz, the sexton of the church and clergyman's house. Doris showed me the safe with the registers and the room and furniture I could use. She gave me a bottle of water and a glass and told me to call her when I was finished; then she or her husband Helmut would come over and lock up the room.

Apart from a half-hour lunch break I studied the books from 9 to 5. The books started in 1620. The oldest entry of interest was the marriage of Heinrich Weissenborn and Anna Catharina Kliem on 17 November 1711. They had had 4 sons and 3 daughters. Their son Martin Bartholomeus was "carried to baptism" by Martin Bartholomeus Görmars on 28 March 1721. That is telling because on 13 November 1714 Hans Georg Weissenborn from Flarchheim, a neighbouring village - see the attached map -, married Anna Catharina Görmars. This probably implies that Heinrich and Hans Georg were brothers, both from Flarchheim. To be verified.

All 4 sons of Heinrich married and raised families, Martin Bartholomeus one of 6 boys and 5 girls. This multiplication process carried on, and was even enhanced by a Johann Martin from Flarchheim - son of Caspar Weissenborn -, who married Martha Christina Schröter of Niederdorla on 20 February 1776. Yet another indication for the link with Flarchheim. By 1780 the Weissenborns were the fourth-largest family of Niederdorla, after Kleinschmidt, Koch and Ludwig. This remained so until at least 1855.

After salad and ravioli at Meltem's in Mihla - he knew me by now - I went to Günter and Rosa Weißenborn in Bischofroda. Rosa had prepared some traditional snacks for me. We talked about the past before and after the "Wende" - the change of direction - in 1989. Günter's father Hermann had been wounded in WWII, prisoner of war in Smolensk for several years and died in 1967 aged 54 when the grenade fragment locked in his head had made the area around it malignant. The period before the Wende had been nightmarish. After the Wende Günter had set up his own painting business and done well.

I copied all entries on the pedigree that one of Günter's pupils had made for him. It started with Johann Heinrich, Obermüller, born in Bischofroda on 9 January 1760. I already had him in my database. Then Günter showed me a letter he had received in mid-2015. It was in good German and sent by family lawyer Catharine Stock, 1370 High Street NY 10018 USA, tel. 13475372861, email catharinestock@outlook.com. It said that in the US a Klaus Weißenborn had left behind a bank account with $ 8,000,000 (8 million dollars) on it. As it had been established that Günter was related to this Klaus, he was invited to reply to the letter. Günter hadn't done so. I have sent an email to the email address but it doesn't seem to exist any more. If any of the readers knows how to trace Mrs. Catharine Stock, I would be interested as I would like to know who this Klaus was. I thought I had in my database all Weissenborns in the US who originated from Bischofroda, but I have no Klaus or Claus amongst them.