The village Weißenborn near Eschwege.

Posted on Facebook on 15 November 2015.

When I visited Weißenborn near Eschwege in the summer of 1989, and had a coffee in the Gaststätte in the middle of this picturesque village in the hills, chivers ran down my spine, so many that I can still feel them today. I had no inkling whatsoever that 9/11 would come that year: 9 November 1989, the day that the Wall would fall. I felt extremely lucky that my ancestors had had the premonition to be and stay on the OK side of the Iron Curtain, so that I could visit the village they had originated from. Silly thoughts, I know, but the past has become the past for good reasons. I just wanted to have at least one good reason. The village Weißenborn is located literally on the border of the former East and West Germany, while belonging to West Germany. That was the reason I could visit it in 1989 without a visa.

In the years before I had figured out that Zacharias Wittenborn (1667-1735) had NOT come from Nieder-Sachsen. The "Calenbergische Musterungsrolle" (inhabitants register) of 1585 and the "Kopfsteuerbeschreibung" (tax register) of the kingdom of Calenberg-Göttingen of 1689 had shown me that neither Zacharias nor his ancestors came from the areas north and north-east of Veckerhagen. West I had already ruled out, so they came from the direction South. And in the village archive of Weißenborn near Eschwege, south of Veckerhagen, I had found the family Weißenborn in nearby Abterode-Vockerode, with Kleinhans marrying Magdalena Hiebesthal in 1642 and Christof/Cersten marrying Barbara Schäfer in 1652.

It may well be that the village Weißenborn near Eschwege is the village from which the family in Abterode-Vockerode took its name. As a matter of fact, this family Weißenborn has descendants to this day, also the in USA. The Wisenburns in New York state descend from Johann Claus Weißenborn, born in Vockerode on 3 February 1830. He was a farmer who emigrated in 1860. Whether he changed his name himself, or it was changed by misspelling, I do not know.

Today I also know that on the other side of the former border, in Thüringen, there are several villages and towns within 20 km from Weißenborn near Eschwege, such as Bischofroda, Niederdorla and Mühlhausen, where i have found Weißenborns back to 1700, and even earlier. So the village may have been an origin of one or more branches of Weißenborns.

I still have work to do to establish where Zacharias Wittenborn came from. Just like the Weissenborns now living in the United Kingdom all descend from Johann Conrad Weissenborn, born in 1745 and appearing in Hannover in 1777, but without indication where he came from, so I have to figure out where Zacharias came from, before his marriage with Gertrud Wenztel in Veckerhagen in 1692. As for Johann Conrad, I have indications where he did NOT come from. And this is the game I am playing: working forward and backward in time, to make the traces meet. Maybe my ancestors DID come from Weißenborn near Eschwege, and the chivers through my spine were a gift from them.