Hi Lisa, Kim and the rest of you,
Iīm Ralf Anken from the German section of our family (it is almost sure that we are indeed all relatives!). A late uncle of mine was an amateur genealogist and wrote a book about us containing a great deal of details. Unfortunately, I donīt know at present where I have it. What I recall is the following: My personal branch is from Closter, a part of Daerstetten (Kanton Bern, Switzerland). This particular branch (like some others - all related to each other) has a coat of arms (did you know, that you all also most likely have such a "family-branch-identifier"?!). Some of its members entered the German Palatinate at around 1700. There are still lots of us in that region. Later, some of us (like my father) went to the Stuttgart area (Baden-Wurttemberg - situated right to the west of better known Bavaria) some 40 years ago.
According to the aforementioned book, all extant Ankens, Anckens, van Ankens, von Ankens etc. who have their origins in the area around Bern are derived from the very same family with detailed records dating back to at least the year 1400.
Just a couple of months ago, I happened to visit a shop on Heligoland (this remote, red rock in the Nort Sea which some people believe to be the remains of Atlantis). In the shop, I eventually got acquainted to a von Anken, who is certainly a relative of mine. So, we are everywhere and we seem to have been even everywhen: My wife is a Portuguese. Her best known ancestor was Rodrigo (Rui) Diaz de Bivar, called El Campeador or simply El Cid (you know the respective movie with Charlton Heston, donīt you?!). At around 1000 or so, he fought a battle at Valencia (?) against the Arabs. Well, some info suggests that an Anken was around him in this battle. They say at least, that our coat of arms was designed to remember this battle (it must, however, have been designed much later than in the year 1000, since coat of arms were not used then). Romantic idea! Hopefully not just a rumour.
Would be happy to hear something from you.
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