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Home: Surnames: Meisenheimer Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Whats in the name?
Posted by: Glenn A. Meisenheimer Date: November 26, 2000 at 01:59:31
In Reply to: Re: Whats in the name? by Ira W Misenheimer,III of 219


I have to agree with Ira. I've been to the town of Meisenheim in Rhein-Pfalz many times. I was stationed not far from there in the Army and used to pedal there on a bicycle on weekends. Its a lovely old walled city with cobblestone streets running radially into a central plaza with a nice fountain and the Lutheran Church.

A meisen is a small bird (the titmouse). Heim means home. So Meisenheim was the home of the titmouse. The crest and seal of the town of Meisenheim includes a titmouse.

The town of Meissen (notice the spelling) is in the former East Germany. Meissen is known for its fine china which typically is painted with cobalt blue patterns.

Meissen is NOT the home of the Meisenheimer clan.

The first reference I have heard to a Meisenheimer was to a Professor - I beleive it was at the University of Heidleberg in the early 1500s. He went by the name of Von Meisenheim (which means from Meisenheim).

The story I heard was that the professor's son converted to Lutheranism, changed his name from the aristocratic Von Meisenheim to the commoner Meisenheimer (which meant the same thing), and became a Lutheran Pastor. I came across this story in a book some years ago and have not been able to substantiate it.

Here's the interesting part. Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenburg in 1517 and started the Protestant Reformation. Just 5 years later in Zweibrucken (Two Bridges) a youngster named Johannes Meisenheimer became the pastor of the Lutheran Church there. This Johannes was born abt 1500. and converted from Catholicism to Lutheranism. Could this be the Professor's son?

The Pastor had a son in 1530 whose name is still unknown. But this child was the father of Valentin Meisenheimer of Steeg, which is on the Rhein near Mainz if I'm not mistaken.

Valentin begat a son in 1605 who is the father of the Nikolaus Miesenheimer of Rummelsheim that was refered to above. I don't know what Nikolaus's father's name was but besides him Valentin had two other sons - Johann Killan, 29-MAR-1590 and Ulrich 14-NOV-1591. They were all born in Steeg.

It would appear that Nikolaus's father moved to Rummelsheim because, I believe Nikolaus was born there in 1629.

Nikolaus begat a son named Johann Jakob in 1652 who married an Elizabetha Matthiesen in Waldalgesheim. (Waldalgesheim and Rummelsheim are only a few miles apart).

Johann Jakob and Elizabetha bore a son which they named Johann Jakob in 1679. This is the Johann Jakob who married Anna Elisabetha Mog in Waldalgesheim in 1717.

Johann J and Anna Elizabetha's son, Johann Jakob III was born on the 13th of August in 1718, emmigrated to Pennsylvania in 1742 where he married Anna Margaretha Reiter on 16-NOV-1746 at Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe, PA. In the summer of 1776 they pulled up roots and moved to Cabarrus Co. North Carolina. (part of Meklenburg Co. at the time).

Where did I get all this?

It seems a certain David L. Misenheimer, who has offices in Stuttgart Germany and a German girlfriend has been going through old German records. He came to the Misenheimer family reunion back in Cabarrus county in September and revealed it all.

His email address is:

Which brings up an interesting point. Most of the North Carolina Misenheimers use the "Misen" spelling because when old Johann Jacob first came there in 1776 the British, who still ran the county courthouse, changed the spelling to "Misen" because it was more intutive for English speakers to pronunce. My GGGGGrandfather Peter, son of Johann J. changed the spelling of his name back to the original German spelling when he moved to Southern Illinois after fighting in the Revolutionary War.

Now its time for me to start digging through all my old notes and emails. I know there were other Meisenheimer immigrants from
Rummelsheim. Maybe now we can bind some of these other Meisenheimer branches to a common tree.

Glenn A. Meisenheimer


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