Farms in Haverbeck

June 22, 2009

Our last day in Germany (we’re heading to the Netherlands tomorrow) was spent searching for the actual family farmhouses.  Marilyn had some information from the internet indicating where there were farms that were owned by Frekings in the 1600s.  I was skeptical, I will admit, because it is hard to believe that a farm might stay in the family for, what, 400 years?  However, if farming is your life, you hand the farm down to your children (or, under old primogeniture rules, to your first-born son), and the next generation continues to farm that land. So, maybe.

First we tried on our own to find the farms, using the printouts. We had an appointment with Stephen Honcomp for 5:00 p.m. He’d promised to find more information for us by then.  We saw some farms, but couldn’t really determine which one(s) might have been in the Freking family. We knew that the records indicate that Haverbeck was likely to be the area where our grandfather, Ferdinand Freking, lived before he left for America at age 19.

We decided to take a side trip to Dummersee, a lake southeast of Haverbeck, because we had some time to kill.  The lake was beautiful and we took the opportunity to enjoy a cappucino.

When we connected with Stephen, we piled into a small coach and he took us back to the streets we’d just visited, but this time he had more information AND he speaks German.

We found an old farmhouse, and the woman who answered introduced herself as Maria Freking nee Fusting. We knew right away that she was family, because we recognized her maiden name. She is very old, maybe as much as 90 (we didn’t ask). Her son, Werner, is still farming – he was out feeding the livestock. The main house is clearly one that does double duty – the first half we could see seems like a barn but then the windows in second half, past the front door, are hung with pretty white lace curtains.

Maria invited us in, but Stephen made our apologies as we needed to keep moving on our tour.

When we returned to the coach, we found Maria in our family tree. She married an eighth generation Raimond Freking, son of Joseph Ahrling Freking. Raimond’s great- grandfather Herman Heinrich was the brother of our great grandfather.

This was really success.  But we still wanted to get closer to our own grandfather’s home.

Two more properties on Stephen’s list yielded no more living relatives, but we may well have found the farmhouse where our grandfather lived before he emigrated to America.  The people living there now are from Poland, so the language barrier prevented us from speaking with them.  Also, Stephen says, they came to work the farm but are not the owners.

We also found a photograph of the farmhouse we think is where our grandfather would have lived. Comparing the two – the photo in the book with the real thing – we think it’s probably right.  The book is in German and the building seems changed.  Is it the same?  It’s hard to say.

What we do now have that we didn’t have before, for sure, is a photograph of our great-grandfather.  He seems stern, but that was also the fashion for photography, I think.

The farm where the Poles live now

The photo in the book, History of Haverbeck, is from another angle. Also, few trees and bushes obscure the older photo.

We are leaving tomorrow. We’d like to think we’ve found what we were seeking. Maybe we have. We’ll talk on the train.  We’ll need to translate the history in the books we bought.  There’s still work to do to be certain.  On the other hand, we now have a first hand look at the place where our ancestors were raised.

Maybe that’s enough.

Heinrich Arnold (Carl) Freking - Our Great Grandfather

Heinrich Arnold (Carl) Freking - Our Great Grandfather

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