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Introduction to the Riedmann's
The Riedmann family of Omaha, Nebraska can trace their roots back to the late 1600's and Stetten Germany. Stetten is a small village in a wine growing region in the state of Bavaria, Germany. It is located near (and now incorporated with) Karlstadt, which is east of Würzburg, between Frankfurt and Nurnberg. There are some Riedmann descendants living in Karlstadt-Stetten, although they may not be related to this family. Rita Riedmann Roehling used to reside there but passed away recently. She was born in 1924 and remembered many of our ancestors. She also remembered some of our family who visited Stetten in 1964. The Schraut family, Magdelena Riedmann's family, also still resides there. They provided some of the information below.
The earliest complete records found are those of Georg Riedmann who married Maria Magdalena Hessdoerfer. He was a wagon wheel maker and farmer. In those days most everyone had a trade of some type in addition to being a farmer. Birth records of some of the children show that Maria actually was named Anna Maria. More information about their families can be found on the Family Research webpage. This page includes ancestral information back to the 1600s.
Georg and Anna had 13 children in all. Their first child was named Georg Michael Riedmann and was born Sept. 11, 1870 in Stetten. Their fifth child was born Oct. 10, 1875 and named Georg Adam Riedmann. (They must have liked the name Georg.) These are two of the three children who immigrated to the U.S. that have been identified in the Ellis Island immigration records. They eventually settled in South Omaha. Adam moved to South Dakota for a short while but decided it was too cold and moved back to Omaha.
Gregor, the ninth child and born Jan. 25, 1882, also immigrated to the U.S., but no records have been found of his arrival. It is known around 1907 he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad and lived with his brother Adam. It is believed he moved to South Dakota and resided there for a while. Family stories say Gregor eventually made his way to Australia where he started a fishing business. The last information received about Gregor was after he died. This may have occurred as early as 1908 according to records in Germany. Adam was contacted and asked to come to Australia to collect his inheritance. It is not known how much it was, but Adam was unable to leave. The trip would have been too expensive and too long (by boat, planes were not a means of travel back then), and he would have lost his job at the packing plant if he left.
Other brothers and sisters include Alois Riedmann (#12), born May 6, 1887. He was a priest, a doctor (Ph.D.), a professor of Theology and a writer. Three of the daughters were nuns: Anna Maria (Sister Wolframa), Maria Thelka (Sister Enswida) and Mathilda (Sister Iphigenia). Another daughter, Margarete Maria, married Georg Gerhard. Their descendants still reside in Stetten. German family legend long believed that one son who also emigrated to America died during the trip to America. However, this has been found to be incorrect as all their children can now be accounted for. It is presumed this was Gregor whom everyone lost contact with.
The other children's names (in order) were: Katharina, Dorethea, Johann Phillip, Johann Kaspar, and Anton.
An historical book, 1200 Jahre Stetten, was written by Edgar Burkard in 1988 to celebrate the 1200 year festival of Stetten. It notes that in 1895 there was a Typhus epidemic in that region. This was thought to have precipitated Georg's and soon-to-be bride Magdelena Schraut's leaving however her unplanned pregnancy was more likely the reason (see below). It is also believed that in his early years Georg worked in a private military detail as an aid assigned to Kaiser Wilhelm.
Magdelena Schraut was born on March 20, 1874, also in Stetten. Her parents were named Josef Schraut and Margaretha Deissenberger. Joseph's family owned a mill where they milled grain and were bakers. Some of the Schraut family living in Stetten today are still in the baking business.
Georg Michael Riedmann and Magdelena "Lena" (Schraut) Riedmann were married February 24, 1895, shortly before they boarded a ship for America. They left Germany on March 5, 1895 and arrived in America at Ellis Island on March 18. They emigrated from Hamburg, Germany via the Phoenicia. No Ellis Island record exists for Magdelena, however there is a record of a Maria that arrived on the same ship, so it is presumed to be her. It should be noted that Georg and Magdelena travelled to Omaha quickly, after a short stop in South Dakota. In order for that to happen he must have had money to make the trip and he must of had someone here waiting for him. Fred Metz of the Metz Brewing family could have been the person to assist him. It is known that he helped many Germans come to Omaha over the years, and Georg also worked for the Metz Brewery for a while. Georg Michael's brother Georg Adam arrived at Ellis Island June 21, 1902.
After arriving in Omaha Georg and Magdelena Riedmann had six children: Alfred, Matilda, Louis, Anna, Amelia, and Margaret. Alfred was born 2-1/2 months after they arrived in America. It is unknown exactly how and why they came to Omaha but Magdelena must have been a very strong woman to endure all that traveling, especially on a ship, while being very pregnant. In Georg Michael's family picture Anna is not present. (Click here to see a larger picture) She died shortly before the picture was taken when she was 9 years old. Georg was so upset that he never had a picture taken of Anna that he decided to have a family picture taken soon afterward. Margaret was born shortly after this picture was taken. Margaret also died at an early age.
Georg filed his "Declaration of Intention" to become a U.S. citizen shortly after arriving in the country on November 2, 1895. The document was filed in Omaha showing that it didn't take long to get here. He became a U.S. citizen on October 6, 1913. It is during this time that an 'e' was added to his name and would be legally named George. It is not known if Lena ever filed for citizenship.
Georg held several jobs in his early years in Omaha. He first worked for Metz Brewery starting in 1896. In 1900 he next worked at Omaha Brewing Association (later named Storz), in 1903 he worked at Krug Brewery and in 1907 he worked at Willow Springs Brewery. Ironically his son Alfred would later go to work at Willow Springs bought the company in 1929.
Magdelena passed away in 1919 from Huntington's Chorea. She died by choking on her tongue while he was at work. When Georg arrived home from work and found out he was extremely angry as his love for her was so strong. He took all her medicine outside to a ravine and threw them as far as he could.
After Magdelena died Amelia (Millie) went to live with her older sister Matilda (Tillie) Prchal. Margaret went to live with her brother Alfred and his wife Frances at the Martha St. house. Margaret was a frail girl. One day she was visiting Alfred's mother-in-law, Josephine Vacek, on Harrison St. She was running around and having a great time until she ate some unripe, green grapes. When she got back to Al and Frances house she became ill and starting throwing up violently and went into convulsions. Al took her to St Joseph's Hospital which use to be on 10th & Martha. A nun took her in in immediately but she died shortly after she arrived. She was only 13 years old when she passed away.
Georg would eventually meet Anna Amalia Herold from Columbus Nebraska and marry her in 1931. They never had any children between them. Anna, or Auntie Ann as her grandchildren would call her, was born 1876. In an odd twist of fate both Georg and Anna died on the same day, April 28, 1956. The picture to the left was taken on their wedding day at Mt. Vernon Gardens in Omaha.
Other Notes on the Riedmann Family and Stetten Germany:
Contact with Stetten
Robert and Katrina are also working on their family's ancestry (Click here to see a larger picture). They have spoken to Rita Riedmann Roehling who was the last surviving child of Johann Riedmann, Georg Michael's and Margarete's brother. Rita was born in 1924. Robert spent a day speaking with Rita getting as much information from her as possible. This included naming the people in a 50th wedding anniversary picture of my great-great grandparents. The picture was taken on Nov. 23, 1919. She clarified why Georg and Magdelena left Germany. Magdelena was pregnant and they weren't married. Old Georg was very religious and this was considered a disgrace to the family, so they were told to leave the country. Rita gave us the names of all the children of Georg and Maria Magdelena Riedmann. After studying the names and birthdates we were able to determine that contrary to previous stories no one died during the voyage to the US.
One small anecdote about Rita is that she was the 11th of 12 children. When she was born it was said that she looks like Maria Magdalena (her grandmother) in her early years. Her aunts always said: "Du siehst aus wie´s Fraela" (which means you look like Fraela = nickname for old wife). Maria Magdalena died shortly before Rita's birth, and the aunts said that the angels sent "little Maria" from heaven. Rita is not in the wedding anniversary picture since she wasn't born.
Rita has copies of pictures that were taken when Alfred Riedmann Sr. traveled to Germany in 1964 with his wife Mary and his daughter and her husband Madge and Tony Panowicz. It is believed some of the pictures were taken by Mary Riedmann because she is not in most of them.
One of her more interesting
pictures was of the weekend house of Fr. Alois Riedmann. In front of his
house was the Nazi flag with the swastika. Robert explained that during
the reign of the Third Reich everyone, including teachers and religious
leaders, had to display the flag to show their allegiance to Hitler --
or they would face imprisonment or death. Thus he had the flag flying
not so proudly in front of the house. Fr. Alois wrote three and a half
books on Catholic themes. The last one was finished after his death by
a colleague. He is also a professor and a doctor (Ph.D.). So he could
actually go by the name Prof. Dr. Fr. Alois Riedmann.
The home our ancestors lived in are still standing. It is over 400 years old. Back then families would keep their animals on the first floor of the house and the family would live upstairs. The first floor was essentially the barn. Rita Riedmann Roehling lives in the original Riedmann home where Georg Michael and his brothers and sisters were born and raised (Click here to see a larger picture). Eugen Riedmann, unrelated, lives at Werntalstrasse 25, which is next door to Rita. Robert and Katrin live across the street at Werntalstrasse 8.
Würzburg, the nearest city to Karlstadt, is called Germany's Franken wine capital. Most of the wine is consumed within a 150 mile radius. Würzburg is also called the city of 100 steeples because of the large number of church steeples there. It is the capital of Unterfranken (similar to a county), which is part of the state of Bavaria.
Wine production is coming back to the area after years of decline, especially in the early 90's when wine growers generated a glut of Franken wine at the expense of quality. Those who did produce quality wines suffered because they had to lower prices to compete. The whole industry in the area suffered for it.
During World War I and World War II, many of the men of Stetten were inducted into the German army. For some reason most of them were sent to fight in Romania. This included a couple descendants of Margarethe Riedmann. Many died there; some never to be heard from again.
1200 Jahre Stetten
Stetten's Religious History
There are five primary
families that reside in Stetten today. Gerhard, Hessdoerfer, Burkard,
Amthor and one other. Many of the families with the same last name are
not related. As can be seen in our family, first names can be repeated
a lot. Therefore they were given an additional name to distinguish people
with the same name. So they were told apart by their profession or their
father's name. For example, in Stetten today there are 13 couples who
are named Ludwig and Maria Gerhard. Another example from our family is
Johann Riedmann who was also called Kischberles Johann or just Kischberle.
|Updated 8/2014||Webmaster: Chip Riedmann|