Nine Years On
Each year, when I sit down to write a retrospective on the previous 12 months of Hagenbuch.org, I find myself surprised by the number of fascinating pieces that have been published. Occasionally, I have even forgotten a few of the articles, such as the discovery of William Hagenbaugh’s name carved into a stone, and I end up reading them once more.
My father, Mark, and I began our collaboration in late October of 2014. Since then, we have posted at least one story every week for nine years, bringing the total number of articles on this site to 474. You could read one a day for the next year and never have to repeat!
For our immediate family, the biggest event of this past year was an important milestone—my father turning 70—and the resulting celebration. The days before the festivity were exciting too. My father and I returned to the Hagenbuch Homestead to clean up the cemetery and honor our earliest Hagenbuch ancestors.
The primary mission of Hagenbuch.org is to explore the many branches on our family tree. My father is especially adept at this task, given his decades of genealogical research. Just last week he published a piece about the Hagenbush family of Indiana, a family group that hadn’t been featured before. Earlier this year, he examined the descendants of Benjamin Del Fel Hagenbuch (b. 1833) several of whom run a market in West Virginia, the Wolfes of Columbia County, the family of John V. Hagenbuch (b. 1845), and the relatives of McHenry Hagenbuch (b. 1892). Yes, I did write a post about the family of John Hagenbuch (b. 1776). However, when I wrote one about Corkie Hagenbuch (b. 1905) catching a pheasant while fishing, it was ultimately my father who filled in the details about his family group.
History is another focus of this site because it connects directly with the family stories we tell. For example, when I discovered that two, young Hagenbuchs had died from burns, I researched a piece about children and the dangers of fire. I began a series about the economics of the Hagenbuch Homestead, which included specific articles about making linen textiles and tanning leather. I hope to continue this series in the coming year. My father also enjoys writing about history and sometimes his personal stories document crucial moments from decades ago, such as when he visited seven family cemeteries with his father, Homer, in 1983.
Culture enlivens us and our families. This past year we looked at a cross-country family vacation from 30 years ago and explored how DNA helps us to identify and understand who we are. My father reviewed a book about Washingtonville, PA and then imagined what New Years Day would have been like in 1897. I delved into a bit of whimsy with a Christmas song honoring Andreas Hagenbuch (b. 1715) and a post about Professor Herman F. Schnitzel’s Deitschy humor.
Like culture, food defines the Hagenbuch family, and we have featured several recipes on the site. A few were inspired by our Pennsylvania Dutch roots including butter cake and green tomato and apple datsch. One dish, scrapple apple mac and cheese, was a modern take on classic family favorites. Several recipes enjoyed by Harold Sechler were presented in a piece, alongside the story of family connections to the Chef Boyardee plant in Milton, PA.
Of course genealogy—the study of families and their lineages—is the main focus of our research. My father and I share an equal interest in this topic, having written about Andreas’ sons-in-law and their military service, our family’s ties to the Siegfrieds, and how Hagenbuch brothers met and married Wolf sisters. We investigated the descendants of Stephen Hagenbuch (b. 1828), as well as the relationship between the families of sisters Sarah (b. 1833) and Eliza Hagenbuch (b. 1836). Lastly, in an opinion piece, I contemplated my son’s developing interest in his ancestors.
My father has a passion for telling the stories of notable family members. Some he knew and interacted with, like Bernice (Hagenbuch) Bogart (b. 1903) and Ella Jane Hagenbuch (b. 1932). Others are noteworthy relatives from the past, such as Peter L. Hagenbuch (b. 1858), Sgt. Isaiah Bomboy Hagenbuch (b. 1836), and twins Robert and William Hagenbuch (b. 1953). Additionally, our cousin Norma Kay (Penman) Hurter contributed a wonderful article about her grandmother, Mary E. (Kirkendall) Hagenbuch (b. 1884).
Not everything we write about starts with a person. Sometimes an article begins with an object, like an image that conjures a long forgotten memory. Collections of photographs are important tools for documenting a family’s history. In one of my favorite articles from this year, my father discussed a day in 1980 when he visited the farm of his cousins Myron Cromis (b. 1918) and Harold Sechler (b. 1923). The piece featured numerous photos of the men working in the field while using horse-drawn machinery.
Inspiring objects go beyond just images. My father described interesting items that he sees around his home, then leafed through old family letters in his paper archives. He explained the practice of remembering deceased relatives by placing wreaths on their graves and considered the birds that our ancestors would have seen in 18th-century Berks County, PA. In a similar vein, I examined items tucked inside a 19th-century family bible, studied names on a friendship signature quilt, and listed the best methods for preserving our digital memories.
Without a doubt, it has been a productive year on Hagenbuch.org, resulting in over 50 articles that expand our knowledge of family history, stories, and genealogy. Yet, there is so much left to do! As we embark upon the tenth year of our collaboration, my father and I continue to work towards our goal of documenting all of the descendants of Andreas Hagenbuch (b. 1715).
We are also looking ahead to the 76th Hagenbuch Reunion. Details are still being discussed. However, we hope it will be held in June of 2024 at Hidlay Lutheran Church in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. More information will be posted as soon as we have the data and location confirmed.
In the meantime, if you would like to have your family’s story featured, please send us a message using our email Contact Us form. Make sure to have images, names, and dates ready to share too.
Thank you for your continued support!
-Andrew M. Hagenbuch & Mark O. Hagenbuch