A book written for descendants of Wilhelm Dingfelder and Elisabeth Hoffman, with much historical information on 19th-century German and American cultures. All persons interested in German emigration, but particularly those who bear the name Dingfelder, whether gentile or Jewish, will find much of interest regarding origins and meaning of the surname.
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By Nancy Aumann
Mar 30, 2014
The amount of and care with the research are impressive, and the challenges of such research are clearly identified! Intermingling German and American history and events with the Hoffman and Dingfelder families' experiences provides context, and personal reflections add to the narrative.
The history and genealogy written and presented by Bill Wykoff is proof of his long arduous intensive but heart felt research. Work in progress because research is just that, continuous. Having no treasure chest from ancestors Bill has written a fact filled book not only of his family but of Germans in Rochester and their contributions to our great city in upstate New York. Opportunities are quickly lost and time quickly passes, so jump on the wagon to visit/travel/write/share/swap stories/gather photos!!! Commitment to this endeavor is rewarding and opens up doors to wonderful new relationships with family members that we never knew existed. There is absolutely no reason to apologize for insertions of his childhood memories. More stories need to be included!
Although I'm a Dingfelder by name, I discovered through reading this book that I'm probably not related to the author's family. Nevertheless it was a very worthwhile read with plenty of detail about life in Germany and Rochester in the 1800s, what caused Germans to emigrate, and marriage and other social practices at the time. The author has an academic background and his careful research and thoughtful speculation (where appropriate) reflect that; but the narrative is rarely dry and sometimes quite amusing. I would have appreciated a few more high-level maps to orient those of us who aren't familiar with German geography. Clearly this book was a labor of love and I'm glad the author shared it with the rest of us.
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