Small family reunion of three Wyneken branches

On the 13th of September I was part of an historical event. For the first time in who knows how many years, descendants of the three Wyneken brothers Carl (1803-1867), Gustav (1805-1885) and Friedrich “FCD” (1810-1876) got together and chatted over lunch.

Matthew, Katja and Karl
I have been corresponding with Karl Wyneken from Fresno, California since at least 1996. He descends from the oldest of the 19th century Wyneken brothers, who were by the way all pastors, and is part of a line of Carls/Karls that started their American branch of the family in St. Louis when pastor Carl’s son, a banker, emigrated to St. Louis in 1866.
Carl Wyneken

Carl Wyneken

Karl is a treasure trove of family information and he has been very willing to share this information with me for my family research. Having grown up in Fort Wayne, Indiana he had many opportunities from early on to get to know the numerous members of the FCD branch of Wyneken that also lived there. As a retired pastor and archivist for the LCMS he has over the years learned a lot more about the Wyneken family history.

This was the first time that Karl had paid a visit to Germany since we have known each other and I was very pleased to be able to host him for a few days in Freiburg before he continued on for several weeks of travel in Germany and Italy. While he was in Freiburg, I thought it would only be appropriate that he and I have lunch with our distant relative, Katja.
Gustav Wyneken

Gustav Wyneken

Katja is a direct descendant of Gustav, the middle of the three 19th century brothers. Her grandmother’s maiden name was Wyneken. When this grandmother’s first son was born, she and her immediate family were under the impression that the Wyneken last name was dying out so they gave this son the first name “Wyneken”.

I, of course, am descended from FCD, the youngest of these brothers.

It’s interesting to note that, despite the difference in ages of the three Wyneken relatives sitting around our lunch table, it turns out that Karl and Katja are in the same generation. They are fourth cousins, meaning that they share a great great great grandfather, Heinrich Christoph Wyneken (1766-1815). I, on the other hand, am one generation further away from Heinrich Christoph, making me his great great great great grandson, and Karl and Katja are my fourth cousins once removed. It was bit strange that the oldest and youngest of our little trio are from the same generation whereas I am from a younger generation.

FCD Wyneken

We were fortunate that the weather was nice the day we met for lunch so we were able to sit outside. We, of course, talked a lot about what we know about the family history – Katja’s father is, himself, quite an expert in this field – but we also managed to talk about other things: our own interests and travels, politics, and our own families to name but a few. We wound up spending quite a long time together just chatting and getting to know each other.
When we stood up from the table all of us were unanimous in saying that we had enjoyed our visit and the time we spent together, reconnecting the branches of our family.

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