Early Family History

The earliest Herchenbachs listed in the tree all lived in what is now the municipality of Neunkirchen. Most grew up on surrounding farms but went to church at St. Margareta in Neunkirchen itself. The first ancestor we know of is Peter Heinrich Herchenbach , whose being a farmer was on record in a monastery's archive. His wife (of unknown name) gave birth to their children during the Thirty Years' War, which devastated thousands of settlements and claimed almost a quarter of Germany's population as victims.

Peter Heinrich and his family were lucky, so their name was passed on: The earliest Herchenbach birth certificate available is that of his grandson Wilhelm :

By 1864, when Wilhelm's great-great-great-great-grand-nephew Peter Wilhelm was born, parts of the family had moved twice, first to the village of Eischeid (of which Peter Wilhelm's great-grandfather Heinrich Wilhelm had once been mayor), then to Neunkirchen. In each stage some Herchenbachs stayed behind, therefore even today some are still working on the old farm whereas others are running a restaurant in Eischeid carrying their name...

Peter Wilhelm, whose family lived in Neunkirchen, emigrated to the US in 1883, at the age of 19, sailing on the “America” from Bremen to Baltimore: To now, he is the only offspring of Peter Heinrich to emigrate as a Herchenbach and keep that name.