About Us

Where did our name come from?

Kemmenau (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)



Name der Gemeinde







Name of Municipiality


Zip code


Region/Adm. District


























In the AC (German AAA, only better) atlas, just east of Koblenz is a little town called Bad Ems, right on the Lahn river (which runs into the Rhine south of Koblenz).  From Bad Ems, you can go 3 km north east and find Kemmenau.  Quite a bit of that is uphill–Kemmenau is in the hills, on the ridge line–Bad Ems is down on the Lahn river.  In fact, there is a 459 meter ‘peak’ right next to the little village mark and it appears to be one of the higher points in the locale. If you drew a line from the town center of Koblenz to the center of Bad Ems, then a line prpindicular to that line from Bad Ems to ‘up’.   Kemmenau is approx 1/3 of the distance ‘up’ as Bad Ems is to Koblenz.   


A message from Paul Kimminau (paul@kimminau.org) to Brian Kemmenoe. (kemmenoe@earthlink.net, Kemmenoe.1@osu.edu)  referencing Siobhan (Siobhan@kimminau.org).


As Eric noted in his e-mail, I am his Uncle and have done some work on the Kimminau genealogy.  Actually I got the vast majority of what I have from a distant cousin in Omaha, NE.  She is really into this stuff and spent a lot of time getting this data.  I have it all in my computer (a Mac) in a program called Family Reunion.  I don’t think it will transmit very well over the Internet and is probably way more than you want on this branch of the family.  Let me give you my take on what data I have.

A little background first.  My Dad always told the story that our name came from a village in Germany and our ancestors took that name when they landed in the United States.  When I was working with Hughes Aircraft Company, I traveled to Germany pretty often and got to be friend with some very nice people.  I found out from them that there was a village in Germany named Kemmenau.  My oldest son is in the Air Force and was stationed in Germany and on one of the trips I took (my wife was with me) my son took us to the village Kemmenau.  [Later I found out that another cousin had spent a couple months in the area of this village and learned that most of all the church records were destroyed in the war.  She also learned that maybe the name Kemmenau was a take on a Roman word for “above the hearth.”  This would make some sense since just a couple of kilometers away, in a river valley, are a lot of hot springs/baths.]  Anyway this seemed to give some weight to the story my Dad told about the name coming from a village since e’s in Germany are pronounced like I’s in English.  

Then I get this data from Siobhan Kimminau (the cousin in Omaha, but not the same cousin that spent time by the village Kemmenau) and here is what she had to say to me about  that data:  By now I hope that you have received the limited information that I sent you.  I have information from Ferdinand, Dubois County, Indiana, the church in Telgte, Westphalia, Germany, many census records, etc.  I figured out today (courtesy of going through the microfilm of Germany) that Heinrich and Bernard Herman are brothers!! I also have information on their parents and many siblings.  The reason that the Kimena line cannot be found going backward in Germany is that the old way of doing things was if a man married a woman and they lived on the land of a person with another name, the man took the other surname!  So, if a woman marries, and her husband dies, and then she remarries, both husbands would have the same last name.  In the church records that I found, the Kimena family is referenced under the name W�stenk�etter.  (At least the parents and some of the siblings of Heinrich and Bernard are!)  The source is a microfilm of parish records for St. Clemens in Telgte, Westphalia, Prussia, at the time of their attending.

Heinrich, it appears would be Randall’s (Siobhan’s husband) Great Grandfather while Bernard Herman is my Great Grandfather.  This would make our Great Great Grandfather (Johan Theodor Kimena [W�stenk�etter] the same. [It is also of note that my family has forever thought that our Great Grandfather was Herman Bernard.  Now, however, the records clearly show his name as Bernard Herman. ]  Please note that some of the time you will see it spelled �W�stenk�etter� and some time �W�stenk�tter.�  The first spelling is the way the records from Germany have it while the second spelling shows up in the records from Ferdinand, Indiana.  You should now understand that maybe the story of the Kimminau Family getting the name from the Village of Kemmenau in Germany might not be true.  This dosen’t mean that the Kimian’s could not have been from the area of the village Kemmenau.  There could also be some justification for believing that the name Kimminau was an effort to get the spelling standardized from Kimina, Kimena, Kimna, which appear in the records, and if the family was in fact from the region of the village Kemmenau, Kimminau would/could have been the logical result.  I am not sure if it is worth the effort to see if records exist back beyond J. Heinrich Kimian (W�estenk�etter).

A couple summers ago, my wife and I, when traveling back east, stopped off in Ferdinand, Indiana.  We did see some head stones in the church cemetery with the name Kimena on them.  In the Ferdinand census records one time it shows Kimena’s living at this address and the very next census the people at that address (all first names the same) are now shown as Kimminau. No explanation as to WHY the name changed.

I have been told that there are some Kimminau’s in the West Point, NY area.  Once while in that area we looked in the telephone books and did not see any listed.  Again, they well might be some of the Kimminau’s that lived in Ferdinand, Indiana that moved to that area.  My Great Grandfather Bernard Herman moved to Nebraska.  Most of the records show St Stephen, Nuckolls County, Nebraska.  There is no longer a Post Office at St Stephen.  I believe that the nearest town is Lawrence. 

As you can see, going back even to Germany there is no mention of the name Kimminau being spelled Kemmenoe.  I sure wouldn’t bet that somewhere back there, there might just be a connection.  Don’t know if this will help but as noted earlier, it is probably more that you ever wanted to know about the Kimminau name.

Paul Kimminau


A letter from Siobahn to me:

From: Siobhan Kimminau <bigkids@doglover.com>

To: <eric@kimminau.org>


My husband is Randy Kimminau. I have been in contact over the last couple of years with Paul Kimminau (papakilo@aol.com). With records that I have found in Germany, he and I have put together a very complete Kimminau family tree for the ancestors who left Germany. I believe that he (Paul) is from your branch of the family. My husband descends down from the branch of

Kimminau that stayed in St. Stephens, Nebraska. His lineage is roughly this:

his grandfather was Theodore Kimminau, his great grandfather was Bernard John Kimminau, his great great grandfather was Heinrich Theodor Kimminau, his great great great grandfather was Johan Heinrich Kimena, and finally, his great great great great grandfather was Johan Theodor Kimena (W�stenk�tter) who married Maria Catharina Laudieck.

Johan Theodor Kimena

(W�stenk�tter) was the progenitor of my husband’s and your two lines of Kimminau. So, from him on back, you all share the same ancestry. Your particular branch stems from his son Bernard Herman Kimena, whereas my husband’s comes from his brother, Johan Heinrich. So, genealogically speaking, that is who we are. I guess technically I just married into the Kimminau group!� LOL!

Speaking of the genealogy, if any of it interests you, I can send you information, or Paul can.

Talk to you soon!

Siobhan Richardson-Kimminau

Omaha, NE

Kimminau Family Tree