I have been researching
the American Ihmsen family for more than 15 years now and never was
sure, if they belonged to my German Ihmsens. My line of the family
remembered that there had been any emigration.
• For a long time while researching
my glassmakers in the Paderborn area, for a long time there had been a
suspicion, that Christian Ihmsen along with
his family, as well as his
Goebeler and family had secretly
left Westphalia around the end of 1780
their glass venture in the Bodenthal near Schwaney had gone broke. The
for this belief was, that no trace of these families had been found
1780s in Germany.
• My first discovery indicating a possible Ihmsen in the US was the 1790
There was listed a “H. Wm. Impson”.
• Who could this be? Was
he an Englishman, or could it be an Ihmsen whose
simply was misspelled? Further findings on the same page supported the
that this "Impson" could actually be an Ihmsen, since there were two
familiar names also connected to the glassworks near Schwaney:
- "Adam Cocklenberg" (Kohlenberg). He had married Anna Angela Wilhelmina Goebeler, a daughter of Friedrich Goebeler, as well as
- "H. Wm. Gabler" (Goebeler), Heinrich Wilhelm, a son of Friedrich Goebeler.
• Also on that page were
names of other well-known German glassmaking families: "Becker" and
least I was pretty sure I had census pages that listed German glass
which works did they work for.
• Through Internet
searches and message boards I finally came in touch with Sandy Palmer, a
descendant of Friedrick Goebeler, today Americanized Gabler, and a
of the Kohlenberg family – Bob Fout of
• With their immense help,
• To this day no shiplist
with their arrival in
• Around the end of the
1790s, after Amelung closed down, the Ihmsens and at least the older generation of
• (American) family lore
has it, that Charles Ihmsen opened up
“family lore” is
contained in a summary about the Ihmsen family compiled by a Mrs.
the early 1900s and now can be found at the Senator John Heinz History
Center Library and Archive. It contains mistakes, especially where
Charles’ wife is
There she is supposed to be connected to Napoleon’s Marshall Ney, which
by the time frame concerned is impossible. This document also states,
Ihmsens were glassmakers for 200 years and came from
• The glassworks near
Schwaney was located in the Bodenthal valley near a rivulet, that
been called Steinbach (stony rivulet) and internally they may have
residential community Ihmsen Hof (Ihmsen courtyard). These names though never show in
• It is unknown if the
Ihmsens were glassmakers for 200 years, but it is possible.Originally
from Hessia (of protestant faith) where most of the reknowned glassmaking
• About 1810 Charles had
• So far it is unknown
when and where Christian Ihmsen and his wife died and were buried,
became of most of their children.
• A question that kept us
occupied for a long time was, why Christian Ihmsen and Friedrich
not show up as heads of family in the 1790 census. Intense research
made the answer simple. As shown in many other families the census
he came for questioning, did not list the name of the head of family
name of the person he actually questioned. Since the spelling of names
days was not standardized, many names were written down as heard,
explains why the many names were spelled incorrectly. On top of this, if the
was of English origin, many German names were unknown to him, and he
wrote them down according to possible variants he knew from the English
Ihmsen became Impson.
• Who then were H. Wm
Impson and H. Wm. Gabler from the 1790 Maryland census?
• At the time of census
questioning the heads of family surely were at work at the glassworks,
these names have to be sons, who either did not work, or were, for
reason, at home.
- H. Wm. Impson accordingly
could only have been a son of Christian Ihmsen, and this would have been Henrich Elias Wilhelm IHMSEN born Oct 24, 1777.
- H. Wm. Gabler then would have been a son of Friedrich Goebeler, and this could only be Henrich Wilhelm GOEBELER born Oct 5, 1775.
• Charles Ihmsen, who went to
Pittsburgh and there became one of the founders of the glass industry must have
been Friedrich Ernest Carl IHMSEN born Dec. 10, 1770, the oldest
son of Johann Christian. As oldest son, according to family tradition, he called himself Carl, or Americanized to Charles.
• Nevertheless everything
said so far was pure speculation for a long time, based only on the
the American Ihmsens came from Westfalia and had been glassmakers
for a long time.
• A third point was the
spelling of the name. By 1830 the Ihmsens in
• Then, finally in spring 2011 the long searched for proof was found, that the Ihmsen families in the USA and Germany were related to each other! A little sentence at a church book entry for a christening finally showed this desperately< sought for connection. The entry for the christening of a Johann Christian Carl Schmerz in February 1796 in the church book of Barntrup, Lippe showed as godfather "Joh. Christi. Imse" and in a comment the important information "in Neubremen in America wohnhaft" ["living in New Bremen in America"].
• This Johann Christian Carl was the first son of a daughter of Johann Christian Ihmsen, Johanna Wilhelmina Charlotte, who had married Christoph Ludwig Schmerz in Barntrup. Christian Carl Schmerz later emigrated with his family to Pittsburgh. One of his sons became very successfull in the glass industry there, another was successfull in shoe and boot whole sale.(1)
• Johanna Wilhelmina Charlotte Ihmsen most probably did not emigrate with her father. She probably stayed with the family at the Emde works. In the year 1794 a son of hers, Friedrich Rudolph Joachim LORENZ, was christened in Diestelbruch, Detmold, Lippe. The christening entry included the remark "unehelich" ["illegitimate"] behind the name. This Friedrich Lorenz also emigrated to the USA, married, strangely enough, a daughter of Charles Ihmsen in Pittsburgh and had 12 children with her. He himself became important in the glass and steel industry in this town and was also engaged in banking.(2)
• Johann Christian Ihmsen had, as suspected, fled from the bishopric of Paderborn after the brankruptcy of the works in the Bodental, probably via Lippe, and emigrated secretly. After the bankruptcy of Amelung he had returned home to participate at the christening. Surely it was no accident that the ceremony took place in the protestant land of Lippe. Christian surely could not dare to return to the bishopric of Paderborn, since he most likely would have been arrested because of his debts and his illegal emigration. The christening surely had been a big family festivity which probably was attended by most of the family to hear news of the New World. Whether Christian came together with his wife to Germany is unknown. Also we do not know (yet?), if he stayed in Germany and where he died and was buried. If he stayed in Germany he surely continued working, possibly for the Fleckenstein's glassworks in Schlangen, operated by his wife's family.
• About the Ihmsen family
• In the year 2010 two articles were published, where, independently from each other, Lawrence Jessen and Sandra D. Palmer(3) in the USA and Karl-Heinz Poser(4) in Germany wrote about their supposition, that certain ornamentations and patterns on glasses, that were cut in Amelungs New Bremen Glassmanufactory, make it reasonable to suppose that they could have been cut by Christian Ihmsen.
The following Goebeler / Gabler children were found in Maryland church books:
- 1784 in Schwaney, Westfalia: Wilhelmine Gaebler and Johann Adam Kohlenberg.
- 1. George Wilhelm Thomas, born Apr 9, 1801, Frederick, chr. Jun 2, 1801
Godparents: Wilhelm Emmesen (Ihmsen?), George Kramer
- 2. Adam Christian, born Dec 2, 1802, Frederick, chr. Jan 21, 1803.
Godparents: Christian u. Friederika Gebeler, Elisabeth Imsen (Ihmsen?), Christina Brauern
- 3. Mary Elisabeth, born Feb 9, 1805, chr. May 16, 1805
Godparents: Mary Christ. Ebert, Carolina Stendly (Stender?)
Eleonora Sophia, born Jul 19, 1809, chr. Aug 18, 1809
Godparents: Raphael u. Eleanora Darnan
- Mar 24, 1788: Friderika Gaebler and Johann Fred. Wilhelm (Balheim) Bollheim
Witnesses: Fridr. Wilh. Gaebler, Henr. Appel. Brandt
She probably is a daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm Gabeler, Christina Friderica Judith, born 1764.
- 1. Friderike, born Nov 5, 1799, Glassworks New Bremen, died Jul 25,
Godparents: Fridrich Wilhelm Gebler, Catharina Franks
- 2. Friedrich Wilhelm, born Sep 9, 1802, Glassworks New Bremen, chr. Jan 21, 1803.
Godparents: Wilyam Imsen (Ihmsen?), Sophia Geblern
- Dec 11, 1798: Lotty Gabler and Henry
She probably is a daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm Gabeler, Anna Charlotta, born 1777.
- 1. Friedrich Thomas, born Oct 21, 1800, Glassworks New Bremen, chr.
Jun 2, 1801
Godparents: Fridrich Gaebler, Fridrich Brauer.
- ca. 1800: Anna Carolina Elisabeth
Gabler and Thomas Stenly.
She probably is a daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm Gabeler, Anna Carolina Elisabeth, born 1771.
- 1. Catharina Wilhelmine,
born Oct 28, 1801, Frederick, chr. Jan 11, 1802.
Godparents: Wilhelmie Kohlenberg, Friedrich Gäblen.
- Aug 19, 1803: Johannes Madera and Theresia Gebeler.
She probably is a daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm Gabeler, Elisabeth Theresia, born 1784.
- Jul 30, 1804: Gottlieb Gebler
and Susi Madera.
He probably is a son of Friedrich Wilhelm Gabeler, Gottlieb Anton, born 1779.
- ca. 1797: Johan Christian Gabler and Sophia Margarethe Kramer
Alexander, born Oct 09, 1801, Frederick, chr. Jan 01, 1802.
Godparents: Adam Kohlenberg, Fridrich Brauer, George Kramer, Elisabth Gebler.
- 2. Johan Christian Jr., born May 22, 1804, Baltimore, chr. Aug
12, 1804 Baltimore
Godparents: Ludwig Reppert, F. Steph. Fechpel [Faupel? possibly] and Christian Reppert.
1.and 2. Informationen about the illegal birth of Lorenz, as well as informations about the Schmerz Family I received with great joy 2011 per e-mail from William Schmertz in Columbus, Ohio. Through this he gave the impulse for further, more in depth research. Many thanks for this!
Sandra D. Palmer / Lawrence
Jessen, Notes on our Search for the New Bremen Engraver, The American National Glass Club
Bulletin, No. 217 (Summer 2010)
4. Karl-Heinz Poser, Amelung-Glaeser, von Ihmsen geschnitten, Der Glasfreund, Heft 37, November 2010
Last Change: 07.11.2011 (©Hans Ihmsen)