Sunday, August 14, 2005


Desperately Seeking Winkers

Winker businesses in Spaichingen
Photo copyright 2005 by Tim Winker
Photo copyright 2005 by Tim Winker
Photo copyright 2005 by Tim Winker
Sunday dawned with diminished hopes for locating any substantial information on the Winkers. We decided to check out a few of the businesses in the area that had the name Winker attached. There was “Winker Bauträger”, a construction and real estate office; “Metallwarefabrik Hermann Winker GmbH & Co. KG”, a metal fabrication company; and “Peter Winker Metalltechnik”, which creates metal sculptures for home and garden use.

Liz tried to call a few Winkers in the telephone book. She did speak briefly with Anni Winker, the woman whose daughter Liz was said to resemble, but Anni was suspicious about getting a phone call on a Sunday morning from someone who claimed to maybe be related many generations back. Others simply were not at home.

Rain was threatening so we hit the road for a side trip through the Black Forest. Had one more great German lunch in Hornberg, then arrived at the tourist trap known as Triberg. Triberg thrives on German Kitsch, with dozens of shops providing beer steins, nutcrackers, liqueurs, wines, schnapps, and clocks. Grandfather clocks, desk clocks, wall clocks, and cuckoo clocks. We even visited the World’s largest Cuckoo Clock! I bought a few typical German souvenirs, and then we hit the road for Liz’s home in Karlsruhe.

Despite the rain, it was a great drive through some beautiful country, with picture postcard farms and small towns at every turn.

Liz's church was hosting a group of young people from Italy on their way to World Youth Day in Cologne, so we went over there for dinner and the prayer service, and to meet some of her friends. It was quite interesting to try the German version of a "church basement supper", with the variety of salads and pork for the main dish.

Got back to Liz's place where I tried to pack my bags with all of the days purchases. It wasn't that difficult, but several books added to the weight and I decided the Schwarzwald felt hat was going to be a carry-on item.

That "suspicion of people claiming to be relatives" is something I have also experienced in Germany. My friend Axel explained to me over beers at the Ratskeller in Bremen that Germans have grown up since WWII with little knowledge of family history and few records. "Thanks to Mr. Hitler," he said, "our families destroyed every record they could get their hands on. You never knew when there would be a knock at the door and your records examined. You could be related to someone Jewish and find yourselves on a train." Axel could not tell me anything about his ancestors at all; there was no discussion of such matters in his childhood and he said that was the norm. I'll be interested to hear more about your research!
Tim, This is your cousin Vic from Marshfield, Wisconsin. I am making a database with all the Winkers in Germany and out of that, I am going to line them up between the births, parents, and marriages, and children. Out of that, I will see how far back our link will go with the data I gather. I also have friends in Germany in the area of where my Great Grandfather, John (Johann) came from. I will see if I can get more data from there. While I was in, I studied the dates and a lot of them go back to the 1600's with Winker and Wincker behind them. It is very hard to do it record by record unless you group them into a database and see where it goes from there. Databases are very easy for me to create and get a que. So, wish me luck in my process. I will inform you on how I am doing if I get any success.
Tim, you can also feel free to reach me at or My followups will go to my gmail.
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