Saturday, August 13, 2005


Halfway between Rottweil and Tuttlingen

13 Aug 2005

After a few updates to the blog, I head again to the cemetery to find more Winker graves. By the time I am done, I have probably photographed 50 grave stones. There are quite a few Winkers buried there, but the earliest birth is about 1865, so I have not found anyone who might be a sibling of Johan Winker.

Liz arrives shortly after noon in her BMW and we head to Denkingen, only a few kilometers away. The Family History Centers have church records of a Johan Winker, born 10 April 1923, who was the son of Georg Winker and Agatha Streicher. I am about 90 percent sure that he is our ancestor who emigrated to America, but I don’t have that link to be certain. I am hoping we can find something there.

Unfortunately, we don’t. The church was built in the 1920s, and the oldest burial in the local cemetery is maybe 30 years ago. Liz asks a local resident if there is an older cemetery; the answer is no. And there are no Winkers buried here. It is a puzzlement. Maybe there is an earlier cemetery, maybe graves were not so well marked in the 1800s.

Sailplanes at Klippeneck
Photo copyright 2005 by Tim Winker

From there we drive up the hill (Klippeneck) to a sailplane base and watch them launch gliders for awhile. The site is perfect for such activity, with a long grassy runway atop the ridge. There are a pair of cable trucks and a motor driven plane working almost constantly to put gliders into the air. It is quite a sight!

This is also a great place to view the valley where Spaichingen and Denkingen are located. There is a restaurant up there as well, so we have lunch.

So far our efforts at locating the Winkers have had little success. But there is a church on the same ridge above Spaichingen that seems to hold a few answers. Liz takes me to a chapel on the way up the hill, one of the Stations of the Cross that end with the Wallfahrtiskirche Dreifaltigkeitsberg (something like Pilgrimage to the Holy Trinity Church) atop the hill. The chapel is called the Amerikaner-Kapelle, and it lists the names of local residents who apparently moved to America and later contributed to the building of this chapel. Among the names is Johan Winker. We don’t know if it is our Johan Winker, and there are several other Winkers on the list.

After walking through the beautiful Wallfahrtiskirche Dreifaltigkeitsberg, we stop at the gift store. Liz asks the woman behind the counter if she knows anything about the Amerikaner-Kapelle. She does not, but does know someone who does, so makes a phone call. Liz gets a few details, but nothing on who the Johan Winker on that list may have been. The pastor of the church is summoned as well, but cannot offer any further insight. He is quite encouraging in our search, however. There are, after all, quite a few Winkers in his parish.

Another woman who overhears the conversations comes up to Liz and says, “You looked familiar when I first saw you but I could not place the name. Now I realize it is because you look just like a friend that I grew up with here in Spaichingen. Her name was Inge Winker.”

We leave with some recommendations of local Winkers to contact. We still have not found the connection, but at least we have some leads.

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