Thanks Charles! Your family history gave us a much clearer understanding of who we are.
Charles was the son of Ben and Kate Niehaus of Indianapolis, Indiana. However, to help in his large family, he was raised by his aunt and uncle, Lena and Fred Kleinsmith. In 1955, at the age of 32, he made a trip to Germany to see the area where his father and aunt were born. He visited with the descendants of the one son of Joseph and Maria Anna (Beerman) Niehaus who did not emigrate to America. After making his trip Charles wrote the first Niehaus family history of which I am aware.
Copies of the history have been circulated throughout this Niehaus family since that time. I'm not sure when Dad (Frank Niehaus) gave me a copy. As far as I remember, he passed this along to me in the 1970s, after I was a young adult. He told me about the origin of the family and who wrote this story. I never knew a great deal about his cousin Charles and I wish I had asked more. This is an example of the many topics I would have talked with Dad about if I had realized in my younger years how curious I would become about everything surrounding family history. He loved his family and I am sure would have answered any of my questions….if only I had asked. Regardless, Charles's story gave me an important beginning.
In the last twenty years or so other cousins have traveled to the Niehaus family’s towns of origin, Riesenbeck and Emsdetten in Westphalia, Germany. Others have researched from this side of the pond. And they are all very generous in sharing what they experience or uncover. I would venture to say that Charles Niehaus’s decision to make this record of the family history 58 years ago has resulted in many sparks of interest. I know for a fact that the story has been discussed at family reunions over the years.
I am posting here a scan of my original copy of The Niehaus Family Story, written by Charles Niehaus. This is the version that was passed along to me by my father. There’s my note on the first page and a few written corrections on the family chart that could have been written by Dad. Every detail shared in some way adds to our personal story.
I am grateful to family members who provide me constantly with new background, stories and personal impressions as we build on Charles’s first history. These pages of Indiana Ties are all about that!
(Click on the Genealogy tab at the top of this page or the topics at the left to find family pedigree charts, stories and more photos that expand on Charles's research. Also, I am happy to email a copy of this history to anyone interested. )