Family history | City of Frogs
As we drove through the rolling hills of
fertile farmland my heart
began to beat a little faster.


I was becoming anxious to arrive in Büdingen. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was just a tiny little dot on the map a long way from the closest autobahn in an out-of-the-way location 27 miles northeast of Frankfurt.It’s not listed in most travel books and if it weren’t for the fact my family had called this place home 240 years ago I probably would not have discovered “the city of frogs.” 

After spending 3 weeks in Europe I now wonder why Büdingen isn’t listed as a tourist destination. I was pleasantly surprised to find a large and well preserved “old town” located in the middle of town with several nice restaurants, hotels, and places of interest. Most of “old town” dates from the 1300s to 1600s and consists of the outer walls of the city, the gates, the Ysenburg castle, churches, and many other buildings.

The Jerusalem Gate is the only survivor of the original 3 gates. The Tor and the Mausfall both date to 1503.
As I walked down the cobblestone streets I had a constant smile knowing that most of these buildings existed when my family lived here between 1660 and 1766. I couldn’t help but wonder where my family had lived.


Marienkirche 1476 / 1491

It was easy to find Marienkircke, the church where my family’s records originated, and I had hopes of finding family gravesites or some new information about the family. After all, my 7th great grandfather, Johannes Pinnecker, was well known locally at the time. He was an apothecary (druggist) to the court of Ysenburg (Ez-in-burg) and many of his children and grandchildren’s godparents were the Graf and Graffin (count and countess) of Ysenburg and Büdingen.
  The single most memorable part of the whole trip was my first visit to Marienkircke. I arrived at the church exactly at 1:00 and as

I was reaching for the door handle the church bells began to ring and as I walked through the door the organist began playing the large pipe organ. The church was magnificent. Even more beautiful than I had imagined and as I walked down the aisles and sat in the pews I wondered “where did my family sit?” I was completely overcome with emotion. It was as if the bells and the organ music was a grand “welcome home John.”
More photos of Marienkircke and Büdingen



Schlaghaus built in 1353

The Jerusalemer Tor dates to 1503.

I found an office located in the town square where the actual church records are kept. I visited the office 3 times but unfortunately no one spoke English. My inability to speak German stymied my chances to see the records. I spoke to many English speaking residents asking about old cemeteries in Büdingen but was unable to find any. We found a cemetery but nothing very old and certainly nothing as old as the time period I was looking. What has Büdingen done with all of the really old graves?

The one tidbit of NEW information that I found was the existence of a tiny community located a couple miles north of Büdingen called Dudenrod. Prior to this trip I thought my oldest known PINNECKERs were from Düderode (located 100 miles north) but I now believe this is a miss-read of the church records and they are probably from the local community of Dudenrod. Unfortunately not much remains of the original community and I’ve been unable to find any further records on the family.

  It took many years of hard detective work to backtrack my family from the wheat fields of Kansas to the Volga River region of Russia and finally to their home in Germany. To experience the results of my hard work and see it for myself was marvelous. I thoroughly enjoyed the “old town” of Büdingen, the citizens were kind, helpful, and polite. The town was beautiful and interesting and the church divine.

The Büdingen castle

I would strongly recommend Büdingen as a place to visit for anyone. For me it was special. I felt a strong connection with the town, my family history, and I left with a smile in my heart.

More photos of Büdingen can be found here.

Büdingen (German) web site - The official Büdingen web site in German.

Büdingen (German) web site - The official Büdingen web site translated into English.

All of the information I have for my oldest known PINNECKERs come from church records found on microfilm originating from Marienkircke in Büdingen. These records are handwritten with quill pens in old German and most are very difficult to read.

The full story ...

The City of Frogs

We are in the year 1522. Count Anton zu Ysenburg und Büdingen just married Elisabeth in his bride’s home country and returned to Büdingen with his newly-wed wife.

The full story ...


Europe 2004
Traveling with Pieter in Holland | Traveling with Dieter and Liz in Germany
Traveling on Our Own in Büdingen, Germany | Traveling on Our Own in Europe
Pinnecker Family History in Büdingen | The City of Frogs

John Wall's home page | Genealogy

Last Revised: December 15, 2007
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