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The Grobbel Family History - from Germany to the U.S.A.

Updated January 21, 2006

The Grobbel surname can be traced back to the year 1398, when an individual known as "der schwarze Gobelen von Obringhausen" was identified as a member of the Parish church in the village of Wormbach, which was located in the Holy Roman Empire principality of Westphalia. Records from the Benedictine Monastery in Grafschaft confirm that he lived nearby on one of the 6 farms located in the tiny village of Obringhausen (which is near the larger town of Schmallenberg and is located about 60 miles ENE of Cologne).

Over the years, the records show various spellings of the family surname, such as Gobelen, Groteboel and Grobbelen. By 1670, records were consistently using the current spelling of Grobbel.

During a 30 year span in the mid to late 19th Century, eight members of the Grobbel clan emigrated from their homeland in what is today known as the Sauerland region of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. They made their way to the United States of America and most settled in the state of Michigan, where many of their descendants still reside in the counties of Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, Lapeer, Genesee and Saginaw.

The eight Grobbel emigrants included three brothers and their sister who were born in Cobbenrode, Westphalia. The brothers emigrated together about 1850. Their names were Franz Anton (b. 4 Nov 1819), John (b. 21 Oct 1825) and Daniel (b. 3 Dec 1836). Their sister, Josephina (b. 6 Jun 1828), emigrated around 1872 with her husband, Franz Heinrich Schulte gt. Neuhäuser (b. 15 May 1828 in Schondelt, Westphalia). They were followed in 1879 by a pair of brothers who were their 1st cousins, once removed: Emil Grobbel (b. 8 Sep 1852 in Obringhausen) and Joseph Grobbel (b. 18 Jan 1856 in Obringhausen). About 1884, their 2nd cousin, once removed, Anton Grobbel (b. 2 Jun 1851 in Lenne, Westphalia) also emigrated.

I am greatly indebted to Johannes Grobbel of Schmallenberg, Germany and the late Ludwig Brögger of Wipperfürth, Germany for the information they have shared with me about the various Grobbel emigrants and their ancestors. Johannes found me through the Internet and he identified the common ancestors of the 5 Grobbel emigrants who came to Detroit, as well as providing the names of their paternal ancestors.

I also wish to thank: a) John Schlaud of Grand Blanc, MI for sharing his information on the descendants of Jacob Schlaud; b) Mary Schultz of Melvin, MI for sharing her information on the descendants of both Ferdinand Grobbel and Christopher Ruhlman.

I am always searching for more descendants of the Grobbel emigrants. I currently have the names of 5,750 Grobbel family descendants, mostly from the Franz Anton, John, Emil and Joseph Grobbel lines. I am willing to share my information and would be very interested in hearing from you if you have information about Grobbel descendants or any of the other related families.

A partial list of other family names that are related though marriage to the Grobbel emigrants or their descendants can be found at: http://grobbel.org/genealogy/summary/fam_hist.html

My grandfather, Clement Grobbel (1895-1977), was a World War I Veteran who fought in Northern Russia from Sept. 1918 through June 1919. He was a member of the U. S. Army 339th Infantry, which was nicknamed the “Polar Bears”. For more information about the “Polar Bears”, go to http://pbma.grobbel.org

You can learn much more by clicking on the "Book: The Grobbel Family History" link immediately below on this page.

You can also visit http://genealogy.grobbel.org
where I have links to more Grobbel family history information and information about the the villages where our Grobbel emigrant ancestors were born.

You can contact me by going to http://grobbel.org/contact.html

[this section last updated on 21 Jan 2006].
Michael Vincent Grobbel

49997 Lexington Ave East

Shelby Township, Michigan 48317

United States

(586) 726-0317


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Family Photos

  • The Grobbel Hof in Obringhausen, NRW, Germany (200 KB)
    This house is located on the ancestral Grobbel farm, which dates back to at least 1398. The portion of the house closest to the camera was built about 1729; it was expanded in 1824 by Everhard and Maria Walburga Grobbel. Today, it remains one of the largest and most impressive houses in the area (photo taken on 20 April 2000).
  • Old St. Clement Church, Center Line, Michigan (168 KB)
    This picture was taken from the choir loft during the Wedding Mass of Vincent Grobbel & Virginia Hiller on 30 April 1949.
  • St. Clement 'Welfare Society' ribbon from 1869 (122 KB)
    This ribbon was passed down to my grandfather, Clement Grobbel; most likely, it belonged to his grandfather, Franz Anton Grobbel. It measures 2.5 in. wide by 8.5 in. long. The reverse side has the same inscription, only it is embossed in silver on a black background. The fringe is made of gold metallic threads. The influence of German emigrants was still strong within the Parish in 1869, as evidenced by the use of the German words for "Welfare Society".
  • Old St. Clement Church (1881-1967) (71 KB)
    A picture of the exterior of St. Clement Church in Center Line, MI that was taken by Joseph Blahnik in 1956.
  • John Minick and Mary Ann Gansen's Marriage Record (56 KB)
    This image is from the microfilmed records of St. Joseph (German) Parish, Detroit, MI. It shows that they were married on 1 Sept 1868 (not 1869). His parents were "Michael Munich" (Münich/Münch/Minick) and "Maria Wilhelmi" (Wilhelmy) of Düngenheim, Germany. Her parents were "Anton Jansen" (Gansen) and "Catharina Schwall", also of Düngenheim, Germany.
  • 'Polar Bear' Croix de Guerre recipients (158 KB)
    U.S. Signal Corps photo of the seven members of the 339th Infantry, 85th Division who received the Croix de Guerre for bravery in action in North Russia during WWI. Clement Grobbel is in the middle of the picture. (photo courtesy of Kenton W. Main, Grand Junction, CO)
  • Clement Grobbel (about 1960) (13 KB)
    Clem is shown entering St. Clement Church to ring the Angelus Bells.
  • Memorial Day 2000 (1 of 3) (94 KB)
    Alton "Oz" Grobbel, president of the Polar Bear Memorial Association, addresses the attendees at the memorial ceremony for the Polar Bears on 29 May 2000.
  • Rev. Peter A. Grobbel (1873-1965) (241 KB)
    Peter Anton Grobbel was born on 12 June 1873 in Milchenbach, Westphalia (for more information, go to the 'Related Links' section below). This photograph of Rev. Grobbel was taken in 1947 in Long Pine, Nebraska (photo courtesy of Johannes Grobbel, Schmallenberg, Germany).
  • Stars & Stripes China Edition 13 Feb 1946 (3 of 5) (464 KB)
    Newspaper Article about the 78th Amphibious Force's Repatriation of Japanese Civilians from China to Japan During the Winter of 1945-46. Robert Grobbel was on the LST-847, which participated in the repatriation, and he sent this clipping home with his letter of 19 Feb 1946.
  • Memorial Day 2000 (2 of 3) (80 KB)
    Descendants of Clement Grobbel who were in attendance at the memorial ceremony for the Polar Bears on 29 May 2000.
  • 'Erin Go Grobbel's' Button (114 KB)
    This 3.5 in. dia. button was a promotional item distributed by the E.W. Grobbel & Sons, Inc. in Detroit (ca. 1985). It was used to promote sales of their Corned Beef for St. Patrick's Day, thus the play on words.
  • Clement Grobbel's WWI Uniform & Medals (10 KB)
    From the display at the Michigan's Own Military Museum in Frankenmuth, MI: Clem's uniform and (from L to R) his Distinguished Service Cross, WWI Victory Medal with "Defensive Sector" bar, French Croix de Guerre.
  • Stars & Stripes China Edition 13 Feb 1946 (4 of 5) (271 KB)
    Newspaper Article about the 78th Amphibious Force's Repatriation of Japanese Civilians from China to Japan During the Winter of 1945-46. Robert Grobbel was on the LST-847, which participated in the repatriation, and he sent this clipping home with his letter of 19 Feb 1946.
  • Memorial Day 2000 (3 of 3) (53 KB)
    The late Bob Grobbel (1926-2000) and his wife, Judy, taken at the Polar Bear monument in White Chapel Cemetery, Troy, MI on 29 May 2000.
  • Grobbel Emigrants Family Tree (79 KB)
    This tree shows the relationships between the seven Grobbel emigrants who came to the U.S.A. from the Sauerland during the 19th Century.
  • 1859 Map of Sections 16 & 17 in Warren Twp., MI (144 KB)
    A re-created map shows the location and owners of all farms in Sections 16 & 17 (bounded by present-day Ryan, Van Dyke, 12 Mile and 11 Mile Roads).
  • Stars & Stripes China Edition 13 Feb 1946 (5 of 5) (150 KB)
    Newspaper Article about the 78th Amphibious Force's Repatriation of Japanese Civilians from China to Japan During the Winter of 1945-46. Robert Grobbel was on the LST-847, which participated in the repatriation, and he sent this clipping home with his letter of 19 Feb 1946.
  • Memorial Day 2001 (1 of 2) (66 KB)
    The children of Clement A. Grobbel who were at the memorial service for the Polar Bears on 28 May 2001. (rear: Mark, Syl and Oz Grobbel; front: Monica Burcar, Mary Ellen Moscone)
  • Clement Grobbel in his WWI uniform (1919) (140 KB)
    Clem is pictured wearing his uniform on July 4, 1919 at Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan. He had returned home from the War the evening before, and had just participated in the parade & picnic on Belle Isle that was held for the returning veterans.
  • 1875 Map of Sections 16 & 17 in Warren Twp., MI (167 KB)
    A re-created map shows the location and owners of all farms in Sections 16 & 17 (bounded by present-day Ryan, Van Dyke, 12 Mile and 11 Mile Roads).
  • Map of Center Line, MI, Feb. 1927 (1 of 2) (479 KB)
    This map was created for the installation of water mains and fire hydrants in the village of Center Line. It has a small scale inset map of all the streets in the village, plus a larger scale map showing the lots & houses on Central Ave. and the "Clement Grobbel Cement Block Mfg" site at the rear of his lots on Dale Ave. (see http://pages.prodigy.net/mvgrobbel/1927CLmap.htm).
  • Memorial Day 2001 (2 of 2) (83 KB)
    Syl Grobbel, with his granddaughter Keira Rose and his son, Steve. This photo was taken on 28 May 2001 at White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, MI following the memorial service for the WW I "Polar Bears".
  • Center Line, Mich. (circa 1914) (50 KB)
    This photo is from a postcard that was mailed on 28 May 1915 from Mae Schulte to her future husband, Albert Hiller (my maternal grandparents). On the left is Sprague's (Sproggy's), which later was Lazoen's Hay & Feed. The building across the street with the awning was at various times a Post Office and later a dry cleaners. Main St. is known today as Van Dyke or M-53. This photo was taken looking south on Main St. from a point just north of the intersection with Ritter St.
  • 1895 Map of Sections 16 & 17 in Warren Twp., MI (212 KB)
    A re-created map shows the location and owners of all farms in Sections 16 & 17 (bounded by present-day Ryan, Van Dyke, 12 Mile and 11 Mile Roads).
  • Map of Center Line, MI, Feb. 1927 (2 of 2) (289 KB)
    This map was created for the installation of water mains and fire hydrants in the village of Center Line. It matches up with (1 of 2) & has a large scale map showing the lots & houses on Central & Harding Aves. (includes Church Rd.- now Engleman Ave.).
  • Memorial Day 2002 (1 of 3) (43 KB)
    The children of Clement Grobbel who were in attendance at the memorial ceremony for the Polar Bears on 27 May 2002.
  • Stained Glass pane from Old St. Clement Church (46 KB)
    A red stained glass pane with black floral pattern stenciled on the inside of the pane. Salvaged from the windows of old St. Clement Church when it was torn down in 1967.
  • Map of Center Line, MI, July 1932 (1 of 3) (115 KB)
    This map was created in July of 1932 for fire insurance rating purposes. This image (1 of 3) consists of a small scale map of the entire village and it includes some streets in subdivisions that were platted but never built (see http://pages.prodigy.net/mvgrobbel/1932CLmap.htm).
  • Memorial Day 2002 (2 of 3) (42 KB)
    The children of Clement Grobbel, plus their spouses, who were in attendance at the memorial ceremony for the Polar Bears on 27 May 2002.
  • Sylvester Grobbel enters US Army (Nov. 1954) (66 KB)
    An undated local newspaper clipping headlined "Youngest of Nine Sons to Enter Service Dating to World War I - Father in Polar Bear Division". The Nov. 1954 date is approximated from the published ages given for Clem, Mark & Syl and the reference to Thanksgiving.
  • Map of Center Line, MI, July 1932 (2 of 3) (381 KB)
    This map was created in July of 1932 for fire insurance rating purposes. This image (2 of 3) is a larger scale map showing the lots & houses in the area bounded by Van Dyke, Church (Engleman), Sylvan and Wilson (Busch). 
  • Memorial Day 2002 (3 of 3) (46 KB)
    The descendants of Clement Grobbel who were in attendance at the memorial ceremony for the Polar Bears on 27 May 2002.
  • Map of Center Line, MI, July 1932 (3 of 3) (199 KB)
    This map was created in July of 1932 for fire insurance rating purposes. This image (3 of 3) is a larger scale map showing the lots & houses in the area bounded by Van Dyke, Church (Engleman), Sylvan and Warren Blvd.
  • Grobbel Emigrants Family Tree (97 KB)
    This tree shows the relationships between the 10 known Grobbel emigrants who came to the USA between 1849 and 1905.
  • Birthplace of J. Caspar Grobbel (b. 1769) (28 KB)
    This building is where Caspar Grobbel was born to Lorenz Grobbel and Anna Maria Niedersten on 3 April 1769, in Lenne, Westphalia (Germany). The picture was taken by Johannes Grobbel in August 1998.
  • Birthplace of J. Anton Grobbel (b. 1823) (22 KB)
    This building is where Anton Grobbel was born to Caspar Grobbel and Maria Elisabeth Schleime in 1823, in Lenne, Westphalia (Germany). This was originally Elisabeth's family farmhouse (Schleimen-Hof), and today it is operated as a working farmhouse "bed & breakfast". The picture was taken by Johannes Grobbel in August 1998.
  • 1875 Macomb County Map (269 KB)
    Map of Macomb County, Michigan, D.J. Stewart, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1875
  • Edward J. Grobbel - "An Outstanding Citizen" (118 KB)
    On 24 Nov 1974, the Center Line Mayor and City Council issued a "proclamation of tribute" to Edward J. Grobbel (1900-1982) to recognize his 50 years of charitable service to the City of Center Line and St. Clement Parish.
  • Elizabeth Grobbel (nee Göbel) (9 KB)
    Elizabeth Göbel, the wife of Franz Anton Grobbel, was born on 8 Apr 1829 in Germany, and died on 21 Mar 1917 in Warren Twp., MI. The date of the picture is unknown, but judging by her appearance and her apparel, it may have been taken shortly after the death of her husband on 24 March 1900. I received this photo from John Schlaud, who got it from Alvera (Schlaud) Houck.
  • "Local Couple has 5 sons in the Service" (Part 1) (142 KB)
    This newspaper clipping from The Weekly Review, Warren Twp., Mich., dated 13 Nov 1942 has photos and text about the sons of Clem & Roxanna Grobbel. By 1945, 2 more sons will have enlisted: Alton "Oz" Grobbel (US Army) & Robert Grobbel (US Navy). See Part 2 for the remainder of the headline and the full photos and captions for Barney, Ray & Dick Carney.
  • Grobbel Family Reunion, July 2001 - Group Shot (129 KB)
    This reunion was a gathering of 4 generations of descendants from the marriage of Anthony Bernard Grobbel (1890-1940) and Mary Anna Petrik (1896-1966). Anthony was the son of Franz Joseph Grobbel (1856-1923, who emigrated to Detroit in 1879. The reunion has held at Cedar Lake, Chelsea, Michigan on July 13-15, 2001
  • Anthony & Mary Grobbel Wedding Picture (19 KB)
    Anthony Grobbel and Mary Minick were married in St. Clement Church on 27 June 1894.
  • "Local Couple has 5 sons in the Service" (Part 2) (28 KB)
    This portion of the newspaper clipping from The Weekly Review, Warren Twp., Mich., dated 13 Nov 1942 shows the remainder that was not included in Part 1.
  • Grobbel Family Reunion, 2001 - George's family (113 KB)
    George and Juanita (Hayes) Grobbel, and family.
  • Anthony & Frances Minick Wedding Picture (15 KB)
    Anthony Minick & Frances Grobbel were married in St. Clement Church on 14 May 1895. Anthony was the brother of Mary Minick and Frances was the sister of Anthony Grobbel.
  • Warren Twp. Michigan - 1875 Plat Map (918 KB)
    This 1875 map identifies the owners & locations of all farms in Township 1 North, Range 12 East of the Meridian of Michigan.
  • Grobbel Family Reunion, 2001 - Donald's family (111 KB)
    Violet (Janes) Grobbel, wife of Donald Grobbel (1923-1967), and family.
  • Clement & Marcella Grobbel Wedding Picture (17 KB)
    Clement Grobbel & Marcella Peters were married in St. Clement Church on 19 October 1921. Clem was the son of Anthony Grobbel & Mary Minick.
  • Warren Twp. Michigan - 1895 Plat Map (1092 KB)
    This 1895 map identifies the owners, locations & acreage of all farms in Township 1 North, Range 12 East of the Meridian of Michigan.
  • Grobbel Family Reunion, 2001 - Gladys' family (110 KB)
    Carl and Gladys (Grobbel) Diehl and family.
  • A Photograph of Cobbenrode, Westphalia (1890) (246 KB)
    This view is from a hill overlooking the village, looking to the north. The Grobbel-Meister Hof is the large building with the light colored roof in the upper center of the picture. It is the birthplace of Franz Anton Grobbel (b. 4 Nov 1819). (Photograph and information - courtesy of Reinhard Grobbel, Oberlandenbeck, NRW, Germany).
  • Monica Grobbel & Victor Burcar's Wedding Party (261 KB)
    Sept. 13, 1952 (l to r): Bill McCoy, Leontine Grobbel, Monica, Victor, Mary (Hobbs) Grobbel, Mark A. Grobbel, Mary Frances Bentley, Sylvester Grobbel, Joyce Burcar and Alton Grobbel.
  • Grobbel Family Reunion, 2001 - Bob & Bill's group (92 KB)
    Robert, William Grobbel, and families.
  • The Parish Church of Ss. Peter & Paul in Wormbach (69 KB)
    The first Church on this site was built in the year 850 AD. This Church dates to 1250, and was expanded to it's present form in 1730. The Grobbel families from the nearby village of Obringhausen belonged to this Roman Catholic Parish (photo taken on 23 April 2000).
  • Aerial view of Schmallenberg, NRW, Germany (220 KB)
    This photo was taken by Reinhard Grobbel while he was flying his Ultralight aircraft. It shows the town of Schmallenberg and just below the upper right corner of the photo, near the side edge, is the Grobbel ancestral farm (the buildings are surrounded by light green fields). Immediately to the left is the village of Obringhausen and if you follow the narrow, winding, dark green path that leads north (up) from Obringhausen, it goes between two white towers. These towers are modern windmills that have propeller-type blades and are used to generate electricity.
  • Grobbel Family Reunion, 2001 - Richard's family (92 KB)
    Richard and Beverly (Parris) Grobbel and family.
  • The Grobbel-Meister Hof in Cobbenrode (49 KB)
    This is the bithplace of Franz Anton (1819), John (1825), Josephina (1828) and Daniel Grobbel (1836). Their father, Johannes Röttger Grobbel, moved here from Obringhausen when he married M.C. Eickhoff gt. Spott in 1815. This was the birthplace of all of their children; the 3 sons listed above emigrated to the U.S.A. around 1850. In the late 1950's, the Grobbel-Meister Hof was combined with an adjoining house (at the left edge of the picture) and converted into the Hotel Henneman. The Sparkasse (a savings bank) also has a local branch office situated in the corner of the structure (photo taken on 22 April 2000).
  • Company I, 339th Infantry (June 1919) (128 KB)
    This is a photograph of Company I , 339th Infantry that was taken while they were at Camp Pontanezen (near Brest, France), 11-21 June 1919. I could not identify Clem Grobbel in this photo - maybe you can spot him? [Photo Credit: "Photos of the Great War - WWI Image Archive" at http://www.ku.edu/~kansite/ww_one/photos/greatwar.htm#TOP ; photo used in accordance with their policy].
  • St. Clement High School Class of 1941 (142 KB)
    Albert Hiller is 3rd from left in back row. For more names, go to http://pages.prodigy.net/mvgrobbel/schs1941.htm
  • Polar Bear Historical Marker (photo no. 1) (130 KB)
    "The Dedication of the Polar Bear Historical Marker", White Chapel Cemetery, 30 May 1988 - Front and back pages of the souvenir program from the dedication ceremony.
  • Clement A. Grobbel, June 14, 1942 (143 KB)
    This photo was part of a larger 23" x 8" photo of the Detroit Knights of Columbus - Class of June 14, 1942, which contained a total of 41 men.
  • Polar Bear Historical Marker (photo no. 2) (189 KB)
    "The Dedication of the Polar Bear Historical Marker", White Chapel Cemetery, 30 May 1988 - Inside pages of the souvenir program that include the text that appears on the Obverse and Reverse sides of the Historical Marker.
  • Stars & Stripes China Edition 13 Feb 1946 (1 of 5) (71 KB)
    Newspaper Article about the 78th Amphibious Force's Repatriation of Japanese Civilians from China to Japan During the Winter of 1945-46. Robert Grobbel was on the LST-847, which participated in the repatriation, and he sent this clipping home with his letter of 19 Feb 1946.
  • Stars & Stripes China Edition 13 Feb 1946 (2 of 5) (277 KB)
    Newspaper Article about the 78th Amphibious Force's Repatriation of Japanese Civilians from China to Japan During the Winter of 1945-46. Robert Grobbel was on the LST-847, which participated in the repatriation, and he sent this clipping home with his letter of 19 Feb 1946.
 

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