Family tradition says our surname came from the town of Spiegelberg, in Wurttenburg, Germany. There are references to Spiegels as far back as the 12th century when they were dukes of Desenberg. Below is a picture of Heinrich Spiegel von Desenberg, 1380. Bishop of Paderborn Cathedral.
The earliest Spiegel in our family, documented, is Francis Spiegel. Francis was born about 1795 in Olsbrucken, Germany. Olsbrucken, Bayern (Baveria) was listed as his birthplace on the 1850 US census. He immigrated to the US in 1835 with his wife and son Jacob (born about Nov 1822), according to the information given on the census. In 1835, the Kingdom of Bayern encompassed both Old Baveria and Pfalz Bavaria ruled by Ludwig I, now Palantine/Rhineland, Germany. Francis married Apollonia Margaret or Margaret Apollonia ( she was called Margaret, I found an old German custom to call a person by their middle name, the first being a saint's name. I don't know if Margaret used this custom or not) Our Spiegels were Catholic, in the Catholic church records of Otterberg, Bayern, there is listed Jacobus Joanne (John) Spiegel, christianed December 19, 1822, parents are listed as Francis Spiegel and Apollonia (Fals) Spiegel. Otterburg is just about 5 miles from Olsbrucken, there is a cathedral there, perhaps that is where the family attended Mass. Also a record exists of a daughter, Elizabeth, Christianed in the same church on November 9, 1826. The family emmigrated to the US about 1836. Family tradition says they were supposed to be going to Ohio where relatives lived, but not knowing English the family boarded the wrong train and ended up in Rochester, New York. There they stayed, buying land in rural Irondequoit and farming for a living. I am trying to track down the Spiegels that previously had settled in Ohio.
Jacob Spiegel married Catherine Barbara LaForce b. Aug 22, 1832 Otterstadt, Germany, daughter of Joannes (John) Jacob LaForce and Christina Klier, they immigrated to New York from Germany before 1860.; Jacob and Barbara had 13 children. (See the LaForce Family for her ancestry.)
Our ancestor is John A. the 12th child of Jacob and Catherine. Family members told me that he left the Catholic church over a dispute with a priest and raised his children Protestant. (When he was dying, however, the priest was called to administer the last rites.) The dispute caused a rift in the family and ended contact between our branch and the descendants of Jacob's brothers and sisters. I am trying to find records of the rest of our relatives, it has been long enough.
John Spiegel worked as a clerk in a shoe store in 1920, as is recorded on the 1920 census. Probably in the family business. John and Emma had five children.
Harry b. January 2, 1895; worked at Kodak making cameras. He married Frieda ___ and had three sons, Donald, Harry Jr, and Raymond.
Walter, b. June 14, 1904, was listed as Auto Repair in the 1930 census. He married Elizabeth and had three children, Earl (my father) is living in Georgia; Richard and Marilynn, younger siblings have passed.
Laura b. 1907, died young of a fever.
Evelynn, b. 1917 is living in Rochester NY with her second husband.
Gordon b. March 31, 1923 married ___. Had two daughters. He moved with his daughters and second wife to New Orleans where he spent the rest of his life.
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