This lovely photo shows Bernard Joseph Anstoetter and Lidwina Kramer just after their wedding in Dyersville, Iowa, December 1919. My mother in law, child of Ben and Lydia had one of the rarest surnames I’ve ever researched. Every person in the United States with the surname Anstoetter/Anstoeter was directly related to her within 3 generations. All of them descend from 2 brothers who arrived in the US about 1868. This also appears to be a very rare surname in Germany. It’s always a bit of a shock to search for a name and have almost nothing turn up! However this has its good points. Anything I post or write about the family is sure to be found and read. As a result I’ve just been blessed with wonderful instance of Genealogical Serendipity.
The Anstoetter men hailed from Hummeldorf near Salzbergen Germany. Neither Hummeldorf or Salzbergen are large towns even today. So you can imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from an official of the Historical Society for Salzbergen. She was interested in finding out more about these former citizens of her town. And it turned out she had access to the unmicrofilmed church records of St. Cyriakus in Salzbergen. So a gift from heaven!!! I now know that John Herman and Gerhard Heinrich had at least 2 older half brothers and that they had an aunt, Anna Adelheid (Anstoeter) Ovel who moved to Iowa ahead of them. And almost as interesting, I know the meaning of this rare surname. According to Karin – Ansoteter comes from the word anstossen which means a family or person who lives on the border between 2 countries. In the 19th century the Anstoeter family farm was on the border between the Kingdoms of Hanover and Prussia. And today that same farm (which I’m not sure is still in the family) is on the border between the German states of Lower-Saxony and Northrhine -Westpahlia.
Thank you Karin for your wonderful help and your kind actions.