My first contact to John, Bernadette and Jutta
On July 28th 1997 I received the following e-mail from an unknown sender titeld ”Durben”:
”My name is John E. Durben and I live in Wisconsin in the U.S. I don’t know if you speak English but I decided to try to contact you.
We recently had a Durben Family Reunion (July27) and it was announced that in 1999 there were 15 members of the Durben family that wanted to come to the U.S. to attend that year’s reunion.
I found your name in several areas on the net but everything is in German and I have no idea of what the sites are about. Anyway – thought it would be interesting to contact you and see if you knew of any of these people that had expressed this interest.
One of the sites I found you listed appeared to have something to do with the Theatre. I had one year of German over 30 years ago in the 7th or 8th grade in school. My teacher was Ms. Woldt and that is most of what I can remember after that amount of time.
Also found a Bridgette, Harold and Christopher Durben listed on the net over there. I guess a lady by the name of Bernadette Bittner is working on our (Durben) family tree here in Wisconsin. She is the person that forwarded the message that there are individuals over there that would like to join us in 99.
If you can decipher this message please respond, I’d like to hear from you anyway even if you can’t answer any of the questions above. nen.”
On August 1st 1997 I replied that I don’t know any of these people, that I live in the Eifel and that we have a huge Family tree of the Wehrer line.
Further I wrote that I would consult a book and forward him a copy which contains the Family tree of the Wehrer line.
One day later John replied and introduced himself and his family. He reported that his father saw the Rhine during the 2nd World War and that the annual Durben reunion is arranged for over 15 years. Additionally he told that he has a book out of which emerged that the first Durbens originate in Germany.
On August 15th 1997 John reported that one of his ancestors, Peter Durben and Catharina Hilger, derive from Leimbach. They emigrated to America in 1856. Fife days later we knew for sure and I could inform John that both of us were definitely related.
Since the first contact no four weeks had passed and both of us, two persons from different continents who never met before, knew that we were kindred.
This statement was certainly only possible because the both of us could fall back on different researches of genealogists. These were on one hand Mr. Bruno Andre from Wehr and on the other Mrs. Bernadette Bittner from USA.