Mysterious Grandfather

  • Hello, can anyone please tell me if there was such a thing as a register of people who emigrated from Germany in the 1930’s?

    The reason I ask is that my mother who was born in Bückeburg near Hanover never knew her father because he fled Germany in 1936.

    The story begins with my grandmother, Karoline Christine Johanne Brandt, born in Ahnsen on February 17th 1892.

    On January 29th 1915 she married Carl Wilhelm Hartmann in Ahnsen. They went to live in Bückeburg where they had 3 sons, Wilhelm (Willi), Fritz and Hans.

    Carl Hartmann died some time in the 1920’s, Willi survived WW2 having served in the Navy, Fritz and Hans both died in Russia serving with the Army.

    My grandmother now widowed had a relationship in the mid 1930’s with a musician and became pregnant with my mother.

    My late mother’s name was Helga Hartmann, although sometimes she used her mother’s maiden name of Brandt, she was born in Bückeburg on the 28th June 1936, her father, the musician, left Germany before she was born.

    The only thing that my mother knew about her father was that he was a musician and that his surname was Mönchhaus. She believed that he was Jewish, his name and the fact that he fled Germany for the U.S.A. so suddenly in those troubled times would seem to support that assertion.

    My mother grew up in Schwenstrasse 6 in Bückeburg, then after leaving school worked as a hairdresser in the town. She met my father in 1953 who was a British serviceman from Scotland. I too was born in Bückeburg on 27th June 1955, we lived with my grandmother in Schwenstrasse for about 2 years before my father was posted back to the U.K. My mother then took British citizenship and lived in England for the rest of her life.

    I would very much like to find out more about my grandfather and any other family that my mother had in Bückeburg but there is so little information available, so I thought that the best place to start would be with some kind of register that the authorities may have kept of people who were encouraged to emigrate, also if I can find archives of the local newspapers of the time there may have been an article about his band or orchestra and perhaps dates and venues they were playing in the area.

    I would appreciate any advice or help with any possible information sources , and although it’s a long shot maybe someone on the forum may recognise some of the names and places in my story.

    Edinburgh, Scotland.

  • Hello Ronnie,

    Maybe his name appears on a so-called "Ausbürgerungsliste" (expatriation / denaturalization list); more than 33,000 people were listed on them. Unfortunately, the Wikipedia article is available in German only.…smus_bis_1936#cite_note-1

    Have you checked any databases containing information on German immigrants to the US in 1936 or later or US census data on Of course, it's not sure that he went to the US, but... we're looking for the needle in the haystick.

    I looked for "Mönchhaus" on Familysearch, but there was (almost) no-one with this surname. Please consider other spellings, e.g. Mönchhausen, Münchhausen or even anglicised variants such as e.g. Munchhouse. You might use the Gedbas ddatabase to look for similar names. At the top of the page, enter the first letters into the search field:

    "Zeige Nachnamen, die folgendermaßen beginnen" >> click on "Los"

    P. S. I posted a note and link to this post in the emigration sub-forum.

  • Hi

    The first thing you should do is looking for the passenger manifest. You can find this documents at ellisisland, familysearch or ancestry.
    If you find him on a passenger manifest with information where he was going to, then you can look at the census lists at familysearch.
    In the United States you should also look for spellings like Monchhaus, Moenchhaus, Monchhouse, Munchhouse.

    Do you have the birth certificate and/or the baptism entry (parish record) of your mother?
    If not you should first search for this, there could be more information about her father.
    If he in fact was jewish you should look at jewish websites like


  • Thank you Svenja and zimba 123 for your replies, I shall certainly take your advice and look into these sources. Regarding newspaper articles, do you know where I can find the name of local newspapers for a given town e.g Bückeburg at that time?

  • Thanks for that Henriette52, I've had quite a lot of contact with NLA in the past couple of years trying to locate my grandmother's birth certificate and other details, however I didn't think of them for newspaper archives, so I'll contact them again.

  • Hallo Ronnie,

    bei dem Namen "Mönchhaus" in Verbindung mit Bückeburg werde ich sofort hellhörig: ich weiß nämlich, dass die Adelsfamilie der Freiherrn v. Münchhausen unter anderem auch in Bückeburg ansässig war.

    Dein Vorfahre könnte mit etwas Glück ein Nachfahre dieser Familie gewesen sein - und ich meine, mal in einer Chronik dieser Familie gelesen zu haben, dass tatsächlich einige ihrer Mitglieder nach Amerika ausgewandert sind. Musiker gab es meines Wissens ebenfalls in der Familie (ich bin mir aber nicht sicher, ob auch unter den Auswanderern).

    Es gibt gedruckte Genealogien (jeweils in mehreren Bänden):

    1. Börries v. Münchhausen 1935 - 1939: Arbeiten zur Familiengeschichte der Freiherrn v. Münchhausen (weil er in engem Kontakt zu verschiedenen Familienzweigen stand, ist es recht wahrscheinlich, dass er auch über eine Auswanderung zu seiner Zeit berichtet hat);

    2. Lenthe/ Mahrenholz 1971 - 1976: Stammtafeln der Familie v. Münchhausen (da müsste man sich wohl durch die jüngeren Generationen hindurchwühlen in der Hoffnung, etwas zu finden);

    In Deutschland weiß ich auf jeden Fall, dass es die Bücher in der Hannoverschen Landesbibliothek gibt (und wenn ich im Moment etwas mehr Zeit hätte, würde ich sogar anbieten, da nachzuschauen).

    Diese Bücher würden aber natürlich nur dann etwas bringen, wenn Dein Vorfahre ein ehelicher Nachfahre eines Mitglieds dieser Adelsfamilie war. Denkbar wäre es aber auch, dass er ein Nachfahre aus einer unehelichen Verbindung war, oder dass er nur "zufällig" den gleichen Nachnamen trägt...

    Grüße aus Hannover

    P.S.: Auswanderung in den 1930er Jahren muss nicht UNBEDINGT etwas mit Judentum zu tun gehabt haben - damals sind auch viele Deutsche mit anderer politischer Meinung ausgewandert, wovon es gerade auch im Adel eine ganze Menge gab.

    IRGENDWIE sind wir doch ALLE miteinander verwandt... ;)

    Edited once, last by Sbriglione ().

  • Hallo,

    Die Nachnamen Menkhaus und Mönkhaus gibt es aber auch, einen Musiker habe ich aber nicht gefunden.
    Ansonsten erinnere ich mich noch off topic an einen Bob Monkhouse, der war aber Engländer. Da gab es in den 60ern irgendwelche Sendungen mit ihm im deutschen Fernsehen.

    Frdl. Grüße


  • Hello Giacomo and Thomas thank you for your interest and help in my enquiries.

    Firstly to Giacomo, it is good to hear that there is an actual genealogical record with the name Münchhausen, it is certainly something that I can follow up on, although I still don't know for sure what my grandfather's name really was, all that my late mother could tell me was that it was the German equivalent of the British name Monkhouse. A direct translation would, I presume be Mönchshaus or a variation of it. Regarding the reasons why he left Germany, it could possibly be that it was for political reasons but my mother strongly felt that her father was Jewish.

    To Thomas, again the name is crucial so not knowing exactly what it was makes the search so difficult and you are correct that there is no entry for a father on my mother's birth certificate. I have a photocopy from the NLA Staatsarchiv Bückeburg of the church register entry for my mother's birth but there are some problems with it, it is handwritten so not very easy to decipher the names, which to me don't look like my grandmother's and mother's, the date of birth is correct and there is no entry for her father.
    Regarding Bob Monkhouse, I remember him well, he was a very famous and funny comedian here in Britain and was well known to be Jewish. As Monkhouse is a typically Jewish name here in Britain, I would presume that it's German version would also be a Jewish name.

    The key to my search is to discover exactly what my grandfather's name was which is why, after the holidays I will contact the NLA to search the newspaper archives for that period looking for articles and adverts for musical events etc. I also want to look at the archives to find any brothers, sisters or cousins of my grandmother in hope of finding some living relatives who may have family information, documents etc.


  • Hi Ronnie,

    there are some ***hhausen on passenger lists in the years 1937 +/- 2, but just one from the area ( Hamelin , but this one was married ( 1923) and had two children ( insurance-agent by profession).
    No ***hhaus or ***khaus.
    If you don´t have a problem taking documents online, please scan the church registry entry and upload it here so that we can decipher the names and so on.



  • Ich glaube das große Problem ist die suche USA ..Es ist nicht unmöglich , dass sein Großvater evtl. Verhaftet - oder unter anderen Namen weiter gelebt hat. !
    Auch könnte es sein , das dieser nicht in die USA ausgewandert ist , vielleicht war es die Schweiz - Frankreich usw.
    Zu dem das Problem mit dem Namen ... vielleicht sollte ein Foto der Urkunde dargestellt werden ?

    Mit vielen Grüßen

    Und ein frohes Neues Jahr


    Jede Generation lächelt über die Väter,
    lacht über die Großväter
    und bewundert die Urgroßväter
    (William Somerset Maugham)