Friday, June 12, 2015


Family surnames were first used about 800 years ago in Europe and from 1200 to 1600 there was little or no registration and archival of information on the names and lives of commoners. So it is a challenge to determine the origin of our Family Name. The Novinger spelling of our Family name, is documented in the United States from the early 1700’s. The Nabinger spelling is recorded from 1600 in Frankenstein and what is now Rheinland-Pflaz, Germany, also known as Rhineland-Palatinate. But so far, we have not been able to find a record for our name prior to 1600 or determine with certainty where our family originated prior to their arrival in Frankenstein.

Hermann Nabinger
Glen Novinger

But thanks to some additional research from our cousin, Hermann Nabinger, who was born in Frankenstein and now lives in Ludwigshafen, Rheinland-Pflaz, I am happy to pass on to you the following comments which come from his research.

Family names in Germany developed during medieval times. At first people had only a first name. In a small village where people knew each other it wasn't much of a problem. But later, when the cities began to grow and people needed to distinguish between several people with the same first name in a village, they added individual identifiers for each person.

So when one of the "Peters" was a smith, he would be named after his profession:  "Peter Smith".  Or, if a person came from a town with an ending such as in "
Altoetting", his name might end with the suffix "ing" as in the town, or "inger" to indicate the person's hometown. Many places in south Germany, Switzerland, and Austria have the suffix "-ing".  

Hermann consulted two family name researchers, Brechenmacher and Max Gottschald, who are of the opinion that the Nabinger and Nevinger Family name appears to originate as the name of a craftsman.  This craftsman specialized in crafting the “hub”, or in German “nabe or plural: naben”, by drilling the axle hole in the hub of a wooden wheel for carts.

But a Swiss name history scholar, contacted by Hermann, is of the opinion that our Family name is from Nebikon, a municipality in the constituency of Willisau in the canton of Lucerne, Switzerland. It was the Swiss scholar’s opinion that our name is a “place of origin” name. A resident of Nebikon is known as a “Nebiker” and the suspected evolution and modification of our name might of progressed orally through: Nebiker, Nebiger, Neviger, and Nevinger. There are still families in the areas of Basel and Prattein, Switzerland, with the  Nebiker name.

Around 1600 Swiss Nebiker families emigrated from Switzerland to the Strasbourg area of Alsace and then moved further north to the area of Heiligenstein, a commune in the Bas-Rhin department of Alsace in northeastern France where Nebinger families are today active as wine growers. Another part of the family moved to Lorraine, near the German border where they founded the village of Nebing that was German until 1915. Nebing remains a active community today in the Moselle department of Lorraine. It is interesting to point out that Nebing is located only 55 kilometers from Saarbrucken.  In 2015 most of the Nabingers in Germany live within 50 kilometers of Saarbrucken.

After the Nebiker’s moved to the Alsace and Lorraine area we see the name appear with various modified spellings such as: Nebinger, Nabinger, Ewing, and Nawinger.  The Nawinger spelling and pronunciation, is possibly the basis of the “Novinger” spelling and pronunciation of that part of the Family in the United States, where in the 1700’s we also saw spellings such as Nauvinger, Nabinger, and Navinger.

At the present time this is the most complete information and understanding we have on the Origin of our Clan.  Hopefully, we will discovery more verifiable data on our origins. But at this point it would appear that the Nevingers, Nabingers, and the Novingers are directly descended from common roots in what is now northern Switzerland.  Strangely enough, 60 years ago my Grandparents generation told me that we came from the area of Lake Constance in northern Switzerland. And on my first visit to Frankenstein, Germany, in 2010 I asked one of my cousins, Liesel Nabinger, where our Family came from and she said “My grandfather told me our Family came from northern Switzerland.”.  

Liesel Nabinger
Glen Novinger

Perhaps our oral history has prevailed where no written history existed!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


New Today !   Translate this Blog. Now you can translate our Family History Blog into your Mother Tongue.  To translate the Blog, go to the top of the Home page and just below the title you will find the following gadget.

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Select your preferred language and as soon as you click on your preferred language, all of the Blog will be translated. Enjoy,  Glen Novinger


Thursday, February 5, 2015


Above Drawing depicting the Thirty Years War: 
“The Great Miseries of War” by Jacques Callot, 1632

Life during the 1600's, 1700's and 1800's was marginal and a challenge at best. Germans were seeking a better, more stable and secure life.
Glen Novinger ***

1600 (Nabingers migrated to Frankenstein)
In the 1600's, many Germans emigrated through the ports of LeHavre, Rotterdam and London. Some were seeking religious freedom in the United States after Martin Luther split from the Catholic Church. The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) had destroyed vast parts of Southwest Germany. There was widespread devastation of many German states with 33% - 66% population declines. Many immigrants left in hope that the New World would provide a brighter future for themselves and their families. 

1732 (Nabingers migrated to Philadelphia)
German language in American press: The Philadelphische Zeitung was the first German newspaper published in the United States.

Only 7 years later, in 1739, a German printer born in the Palatinate named Christopher Saur established the first German publishing company. He printed the first edition of the Bible, written in a European language (German). It was called Luther’s translation of the old and new testaments.

1848 (Nabingers migrated to Brazil)

About one million Germans, nicknamed "48ers", escaped the harsh political situation during the Revolution. These new immigrants joined the others, already settled immigrants, which increased the size of the German settlements. Many of these immigrants were well-educated intellectuals who contributed greatly to the culture of America. Architect and "48er" Adolf Cluss came from Heilbronn in Southwestern Germany. He settled near Washington, D.C., where he designed many public buildings, including schools, markets, government buildings, museums and residences. His most famous building was the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall.

"Above timeline history from: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"

Saturday, January 31, 2015


I recently heard from Ernst and Rosina Nabinger who gave the following information about the Nabinger Family history in Austria.  Following is what they reported.

Our family lives in a village in Austria called Wulkaprodersdorf, 50 kilometers from Vienna. The landscape is idyllic and is part of the "Wulka-plain" with the Wulka River crossing the area. We are in the Austrian state of Burgenland which is the easternmost state of Austria. Lake Neusiedl, the largest steppe lake in Europe is about 15 kilometers away. The area is quiet, has almost no crime, and people work as civil servants, laborers, artisans and farmers. Due to the mild climate and the proximity to the lake we have a strong vineyard and wine industry. People like good food with a glass of wine and Vienna schnitzel with potato salad and Hungarian goulash (spicy, with onions meat) are both popular meals. The population is almost exclusively Catholic.

In Austria, there are only about 50 "Nabingers". They come from our village and spread throughout the country only in recent years with the growth of motorization. Nabingers in our area were first recorded around 1850 at which time the area was inhabited with Croatian-speaking people. The colonization of the Croatian Adriatic Sea took place in 1650, as prior to that time the area was almost completely extinguished by wars and epidemics. Croatian culture has been partially maintained through language and traditions to this day. The people in our village still speak mostly Croatian and, of course, the language of the country, which is German. The area until 1921 was part of the Hungarian side during the time of Austria-Hungary Empire and at school we were speaking Hungarian. It was only in 1921, after the First World War, that our area was split off from Hungary and added to Austria. From that date, the official language has been German.

Nabinger is a German name. We therefore assume that a German journeyman came to our area and stayed. Family genealogy is difficult because before 1921 the files are incomplete and there are language problems. The church is planning a digitization of archives and perhaps after that is completed we can learn something more about our ancestors.

My husband, Ernst, was a police officer and I have worked with a notary. Our daughter Ursula studied Nutritional Sciences and her husband is a landscape architect. They have three daughters 18, 13 and 9 years old.

We live in a house with a 1,800 m2 garden, so since our retirement we work more with the garden, the own fruit trees, and bio vegetables. In addition we have a 10,000 m2 garden next to the Wulka River. We love this idyllic base and spend a lot of time with family and many friends.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Since the earliest years of the known history of the Nabinger Family, about 1600, our Family history has been tied to that of an area known as the Palatinate in what is now central western Germany.

The Palatinate, also known as Rhenish Palatinate (German: Rheinpfalz), occupies more than a quarter of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). A resident of the Palatinate is known as a Palatine and the area was part of Bavaria during most of the time of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The regional dialect of the Palatinate is Palatine German or Pfaelzisch, a West Franconian dialect of German.

In the west, the Palatinate borders on Saarland. In the northwest, the Hunsrück mountain range forms the border with the Rhineland region. The eastern border with Hesse and the Baden region runs along the Rhine River. In the south, the German-French border separates the Palatinate from Alsace. One third of the region is covered by the Palatinate Forest (Pfälzerwald) which is Germany's largest contiguous forested area and part of the Franco-German Palatinate Forest-North Vosges Biosphere Reserve.

The German Wine Route (or the Deutsche Weinstrasse) passes through the Palatinate which is one of the greatest wine producing regions in Germany and in the last two decades has became well known for a large number of prizewinning white and red wines of highest quality produced by a number of young winemakers.

The relatively mild Palatinate weather permits the cultivating of almond and fig trees, stone pines, Mediterranean Cypress, palms, and even banana species. The lower hilly regions are known for its extended chestnut forests, sometimes referred to as "German Tuscany" in tourist advertising.


The traditional Palatine cuisine is in parts very hearty and substantial mainly because the recipes were developed by the physically hard-working population or in times of poverty. In comparison to other regional German cuisines its dishes are also hotter and spicier. The most renowned dish from the Palatinate is Saumagen which is a mixture of lean pork, sausage meat, potatoes, onions, marjoram, cloves and pepper in a casing. It is so famous that even cooking competitions for butchers and cooks take place. As with most traditional dishes there are many variations with additional ingredients and spices, but they all have in common that the stomach of a pig is used as the cooking container in which the mixture is simmered. The finished product is then removed from the casing, cut into slices and can be either served fresh or be roasted before eating.