Sunday, May 24, 2009


Map of Europe_edited-1 copy
SAARLAND: shown inside purple line.
Saarland is a small territory in Western Europe that has never been a major power. But it has frequently been at the cross roads of power and has been controlled by each of the tribal leaders, kings, or Emperors as they have prevailed from time to time. Saarland is located at a central point of Western Europe north of the Alps and its territory has been an area to dispute for thousands of years.

Prior to the time of Christ the area was settled by Celtic tribes. Then in the first century BC, the Roman Empire made the region part of its province of Belgica. Roman rule ended in the 5th century when the Franconians conquered the territory. The region was then divided into several small territories ruled by sovereigns of adjoining regions. But over more than 1000 years, the Saarland gained a wide range of independence.

Then the region was conquered in 1792 by the armies of the French Revolution and made a part of the French republic. France incorporated Saarland into their Department de la Sarre (After the Sarre, or Saar, River that runs through the area on its way to the Rhine River.). After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 the area was divided into 3 areas ruled by the Prussian Rhine Province, the Kingdom of Bavaria, and the Duke of Oldenburg. And then after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 the Germany Empire was founded and the Saar Region became part of the country we have since known as Germany.

After the World War I, beginning in 1920, the Saarland was occupied and administered by France under a 15 year League of Nations mandate. As a foreign occupied region of Germany, toward the end of this mandate Saarland became haven for anti-Nazi political opponents. But in 1935 a plebiscite voted in favor of rejoining Germany and a Nazi, Josef Burchel as appointed the German Reich's commissioner for reintegration of Saarland. After World War II Saarland again came under French occupation as the Saar Protectorate. In 1954 France and Germany signed an accord establishing an independent Saarland, but a plebiscite held on October 23, 1955, rejected independence and in favor of joining the Federal Republic of Germany. With the signing of the Saar Treaty on October 27, 1956, Saarland was joined to Germany.
One interesting provision of the Saar Treaty established French as the required first foreign language taught in Saarland schools. Since 1971 Saarland has been a member of SaarLorLux, a euroregion created from Saarland, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Rhineland Palatinate, and Wallonia.

The residents of Saarland once spoke a German dialect known as Rhine-Franconian, with many imported French based words.
saarland (2)
Theobald Nabinger, later known as Dewalt Novinger, the founder of the Novinger Family in the United States, left Wolfersweiler, Saarland, in March or April of 1742 to travel to the United States. Wolfersweiler is located north of Saarbrucken, near Nohfelden, in the map above.
Growing up in Missouri the Novinger Family had frequent family gatherings and I often heard mention of our family background. The details were "sketchy" and one often heard that we were descended from the Dutch, the Irish, the Swiss, Germans, and/or the French. The Dutch certainly came from the “Pennsylvania Dutch”, which were of course the German speaking Novingers who settled in eastern Pennsylvania. This is fairly accurate. The Irish referred to a verbal story of Theobald Nabinger traveling through Ireland and marrying an Irish woman. More recent research indicates that this was inaccurate. The French ancestry had some reason in that Saarland is the most French of present day Germany states and it has had occupation by the French and the adoption of words from the French language over the centuries. In point of fact, during the years of the migration of the Novingers to American, France was reasserting its control over the area and by 1782 had conquered Saarland and made it part of the France Republic. We now know that the Novinger Family is descended from the Nabingers of Frankenstein, Saarland, Germany.
Wolfersweiler Church - 2010
WOLFERSWEILER as it appears today.

Reference Book: Dewalt Novinger's Legacy

Dewalt Novinger's Legacy
"The Novinger Family in the United States from 1737 to 2001"

Vail Fruechting of Wichita, Kansas, contacted me recently. His 5th Grandfather was Theobald Nabinger and therefore is directly related to the Novinger Family of Missoui. Vail was looking for additional information on the Novinger Family History and I referred him to the following book:

Dewalt Novinger's Legacy - "The Novinger Family in the United States from 1737 to 2001"
This book was compiled by James G. Novinger of the Novinger Reunion, published in 2002, and printed by

Masthof Press
219 Mill Road
Morgantown, PA 19543-9516
Library of Congress Number: 2001095766

This book has a wealth of information on the family since we arrived in the United States. But it had been out of print for some time. Vail let me know that he checked with Masthof Press and he was able to order 2 copies. I can highly recommend this book and Masthof Press may have some more copies.

( June 7, 2009 - UPDATE: Vail was apparently mis-informed. He did not get the books he ordered. Apparently the book is not currently available. See his comment to this posting.)