Saturday, February 20, 2010


CREST - SAARLAND..................................................SAAR RIVER

In June of this year I will be visiting Wolfersweiler, Saarland, Germany, to visit the home villages of the Novinger Clan.

No, I don't expect to find any Novingers after 270 years. The spelling of the Family Name has changed many times since the 1700's when the first Novingers left Saarland for the the USA. The Family name is recorded variously in the 1700's as Nabinger, Novinger, Nauvinger, Novenar, Nevenger, Navinger, Naevinger, and Narringer. But it would be rewarding if I did find someone with one of these family names!

According to the church records of the Wolfersweiler Reformed Parish Church, Theobald Nabinger, a hunter and woodsman, born 1714, from Wolfersweiler, Germany, married Maria Anna Margretha Schwab on January 2, 1742. This church is very old and a photo of it appears above. It was built in 1586 and rebuilt in 1788. The Church Parish included numerous villages within a five kilometer radius of the Parish Church in Wolfersweiler: Nohfelden, Gimbweiler, Hahnweiler, Walhausen, Mosberg, Eitzweiler, Asweiler, Richweiler, Deckenhardt, Steinberg, Gehweiler, and Hirstein. ( The "weiler" endings in most of the names translates from German as "hamlet" and most of these villages consist of only a few houses.) The Parish records show entries of Nabingers from the villages of Wolfersweiler, Asweiler, and Hirstein. So I will be visiting these villages in particular.

Should anyone reading this posting have information concerning the Nabingers, or a similarly spelled name, from Wolfersweiler or Zaarland, please share your information by posting to this blog.

I will report on my trip in June with photos from Saarland. Stay tuned to this Blog for new postings by clicking on the "Follow" button at the top left of the page.

Glen Novinger
Austin, Texas

Saturday, February 13, 2010


For me the history of the Novinger Family is made up of the Stories of Family Members, the Places that Novingers have lived, and the Jobs and Experiences of Individual Family Members.

One of my earliest memories until 1946 when I was 7 on the farm near Unionville, Missouri, was of Dad picking corn by hand.

Since the whole process of taking care of the horses or mules, harnessing them each morning, picking the corn by hand, hauling it to the crib and unloading it was a slow-time consuming job, most of the winter months were spent harvesting the corn. Some days the weather was warm and sunny, other days it was cold and snowy!

But regardless of the weather there were several months of hand work to finish the harvest. The corn was picked by grabbing each ear, one at a time, and twisting it off the stock, and throwing it into the wagon. But the ears didn't volunteer to be picked! You first had to strip the shucks off of the ear and while holding the stock of the ear in one hand, twist the ear to break the stock, and then throw it in the wagon. To pick several wagon loads per day this process had to happen in 1 to 2 seconds per ear. To strip the shucks off of the ear, there were several types of hooks or "husking pegs" that were used to strip the shucks off of the ear. The shucking hook below is the very one used by my Dad, Frank Novinger and is still in the Family.

Husking Hook of Frank Novinger
Used by him from about 1937 to 1946

This work was hard on the hands, hard on your back, and hard on your feet. So when Dad got a Farmal "H" Tractor in 1946, it was a lifesaver for him, that with the mechanical corn picker, saved months of work each year.

International Farmal "H" Tractor

So fast forward from 1964 to the early years of 2000+ and corn picking is a lot more efficient in Missouri today. Corn is harvested by corn harvesters that can pick and shell semi truck loads of shelled corn in fraction of a day. All while the operator is sitting in an air conditioned or heated cab talking on a cell phone or listening to the radio.

But meanwhile in year 2010 Glen Novinger, who grew up in Missouri and has seen agriculture modernize around the world over the past 6 decades, is now living part time in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. And how do they harvest corn in Michoacan? By hand! But the process is not as advanced as it was in Missouri in 1946. In Michoacan today the corn is picked by hand, placed in a gunny sack, and carried out of the field by the farmer on his back. Horses are not yet widely used for farm work in Michoacan today.

Glen Novinger in front of a corn field in Michoacan, Mexico, in 2010. After hand picking the ears of corn the stocks are stacked upright to be taken in later and used as fodder for the farm animals.