Assembled by Joseph Degenfelder, Ohio

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Introduction to Degenfelder-Nenno Archives

One day in Autumn 1979 my younger son Curtis came home and reported that his 7th grade teacher had given them a project in family history. I knew my grandparents, but not beyond that. I remembered that when Curt’s age I had gone to a ‘Nenno Family Reunion’ in Cottage, NY; with good picnic food, kids to play with, and the adults listening to a woman reading from a special book on family history. I called my Godmother Theresa Degenfelder Denea, and she told me of the Patriarch Andrew Nenno, a ‘carpenter from Lorraine’. Theresa introduced me to Ida Johengen Wells, who had started research work on Johengens, back to Curt’s great-great grandfather John Degenfelder marrying Magdalena Nenno. Theresa also introduced me to Kathryn Nenno Hubbard, who lived outside South Dayton, NY, and we were corresponding by Christmas, with more to come in her own hand.

Also at that Cottage reunion in 1949 was Donald Gentner, who lived in the neighboring town of Springville, NY. Later with positions at Sun Computer and Apple Computer, Don developed his own genealogy database, and we interacted. For Both Curt’s marriage in 1995, and my elder son Eric’s marriage in 1997, Don gave a full printout of their lineage as wedding gift.

I also was made aware of the ‘other Nennos’ with a base in Allegeny, NY. I made early contact with Betty Nenno Wilson, then living in Lackawanna, NY, who sent a long letter in February 1980. Betty’s long effort to find her family’s history is presented on this website. Her spirit is shown in her last letter to me in October 2005, followed by my call to her, and her death just six weeks later.

I had dinner with Don Gentner and wife Judith Stewart at his parents’ home in Springville in November 2003, when his brain cancer was getting serious. In December 2004 I visited Don and wife Judith Stewart at their Palo Alto home with its magnificent redwood tree in the back yard. Don fixed us a spaghetti dinner, and we talked casually about how his life was slipping and evolving. After Don’s death I met Judith with Don’s relatives in July 2005 when she was visiting the Springville area at the time of his memorial.

Betty persevered in getting her story onto a special website designed by Thomas McFarland at the University of Wisconsin (Whitewater). This effort caused me to copy the letters from Betty, Kathryn Hubbard, and from Paul Doherty, who chased down the source of the Nenno clan in Berus. In searching my records I found a photo of Don, Betty and me on July 4, 1990 in Springville. This note is my memorial to Theresa Denea, Kathryn Hubbard, Betty Wilson, Don Gentner, and other Nenno researchers and their work, as it lives on this and other dedicated websites.

Joseph Degenfelder
January 15, 2007