The Riegel Family : A Sojourn From the Rhineland to Pennsylvania.Part I :: Genealogy
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The Riegel Family : A Sojourn From the Rhineland to Pennsylvania.Part I

Journal by garnabee

My mother's maiden name was Riegel, a solid "Pennsylvania Deutsch" name that had origins in the
Palatinate Region of Germany, in the Rhineland. Some confuse the Pennsylvania Dutch with the Amish or Mennonites, but that is not the case.Their faith was based on the German Reformed, Calvinist in nature.

I was fortunate to find a wealth of information regarding the Riegels on Family Tree and I was surprised to find that most of the information from FTM was obtained through the Mormon Church of Germany from their genealogical index. And what a treasure trove it is! I can actually trace my lineage back to 1332...Knight Riegeler in Wurttemburg Germany.His son was Christian Riegel, born 1390 in Zwickau, Saxony.Christian had two children, Joseph Riegel,b. abt.1420, and Johanna Riegel, b. abt1430, both at Zwickau, Saxony. There is a gap here that the researcher notes When Christoff Riegel appears, born abt 1552 in Chemnitz, Saxony.He is married to Christina Rebentisch,b. abt.1590. It is this union that produced Matheis Riegel, B.February 2,1607. He also has a brother and a sister, But it is Matheis whose descendants are my direct ancestors and the progenitor of a great many Riegels who now call Pennsylvania their home.

A little history is pertinent to understand what caused the exodus of many Germans from Rheinland-Pfalz area during the 1700's.During the Middle Ages, The Palatinate(as it was called)had been among the most powerful and influential of the German states.The Reformation flourished here, under very tolerant rulers.The country along the Rhine was known as the garden of Europe, and was the home of the University of Heidelberg, renowned as one the most influential and oldest seats of learning in Europe. And in this environment, The Riegel family flourished, being established and relatively wealthy. But the tides of fortune would shift dramatically with the advent of the Thirty Years'War. I'll write more about this in the next entry.

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by garnabee Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-01-09 10:06:32

garnabee , from born in Lodi Ohio, roots in West Virginia, live in Wooster Ohio , has been a Family Tree Circles member since Nov 2011.

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by riegelbaum on 2013-04-14 12:03:15

It would appear that you don't have the latest and best information from Stefan Riegel and Charles Riegle, which is presented and explained on Stefan's website ( They disproved the Chemnitz connection many years ago. You have the Mattheis Riegel family coming from Chemnitz, Sachsen (Saxony), Germany, which is a totally different part of Germany from where we know Mattheis Riegel and his family lived and died. Stefan explains it all in his FAQ at We simply do not know who the parents of Mattheis were. We're very lucky to have the parish register of the Becherbach bei Kirn church listing the death of Mattheis and the birth or baptism of many of his children, but we may never find a record of his own birth or baptism. After all, we're talking about an event that occurred around 1600 in a part of the world that has seen many wars and consequently many records destroyed.

A few other notes about your article: first, there is no "Mormon Church in Germany," per se. The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, aka Mormon Church, is based in Salt Lake City, UT. Part of their doctrine requires them to trace their ancestors so they can baptize them posthumously and thereby be reunited with them in the afterlife. Many of the older genealogies that you find on their website,, are poorly documented and downright inaccurate, including some of the ones for Mattheis Riegel.

Secondly, there is no evidence that the Riegel family was "relatively wealthy." Mattheis Riegel was a cooper by trade, that is, he made barrels, probably for the wine-making industry. They were probably comfortable, but no evidence from tax lists, etc., suggests they were wealthy.

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