State Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia Hochsauerland Coat of Arms State Flag of Michigan

Left: State Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany; Center: Coat of Arms for the Kreis
(county) of Hochsauerland in NRW; Right: State Flag of Michigan, United States of America

The Grobbel Family History - Summary

The Grobbel surname can be traced back to the year 1398, when an individual known as "der schwarze Gobelen von Obringhausen" was identified as a member of the Parish church in the village of Wormbach, which was located in the Holy Roman Empire principality of Westphalia. Tax assessment records from that period confirm that he lived nearby on one of the six farms located in the tiny village of Obringhausen (which is near the larger town of Schmallenberg and is located about 60 miles ENE of Cologne).

Over the years, the records show various spellings of the family surname, such as Gobelen, Groteboel and Grobbelen. By 1670, records were consistently using the current spelling of Grobbel.

During a 30 year span in the mid to late 19th Century, eight members of the Grobbel clan emigrated from their homeland in what is today known as the Sauerland region of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. They made their way to the United States of America and settled in the state of Michigan, where many of their descendants still reside in the counties of Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, Lapeer, Genesee and Saginaw.

In the very beginning of the 20th century, two members of the Grobbel family who were Roman Catholic Priests found themselves assigned to serve Parishes in Nebraska, U.S.A. Father Anton Caspar Grobbel came to Nebraska in about 1904, but due to ill health, he soon returned to Germany. The tenth Grobbel to emigrate to the U.S.A was Father Peter Anton Grobbel (1873-1965) , who served many parishes in the eastern part of Nebraska from 1905 until his death.

Emigrant Relationship Tree - Thumbnail Image

The "thumbnail" image above is a family tree that shows the relationships between the ten Grobbels who emigrated to the USA from the Sauerland over the period 1848 to 1905. Click on the "thumbnail" to see the full-size image in a new window.

More detailed information about our ancestors and their descendants who came to the U.S.A. can be found on my The Grobbel Family - Our German Roots and The Grobbel Emigrants to the U.S.A. web pages.

For more information about emigration from the Sauerland, visit Dierk Stoetzel's Sauerland Emigration web site (he is my 5th cousin once removed).

I am greatly indebted to Johannes Grobbel, of Schmallenberg, Germany and the late Ludwig Brögger, of Wipperfürth, Germany, for the information about the Grobbel emigrants and their ancestors.

My thanks also go to John Schlaud of Grand Blanc, MI for sharing his information on the descendants of Jacob Schlaud and his wife, Elisabeth Grobbel. Mary Schultz of Melvin, MI also made a significant contribution by sharing her information on the descendants of both Ferdinand Grobbel and Christopher Ruhlman.

In my Grobbel Family genealogical database, I have combined my data with the data shared by my German and US sources. To make this data accessible on the Internet, I've created some web pages which allow you to quickly find any one of the 5,549 individuals who were listed in my Grobbel Family database (as of 29 August 2003). Once you have found an individual, these web pages enable you to also determine that person's ancestors, spouse(s) and descendants.

I am still searching for more descendants of the Grobbel emigrants. The following is a partial list of other family names that are related though marriage to the Grobbel emigrants or their descendants.

Campeau Anderson (Ontario/MI) Schaefer (Prussia/NY/MI)
Muer Kelly Dumon
Rogers Rotarius Schlaud
Lange (Prussia/MI) Jasper (Germany/MI) Parsch
DeGroff Brinker Knoche
Schnoblen Minick Ohlert
Peters DeGrandchamp Wiegand (Hessen/MI)
Elliott Linto (Prussia/MI) Schimmel
Yancy (AL/MI) Davidson (MD/WV/MI) Kingery
Hobbs Slagle (VA/MI/CA) Moscone (Italy/MI)
Burcar Kraft Bentley
Ruhlman Vohs Sass
Tharrett Kunath Lazoen
Ploeger Edwards O’Malley
Cavacece Heath Reed
Nugent Houghton Storck
Wolf Bielman Smith (MI,CA)
Jenuwine Burg Kutchey
Schoenherr Brodich Zott
Delamelieur Vanderbrook Hiller (Germany/MI)
Schulte (Prussia/MI) Reeber Brogger

My grandfather, Clement Grobbel (1895-1977), was a World War I Veteran who fought against the Bolsheviks in North Russia from Sept. 1918 through June 1919. He was a member of the U. S. Army's 339th Infantry Regiment, which was nicknamed the "Polar Bears".

Find out more about the World War I "Polar Bears" at the
"Polar Bear Memorial Association" web site

Read the letters that Clem wrote to his family while he was in North Russia

I would be interested in hearing from you if you would like to know more about the Grobbel family genealogy or if you have information or corrections about the Grobbel families in Germany, the descendants of the Grobbel emigrants or any other related families. You can write me at the address below or by e-mail using my contact form.

Michael V. Grobbel
49997 Lexington Ave. East
Shelby Township, Michigan 48317-6301 U.S.A.

The Grobbel Family - Our German Roots

The Grobbel Emigrants to the U.S.A.

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This page created and maintained by Mike Grobbel
This page originally created in Dec. 1999; last revised: 20 Nov 2005
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