Sunday, March 02, 2008


As I mentioned earlier, I have some German ancestry but it
lies on my Mom’s side of the family where brick walls abound.
Her father left when she was a child and her mother, my
grandmother Agnes(Aggie)White later divorced him. Edward
F. White’s parents were Edward J. White and Pauline
Offincher (or Offlincher/Offlinger/Offinger) and Pauline’s
parents were born in Germany according to the information
on the U.S. Census.

I was looking through those census images again today and
decided to try searching Ancestry. Pauline gave her own place
of birth as Cambridge, Ma. so I did a soundex search on some
variations of Offincher in Cambridge and came up with a hit for
a Charles Offingen and family on the 1880 census. He was a 32
year old cabinetmaker from Wurtemburg, Germany; his wife
Johanna was four years older at age 36 and kept house at their
home at 11 Vine Street in Cambridge.

Their children were:
Imelia(Amelia?) F age 12 born in Wurtemburg
Albert M age 10 born in Cambridge
Frederic M age 7 “ “ “
Lena F age 5 “
William M age 4 "
Julia F age2 "

So, since Albert was the first child born in Cambridge, that
would put the arrival of Charles and Johanna probably
around 1860.

I then searched the 1870 Census for Offingen and found
Charles under the name Offinger on it as a cabinetmaker
living in Cambridge, Ma. There is no mention of Johanna or
Imelia. Perhaps they were back in Germany waiting for
Charles to send for them? (The change from Offingen to
Offinger appears on close examination of the 1880 Census
image to be a result of a transcriber misreading the “r” at
the end of the name for an “n”)

Now, could their daughter Lena be my great grandmother
Pauline? The age is certainly correct. And two of Pauline’s
children were named Fredrick and Charles, perhaps after her
brother and father if she was indeed Lena. Nor can I find
any other entries for people or families living in Cambridge
named Offincer or Offinger.

So at the moment I’m cautiously optimistic that Lena Offinger
and Pauline Offincher are one and the same, but only further
research will tell me for sure.


Thomas MacEntee said...


In my German ancstry research, the Henneberg family to be precise, I have many Lenas. In almost all the cases it was short for Magdalena or Magdalene.

Bill West said...

Hi Thomas!

I know it's a long shot,which is why
I'm only cautiously optimistic. I'll
keep digging!