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Our Family Association

More and more more families live scattered in large cities, in their country or in other countries or even in other continents and many lose sight of each other. So it’s good to be reminded that you belong to an extended family. It’s great to see that in the USA or in Germany some extended families are called together to join a family reunion. They set a good example for all of us. Moreover we should have a look at othr Dehnings far and near and take interest in their lives. Our Family Association with its family newsletter and reunions strenghtens the feeling of togetherness and reminds us of the importance of the fmily as a center and a source of strength and hapiness in our lives.

 Short history of our Association

The founder Dr. Gustav Dehning (1882-1970) reports in one of the first family letters that in 1908 as a student he sat in the royal library in Berlin and that he looked up the letter «D» in a large catalogue to see if there was a Dehning among the authors. And really he found a book written by Heinrich Dehning about the history of Celle (1891), a town in the Lüneburger Heide. From the publisher he got his address an learnt that he was a teacher. this was the beginning of a friendship and of getting to know many Dehnings and starting with genealogy.

In 1914, shortly before the first World War, Gustav Dehning and his young wife started to study church registers in many villages in the Lüneburger Heide. After the war he continued his search for Dehning and in 1923 he called all Dehnings to come to the first family reunion. It was a great success. More than a hundred Dehnings came together, most of them living in the Lüneburger Heide, some came from the north and south of Germany and even from America. Despite the time of need after the war they were having a banquet. The Dehnings had brought with them two sheep, 16 chickens and ten large butter cakes. After much talking and discussin and going to church together they agreed to get together again after two years.

 Family Reunions

Family Reunion in Germany 2009

After the first family reunion in 1923 there were many more in the following years in different villages or small towns in the Lüneburger Heide. Sometimes every second year, but sometimes after longer periods. There was a long interruption, of course, during the war. Reading the years you get an idea of the long time and the idealism of many Dehnings:
1923, 1925, 1927, 1930, 1935, 1935, 1953, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012.

Thus we feel a kind of obligation to go as long as possible, hoping that there will be young ones to go on with it.

 Dehnings in the USA

As early as in th 1920s the founder and first chairman of our family association Gustav Dehning (1882-1970) got in touch with Dehnings in the USA. They were very interested in genealogy and sent a lot of information to Gustav and Heinrich Dehning and later to Hans J. Dehning, Bremen (*1924-2019), the former chairman.

Thus we know of 5 Dehning lines in the USA: 2 large lines and 3 small lines. All but one belong to the Dehnernbockeler lineage (II). One (small) line belongs to the Beckedorfer lineage (I). All 5 are sublines of 5 German lines.

You find these 5 lines in the last newsletters:

1st (large) line in No. 153 (English edition No. 37), June 2006
2nd (large) line in No. 154 (English edition No. 38), December 2006
3rd (small) line in No. 155 (English edition No. 39), June 2007
4th (small) line and 5th (small) line in No. 156 (English edition No. 40), December 2007.

In 1998 we began to mail an English version of our «Familienzeitung», newsletter, to the Dehnings in the United States. Now there are about 80 families who receive them.

Nowadays the continents are closer together than ever and more and more people from different continents get to know each other. That should be the same with Dehnings here and there. Whenever a Dehning comes to the other continent, there are grat opportunities of visiting Dehning relatives. Many have already taken it and more should do so.


The founder of our family association, Dr. Gustav Dehning, and his helpers from the very beginning, in 1923, didn’t think of a registered society, but wanted only a loose association. That makes everything much easier. But it means too that we have no registere members. We consider everybody who is interested in genealogy and gets our family newsletters as a member of our asociation. Consequently there is no fixed membership subscription. But of course we need some money for making and sending of our newsletters. That’s why we ask all Dehning to send us a little money from time to time as generously do. (A five dollar bill in a letter would be a help and much appreciated. Send to Hans J. Dehning, Ernst-Abbe-Str. 45, 28357 Bremen, Germany)