Hermann Heinrich Homfeld was born in Schwarme, Germany on September 25, 1850, the youngest of nine children. Hermann’s father died when Hermann was just five - Hermann went to live with an Uncle and was eventually apprenticed to a cooper at the age of fourteen. In 1875 he left Germany and spent three years working as a cooper in Labrador. In 1878 Hermann wanted to see America before returning to Germany. After visiting Baltimore and Chicago, he came to Porter County, Indiana and stayed there for the rest of his life. Wanting to be more American, he came to be known as Henry rather than Hermann Heinrich. On January 4, 1880 Henry married Caroline Jaeschke. In 1883 they purchased a 90 acre farm in Porter County. Henry returned to the farming of his youth. Henry and Caroline had six children: Tillie (1881), Meta (1883), Herman (1888), Minnie (1893), Fred (1896) and Albert (1898).
The decisions to enter the cooper trade, take a three year contract to work in Labrador and finally to settle in Porter County may have seemed almost insignificant to a single young man at the time; yet they were to have far reaching affects on his descendants. The perseverance of his children through The Great War and its aftermath, the Great Depression and finally World War II are not only a tribute to the children and Henry's influence, but also set the stage for the opportunities and accomplishments of Henry’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren - opportunities and accomplishments far beyond anything Henry could possibly have imagined. This website is dedicated to the idea that we are, for the most part, who we came from. To know who we came from we need first to explore our family tree and then learn about these people, their lives and their times.
The most exhaustive part of creating a family history is developing the genealogical outline that in Henry’s case goes back to before 1700. My Cousin, Allen Hamann, has spent years on this project including research both here and in Germany. Without Allen’s efforts this site would be extremely limited in scope. Allen’s work sets the basic structure of this site.
My Father, Max Homfeld, edited and created a booklet (1976) titled The Homfeld Family in Porter County, a combination of research and recollections of Henry by Henry’s son Herman and daughter Meta. He created a second booklet (1990) titled Henry Homfeld in Labrador, the result of significant research, travel to Labrador and a bit of luck that documentation of Henry’s stay in Labrador still existed. In 2005, Allen Hamann compiled a booklet tracing the family genealogy and built on Max's earlier booklets. To illustrate the sometimes difficult lives of Henry’s children, I have expanded on a letter of my Father’s to complete Farm Life in 1935. Through these booklets (all available on this site) we learn a great deal of both Henry’s and Henry’s children’s life and character. At the same time we learn about ourselves. So my Father’s original work sets the flavor of this site.
- Ned Homfeld, July 2006