Family History

  Our German ancestors arrived in about 1850. Earlier German immigrants came because of religious persecution. Those arriving in 1850 came for a better life. They were educated craftsmen, merchants and farmers.

The Kokenge ancestors came to the United States from Lohne, Germany, in the mid-1800s, when members of the family began leaving Germany. Albert Kokenge, his brother John Bernard (J. B.) Kokenge and J.B.'s wife, Maria Anna Mayrose, immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1800s, settling first in Cincinnati and then coming west to New Vienna, Iowa.
Grave of J. B. and Maria Anna Kokenge in the St. Boniface cemetery. St. Boniface Catholic Church cemetery in New Vienna, Iowa.

To learn about the background of the Kokenge family in Germany, please click on "
Lohne". If you would like to learn more about the families of Lohne, Germany, please click on this URL: Families of Lohne

Roy Kokenge's Visit to Germany

In February 1992, Roy Kokenge (of Yakima, WA) made a visit to Germany to learn more about his family. Here is some of what he learned there about the KOKENGE ancestral lineage. Roy and his wife Dian made a wonderful videotape of their visit to Germany.

The German pronounciation of the name is "cocaine-geh" with the accent on "Caine" and a very light "geh" sound on the end. The Kokenge name is from the tribe name Chauken or Koken. THis is the name of one of the tribes that lived in this area and are mentioned in Caesar's
Commentaries. The meaning of the name is unknown.

The Kokenges were residents in Ehrendorf, Germany, which belonged to the castle of Dinklage. One's allegiance, protection, taxation and source of wars was through the local ruler, in this case, Dinklage.

In the past there was a village named Kokenge. The mountains near Sudlohne were named the Kokengen Bergen. These mountains are small but prominent, in sharp contrast to the generally flat lands of this area.

The Kokenge estate was in Sudlohne. This was one of the largest estates in this region. It was 85 hectares in size. ( 1 hectare=2.47 acres) Most of the farms were 50 hectares or less. The farm included a brickworks and a distillary. According to family legend, a servant who was "not too clever in the head" burned the place down.

Heinrich Kokenge, the last owner of the estate, lost two sons in WWI and became a broken man and sold the farm. The location is across the road from the Bernard Kokenge home. He was a son of Heinrich.  There is nothing to indicate the location of the old farm house. A nephew of Hildebrand Kokenge made an attempt to locate the old farmhouse years ago but could find nothing.

In 1992 Roy Kokenge visited with Bernard Kokenge, who was 82 then. He was the only remaining Kokenge in the Lohne area. He was unaware there were Kokenges in the U.S. and thought the Kokenges had emigrated to South America.

Since then, Bernard Kokenge has passed away. Last summer, while my brother Dale, my daughter Rachel and I were visiting BUNKER (Buenker) cousins in the Steinfeld area, I had a chance to visit the village of Lohne, meet Bernard Kokenge's daughters, Adelheid and Mechthild, and see the Kokenge farm at Sudlohne.

To learn more about emigrants from Damme (e.g., Meyrose), please go to

Werner Honkomp's Emigration from Damme, Germany, web site: 

Our Meyrose and Kokenge ancestors are linked to the Polking family:

Also, to view information on the history of Lohne, Germany, as well as lists of names of families in the village, go to Dr. Clemens Pagenstert's book on Lohne families: 

When our ancestors came to the U.S., they first went to Cincinnati, where they lived before coming west to New Vienna, Iowa.  Their church was Old St. Mary's:

Our Kokenge ancestors came to northeastern Iowa and settled in New Vienna, close to Dubuque. They were among many German emigrants from Steinfeld, Damme, Lohne, and nearby villages who followed the route from Cincinnati to New Vienna. To learn more about New Vienna and Dyersville, go to Werner Honkomp's web page on the history of Dyersville and New Vienna, Iowa:

Interesting Family History Pages