According to the Internet Surname Database, the Diefenbach surname has not been researched. I feel fairly certain that its origins are in the area of Germany. Variations include Deifenbach, Tiefenbach, Diefenbacker, Diepenbecker, Deefenbach, just to name a few (not including all the odd ones I found while looking for this family in the census).
Surname in my Tree
My closest Diefenbach ancestor is my 3rd great grandmother, Maria Theresa Diefenbach. The line goes back to her father, George Philip Diefenbach (1820-1903), and his father George P. Diefenbach (1791-1870).
It is unknown where George P. Diefenbach was born, but it was likely the area of Prussia. He married a woman named Catherine around 1818 and they had at least two children – Elizabeth and George Philip. The family immigrated to the United States between 1820 and 1840. They eventually settled in Evansville, Vanderburgh, Indiana. George Philip married Louisiana Buttz on March 4, 1843, and they had 12 children. They resided in Evansville for the remainder of their lives. George Phillip died in 1903 from an accidental drowning, and Louisiana died 8 years later from heart disease. The couple are buried in Diefenbach Cemetery. Their oldest daughter, and my 3rd great grandmother, Marie Theresa married Anton Heerdink in 1863. She died on July 13, 1878 from tuberculosis. Anton died a year later on July 24, 1879.of “acute extreme melancholia” while an inmate in the Central State Hospital for the Insane, leaving behind their 7 children, ranging in age from 3 to 14. He had been involuntarily committed by the court only 4 months prior.
I know very little about the elder Diefenbachs (such as their immigration and naturalization information, how he accidental drowning occurred, etc.), but feel like I really should explore Marie Theresa’s life a little more before going back any farther. I will be traveling to Evansville in the next two weeks to obtain court records and visit cemeteries, and to see what other nuggets I can dig up about this family! Of particular interest to me are any guardianship records for Anton’s children, along with any court records related to Anton’s involuntary commitment to the asylum.
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