The Wasems who moved to Iowa from Germany included Mary Wasem, daughter of Adam Wasem, who married Martin Kunkel in Davenport, Iowa. These were my great-grandparents through my father Peter Kunkel, who was born in Davenport, IA. Martin and Mary's son and my grandfather, Ed Kunkel, was co-founder of the Kunkel Sporting Goods store in Davenport, which only closed sometime around 2006 or so.
This is a record of the earliest origins of the Wasem family from the Ingelheim region of Germany. This record is drawn from discussions I have had with various branches of the family including those who still live in Ingelheim and the nearby Wasem ancestral farm of Autishof.
Jakob Wasem is the semi-legendary ancestor of the Wasem family from around 1508 in Dorrebach. I am not sure what other than family legend supports his existence or his connection to the verified lineages outlined below. He worked for the lord in charge of Dorrebach possibly as a tax assessor. His home still exists (assuming this is all factual) in Dorrebach.
The first confirmed Wasem ancestors were Johannes Heinrich Wasem (Sr.) (b. June 28, 1682 in Autishof, Germany…died Feb. 14, 1758) and his wife Maria Margarete Wasem (b. 1694 Hesse-Darmstadt, d. Dec. 24, 1758). It is interesting that both died in the same year…coincidence or perhaps a bad winter? It is also interesting that Autishof is already part of the family. They must have either already been renting or have purchased the land from the lord in charge of Ingelheim before Johannes Heinrich Wasem, Sr. was born. Either way, Autishof was an ancestral farm for the Wasems which as of 2010 was still in the family. Interestingly, and unnoticed by the Wasem family living there and in Ingelheim at the time, I noticed in 2010 an old boundary marker on the property that indicated the land was originally the property of the Archbishop of Mainz.
Johannes Heinrich Wasem (Sr.) and his wife Maria Margarete Wasem had the following children:
1. Johannes Peter Wasem (b. 1710 in Dorrebach, died Feb 16, 1782 in Dorrebach). He married Anna Katharine Bedeer. Their line seems to die out in the 19th century…at least the records I see don’t carry the line beyond that. However names with no death dates may indicate emigration in the 19th century. Also female lines could have been lost.
2. Johannes Heinrich Wasem (jr.) (b 1725, Dorrebach, died Aug. 18, 1728 in Ober-Ingelheim). Married Maria Clara (Klara) Dhein (b. Aug 5, 1728 in Dorrebach). This is the guy most lines of the family can trace to. Their children include:
2a. Johann Valentin Wasem (b. Mar. 29, 1751 in Autishof, d. 1806). Married Margratite Elisabeth Eberhard von Oberdiebach (d. Feb. 1, 1806). This marriage seems like a marriage up for Johann Valentin since his wife sounds like nobility of some sort. Oberdiebach is in the same Mainz-Bingen area of Germany that the Wasem family was active. This possible connection with nobility further emphasizes the connections the Wasems had in the area. Interesting that both Johann Valantin and his wife die in 1806. Coincidence? A bad winter? Disease? The Johann Valentin line is the one from which the modern Autishof branch of the Wasem family is descended. From what I can tell, this branch ends with Katharina Wasem, who married Friedrich Riedel, and their two unmarried, children still live at Autishof as of 2010. These are Isolde Riedel (b. 1930) and Wilfried Riedel (b. 1936). Though all branches of the family were associated with the Autishof Wasems, at some point this branch became isolated from the Ingelheim branch until a chance meeting at an inn reunited the two branches (according to family legend).3. Given the size of families at the time I suspect there were more children of Johannes Heinrich Wasem (Sr.)…but I have no record of them.
2b. Johann Peter Wasem (b 1753 Autishof, d. June 1 1809). Married Anna Margaretha Speth (b. Nov. 18, 1763 Zu, Nieder-Ingelheim, d. Feb 18, 1814). Most of this line seems to disappear in the 19th Century, but Johann Peter’s daughter, Margaretha Elizabeth Wasem (b. 1795), married Benedict Nathan Nichtern which leads to the Nichtern family now in Iowa. Their son, Benedict John Nichtern, married another Wasem, Elisabetha Sadie Wasem (b. 1840, father: Johann Ludwig Wasem from the Ingelheim branch of the family, who was also the ancestor of the Idaho branch of the family.)
2c. Johann Philip Wasem: b. Apr. 27, 1804(??). Probably died very young since no further records of him were found and a later brother was also named Johann Philip.
2d. Johann Georg Wasem: (b. Jan 14, 1760 Autishof, d. Nov. 26, 1827 Ober-Ingelheim). Married Katharina Elizabetha Strasburger (b. Sept 29, 1756, Autishof, d. Dec. 2, 1813, Ober-Ingelheim). In this case Ober-Ingelheim probably means the town of Bingen at the bend of the Rhine turning East where the later Adam Wasem was a bigwig and his sons joined the revolution of 1848. It is from Johann Georg and Katharina Elizabetha that the Adam Wasem lines come from that moved to Ft. Dodge, Iowa. This includes the connection through Adam's daughter Carolina Wasem’s marriage to the Laufesweilers to the Hilton line, the connection through through Adam's daughter Mary Wasem's marriage to Martin Kunkel to the Kunkels, and to the Adam E. Wasem line of gypsum fame (Wasem Plaster Company).
e. Johann Heinrich Wasem: (b. Apr. 7, 1762, Autishof, d. Apr. 30, 1816). Married Anna Christina Kloss (be. June 8, 1769, Hesse-Darmstadt). This line disappears, probably merging through Wasem women into the Vogel (Magdeberg and Ingolstadt areas?) family.
f. Philip Jacob Wasem: (b. Dec. 17, 1763) probably died young. No further records.
g. Juliana Katharina Wasem: (b. approx 1765, Autishof). Married into the Schmidt (Ober-Ingelheim) family.
h. Johann Philip Wasem: (b. Sept. 6, 1766, Autishof, d. Dec. 14, 1813). Married Katharina Elzabetha Rossbach (b. May 1, 1764, d. Jan 5, 1837). This is the origin, through their son Johann Ludwig Wasem, of the Ingelheim vintner branch (through Johann Ludwig’s son Johann Wasem, b. 1833) and to the Idaho Wasem branch (through Johann Ludwig’s son Georg Friedrich Wasem).
Thus all Wasem families I know of come from the marriage of Johannes Heinrich Wasem (Sr.) (b. June 28, 1682 in Autishof, Germany…died Feb. 14, 1758) and Maria Margarete Wasem (b. 1694 Hesse-Darmstadt, d. Dec. 24, 1758). I was not able to trace any further links of the lineage back from there except for the story of the ancestor Jakob Wasem from around 1508.