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"von Rönne"
(those from the Runne)
traditions passed down about an ancient family
from the Weser and Elbe marshes

Gerhard von Rönn

A foreword by the translator, Chaplain, Colonel Lowell A. Ronne

As grandson of a German emigrant, I had a strong desire to know the who, what, where of my forefathers and the culture which surrounded them. Born the year my grandfather died in a "buggy accident", I was not to learn of my parentage. Due to the international political, social and economic circumstances at the time, many Germany emigrants simply preferred to remain silent about their past. After World War II, my yearning for the details of my Ronne heritage persisted.

Thanks to my sister-in-law Doris Ronne, and cousin Frances (Hammer) Dole who had researched so diligently many years, contact was made in 1983 with the von Ronne family in Germany. It was a miracle.

Doris, about to abandon her search, had decided once more to blanket north Germany with her inquiries. The day after a lady in the parish office of Neustadt, Schleswig-Holstein had received Doris’ letter, she received a call from Hamburg seeking the same information about grandfather Frederich Christopher Martin von Rönne. The lady gave Marion Heesch Doris’ address, suggesting she might wish to contact Mrs. Ronne in Sacramento. Thus we found a link with those of our German family. Ensuing Cora and I made several visits to Europe to learn more.

At first , in May 1984 we were able to visit with Marion and her daughter Irene, who with gracious hospitality showed us the home where grandfather was born and points of interest about his childhood. On our visit to Osten, where grandfather’s forefathers originated, we learned that some one was writing a chronicle of the von Rönne family.

Gerhard von Rönn, author of this work, whom I have never personally met but consider very dear the friendship which we have developed through E-mail, committed many years assembling data about the von Rönne family, often reorganizing and correcting his findings. For our extended Ronne family, I give him our hearty gratitude for this scholarly link to our past. His learned endeavor to preserve the data about our forefathers for future generations is certainly most commendable.

Having received a copy of the chronicle from cousin Marion, I immediately endeavored to find someone who could and would translate for us. But to no avail. Nothing to do but use my minimal knowledge of the German language and translate. With the help of Randy Ronne of Eugene Oregon, Gerhard and his son Jörg von Rönn, friends and my Langerscheidts Large School dictionaries, I have been able finally to put this cherished work into the English language.

In this endeavor, I considered the following guidelines:

Preserve the data assembled by the author as accurately and literally as possible so the generations following us might know in certainty about their heritage.

In early times, dating of documents often were oriented around religious holidays.

Leave some writings in their original dialects to enrich the understanding of our culture without compromising accuracy of details.

Spelling of names often followed the hearing of the writers.

Due to format differences between the German and the English (i.e. font size. margins, etc) there would, of necessity, be variations to permit the juxtaposing, page vis-ā-vis page, from the German to the English text on a website, accommodating research by those who wish further information about their ancestry.

Documentation references should be sustained in their original form to facilitate further research.

To be open to correction and new findings. As Gerhard has written, I too say, "Certainly will failure slip in under me also, but today’s material is voluminous and through this "work up" is easier to survey. The next Chronicler will, for sure, yet do better".

Once more, I personally want to thank Herr Gerhard for committing so many years of research to learn of his forefathers. As we have discovered are the same as mine. His findings have greatly satisfied my yearning to know about my "Urheimat", the original homeland of my ancestral fathers. (See page VR 070)

Lowell A. Ronne

Chaplain, Colonel, USAF, Retired



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