Meet our Members: Dieter Lewerenz

+42 votes

Hi everyone! 

imageIt's time to meet another of our Wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Dieter Lewerenz.

Dieter became a Wiki Genealogist in May of 2020.  He's an Ambassador, the Team Leader for the Germany Project's Translation Team, a G2G Integrator and a member of the Military and War Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Lewerenz, Reher, Clasen, Finnern, Petersen, Poggensee, Möller, Kruse, Studt, Pump, Rohlfs, Römer, Harm, Kaiser, Appel, Hildebrandt, Lüth, Tim, Bormann, Schnarr, Lucas, Grabow, Raunow.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Schleswig-Holstein, Germany: Parishes Sülfeld, Segeberg, Oldesloe, Krummesse, Sandesneben; Glückstadt, Neustadt/Holstein.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Parishes Schwaan, Güstrow.

Brandenburg: Parishes Görike, Neustadt/Dosse, Wusterhausen/Dosse.

Saxony-Anhalt: Parishes Genthin, Burg, Harsleben, Dankerode, Neudorf/Harz, Hermerode, Königerode, Hötensleben, Staßfurt.

Thuringia: Parish Schmalkalden.

Lower Saxony: Parishes Ingeleben, Jerxheim.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

It was on my own marriage in 1987. At dinner, all the older relatives talked about their weddings and weddings of ancestors who were no longer living.

Since I knew some but by far not all of these names, I later asked them to tell me about it all again in detail and took notes. I then also visited some of them and copied or photographed the documents and family Bibles they showed me. But at some point there was an end and I got no further and that made me even more curious and I went to the archives to understand the story even further backwards. And I still do that today, every new name awakens in me the interest to also look for the name of his parents and siblings; only that today I rarely go to archives but do most of it online. 

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

My paternal great grandfather - Gustav Lewerenz-; because he is the oldest ancestor I have met personally.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I read a lot and I am an active member of the local volunteer fire department as well as the regional disaster control. In the summer I spend a lot of time in my garden.

Due to the voluntary activities and the family research as well as the gardening I am fully occupied as a pensioner.

[Interview continues in comments below.]

WikiTree profile: Dieter Lewerenz
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I have been on WikiTree since May 3, 2020.

I enter every month piece by piece my family tree on WikiTree, so that I always create 1000 contributions per month. 

Then I am a lot in the G2G forum and have most fun transcribing and translating old German documents.

I am involved in four projects: Ambassador, Military and War, Germany and since a few days G2G-Integrator. I do that nearly daily and am now responsible for the 100,000-900,000 G2G points posts.

Currently I am most active in the translation team of the Germany project where I am the Team Leader. I am actively translating the help pages of WikiTree into German together with some others.

What brought you to WikiTree?

At the beginning of the year 2020, I looked on German genealogy sites to see if I could publish my family tree on other sites, in order to make further progress if necessary and to find new research approaches. Among others WikiTree was shown to me.

Since I didn't know WikiTree so far, I registered there and had a close look. I found it convincing and started to enter family tree data and ask some questions in the forum.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

What I like most is that all the data should be backed up with verifiable sources and that it should be about a single common family tree.

Not all members adhere to this, but this makes WikiTree better than other genealogical programs I know, where many arbitrary connections exist.

And I really like the mutual support in G2G.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

Most of all, I would like to see WikiTree not seem so complicated and convoluted for newcomers, and thus be a deterrent for many.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

At the moment WikiTree has not helped me with my own family research. 

But the time will surely come that I will also get new research approaches through WikiTree.

But I could already help some members myself.

In particular, I have found many documents which could serve others as sources for their profiles or which also proved that they actually belonged to their family or were sometimes wrongly linked. This has made the big tree - I think at least - more accurate in some points.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Just start entering person by person and date by date with yourself starting your part of the big family tree. And if you have questions, just ask in G2G - there are no stupid questions and all are answered by many helpful members.

And above all, even if WikiTree seems confusing and complicated at the beginning, keep working continuously and tirelessly. Eventually, success will come.

Dieter, it's nice to get to know more about you. Thanks for all that you do on WikiTree and in G2G! I hope that you'll eventually be able to make progress on your own ancestral lines.
Thanks Rick for your kind words.

I am waiting that Schleswig-Holstein church records will come online. Then I will be very busy.
How wonderful to meet Dieter, I notes Dieter is a fabulous genealogy, a treasure for wikitree with all his help and sweet to members,

Dieter are doing so much for wikitree and I for one are so proud of Dieter

10 Answers

+24 votes
I’m glad to see Dieter on meet a Wonderful Wikitreer! Thanks again for your help last week transcribing/translating those old church records
by Barry Smith G2G6 Pilot (191k points)
Thanks Barry. You are welcome back anytime. I was glad to be able to help you.
+18 votes
Congratulations Dieter!

Dieter is a phenomenal asset to the Germany project and I am so glad he chose wikitree to add his family tree to.

Keep up the fantastic work Dieter. We are lucky to have you!!! And G2G wouldn't be as helpful with out your input!
by Kylie Haese G2G6 Mach 6 (67.6k points)
Thank you Kylie for your kind words.
I think WikiTree is the best shared family tree so far.
+13 votes
A great biography, and very important side hobbies as well.

Thanks for all your hard work and help.
by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (191k points)
Thank you very much for the kind words Michel.

It is also a pleasure to work together with you.
+12 votes
Congratulations Dieter

It is nice to learn more about you.  You have been a great help to the community.
by Leon Bezuidenhout G2G6 Mach 1 (10.8k points)
Thanks Leon.

It is a pleasure for me to work here in this community.
+10 votes
Congratulations on this recognition Dieter! Working in the Germany Project with you is a  pleasure.

To add to Dieter's WikiTree resume, he received the Project Coordinator badge for Germany Project yesterday and has agreed to handle the project's daily G2G inquiries. His G2G presence is extremely valuable both to the Germany Project and to WikiTree as a whole.

Reading the old German script is a talent many of us do not possess and he does it seemingly with ease. He has located German records for countless WikiTree members and has helped so many with the translation of those records (including myself).

Finding German records can be a difficult task. Many WikiTreers have brick walls in Germany and Dieter has helped several people break down some of those walls. So many of us are grateful for his help.

We appreciate all your hard work Dieter! THANK YOU!
by Traci Thiessen G2G6 Pilot (165k points)
Thank you so, so much for the kind words Traci.

I also enjoy working with you.

And I am happy if I could help you.
+11 votes
Nice story Dieter.  I enjoyed getting to know you better and will definitely be in touch with my German brick wall!  Keep up the good work that you do; you ARE appreciated greatly!
by Brad Cunningham G2G6 Mach 2 (28.4k points)
Thank you for the kind words.
Don't be afraid to ask if you want to know anything.
+10 votes
What a generous man you are Dieter. Thanks for all that you do to help members find their way through the maze. My father was adopted when he was a baby but his biological father's surname was Schaare. Hopefully I can find something to connect me back further. Cheers.
by Rich Moss G2G2 (2.3k points)
Hi Rich, thanks for your kind words.

If you have some information of your biological grandfather, maybe I can help.

If you don't know so much ask the Adoption Angels, they are very helpful and will do everything they can to find your fathers father.
Thanks very much Dieter.

Reginald Charles Schaare was the son of Otto Schaare (Schaare-11) and Emily Gaylard (Gaylard-147). Otto was the son of Jacob Schaare (Schaare-12) and Sophie Caroline Ida Heitefusz Schaare (Heitefusz-1). Jacob and Sophie both died in New Zealand. I am unable to connect to their parents. Jacob arrived in NZ on the Friedeburg which sailed from Germany on 7 May 1875 and arrived in Napier 24 August 1875. He was born in Hanover about 1845. He was a farmer. He married Charlotte Frederike Peters (Peters-11924) after Sophie's death. My pages for these ancestors have further detailed information. Appreciate any help or insight and will check out the Adoption Angels. Many thanks
I checked all Lutheran parishes in Hannover 1845, there was no Schaare born. The next day I will have a look into 1844+1846 and the surrounding parishes.

I found a Sophie Dorothea Caroline Ida Heitefuss, born 15.4.1845 in frankfurt/M.

Are you sure that this is her real name?

There is a marriage Johann Friedrich Jacob Schaare (*24.12.1844 with Johanne Sophie Dorothee Heitefuss on 18.12.1866 in the the area Hannover. The location is not clear. Ancestry is naming it church Klein Mahner, district Goslar; town Groß Muntzel, Hannover; parish Salzgitter.

That are all three totally different locations. The person who wrote the index must have been mixed up everything. If you can confirm the names I will check that on archion.
Yes that would be Sophie's name, I have seen different versions of it.

Been following up and found this.

Sophie Dorothea Caroline Ida Heitefuss was born 1845 to Georg Friedrich Carl Heitefuss and Johanna Amalie Auguste Louise Menzler. Found this in My Heritage site though I don't have paid access. I note that there was a child of theirs, Georg Friedrich Carl Heitefuss who died aged 2

I am assuming that this child was named after his father though haven't found anything to confirm. Did find this though. Perhaps same person?

Ankäufe und Hüttenstilllegungen (1840–1860)

Am 24. Mai 1856 beschloss die Sozietät, einen Verwaltungsrat einzuberufen. Diesem Verwaltungsrat gehörten die drei Neffen an, sowie die drei langjährigen Führungskräfte Gottfried Stuhl von der Friedrichshütte in Laubach, Fritz Spies von der Löhnberger Hütte bei Weilburg und Georg Friedrich Carl Heitefuß von der Aßlarer Hütte. Zunächst war Aßlar der Hauptsitz der Verwaltung. Nach der Einstellung der dortigen Eisengewinnung wurde der Unternehmenssitz nach Wetzlar verlegt.
They could be the same people.
The problem is only, before the marriage document is not available, one cannot say whether the indicated persons are the correct ones.
The described persons of the family Heitefuß should come from Frankfurt, Schaare from Hannover.
Therefore I consider it in principle first not the correct connection. Other family trees are no proof for me.
The Georg Friedrich Carl, who died at the age of 2, had other parents (Johann Jacob Friedrich Heitefuß and Julie nee Schott).

Do you have any written documentation showing that the Sophie Schaare who died in New Zealand in 1905 was actually named Sohie Dorothea Caroline Ida?
Unfortunately not Dieter, the only information is from the usual sources and I am aware that it only takes one wrong connection to be copied by many. It was all I had. Documents are needed to confirm. Appreciate your help.
I have added details of Sophie's birth and christening on her page. As you say, without a marriage certificate it is difficult to know whether she is the right spouse. As yet, I haven't found a certificate or indeed any proof that Sophie emigrated to NZ.

I have just found a person in My Heritage who manages the John Samuel Symonds Whanau Web Site that has 10,086 profiles and 1659 photos that has Sophie mentioned. It is private so hopefully there is something there. Have messaged them for info. or access.

UPDATE: found this on My Heritage

Jacob and Sophie left Sabsgitter, Hannover Germany boarded sailing ship Freideburg, 7th May 1875. Landed at Napier 24th August 1875. After a short stay in Napier travelled by bullock wagon to Waipukurau, and eventually to Mokotuku. (from handwritten family tree given to me 13.04.2014) ~My Heritage

(actually departed 10th May 1875. Name recorded as Schaar)

They had 2 sons born before they emigrated, one being William John Schaare, Sabsgitter, Hanover, Germany Nov 13 1869. Died 21 Sep. 1946 Makotuku.

I also note that Sophie Dorothea Schaare would have been 17 at the birth of her first born. So far, Sophie Schaare emigrated with Jacob from 2nd hand records and looks the likely spouse of Jacob. Cannot match her with Sophie Dorothea so far.
Hi Rich,

that you mention now Salzgitter (Sabsgitter is wrong and does not exist) makes it more and more clearer for me that the Heitefuß family that you find in Frankfurt is the wrong one.

I think as mentioned above, this is the correct family:

There is a marriage Johann Friedrich Jacob Schaare (*24.12.1844 with Johanne Sophie Dorothee Heitefuss on 18.12.1866 in the the area Hannover. The location is not clear. Ancestry is naming it church Klein Mahner, district Goslar; town Groß Muntzel, Hannover; parish Salzgitter.)

The person who produced that index mixed up some locations, but when we find the right location here, you will see that that are the correct persons.

Thanks Dieter. The person who produced that info. wasn't a great speller. I realised that i have a free limited account on My Heritage. I have come across the following.

Children of Georg Friedrich Karl Heitefuss.

Ida Heitefuss 15/4/1845 Frankfurt died 2/5/1900. Married Heinrich Gruner 4/71869. Born 6/12/1843 died 1/3/1901 Thierhaupten

Not sure which document it is from but she was shown as Ida Heitefuss. This also confirms another 2 profiles that show her with married name Gruner.

I will correct the profile for Sophie Dorothea and add another for Sophie Schaare.

Also have free limited account on Ancestry and  Johann Friedrich Jacob Schaare & Johanne Sophie Dorothee Heitefuss are shown on 2 profiles as living in Manawatu, Wanganui, New Zealand. 

Thanks for your help Dieter, I appreciate your generosity

Hi Dieter:

I have managed to locate this record in at The marriage indeed took place in Salzgitter.

Top; Rich do you read this still?

You are great An Anonymous; like in former times under your name. Thank I copied it from archion.

Marriage record shows that Johanna Sophia Dorothea Heitefuss was born 13 February 1844 as the illegimate child of Johanna Katharina [?] Heitefuss in . . . ringen [I can't make out the first 4 letters of this place]. At the time of her marriage she was a servant girl in Salzgitter.

Johann Heinrich Jakob Schaare was born 24 December 1844 in Groß Elbe (just southwest of Salzgitter) to Heinrich Schaare and his wife Christine nee Hartmann. For the corresponding baptismal entry in the church books of Groß Elbe, see

The couple indicated that they were going to live in Groß Elbe.

Thanks very much An Anonymous, appreciate your help. Rich

And the baptismal record of their son Wilhelm Johannes Schaare is here: Born 13 November 1869 in Salzgitter to manual laborer [Handarbeiter] Johann Friedrich Jakob Schaare and his wife Johanna Sophia nee Heitefuss, baptised 26 December 1869.

Have not found the baptismal record for August Albert Schaare, though.

+9 votes
Wonderful to read more about you Dieter.  In the short time we have been working together this has brought you closer to me in knowledge and as a friend.  Thanks for all your contributions - keep up the great work!
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+8 votes
You do great work Dieter!

I hope your involvement encourages more Germans and German tree building on wikitree.

I'm a whopping 36 degrees of separation from you which I feel would not be the case if Germany was as well filled out as the English speaking countries.
by Mark Dorney G2G6 Mach 3 (36.1k points)
+1 vote
Dieter, I see you are following the Rohlfs family.  Is there any relation to the noted American designer, Charles Rohlfs, of Buffalo?,

My Brother and I have several of his pieces, inherited from our grandparents.
by Mark Weinheimer G2G6 Pilot (168k points)

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