By , September 4, 2012 10:55 am

I don’t know much about my family history, but I do know that I come from primarily German stock (on my dad’s side) and British stock (on my mother’s side). Today, it was that German heritage that I was most interested in.

A few years ago, thanks to my younger sister, I became aware of a small town in Germany, complete with its own castle that goes by the same name we do – LENZEN.

My sister made what I suppose could be termed a pilgrimage to the town of Lenzen and returned home to tell us all about it. Ever since, I’ve been mildly obsessed with visiting for myself. It even made it onto our Bucket List – which I now see is in dire need of updating (look for this soon).

It wasn’t exactly on the way to or from the Deichbrand Rock Festival but it was close enough that I was going to have a really hard time leaving Germany without having seen it. Our whole trip from Salzburg to Deichbrand and back required us to drive an epic 21 hours at a minimum, so the addition of 3 hours to swing through Lenzen seemed like a comparative drop in the bucket.

Over the years, my mind had separated from reality a bit where my town was concerned. I had often imagined that the residents of the town would be overjoyed by the glorious return of the Lenzen family, namely me and Ashley.

Naturally I expected nothing short of a week of feasting, the finest room in the castle, and several new born babies named after us that year.

Surprisingly, for nobody but myself, the welcoming we received was somewhat milder than I had imagined. Nobody really reacted in any special way at all. Some were perhaps mildly amused, others perhaps not.

So no feasts, not even a free beer. But it didn’t matter much. There was something magical about that town that kept me wearing this huge smile the whole time I was there.

I was having grand ol’ time.

We had a bit of fun walking around town, and photographing ourselves at the conspicuous landmarks, like this information sign.

I’m like a reference library on the subject.

The castle was still impressive. There was a plaque on the outside wall which detailed the impressive history of Lenzen Castle. After having it translated from German to English, it became apparent that Lenzen had not really been a place of any historical significance, though once, some papers were signed there.  Exciting stuff, huh?

The famous Lenzen castle, notorious for being the location where certain important documents were once signed.

We were still given a chance to feel a bit like kings. The castle has been turned into a restaurant, and they didn’t mind serving us as though we were royalty (so long as we paid…)

Since the famous “signing of documents” the castle has been turned into a restaurant.

Having a non-local German beer at Lenzen Castle.

The town church.

The organ my sister played on her pilgrimage. They were tuning it while we were there. Not the most pleasant of sounds.

Typical buildings in town.

I love our town (and the fact that some papers were signed there). I can also see how we came to a place like Saskatchewan. Lenzen, like the province of Saskatchewan, is fairly flat and very rural.

13 Responses to “The Lenzens go to Lenzen”

  1. Marla Lenzen says:

    Hi! I just returned from Lenzen, Germany and found your site!! Fun to see more Lenzen’s have had an obsession with getting to Lenzen!! I am from Chicago (Evanston), IL. and was visiting Berlin. I had researched my trip before I went, as I have wanted to do this for many years. I had no idea there were other Lenzen’s who were doing the same thing!! I was traveling alone and so wished I could have had some of my family there and it was an incredible experience. Do you have your actual ancestry traced back. I have Lenzen’s traced back to the 1500’s. We should compare notes.

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      My sister was the first one from our family to go. She went a few years ago and had a great time. The ladies were so excited that they gave her a personal tour, though she didn’t speak any German. At one point, they found out that she played the piano, so they unlocked to church and took her up to the hundreds year old organ so she could play them a tune.

      Her story’s what gave me the desire to go, and I’m glad I did. It’s a pretty cool town to be named after.

      I’ve been asking around about our family tree, and my understanding is that my aunt has done a lot of work on our family tree and does indeed have our ancestry traced back a long while. Unfortunately, all of her work is on paper, and I don’t have a copy of it. I’m trying to get one, but it may take a while, as we don’t see each other very often. A few times each decade is all.

      It would be good to compare notes. There’s not too many Lenzens out there, at least not in my part of Canada.

    • Dan Lenzen says:

      Marla and Mike,

      I too am a Lenzen. My name is Dan and I live in St. Louis, MO. I have thought of a trip to see the family castle, so thanks for the write-up. I was thinking if I showed up, the locals would treat me as a returning hero, or at least make me the town buergermeister. Oh well. Anyway, thanks for the info.


      P.s. Marla, I would love to see what you have dug up on our ancestry.

      • Mike Lenzen says:

        I often thought that too. I just assumed they’d put me up in the castle as returning royalty. You may have better luck though.

  2. Lois Lenzen Timbes says:

    Loved your info on Lenzen, Germany. My father and mother were from Grand Forks, North Dakota, ending up in Orlando, Florida, after World War II. We still have family in Minnesota and North Dakota. You have inspired me to seek our roots further. This was the first time I knew there was a castle! Maria having ancestry back to the 1500s is amazing! Thanks for posting your photos.

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      In Canada, we are quite a small family. Until this blog post, I had no idea that there were any Lenzen’s states side.

  3. Sandra & Richard Lenzen says:

    My husband is a Lenzen and is one of Lois’s older brother but the baby brother of all the children.

    I really loved your post and will be getting in touch with Lois about the family tree.

    Thank you and maybe we will meet someday.

    Sandy and Dick

  4. Sandy & Dick Lenzen says:

    We are also in Florida. In a small town called Holder outside and between Inverness and Crystal River, Florida, on the West Coast. Right next to Citrus Springs and Beverly Hills, Florida.

  5. Richard Lenzen Jr says:

    Thanks for sharing. I live near Detroit, MI., but there are a lot of Lenzen’s around Joliet, Illinois and Round Lake (both around Chicago). All of us have enjoyed your experience and are now talking of taking a pilgrimage. Any information you could share on the family history would be greatly appreciated!

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      I don’t really know too much about it myself. I’ve been questioning my father, who refers me to my aunt, who I haven’t seen in some time. I really enjoyed going to Lenzen. There’s something mystical about being in a town that shares your name. If I ever get a copy of our family tree, I’ll come back to this post and pass it on to the Lenzen commentors.

      What I do know is that I’m 6th generation to live in Saskatchewan, and a lot of what’s known about my ancestors has largely not been passed down to my ears, or I’ve failed to remember.

  6. Karen Lenzen says:

    I am a Lenzen and have always been curious about my ancestors. I no my great great grandfather moved to Sidney,Nebraska and homesteaded the farm I grew up on.

  7. Karen Lenzen says:

    I am also Karen Lenzen, living in Phoenix. My family came from Niles, Illinois. Thanks for a great idea!

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      My parents and uncle (all also Lenzens) tend to winter in Arizona. My father in Yuma, and his brother in Phoenix. If you are interested in a family reunion, I can pass on the details.

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