Billigmeier, Scott D. Photographs

Leesburg, Virginia, August, 2006

Our appreciation is extended to Scott D. Billigmeier for scanning the photographs and preparation of the historical text and captions.

It was often said by my late uncle, Professor Robert H. Billigmeier, University of California, that all of our name in America are related. That presumably holds true in Germany where the name is exceedingly uncommon. The vast majority of Billigmeiers here today descend from Johann GEORG (1842 - 1923) and Johanna (Serr) (1846-1930) Billigmeier who departed Worms, Beresan District, South Russia (today near Odessa, Ukraine), and arrived in New York in 1873. From there, they quickly made their way to Scotland, S.D. where they permanently settled. Their children and their descendants moved into North Dakota, and many made their way to California.

The Billigmeier family originally came from Grafenhausen in the Palentine region of Germany -- a tiny, "non-descript" (by Germany's high standards) village tucked into a low mountain draw, near Anweiler am Trifels, which I visited in 1987. According to Dr. Karl Stumpp, they were the only family to go from Grafenhausen to South Russia although several families left from nearby Anweiler. Jacob (1792-1863) and Catharine (Kranzbuechler) Billigmeier arrived in Leipzig, Bessarabia, an Evangelical Lutheran community, in 1815. In 1843, they were among 15 families who moved to Rohrbach and Worms.

As the Billigmeier family spread out in the Dakotas, George, Jr., with Johann Grosz, Sr., and George Gäckle were the three co-founders of town site in 1892 to be named Kulm, North Dakota. Henry & Meta (Masuger) Billigmeier settled in McClusky, ND, where he served as Superintendent of Schools for a time before moving to more temperate climates in Santa Rosa, California, not far north of San Francisco. Others of this generation remained in Scotland, SD or ended up in Marion, SD, Goodrich, ND, Oakland, CA, Santa Cruz, CA, Waco, TX, and Amarillo, TX. The closely aligned Serr family tended to stay in and around Scotland or went into Nebraska. The Orth family (J. Georg's grandmother) mainly stayed in Worms, South Russia but those that did come over tended to settle in Scotland, Menno and Lesterville, SD. Among them was Georg's uncle, the locally prolific "Reformed" organizer Rev. Jacob Orth (1837-1883).

Images 1-8

Image 1.

A young J. Georg Billigmeier.
Circa mid-1860's

Image 2.

Daughters of J. Georg and Johanna (Serr) Billigmeier.
Circa 1880's

Image 3.

Georg, Jr. & Christine (Grosz) Billigmeier.
Circa 1890

Image 4.

The J. Georg Billigmeier family in Scotland, S.D.
Circa early 1890's

Image 5.

The sons of J. Georg Billigmeier, L to R, (top) Jacob "Jake," Anton "Tony," Henry, Mike, (bottom) George, Peter.
Circa 1900

Image 6.

J. Georg & Johanna (Serr) Billigmeier.
Circa 1900

Image 7.

Photo of J. Georg Billigmeier with his sister Magdalena and her husband Georg Deutscher. Note that photo is confusingly marked with 1910 but Georg Deutscher died in March 1909 so must have been taken before then but probably close.

Image 8.

Anton "Tony" (1884-1974) & Wilhelmina Marie "Minnie" Mees.
Circa 1915

Image 9.

Johanna (Serr) Billigmeier with daughters "Lizzie" (1880-1965) and Emma (1887-1942)
Circa 1915

Image 10.

Henry Billigmeier family, McClusky, ND (circa 1921).

Image 11.

Johanna (Serr) Billigmeier (center) at home of Emma (Billigmeier) Treick in Marion, SD, with extended family.
Circa 1926

Image 12.

Johanna (Serr) Billigmeier at home with family in Scotland, SD. (circa 1927).

Image 13.

Anton "Tony" Billigmeier family.
Circa late 1930's

Image 14.

Henry Billigmeier (1882 - 1962), son of J. George and my grandfather.
Circa 1950

Image 15.

Dean A. Billigmeier, son of Henry and my father.
Circa 1955

Image 16.

Prof. Robert H. Billigmeier, son of Henry.
Circa 1965

Image 17.

Scott Billigmeier family.
Fall 2004

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