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  • John Adler

Summary of the Adler Family History Quest and Reunion

The following article was sent to the Evansville Courier and Press, but never published.

I grew up on the east side of Evansville, the youngest of six children, and attended St.

Benedict Grade School and Reitz Memorial High School. My father, Raymond N. Adler,

M.D., had a large general medical practice near St. Anthony Church from 1936 till his

death in 1970. He spoke often of his affection for his family’s origins in Germany, and

was aware of their immigration and settlement in Haubstadt, Indiana, prior to the

American Civil War. But most of that history had been lost with the passing years.

My great grandfather, Nicholas Adler, emigrated from Germany in 1854 at the age of

fifteen to settle in Haubstadt. His older brother, Mathias Adler, and an older sister,

Juliana Adler, settled in Evansville prior to the Civil War. They all raised large families

that resulted in the Adler descendants of today.

While I was growing up, I was constantly exposed to the extended family members

through my Dad’s work as a physician that visited his office and our home. My

grandfather, Adam Nicholas Adler, was in the grocery business for 73 years and spoke

and prayed in fluent German at our family gatherings so I became interested in the

language and culture at a very early age.

I always had an interest in history. In 2008, 35 years after I left Evansville to begin my

medical studies, I decided to compile our family’s history. I searched through my father’s

footlocker and found the invitation list to the last Adler Family Reunion at Eagles Picnic

Grounds in 1959. I was able to identify a descendant from each of my grandfather’s

seven siblings and made contact with those still living in Haubstadt and Evansville.

Since these families either doctored with or were delivered by my Dad, these older

cousins knew him well and had great memories of him. They all graciously welcomed

me into their homes as his son and they were as excited as I was to write down the

family history before they passed on. Several of them have already gone to heaven.

I copied old photos and newspaper articles from the late 1800’s through the 1960‘s and

was able to attain a family history of all eight children of Nicholas Adler (1836-1924). I

wrote a narrative of their histories and, along with the many photographs and articles,

finished a compilation entitled “The Book of Adlers” to hand out to relatives by compact

disc at Christmas 2008.

I spent a lot of time driving from Cincinnati to Evansville in 2008 and I thought I was

finished tromping through cemeteries and banging on relatives’ doors. But I began to

wonder if I could identify the actual villages in Germany from where our ancestors

originated. and other online sources were not very helpful so I engaged a

very accomplished genealogy researcher through the Mormon church to help me. This

gentleman heartily took up the quest and spent three years obtaining baptismal, marital,

and death records from any lead that we could find in Germany. He never gave up!

It was a wonderful day in April 2013 when I learned he had finally found the ancestral

village and church records of the Adler family in Viernheim, Germany, a suburb of

Mannheim. He forwarded to me (and translated) the copies of 400 years of church

records that identified that our ENTIRE Adler line descended from one man, a Thomas

Adler (1660-1724).

The most interesting news from this research was finding that Nicholas Adler had two

siblings from Germany who also made the immigration and who’s histories had been

lost. Their living descendants have been discovered and will also attend our reunion.

My son Adam and I visited Viernheim in May 2013 and photographed the church which

remains intact since the early 1700’s. This village is still full of Adlers descended from

our common ancestor. We have recently heard from the curator of the local history

museum in Viernheim that they are very interested in the immigration history and the

descendants from their village. They hope we have a wonderful reunion in June and

send their greetings!

Once we realized that we could now actually trace the Adler family back 400 years, the

family decided to schedule the first Adler Family Reunion in 55 years at the Haubstadt

Sommerfest on June 20-21 2014. Haubstadt was chosen since it is our ancestral village

in America and so many of our relatives still live and farm in the area. Hundreds of

relatives and friends are expected to attend to help with the fundraising derived from the

festival and local activities for the town.

The reunion will begin with a Welcome Mass at St. James Church in Haubstadt at 5:00

PM on Friday, June 20 2014. This will be followed by attending the Haubstadt

Sommerfest after Mass. We have secured the Family Life Center at Sts. Peter and Paul

Church as a place to gather where all friends and family can mingle as they come and

go from the Sommerfest.

Feel free to peruse the reunion website at to read the official

invitation and schedule. All the genealogies of the Adlers to date are listed as well as an

entire photographic history of our relatives from the American Civil War up until the

1960’s. There are also several historical vignettes that I have written as a narrative of

our German and American histories. The best reference source for your research is the

vignette “The Adler Migration from Haubstadt into the Evansville Area”. If interested, I

can send you the family military records that I have compiled to honor Memorial Day.

This has been an extraordinary adventure for me to bring the families together again!

Hopefully, we will hear from our remaining German relatives in Viernheim soon.

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