looking for half brother in germany

21 posts in this topic

I'm looking for my older half brother born in Germany, who probably has no idea I exist, and due to my dad's failing health I have very little information.

 

My dad says he was stationed in the Coleman Barracks, Mannheim Germany at the time his friend got pregnant. Her parents owned a guesthouse on top of a bar (had a green sign) in Sandhofen. He gave up his parental rights (while stationed in Afghanistan) to the man his friend was marrying sometime after my half brother was born sometime in 1981 or '82 in a military hospital or a hospital nearby. He says she named him John or Jän or something.

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Hi there, @awesomejr

 

If you were maybe thinking some 36 or 37 year old German guy might see this and recognise themself as your older half-brother from the (frankly very meagre) amount of info you've posted you probably shouldn't build up your hopes on that happening. There are not too many Germans on this site although most of us non-Germans do live in Germany.

 

You didn't ask any questions so it doesn't look like you were looking for any tips or suggestions but here's a couple for you anyway just in case they might help.

 

Nobody here would be able to help by pointing you at any possible contenders unless you could give us at least a family name. Better if you could find out both the family names of your dad's friend and of the guy she married. Without first names as well the chances to search for them would still be very slim if the family names are common German ones.

 

Searching for anyone here without having fairly good knowledge of German language would be technically difficult.

 

It's possible, albeit not very likely, that the Gasthaus (if it still exists) remains in the ownership of the family. If not the family may still be registered in the area and, although there's no public access to such private data, there may be entries in current or past telephone directories or street address lists which could be found online.

 

Although it is far harder to locate individual strangers in Germany than in the USA (data protection is writ large here) there are ways and means and Toytown members (TTers) have had some stunning successes in locating lost family members over the past 16 years.

 

One guy who had already been an active TTer for about 5 years was so inspired by one case he told us that he'd been adopted as a very young child and had found out a few years earlier that he had had an older sister who he couldn't even remember about. In the discussion that followed some tips and info were exchanged which motivated him to begin following certain avenues of research. I think it was about 8 months later he told us he'd made contact and around 6 months later his sister was able to visit his family (IIRC just in time for his first-born son's baptism).

 

Hopefully you can find out enough info to set us off coz many TTers like nothing better about this community spirit than the opportunity it gives us to play at being amateur sleuths and solve detective puzzles! :lol:

 

2B

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Based upon what you've written, your older half-brother was not born in US military hospital.  It does little to help find him, but does eliminate one possibility allowing more focus towards other areas.  In order for him to have been born in such, your father and the woman who gave birth, would have need been married and she added as his dependent.  From what you wrote, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Knowing your half-brother's name would definitely help, otherwise it will be near impossible. 

You could place an advertise in the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (newspaper) or flood Mannheim Facebook Groups, but as you know little about him, it is going to depend greatly upon what his mother told him about the situation and his father.  If he grew up believing the man his mother married is his birth-father then your description will most like get no traction.

To help some that might feel confused, your father was in Afghanistan in the early 1980s during the Russian-Afghanistan war?  There were a few that helped the Afghan Freedom Fighters during that conflict.  Some might think of the war, which began in 2001.  Might want to clarify that.

Regardless, I wish you luck in your search.

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According to yelp there are 6 german restaurants in that area.  You may get lucky and find a picture on the internet with a green sign.  https://www.yelp.de/search?find_desc=deutsche+Restaurants&find_loc=sandhofen,+mannheim,+de&start=0&l=g:8.45839960327146,49.55081401679878,8.43265039672849,49.534105759614775

 

Or this site has a couple listed as well. 

https://www.restaurant-ami.com/suche.php?radius=30&ap=r_8.448040200000037_49.5444584_Sandhofen%2C%20Mannheim%2C%20Germany&sprache=E&typ=C

 

Zum Adler has a green sign....

 

Maybe you might have some luck finding the guesthouse...

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On 10/5/2018, 7:02:06, awesomejr said:

My dad ... gave up his parental rights (while stationed in Afghanistan) ... after my half brother was born sometime in 1981 or '82

 

Was your dad in the U.S. or Soviet army?   Yeah, it's probably off topic.  But I don't understand the original post.

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There doesn't seem to be that many restaurants in Sandhofen. I guess try emailing all the restaurants and then go there to ask. You can also look on google maps, then street view, to find a restaurant with the green sign. Maybe whoever told you it had a green sign would recognise an image of it?

 

Landgasthof Hexehäusl has a green sign...

 

https://www.google.de/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x410ca3f7877acd49:0xff740f084fe2812d!2m22!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i20!16m16!1b1!2m2!1m1!1e1!2m2!1m1!1e3!2m2!1m1!1e5!2m2!1m1!1e4!2m2!1m1!1e6!3m1!7e115!4s

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2 hours ago, DoubleDTown said:

 

Was your dad in the U.S. or Soviet army?   Yeah, it's probably off topic.  But I don't understand the original post.

 As his dad was stationed at Coleman Barracks, he was US military. 

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1 hour ago, Atrag said:

 I guess try emailing all the restaurants and then go there to ask.

 

Idiot... the guy is in America...

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1 minute ago, SpiderPig said:

 

Idiot... the guy is in America...

 

Hi sad act: There are flights from America. 

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24 minutes ago, BayrischDude said:

 As his dad was stationed at Coleman Barracks, he was US military. 

Yeah, I agree with the reference to Coleman, but he was also " stationed in Afghanistan "   If subject brother was born in 1981 or 1982, the brother would have been 19 or 20 years old before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 so unlikely there would be a giving up of parental rights at that time...   Just sayin'

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1 hour ago, DoubleDTown said:

Yeah, I agree with the reference to Coleman, but he was also " stationed in Afghanistan "   If subject brother was born in 1981 or 1982, the brother would have been 19 or 20 years old before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 so unlikely there would be a giving up of parental rights at that time...   Just sayin'

 

Just wrt to this understandable point of confusion.

 

I seem to remember meeting a few US army active duty soldiers in the mid-'80s who had indeed been on TDY to Afgahnistan around the period the OP referred to.

 

Relatively small US army units are routinely deployed on temporary duty to countries with which the USA are not at war nor have made any public announcement of pending hostilities toward. They are usually sent in order to act as 'military advisors' to either the internationally recognised government or to groups of 'friendly forces' who are pursuing strategic objectives of 'national security interest' to the USA.

 

IIRC at that time the internationally recognised government of Afghanistan had been overthrown and replaced (in a Soviet-supported coup) by an Afgahni communist dictatorship and local resistance was being engaged in by multiple regional factions led by tribal 'war lords' as well as local islamic Mujhadeen fighters, which were dramatically strengthened by the presence of international brigades mainly from the gulf states and north Africa.

 

Funded by wealthy donors and some surreptitious payments from certain governments from the same area, they seemed to be able to source sufficient supplies of modern US made weaponery to probably have a warranted interest in the supply of weapons instructors.

 

In peace-tme circumstances those would normally be contractors or seconded staff working for the manufacturer. In times and areas where the risks of war are higher it's common for major weapons manufacturers to make mutual interest arrangements directly with the governmenment defence department of their major client countries whereby active duty personnel deployed to that area gain tactical experience from the opportunity to observe newer generation weaponery in action whilst providing supervision in the safe and efficient operational working practice of the ordnance.

 

This practise has gone on for several centuries and is conducted by multiple companies and governments from all parts of the globe.

 

It's true for governments from western, eastern, northern, southern, capitalist, communist, democratic, dictatorial, libertarian, tyrranical, religious fanatical, racially fanatical, militarily neutral, centerist, leftist, socialist, rightist and all other political shades too.

 

Since the USA evolved to become the world's largest arms specifier, purchaser, developer, manufacturer and provider it logically also became the largest provider of such 'military advisors' over the last 70 years.

 

Enough on that slight diversion.

 

Another look back at the OP's original post reminded me to say to @awesomejr it is more likely that, rather than John (Anglo) or Jän (Nordic) either of which may have been frowned on by a German registrar at that time, the given name of your half-brother could have been Johann, Johannes or Jan (the latter less traditional but in mode in Germany at the time).

 

I agree with those who suggested trying to see if the OP's dad could manage to take a Google Street View tour of Sandhofen. Although much of the street landscape will have been altered by modern trends he may well recognize many local landmarks and be able to find his way to the street, if not the building, where his friend's family Gasthaus or guesthouse was.

 

Knowing that street name (and number if possible) would be a great help in locating current or former residents.

 

2B

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1 hour ago, DoubleDTown said:

Yeah, I agree with the reference to Coleman, but he was also " stationed in Afghanistan "   If subject brother was born in 1981 or 1982, the brother would have been 19 or 20 years old before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 so unlikely there would be a giving up of parental rights at that time...   Just sayin'

 

I agree, which is why I requested the OP clarify in my first response yesterday.  Dad could have been in Afghanistan in the early 1980s during that war.

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On Thu Oct 04 2018 23:51:16 GMT-0700, BayrischDude said:

Based upon what you've written, your older half-brother was not born in US military hospital.  It does little to help find him, but does eliminate one possibility allowing more focus towards other areas.  In order for him to have been born in such, your father and the woman who gave birth, would have need been married and she added as his dependent.  From what you wrote, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Knowing your half-brother's name would definitely help, otherwise it will be near impossible. 

You could place an advertise in the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (newspaper) or flood Mannheim Facebook Groups, but as you know little about him, it is going to depend greatly upon what his mother told him about the situation and his father.  If he grew up believing the man his mother married is his birth-father then your description will most like get no traction.

To help some that might feel confused, your father was in Afghanistan in the early 1980s during the Russian-Afghanistan war?  There were a few that helped the Afghan Freedom Fighters during that conflict.  Some might think of the war, which began in 2001.  Might want to clarify that.

Regardless, I wish you luck in your search.

I greatly appreciate your response! And I agree... it may be near impossible to find him based on the little information I have. With my dad's failing health (and memory), information is sketchy. He claims she was half Turkish, and her name was "berita varixa" steinhoff but my mother claims it was "Catherine" with a different spelling.

 

I have tried ancestry, and I've used Google maps of restaurants, pubs, and guesthouses in the area (tried emailing them but no responses).

I was told to contact Germany for birth records but I don't read/understand/speak German so I feel limited there.

 

Blah. If I'm meant to find him, it'll happen but I know it's hard to find someone who doesn't know they're being looked for.

 

Thank you for your help!

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On Thu Oct 04 2018 23:37:00 GMT-0700, 2B_orNot2B said:

Hi there, @awesomejr

 

If you were maybe thinking some 36 or 37 year old German guy might see this and recognise themself as your older half-brother from the (frankly very meagre) amount of info you've posted you probably shouldn't build up your hopes on that happening. There are not too many Germans on this site although most of us non-Germans do live in Germany.

 

You didn't ask any questions so it doesn't look like you were looking for any tips or suggestions but here's a couple for you anyway just in case they might help.

 

Nobody here would be able to help by pointing you at any possible contenders unless you could give us at least a family name. Better if you could find out both the family names of your dad's friend and of the guy she married. Without first names as well the chances to search for them would still be very slim if the family names are common German ones.

 

Searching for anyone here without having fairly good knowledge of German language would be technically difficult.

 

It's possible, albeit not very likely, that the Gasthaus (if it still exists) remains in the ownership of the family. If not the family may still be registered in the area and, although there's no public access to such private data, there may be entries in current or past telephone directories or street address lists which could be found online.

 

Although it is far harder to locate individual strangers in Germany than in the USA (data protection is writ large here) there are ways and means and Toytown members (TTers) have had some stunning successes in locating lost family members over the past 16 years.

 

One guy who had already been an active TTer for about 5 years was so inspired by one case he told us that he'd been adopted as a very young child and had found out a few years earlier that he had had an older sister who he couldn't even remember about. In the discussion that followed some tips and info were exchanged which motivated him to begin following certain avenues of research. I think it was about 8 months later he told us he'd made contact and around 6 months later his sister was able to visit his family (IIRC just in time for his first-born son's baptism).

 

Hopefully you can find out enough info to set us off coz many TTers like nothing better about this community spirit than the opportunity it gives us to play at being amateur sleuths and solve detective puzzles! :lol:

 

2B

I'm sorry for the vague information. And you're absolutely right.

I guess I was just mainly looking for more ideas on how to find him... I knew it was a long shot in the dark to find him right off the bat. Growing up, it wasn't talked about we just knew my dad has a son somewhere out there. Now that my dad's health and memory is deteriorating, made me really think about the possibilities out there. It just sucks because my dad doesn't remember much and he says he had letters about child support while he was supposedly in Afghanistan that he got rid of after I was born.

 

After reading your responses, I've questioned some of his stories and whereabouts in the military (u.s. ARMY). My mom says from papers she's read in the past, he was a mechanic. I don't know if that helps lol

 

Thank you for your help though.

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I actually think it wouldn't be that hard, once you find someone from that village.  My village is a lot bigger, and if asked anyone about who owns a restaurant with a green sign about 30 years ago, I'd get an answer immediately.  We had a Canadian Airforce base near us, and I still hear lots of stories about the hanky panky that went on with military guys from Canada. "Holgers daughter, was she the one who was with the canadian pilot?"

 

Thats just how small towns are.  I see Sandhofen as a bunch of various facebook pages, sportsverein, etc.  I'd find someone local and start with them. If they don't know someone, they will at least know the person who knows a lot about the town, i.e. what restaurants were around and what families owned them. A quick google search tells me that a man named Alfred Heierling might be the one to ask.

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On Sat Oct 06 2018 06:19:45 GMT-0700, 2B_orNot2B said:

 

Just wrt to this understandable point of confusion.

 

I seem to remember meeting a few US army active duty soldiers in the mid-'80s who had indeed been on TDY to Afgahnistan around the period the OP referred to.

 

Relatively small US army units are routinely deployed on temporary duty to countries with which the USA are not at war nor have made any public announcement of pending hostilities toward. They are usually sent in order to act as 'military advisors' to either the internationally recognised government or to groups of 'friendly forces' who are pursuing strategic objectives of 'national security interest' to the USA.

 

IIRC at that time the internationally recognised government of Afghanistan had been overthrown and replaced (in a Soviet-supported coup) by an Afgahni communist dictatorship and local resistance was being engaged in by multiple regional factions led by tribal 'war lords' as well as local islamic Mujhadeen fighters, which were dramatically strengthened by the presence of international brigades mainly from the gulf states and north Africa.

 

Funded by wealthy donors and some surreptitious payments from certain governments from the same area, they seemed to be able to source sufficient supplies of modern US made weaponery to probably have a warranted interest in the supply of weapons instructors.

 

In peace-tme circumstances those would normally be contractors or seconded staff working for the manufacturer. In times and areas where the risks of war are higher it's common for major weapons manufacturers to make mutual interest arrangements directly with the governmenment defence department of their major client countries whereby active duty personnel deployed to that area gain tactical experience from the opportunity to observe newer generation weaponery in action whilst providing supervision in the safe and efficient operational working practice of the ordnance.

 

This practise has gone on for several centuries and is conducted by multiple companies and governments from all parts of the globe.

 

It's true for governments from western, eastern, northern, southern, capitalist, communist, democratic, dictatorial, libertarian, tyrranical, religious fanatical, racially fanatical, militarily neutral, centerist, leftist, socialist, rightist and all other political shades too.

 

Since the USA evolved to become the world's largest arms specifier, purchaser, developer, manufacturer and provider it logically also became the largest provider of such 'military advisors' over the last 70 years.

 

Enough on that slight diversion.

 

Another look back at the OP's original post reminded me to say to @awesomejr it is more likely that, rather than John (Anglo) or Jän (Nordic) either of which may have been frowned on by a German registrar at that time, the given name of your half-brother could have been Johann, Johannes or Jan (the latter less traditional but in mode in Germany at the time).

 

I agree with those who suggested trying to see if the OP's dad could manage to take a Google Street View tour of Sandhofen. Although much of the street landscape will have been altered by modern trends he may well recognize many local landmarks and be able to find his way to the street, if not the building, where his friend's family Gasthaus or guesthouse was.

 

Knowing that street name (and number if possible) would be a great help in locating current or former residents.

 

2B

And thank you for the other names of "John". 

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7 minutes ago, Joanie said:

I actually think it wouldn't be that hard, once you find someone from that village.  My village is a lot bigger, and if asked anyone about who owns a restaurant with a green sign about 30 years ago, I'd get an answer immediately.  We had a Canadian Airforce base near us, and I still hear lots of stories about the hanky panky that went on with military guys from Canada. "Holgers daughter, was she the one who was with the canadian pilot?"

 

Thats just how small towns are.  I see Sandhofen as a bunch of various facebook pages, sportsverein, etc.  I'd find someone local and start with them. If they don't know someone, they will at least know the person who knows a lot about the town, i.e. what restaurants were around and what families owned them. 

 

I've tried showing pictures of places in Sandhofen that may resemble her parent's guesthouse but he says it's been too long he only remembers what it looked like but it was not an Irish pub at the time. He mentioned her parents being half Dutch.

I tried emailing a places in Sandhofen about a year ago, since I don't have a Facebook, but haven't had a response.

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3 hours ago, awesomejr said:

He claims she was half Turkish, and her name was "berita varixa" steinhoff but my mother claims it was "Catherine" with a different spelling.

 

It's possible that she was half Turkish - Turkish folk have been settling in Germany since being invited to come here to rebuild (post-WW II) manpower numbers in the booming industries in the late 1950s. Steinhoff sounds like a German name and your mother could be right since Catherine with a 'C' is unlikely, but Katrine, Katrina, Kathrine and other variations such as  Katja were fairly popular at the time.

 

3 hours ago, awesomejr said:

He mentioned her parents being half Dutch.

 

IME it wasn't all that unusual to hear GIs refer to Germans as 'Dutch' rather than 'Deutsch', particularly if they came from Pennsylvania or some areas in New England (or even Texas) where many Amish or Memmonite Germans had settled in the 19th C.

 

I'll try looking for any links to that family name in Sandhofen using google.DE and let you know here what results show up.

 

2B

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Someone should contact the Heimat verein in Sandhofen and ask who would know what restaurants were around back then.  I totally want to see this have a happy ending!  

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