Koppelman Family Genealogy


Koppelman Family Tree               Koppelman Family News Blog

This website traces and documents the ancestors, descendants, and lines related to those of Johann Hermann Koppelmann (b. 1811, Badbergen, Germany; d. 1877, Baltimore County, Maryland) and his wife Anna Katherine Messmann Koppelmann (1803-1884).


For recent news about the family and developments in our family history research, visit the Koppelman Family News blog, Koppelmania.


Thanks to my motherŐs cousin, Miss E. Ruth Hedeman (1910-2006) who created a hand-drawn family tree, and organized the first known Koppelman family reunion in Baltimore in 1981, much information has been preserved about the lines descending from J. H. Koppelmann through his two sons, John George Koppelman (1835-1891), and John Henry Koppelman (1840-1902). Miss Hedeman, in turn, relied on the capacious memories of her aunts and good friends Charlotte Koppelman Betz (1906-1999), and Bertie Koppelman Bopp (1902-1991). All that is documented here grows from the work and recollections of these women.


When Ruth Hedeman began her genealogical research, she had the advantage of knowing all of her Koppelman aunts and uncles: seven in all, not counting spouses. Although as a child, I knew and loved my grandparents, William Herman Koppelman, Sr., and Katherine Schwarz Koppelman, I never had the opportunity to meet any of my Koppelman great-aunts or great-uncles, nor my grandmotherŐs nine brothers and sisters.


Origins: Badbergen to Baltimore


Johann Hermann Koppelmann emigrated to Maryland in 1834 from Lower Saxony, Germany. His Lutheran family came from a cluster of small villages called Badbergen, Gehrde, Wehdel, and Groenloh, which belonged to the parish of St. Georg. When he left for America, Lower Saxony was known as the Kingdom of Hannover, part of the region called the Artland. This area is still proverbial for its rich alluvial loam and its flat, moist landscape, riddled with bogs and moors, much of a piece with that of the Netherlands, with which Lower Saxony shares its western border. Another branch of the same Koppelmann family immigrated to Missouri in the 1850s, sailing from Bremen to New Orleans and then up the Mississippi River.


In America, the name Koppelmann appeared in a variety of spellings. Some of the variations I have found in the history of our family in America are Koppleman, Coppleman, Coupleman, Koppeleman, Cappellman, and Cuppelman. Some of these spellings may be attributable to the attempts of census-takers and map-makers to spell names phonetically. Even in the archives of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, the church most closely associated with our familyŐs history in Baltimore, the name appears in a variety of spellings, sometimes with one n, sometimes with two.


By the mid-19th century, Johan H. Koppelmann, now calling himself John H. Koppelman or Herman Koppelman, and his sons were prosperous produce farmers, or Ňgardeners,Ó as they were then known, in the Gardenville/Raspeburg area of Baltimore County, a few miles northeast of the city of Baltimore. The 1872 Clemms Map of Baltimore, published by Simon J. Martinet, depicts Koppelman farms north of Herring Run, between Belair Road and the Philadelphia Road, not far from Brehms Brewery. Land records trace John H. KoppelmanŐs earliest purchase of 24 and a half acres there to 1840.


They were part of a tightly-knit community of German Lutheran immigrants who settled in the area. Koppelmans helped to establish the first Evangelical Lutheran church in the area in 1842--Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church--which still exists today on Belair Road at Moravia Avenue, across from the Holy Redeemer Cemetery, outside Baltimore. The archives of the church list Herman Koppleman as a member of congregation in 1842. He was elected a deacon in 1848, and an elder in 1859. Koppelmans continued to be active in the church until at least the 1980s. Numerous gifts to the church, including a white marble podium carved in the likeness of an angel, donated by Mrs. John H. Koppelman and Mrs. William H. Lutz, and still in use today; a stained glass window donated by John Harman Koppelman; a marble plaque commemorating the churchŐs centenary donated by Mrs. John Harman Koppelman, and cemetery gates donated by Mrs. John Harman Koppelman and William Herman Koppelman, Sr., testify to the familyŐs long-standing dedication to Jerusalem Lutheran Church.


For about 100 years, this community of German Lutheran immigrants worshipped together, farmed together, and intermarried. Thus the Baltimore Koppelman genealogy during this period contains many German surnames such as Bauer, Betz, Bopp, Breeback, Brockmeyer, Buchwald, Bush, Emmel, Fetsch, Fischer, Franz, Geise, Geissdorfer, Gleitsman, Gutekunst, Hedeman, Heusler, Hutschenreuter, Klinger, Knauer, Kotsch, Krebs, Lassahn, Lutz, Malwitz, Marx, Maier, Meier, Meise, Melchior, Nortrup, Phillippi, Raab, Reineke, Roemer, Rohrbaugh, Rommel, Schaub, Soeder, Schwarz, Stecker, Sterner, Vogt, Volz, Weilbrenner, Walker, and Weber, as well as English surnames of early Virginia and Baltimore County families such as Barger (Rockbridge Co., VA), Milbourne (Loudon Co. and Frederick Co., VA) and Burton (Baltimore Co.). Numerous family graves bearing these names can be found in area cemeteries, including Jerusalem Lutheran Church. Many Koppelmans, Schwarzes, and Schaubs, Vogts are buried in Parkwood Cemetery, near Parkville, Maryland, north of Baltimore. Many Koppelmans are buried in Baltimore Cemetery, and many from another branch from the Bremen area can be found in Greenmount Cemetery. (Browse obituaries of Koppelmans and related families.) Many family graves are documented on findagrave.com.


The Next Century: Assimilation & Attenuation


By the 1940s, assimilation, education, mobility and war began to dissolve this German Lutheran community. Ties with the church began to attenuate. Koppelman descendants began to intermarry outside this small group, and from this time on, surnames began to change, to include such Scots-Irish and English names as Harris, Conley, Thanner, Morrison, Lynch, Williams, Hicks, Gover, Sexton, Dutton, Hawkins, Hardy, Thomas, Couser, Milbourne, Treat, and Jones. Some descendents moved as far away as California, yet a surprising number remained in Maryland and the mid-Atlantic states.


This page is just beginning. In time, it will include the all of the family tree traced by Prof. Hedeman; birth, marriage and death information; family photographs, news clippings, and maps. One day, I hope I will be able to add information pertaining to ancestors and descendents who remained in the Badbergen area--a number of Koppelmans still reside in that town today. We now know that John H. Koppelman and his wife returned to Germany to visit at least once.


The Future: Bringing it All Back Home


It is my hope that other descendants of the families documented here will find this website and contact me in order to pool information--as well as to re-knit the familial bonds that have attenuated as the family as grown and dispersed. If you think you may be related to this Koppelman family, or would like information on related Koppelman lines, please contact me.




I owe so many unrepayable debts. Many people and organizations have helped me with this research and shared their findings with me, including the ever-generous Janet Canapp, Jody Hedeman Couser, Fred Betz and Lillian Betz Lynch, Patricia Jean Raab, Earl Malwitz, Susan Rozar, Erin Sullivan, and Carole Schmidt Rebert, and Carole Porter at the Baltimore County Genealogical Society, the wonderful Enoch Pratt Free Library's Periodicals Department and Maryland Department, the many volunteer photographers of Findagrave.com, Baltimore County Genweb and Baltimore City Genweb, the Maryland State Archives (especially their Vital Records Indexing Project and Land Records Project), the Maryland Tombstone Transcription Project, the Baltimore County Historical Society, and the kind people at Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, just to name a very few.


Several books have provided invaluable background information. Among these, one stands out for its documentation of northeast Baltimore: The City as Suburb: A History of Northeast Baltimore Since 1660, by Eric L. Holcomb (Center for American Places, 2005); The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History, eds. Mary Ellen Hayward and Frank R. Shivers, Jr. (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004); John Thomas Scharf's 1881 History of Baltimore City and County (full text now available on Google Books).


A few maps have been simply indispensable: Baltimore County Historical Society's reproduction of the 1877 Hopkins Atlas of Baltimore County, and the incredible digitized 1915 Bromley Atlas of Baltimore County (publication #2073, available on CD from the Maryland State Archives). The Baltimore County Historical Society's wall-sized reproduction of J. C. Sidney's 1850 Map of the City and County of Baltimore has also been helpful.


waldonia2000 [at] gmail [dot] com


last updated 8.1.2010