Femling Family OriginThe Femling family has been traced back to several small villages in Mecklenburg, Germany in the 1600s. Mecklenburg is on the Northeastern coast of Germany and lies in what was once considered East Germany. The climate and terrain have many similarities to the upper Midwest in the United States, particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The name has undergone several changes over the last 400 years and includes the most frequent variations of Femerling, Fehmerling, Fehmeling, Fehmling and finally Femling. According to the dictionary of German surnames, the name Fehmerling is derived as a reference to the island of Fehmarn off the northern coast. The suffix -ling refers to or implies being a member of a group or one from an area, or simply one from Fehmarn island in this case.
The Femling family came to the United States arriving in New York in 1852. They traveled via old style sailing ship from Hamburg, Germany with a travel time of about 2 1/4 months. The conditions were not easy in steerage with several children of various passenger families perishing on the trip.
The family shows up in Wisconsin in census records by 1855. It is unknown if they spent any time in New York, or another state along the way, or whether they came directly to Wisconsin upon arrival. The family remained entirely in Wisconsin for about 20 years. Then 2 of the original 6 siblings moved to Iowa and two more moved to Minnesota. Members of various lines of the family then gradually migrated west, spreading over much of the west coast. Very few members of the family live on the east coast still today.
Family Tree InformationJohn and Mary Femling came to the U.S. with 6 children and 2 grandchildren. Their German baptismal names were Johann Joachim Christian Fehmerling and Henriette Maria Elisabeth Stapelfeld. The 3 given names were common practice in Mecklenburg and reflected the name of each of the 3 witnesses at their baptism. These witnesses were sometimes just friends and neighbors, but most often included some relatives.
Every person with the Femling surname living in the U.S. today has been tracked back to the original family. In excess of 1000 descendants of this couple have been identified. The only other Femlings that have been found outside of the U.S. are in Sweden, and they are not related to the U.S. Femling family.
Descendants of John and Mary Femling
Ancestral families and villages in Germany
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Last updated May 23, 2004.