I became solidly hooked on Genealogy when our friend and historian Udo Thoerner showed my husband and me the Büning ancestral home, a farm cottage, in the village of Venne, Germany with the names of his 4th-ggrandparents inscribed over the door and the year 1704 by the builder's name . What led us to this discovery was Thoerner's twenty years of curiosity and research about what happened to over 2000 emigrants from his home village of Venne and neighboring farm communities in Westfalen, northwestern Germany in the 19th century. These ancestral families are recorded in his book Venne in America, published in English nine months prior to Thoerner's untimely death at the age of 44 in 2008.
The immigrants settled primarily in villages of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Missouri, but Thoerner also describes the settlers in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and New York. You can view a brief history of Venne and some of the 2000 surnames on Thoerner's website http://www.venne-families.de/ . I will post a review of the book in a separate blog.
I would like to hear from you if your ancestors are from the farm villages around Venne. In the near future I intend to create a blog for Venne descendents in America.