THE GERMAN ROOTS - - - In the Beginning There Was VIELBRUNN

There is a region of uplands in southwestern Germany known as the Odenwald  (“open wood”).  At the eastern end of these wooded hills is a small and ancient village called Vielbrunn.  (If you read the “Family” page, you know the “V” in German is pronounced as an English “F”, so that the name becomes Fillbrunn when spoken.) 

Vielbrunn means “many springs” and the town has been known for many centuries for its fine springs flowing out of the mountainside.  Because of these springs, the town is a health resort, or “luftkurort”, as it was when Caesar’s legions marched through the Odenwalds in the 1st century, A. D.  The Romans built great stone baths, the ruins of which remain near Vielbrunn to this time.

In those ancient times, when a person moved to a new area, he sometimes became known by the name of his previous home.  Thus a man named Hans or Peter, if he moved some distance, might be called Hans or Peter of Vielbrunn.  Later the “of” would be dropped.  Many times, the spelling of the name might vary.  After all, few could read and write in those hardscrabble days.  Various spellings found in the research for The Fillbrunn Family History included: Fillbrunn, Filbrun, Filbrunn, Filbron , Filbronn, Filburn, Fullborn, Fullbronn, Phillbrunn, Vilbrun, Villbrunn, Vlibronn, Villbronn, Vielbronn.

It is likely that by the early 1500s – and perhaps much earlier – a man from the mountain village of Vielbrunn ventured southwest, down into the valley of the Neckar River.  He settled in the town of Neckarhausen where his descendants, thereafter known as Fillbrunn, were to live for nearly 600 years.  They are still to be found in Neckarhausen where they are probably the oldest original remaining family.  The first Filbrun arrived in the United States in 1818.  Since then, the family has thrived and spread into nearly every state.


Located in the southwestern section of Germany is the state of Baden-Wurttemberg,  comprised of the 19th century Kingdom of Wurttemberg, the Grand Duchy of Baden and the Duchy of Hohenzollern. Also, portions of the Palatinate region, of which Heidelberg had been the capital, became part of Baden in 1806.  This German State would be comparable in size and population to our states of Massachusetts and Connecticut if they were combined.

About eight miles northwest of Heidelberg is the community of Edingen-Neckarhausen.  These two towns were combined in 1975 by the state government.   Neckarhausen is thought to have started with only a few, rude huts in 773 A. D., when it was called Husen, but not until 1483 was the name Neckarhausen first mentioned in official records.

The mention of a village mayor for Neckarhausen was not made until 1541.  By 1614 Hans Fillbrunn began a long family tradition by becoming mayor.  Due to its fordable location on the Neckar River, Neckarhausen was to be of great importance through the years as various armies made strategic crossings at the village.  It is in this small village that the recorded history of the Fillbrunn family began.

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