Wittrock Farm in Germany Where our
At the time our earliest known ancestors lived, most of the farmers
in the region were "Heuermann" (tenant) farmers. But
our Wittrock ancestors actually owned their land and are referred
to as "Kötters" (cottage farmers) in the old records.
The small Wittrock farm was located in the Brockdorf community
near Dinklage, Kreis Vechta, Oldenburg, which is now called Niedersachsen
(Lower Saxony). The land was owned by the Wittrocks since at least
the mid 1600s, and probably earlier. Ownership of the farm was
passed to successive generations of Wittrocks until it was finally
sold in 1885 by (Anton) Henry Wittrock (1851-1923) before he emigrated
from Germany and settled in America.
The Wittrock house was a traditional "Hallenhaus"
a combined house and barn of the type that most of the
northern German cottage farmers occupied until the mid-1900s.
Tenant farmers lived in smaller huts called "Heurerhauses."
Hundreds of Hallenhauses still exist and many have been converted
to modern houses or other buildings. The farmers lived in the
same building with their cattle and horses. Sometimes more than
one family occupied a single building sharing the barn
and cooking areas. The eldest son and his family often lived in
his parent's house until he inherited the farm.