Rich Lowe



Our Van Buren Co
Family Surnames

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Welcome to Van Buren County Iowa!

My name is Rich Lowe and I have hosted this site for Van Buren Co family history researchers since early 1997. I am a Van Buren Co. native, now living in Missouri. My mother's JOHNSON line was the earliest of my lines settling in Van Buren county . .  constructing an 18' x 20' log cabin in 1837 in what was to become Bonaparte township, while Iowa was still a part of the Wisconsin Territory and nine years before Iowa's statehood. Like many early pioneers, they inched their way westward from Pennsylvania, then settling in Ohio, then Indiana, to Illinois very briefly and then to Van Buren county. My two younger children are the sixth generation to live in Van Buren county. My paternal LOWE line started in Van Buren county in 1905 when my grandfather Newton Lowe mysteriously arrived to play semi-pro baseball for the local "town team", which was serious business back then. His origins prior to that were a big mystery for decades but I finally "cracked the case" in late 2009 when I found out my grandfather's name was not really LOWE at all but LAUBENSTINE (German spelling LAUBENSTEIN).  His closet was LOADED with skeletons and he had good reason to change his name as it turns out. So much progress has been made that I have since visited graves of his direct line ancestors all the way back to his gg-grandfather who arrived from Germany in 1764. In September of 2011, along with my wife and son, I visited our ancestral villages in the Pfalz area of Germany and actually met our distant cousins by the same name. In early 2017 I connected with 2 Laubenstein cousins via Y-DNA testing that along with church records proved our common ancestor being a Johan Peter Laubenstein born in 1652,

I was born in Fairfield, (in Dec. 1946 if you must know :-) in neighboring Jefferson county, as it had the nearest hospital at the time, but I was raised in and around Bonaparte, Van Buren Co. After college I, like many young people in this rural, low population, "nothing to do" county, "escaped" the area leaving to pursue a career elsewhere, never dreaming I would return . . . nor that I would ever wish to! But "lowe" and behold, after nearly 25 years away, my wife Nancy (nee LAMBORN, a Farmington native) and I returned, bringing back with us my parents who had followed us and the grandchildren to Newton, Jasper County years earlier.

I had dabbled in genealogy from time to time while away but it wasn't until my return  to Van Buren County in 1993 that something inside me really got me wanting to know more about my roots, my ancestors and the history of where they came from and where and how they lived. I joined the Van Buren County Genealogical Society shortly after returning to the county and in early 1997, I volunteered to create and host this site.

My greatest thrills in genealogy? Two come to mind immediately. One was sitting at a table in the Allen County Library, Ft. Wayne, IN (my 4th day there) with piles of books and suddenly finding, in a book of probate abstracts, two sets of ggg-grandparents on my mother's side born in the late 1700's that until that moment I had no idea of even their given names. And the very next day, traveling on into Warren Co. Ohio and finding their gravestones and courthouse records . . documents in their very own handwriting!  And more recently finding my paternal LAUBENSTINE/LAUBENSTEIN roots that had been a secret known only by my grandfather dating back to 1905.  How awesome!

Knowing what a wondrous joy it is to discover treasures such as the above, it has also become my passion to help those not living in this county and who cannot easily travel here, find useful information online to aid in their research. We do that through providing resource data: census info, marriages, etc. but also because visitors to the site are willing to share what they already know by leaving key bits of information behind by way of Obits., Bios. and other useful information through our Message Boards and other tools. I invite you to join in building this web site in this way, if you have not already done so.

While I now live in Missouri near grandkids and the fabulous Midwest Genealogy Center Library, I get back to Van Buren County several times a year and through the library have access to many of the same resources as I did previously.

This site is designed as a gathering place for Van Buren County genealogists and researchers to share and retrieve information. It's a joy to hear when someone has found something valuable as a result of this joint effort. Thanks for joining me in being a part of this great project!

                                                                                         Rich Lowe
                                                                                         Van Buren Co. Site Host