The name Gahimer is truly unique. It was created by the family of Johann Jacob Gegenheimer when they immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1833. Many theories abound concerning why Johann’s children changed their name to Gahimer such as (1) it was changed by immigration recorders based on what the name sounded like, (2) it was changed by the family members to be easier to spell, (3) it was changed by family members to sound more American, or, my personal favorite, (4) it was a joke between Johann and his children. Whatever the reason, Johann was the last to be called Gegenheimer, and thenceforth all future generations have been explaining how to spell and pronounce Gahimer to teachers, employers, friends, co-workers and everyone else they encounter. Yes, it has a long “a” and a long “i”. No the “h” is not silent. Yes, it has three syllables and the accent is on the first, and so on.

Over the years I’ve seen many people try to spell my name and I’ve seen as many valiant spelling attempts. I usually let them struggle through it on their own at first just to see what they write. Only when they really get stumped do I start offering clues.

And I love it when someone is filling in a form and asks “Last name please?”


“Yikes, really? Can you spell that for me?”


“Wow, that’s a lot simpler than I thought. Spells just like it sounds.”

Perhaps that’s what Johann had in mind.


Johann and his wife Maria began populating America with Gahimers straight-away, contributing 9 children to the cause: Anna Catherine, George Michael, Eva (a toddler that died on the stormy two month voyage to the United States), Jacob, John, Margaret, William, Daniel, and Mary. Each of the surviving children of Johann and Maria did their part to advance the Gahimer population. For example, Johann’s son William had 9 children: Julius, Augustus “Gus”, George, John W., an unnamed child that died at birth, Adeline, Conrad “Coonie”, Edward, and William Reinhard. So before long there were enough descendants to warrant genealogy research.

There has been a significant amount of genealogy research done by the descendants of William. Foremost among these is Charlene Gahimer John (daughter of Ed and Roxie), who has spent decades researching and archiving information on our Gahimer ancestors. Fred Gahimer (grandson of Conrad) spent many years after he retired until his death in 2005 researching his ancestors and writing stories of their lives.

In recent years, some of William Gahimer’s descendants have begun collecting and combining the Gahimer genealogy research completed so far, and we are continuing with the research started by Charlene, Fred, and others. The current researchers include Tim, Tony, and Dick Gahimer (grandsons of Ed and Roxie), Dave Gahimer (grandson of George and Addie), Laura Matney (Dave’s daughter), Julie Phillips (great-grand-daughter of George), and Joe Gahimer (Fred’s son).

We are publishing the information in two forms: (1) we uploaded the detailed genealogy information such as gedcom data and facts and sources to the One World Tree at www.ancestry.com, and (2) we are posting stories about the Gahimer’s and our ancestors on this website with photos and attachments.

If you have stories, information, photos or comments, or just want to connect or commiserate with other Gahimers, contact me.