Maybe it’s in the genes

As I was doing some spring cleaning in the garage the other day, I came across a book that had been acquired and stored away some years ago. It was a history of my mother’s family in Germany and the Netherlands dating back to the mid-1600s.

Book by Peter Sieve

The book was researched and written by Peter Sieve, of Vechta in northwestern Germany, to whom I am distantly related. It was published as a paperback in 2003. Sieve — sometimes spelled Siewe in European renditions — was my mother’s maiden name.
I had heard of Peter’s research from two Sieve first cousins who were doing genealogical research on the American branch of the Sieves. Their findings dovetailed nicely with Peter’s, picking up in America where Peter’s research on the European Sieves left off. I emailed Peter, and he sent me a copy of his work.
According to a family tree in Peter’s book, the first Sieve to emigrate to the United States, in 1836, was Jacob Sieve, my great-great-great-grandfather, who settled in Cincinnati. In 1866, his son, Herman Henreich Sieve, my great-great-grandfather, headed west to Missouri and established a farm in the rolling foothills of the Ozarks in the Franklin County hamlet of Moselle, Mo., about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis. Sieve relatives still live in the area and others in St. Louis.

Hendricus A.M. Siewe

Peter’s book is in German, and my college minor in that language isn’t sufficient for a quick and accurate reading. So I looked mostly at the family tree and the photographs.
Among the photos are two of Hendricus Antonius Maria Siewe (1868-1942), described in German as an Amsterdam merchant. We have a common forebearer, Hermann Ruholl Sieve, who lived in the village of Ihorst near Oldenburg in northwest Germany in the 1600s.
The first photo, grainy and faded, shows Hendricus as a muscular young man riding a “safety” bicycle with an intent look as if he is racing. The second shows a dapper, mustachioed Hendricus, wearing a tie, jacket, knickerbockers and straw boater, riding a tandem bike with his wife, Johanna.
The caption under the first photo says that Hendricus was a “weilrenner in vrije tijd,” which translates from Dutch as a “cyclist in his spare time.”
Maybe this bicycling disease runs in the genes.

Hendricus and Johanna Siewe



Filed under Cool stuff, History

6 responses to “Maybe it’s in the genes

  1. Ben

    Very interesting.

  2. John Vandevelde

    Since I am Dutch, I am absolutely convinced there is a bicycling gene, and for some reason it is paired with a gene that gives one an insatiable appetite for Edam and Gouda cheeses, washed down with great beer.

  3. John Sieve

    I am researching my family tree and wold appreciate any help. I am from the Cincinnati Ohio area and my grandfather is George Kasper Sieve. Per my father George had four brothers and two sisters; Herman, Josephine, Mary, Rev. Francis, John B. and Henry. Based on the 1900 census their Father was John H. Sieve born around 1938 (came to US in 1865) and Elizabeth born around 1847 both (came to US in 1869) from Germany. Since Sieve if not too common a name it would be interesting to link the them back to the family tree in Germany. I have also found messages from Peter Sieve that a Johann Hermann Heinrich Sieve was born in Dinklage Germany and came to america in 1865 who was married to Elisabeth Batke born 11/20/1847 from Lutten .

  4. John,
    Thanks for your note and for looking at my blog. I’m sure we’re related somehow. I sent a copy of your message to one of my first cousins, Dennis Sieve, who has done extensive research on the Sieve family. He said he’d be glad to help you if he can and suggested that you e-mail him directly. His e-mail address is: Keep in touch and let me know what you both discover.

  5. Jan Sullivan

    I’ve been researching my family and Jacob Sieve is also my 3rd great grandfather. My cousin corresponded with Peter Sieve several years ago. Do you by chance have a current e-mail address for him or know how to contact him? I would be interested to see if I could obtain a copy of his book. Jacob’s son, Herman Heinrich, is my 2nd great grandfather.

    • Jan,
      I’m sorry. I don’t have a current e-mail address for Peter Sieve. I did correspond with him in connection with acquiring his book, but the e-mail exchanges are no longer in my e-mail archive. One of my cousins, Dennis Sieve, who has done extensive research on the Sieve clan, may have an e-mail address for Peter. You can reach Dennis at Thanks for looking at my blog. Good luck with your research.

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