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“ Happy is the one who holds high regards for his ancestors, who joyfully speaks about their acts and greatness and finally finds his name at the end of this nice and silent queve”

J. W Goethe


Welcome to the Knabben Family site. We are delighted with visitors.

We describe since the family ancient time when our patriarch Joseph Knabben lived, till nowadays. In fact the Knabben had dispersion all over the world, but we focused the ones who came to live and still live in Brazil. It seems casier to get in touch with dear ones who live in Brazil.


A simple letter written by Joseph Knabben who arrived to Brazil as an immigrant, by 1921, gave rise to the genealogy project.

This letter which purpose was to exchange information between Joseph Knabben and his nephew Vicente Knabben, as a priest named Friar Nazario, was probably to strengthen links between them.

Written at September 25 of 1921, the message describes the ways of the first Knabben in Brazil, since Mathias Knabben and others by 1861. Mathias Took a holiday trip to Germany at 1878 and came back to Brazil with two nephews: Jacob Knabben and Anna Maria Knabben. By 1880, his brother Werner Knabben and his wife Anne Christine came to Brazil bringing with them Peter and his wife Anna Kühnen whit their children Werner, Catharina, Maria Anna and Joseph.

In the beginning of this Genealogy Project, searching for information from Germany, we had the aid of a German historian, Horst Waldner, and Ilre Anita Bormacher, who worked for the Register Office.

They sent me main information from Monhein of Rhein, near Konh and Düsseldorf, North Eastern of Germany, where lived Werner and Anne Christina.

They came to Brazil till Rio de Janeiro, by a steamer named Kronpriz. Eight days later, the couple and their family went to Forianópolis, south of Brazil and the capital of St. Catarina state.

They were received at Florianópolis by Mathias, Jacob and Anna, their family and friends. They took the new arrivals to a place named Rancho Queimado.

Later on they went to a town called Armazém (more to the South), and there they lived and brought out their children.

Brazilian Descendants

Mathias married twice. The first wife was Elizabeth Weber and the second Anna Wagner. He had no descendants from both marriages.

That is why the only descendants of the Knabben Family were from the couple Werner and Anne Christine Knabben. They had eight children:

1. Paul and Gertrud were stillborn at Monhein.

2. Peter Knabben married Anna Kölnen and had six children: Werner, Mathias, Maria Tereza, Catharina and Anna.

3. Catharina Knabben married Mathias May and had one son named Werner.

4. Jacob Knabben married Thereza Bilck and had seven children, Bernard, Emily, Willian, Vicente, Anna, Jacob, Manoel and Joseph.

5. Anna Maria Knabben married Henrique Köpp and had eleven children: Cristina, Clara Escolástica, Werner, Francisco, Cecília, Verônica, Maria, Alex, Emília, and Joseph.

6. Maria Anna Knabben married Pedro Kuhen and had seven children: Phelomena, Otília, Maria Christina, Albertina, Joseph and Antônio.

7. Joseph Knabben (letter's author about family) married Maria Rosa da Silva and had eleven children: Werner, Adolfo, Alberto, Cristina, Perpétua, Érico, Francisco, Antônio, Waldermar, Maria and Osvaldo.

Nowadays we are about 3.200 descendants in Brazil. The majority of Pedro Knabben descendants still speaking German language and from their mother Anna Köhnen they inferited envangelical protestant religian Luteranian. however the majority of the descendants are catholic.

Main German colonies and dates of foundation

São Pedro de Alcântara (1829),
Vargem Grande (1837),
Santa Isabel (1847),
Santa Teresa (1853),
Teresópolis (1860),
Angelina (1860) and
Colonial Nucleus Anitápolis (1907), all in Santa Catarina.

Beyond immigrations mentioned above, important immigrations had happened, also, in the State of the Rio Grande do Sul and the State of Rio de Janeiro.

Reasons for the Emigration.

1. A main fact was the poverty level under which some Germans were submitted.

2. Another was the Industrial Revolution encreased at the decade of 1820 to 1830. This econimics change provoked the destabilization of the country.

3. There were political convulsions and major unexpected changes which lead to people insecurity. So imigration seemed to be a kind of solution to these problems.

4. On the other hand, the South America, precisely the South of Brazil, seemed to ideal place to where the German imigrant could server Germany comercial advantages. If North amrecia was economically linked to Great Britain, of course Germany was free to link to South America.

5. Interests from maritime tradin due to import raw material from colonial areas and at the same time filling the ships.

6. The vehement announcment of november 25, 1814 by which D João VI, Brazilian Emperor inveted european people to emigrat to Brazil, in order to occupy its South. Another aim of the emperor was to turn white the Brazilian people avoiding the future majority and dominance of the black people. the idea was to prevente apartheid or racism like it happened in Haiti. Later on, D Pedro I by influence of his Austrian wife, Archiduchess Maria Leopoldina (Emperor Francis I's daughter) reinforced the idea.

A Piece of the European Map


Between Düsseldorf and Köln, Monheim of Rhein is placed.

A Trip in the Time

Monheim of Rhein (Photo 1 and 2)

Antuérpia (Brussels) (Photo 1 and 2),

moved Kronprin Ship the vapor

Rio De Janeiro (Photo 1, 2 and 3)

Florianópolis-SC (Deportation) (Photos 1 and 2).

Santa Catarina at this time (1880) was with a population of 200.000 inhabitants, while that Brazil had 12 million.

Teresópolis (Photo 1)

Rancho Queimado (Photo 1)

Armazém (Sanga Morta) (Photo 1)

Caixa Postal, 242 – 88 330 000 Balneário Camboriú, Santa Catarina Brasil