The earliest Rademacher we can find is Johann Peter Rademacher, born about 1709 in Olpe, Germany. He was Dale’s 6th-great-grandfather. There are no surviving church records that go back farther, so I doubt we can ever trace the Rademacher family beyond Johann.
But what can we surmise about earlier Rademachers, maybe just based on the name?
According to the German-language Wikipedia website, the name ‘Rademacher’ is associated with a “pre-industrial craftsman, the wheels manufactured, see also Cartwright“. So if you’ve been told that ‘Rademacher’ means ‘wheel maker’, that’s pretty much right.
Did you know – there is also a noble Rademacher family, the “Barons of Rademacher”. I don’t think it’s possible to ever know if our Rademacher family has any connection to Rademacher nobility, or if we just coincidentally have the same name. The noble family came from the now-French town of Rodemack. Descendants of the noble family are known to have settled in the Olpe area (North Rhein – Westphalia), so it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that there might be a connection.
Another branch of the noble family settled in Riga, Latvia, and one of those descendants was Reinhold Rademacher (1609-1668). Reinhold went to Sweden at the invitation of the King to establish a metalworks forge. The forge survived into modern times and is today a fun tourist destination near Stockholm. We were there last May. I always joke with Dale that there are Rademachers everywhere you go, and gosh darnit even when we go to Sweden to look for MY relatives, we have to run into Rademachers! Here’s Dale standing next to a street sign for the Rademacher Forge (“smedjorna”).