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Literally translated, Dieffenbach is from the German
"tief" (deep) and "bach" (brook).
The Dieffenbach family name has been traced as far back as the
12th century, although the definitive trail begins in 1659 with the
birth of the clergyman Johan Georg Dieffenbach in Lorsbach, Germany
Several hundred years later, according to the written family history,
Ferdinand Dieffenbach "became involved in the political party circles
in his time and immigrated to America in 1850."
Some in the family interpret the lack of details between "involvement"
and "immigration" as alluding to unpopular political circumstances.
A more recent translation of some relevant background materials offers
a different alternative:
Former protestant pastor candidate Dr. Ferdinand Dieffenbach’s
well-attended private school in Schlitz was officially closed some time ago.
He was not, as was announced in some newspapers, condemned to a one year
confinement because of an article publicized in his paper “Gamaliel” but to
a 4 month confinement in a fortress in absentia for defiance (stubbornness).
Doctor Dieffenbach moved from Bremen to North America.
The reader is encouraged to select whichever of these interpretations--or one
of his or her own origination--is best supported by the facts in evidence.