Ben Sasse

Ben Sasse official portrait, c. 2016, US Senate Photography

Birth Name: Benjamin Eric Sasse

Place of Birth: Plainview, Nebraska, U.S.

Date of Birth: February 22, 1972

Ethnicity: German

Ben Sasse is an American politician, academic, and author. A Republican, he has served as a U.S. Senator from Nebraska, since January 3, 2015.

He is married to Melissa (McLeod), with whom he has three children.

Ben’s paternal grandfather was Elmer Benjamin Sasse (the son of Albert Benjamin Sasse and Folena Elizabeth Lottman). Elmer was born in Nebraska. Folena was the daughter of John Robert Benjamin Lottman and Gessena Johanna “Cena” DeVries, both of whose families were from Germany, with some roots in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony).

Ben’s paternal grandmother was Elda Viona Krebs (the daughter of Emil Heinrich/Henry Martin Peter Krebs and Ella Marie Engelmann). Elda was born in Nebraska. Emil was born in Schwetz, West Prussia, Germany, the son of Friedrich Wilhelm Krebs and Caroline Wilhelmina Timm. Ella was the daughter of August F. Engelman, who was born in Wisconsin, to German parents, and of Marie/Mary Bruckschen, who was born in Wisconsin, also to German parents.

Ben’s maternal grandfather was Ewald Zacharias Wilhelm Dunklau (the son of Louis Zacharias Dunklau and Amelia Fredericka Wilhelmine Gnuse). Ewald was born in Nebraska. Louis was born in Nebraska, the son of German parents, Zacharias Dunklau, from Oetinghausen, Westphalia, and Johanna Frieder Oberbrinkmann, from Westphalia. Amelia was born in Nebraska, the daughter of German parents, Frederich William Gnuse, from Brake, Bielefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, and Sophie Fridericke Grelle, who was born in Hannover, Stadt Hannover, Lower Saxony.

Ben’s maternal grandmother was Marie Anna Laaker (the daughter of Heinrich/Henry Gottlieb Laaker and Minnie/Wilhelmina Henrietta Dickmeyer). Marie was born in Nebraska. Heinrich was born in Ohio, to German parents from Westphalia, Johann Friedrich Heinrich Laaker and Elisabeth Paulina Koenig. Minnie was born in Nebraska, also to German parents from Westphalia, Ulrich Adolph Dickmeyer and Elizabeth Meier Hovendick.

Sources: Genealogy of Ben Sasse (focusing on his father’s side) – https://www.geni.com

Marriage record of Ben’s paternal great-great-grandparents, John Robert Benjamin Lottman and Gessena Johanna “Cena” DeVries – https://www.familysearch.org

7 Responses

  1. bablah says:

    Ben’s maternal grandfather was Ewald Zacharias Wilhelm Dunklau (
    ). Ewald was born in Nebraska.

    Ben’s maternal grandmother was Marie Anna Laaker (the daughter of Heinrich Henry Gottlieb Laaker and Minnie/Wilhelmina Henrietta Dickmeyer). Marie was born in Nebraska. Heinrich was born in Ohio, to German parents from Westphalia, Johann Friedrich Heinrich Laaker and Elisabeth Paulina Koenig. Minnie was born in Nebraska, also to German parents from Westphalia, Ulrich Adolph Dickmeyer and Elizabeth Meier Hovendick.

  2. Oaken05 says:

    So, “DeVries” is a very Dutch name. In fact, it literally speaking of someone from Friesland. So not only would her ancestry likely be Dutch, but probably also Frisian Dutch.

    • follers says:

      Well, Gessena Johanna “Cena” DeVries’s parents were Tebbo H. Cappel DeVries and Gesche E. “Grace” Freese, and they were from Region Hannover (Hannover), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Germany.

      Perhaps they had Dutch ancestry or something…

      • andrew says:

        Off topic: Is It possibile to establish a genealogical connection between Ingrid and Ingmar Bergman?

      • Oaken05 says:

        Frisians stretched from Friesland all the way up through Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein to Denmark.

        Maybe Dutch may be too much conjecture, but there is definitely something Frisian ancestry, here.

        • Oaken05 says:

          I’d still argue for adding “some Frisian.” If his DeVrieses were from Lower Saxony with that name, they were Frisian. Hell, I’m sure “Freese” is a literal harkening to their Frisian ancestry.

          The small part of East Friesland in Germany is called Ostfriesland (literally East Friesland) and it’s in the northwest corner of Lower Saxony on the sea.

    • andrew says:

      @Oaken

      You are right. De Vries (various spellings) is a Dutch family, not German.

      In this case I’d say “possible distant Dutch” is legit.

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