Based on the Book: "Die Deutschen Familiennamen" by Heintze-Cascorbi
the name Wember cames from the word WÊNUMAZ, anglosaxon wênlic
which means "nice, fine".
See page 382 of the book Heintze-Cascorbi: Die Deutschen Familiennamen.
Based on a meeting in 1937 in Essen/Germany, where about 200 people met with the name Wember, Wembers, etc. a explanation for the name Wember was tried to give.
There is a little village called Wemb, now a part of the the village Weeze. The location of Wemb is:
51 ° 35' north and 6° 7' east.
This spot can be found on the map "Die Generalkarte" Bundesrepublik Deutschland Nr. 8
This spot is about 2km east of the border between Netherlands and Germany
close to the river Maas.
Picture of the little village Wemb in North-Rhine Westfalia
The informations about the ancestors are collected from living descendents and from the archive of the churches in Mengede and Lünen. Information before 1875 can be get from the archive of the archbishop of Paderborn. The official books begin in Mengede at 1749. There were not found any official records before this date (checked were the archive of both churches and the archives of the state in Düsseldorf and Münster).
Some interesting information gathered from the book: 1100 Years Mengede (Publisher: Verein zur Förderung der Heimatpflege, des Brauchtums und 1100-Jahr Feierlichkeiten 1982 - Club to promote the administration of the home, the customs and the 1100 anniversary 1982):
There was a vote during the reformation 1672 about the church of Mengede, which was transfered to the protestants and the catholics got an amount of 5000 Talers.
In the church records of the protestant church of Mengede there are several persons with the name Wember (Wenber or Wenper). One Wember who married at 21-Sep-1666 a Trine Imscherman had 3 sons, their marriages are also recorded there. Finally there are baptism records of 6 children (between 1691 and 1714), where only the father is recorded without first name, the mother is not recorded at all, therefore I cannot allocate the children to the possible fathers (we have at this time 3 persons with the name Wember who married between 1688 and 1694). A Wember with the first names Johann Theodor or Dietrich, which is the german equivalent for the latin Theodor, is not recorded with the year 1689 at all. However I found a Johann Theodor Wember who was buried in the catholic community at 30-Dec-1773 in the age of 74, that means born at 1699. I checked the whole baptism records of the year 1699 of the protestant church with sons who have the first names Johann Theodor or Johann Dietrich. I could only find a Johann Dietrich with fathers name Schulten, no first name recorded, also the mothers name is not recorded at all. Schulte is the german expression of the major of a village or city in this region (in other regions the expression for the major may be different). It may be possible, that the father with the name Wember was at the time of birth of his Sohn Johann Dietrich was the major of the village Mengede in this year. If this is true, we have the connection from my catholic Wember to the protestant Wember in the village Mengede. At the time of the end of the 17th century almost all persons of Mengede where protestant where the neigboring villages (e.g. Castrop) were catholic. The neigboring villages belonged to the bishop of Münster who stayed catholic, therefore all persons who belonged to his "county" (the right germany expression is Hochstift) had to be catholic also. The village Mengede belonged to the count or baron von Bodelschwingh, who was most likely protestant at this time, However I have not yet investigated the confession of the family Bodelschwingh. On the other hand I have heard that the family of the Haus Mengede (this is the castle of the family) were catholic together with 3 other families. There is still something to be investigated the village Mengede. This Johann Theodor (=Dietrich) Wember had two wifes with 4 children, one son from the first wife Gertrud Küpers (the son Heinrich Wilhelm is born at 1763, he is my ancestor) and from the second wife Anna Maria Stegmann 3 children. The records for the marriages I could not find in the village Mengede. Normally the marriage is hold at the village where the wife comes from. As the children were catholic the two wifes where most likely from a village nearby which was catholic at this time. It is normal, that the children are baptised catholic if one part of the parents were catholic, if the mother is catholic the children are always baptised catholic.
I have investigated many families with the name Wember in USA. From one
familiy at Wisconsin I got the list for their ancestors up to a Charles
Wember born about 1834 in Germany. Up to now I could not find a Karl
(=Charles) in Germany. However I found a Theodor Wember in Oer close to
the village Mengede where my ancestors are coming from. There are a
record for emigration, this Theodor Wember emigrated at 1847 (Wember,
Theodor, aus Siepen Ksp. Oer, Ackerknecht, *15-Jan-1801,
ausgewandert 1847 nach Nordamerika. Band 22-24 #2865, 1964-1966,
Aschendorff Münster 1966), he is born at 15th January 1802 -
Siepen, Kirchspiel Oer (Kirchspiel means church district, that is
Siepen is a small village without a church, it belonged to the church of
Oer). In the census of USA for 1850 I found "Francis Wimber city,
Kenosha, abt 1803
Theodore Wimber city, Kenosha, abt 1805". It looks like that Francis is the wife of Theodor Wember. A Charles Wember born about 1834 is not recorded at the census of 1850. Most likely only adult persons are recorded in the census. In any case if this Charles Wember is the son of Theodor and Francis (=Franziska) he is born in Germay as the family emigrated at 1847. Up to now I am looking for the records of the marriages of both. There are no marriages records for Theodor Wember in Oer, may be his wife was coming from outside and they married in the village of the wife.