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What Germanic surnames are you researching (Please list Surname - area and time frame)

My German family surname is Bonstein The oldest Bonstein Ancestor of mine recorded in my file is Cuntz Bonnstein and his wife Gela. They were married before 1630 and lived in the town of Ropperhousen, in the Principality of Hesse-Kassel (a principality in northern Hesse) in what was know as the Holy Roman Empire.

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The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (German: Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation listen ▶ (help·info), Latin Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanicae, see names and designations of the empire) was a political conglomeration of lands in Central Europe in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Emerging from the eastern part of the Frankish realm after its division in the Treaty of Verdun (843), it lasted almost a millennium until its dissolution in 1806. By the 18th century, it still consisted of the larger part of modern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Belgium, and Luxembourg, as well as large parts of modern Poland and small parts of the Netherlands. Previously, it had included all of the Netherlands and Switzerland, and parts of modern France and Italy (see: Maps below). In the 18th century, when the Empire was already in decline, Voltaire ridiculed its nomenclature by saying that the Holy Roman Empire was "neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire".

It was never a nation state. Despite the German ethnicity of most of its rulers and subjects, from the very beginning many ethnicities constituted the Holy Roman Empire. Many of its most important noble families and appointed officials came from outside the German-speaking communities. At the height of the empire it contained most of the territory of today's Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic and Slovenia, as well as eastern France, northern Italy and western Poland. Its languages thus comprised not only German and its many dialects and derivatives, but many Slavic languages and the languages which became modern French, Dutch and Italian. Furthermore, its division into territories ruled by numerous secular and ecclesiastical princes, prelates, counts, imperial knights, and free cities made it, in the early modern period at least, far less cohesive than the emerging modern states around it.
However, during most of its time it was more than a mere confederation. The concept of the Reich not only included the government of a specific territory, but had strong Christian religious connotations (hence the holy prefix). Until 1508, German Kings were not considered Emperors of the Reich until the Pope had formally crowned them as such.
The Reich can thus best be described as a cross between a state and a religious confederation
For more information see:

My family moves forward to 1776 and the American Revolutionary War. Laurentius (Lorenz) Bonstein (Johann Paulus (Paul)5, Christian4, Henning3, Cuntz2, First name unknown1) was born February 5, 1716 in Grossropperhausen, Cassel, Germany and his wife Hedwig Lingemann have to give up two son to the standing Army of Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.

Paulus Bonnstein and his younger brother my ancestor Johann Jacob (I) Bonstein.

Jacob stayed here and Paulus went home to Hesse-Kassell and family after the war.

If your interested we can exchange information

Thank you for reading

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Replies to This Discussion

Liz, I have a book called "Through Fire and Water" that has some info on Johann and Magdalena and where the decendants ended up. It covers about 14 generations starting with them. I believe you are also included in this book.
Nadegda Algenstaedt married Hermann Alexander Willing in Brandenburg, Berlin, in the 1840s. Nadegda was born in Ukraine (but has a German name... ) I wonder if the family was German and moved to Ukraine for religions or political reasons. My ancestor, Anna Willing, was born in Berlin and came to the US with her parents in the 1850s. She married Gustav (also Gustavus and Gus) Jost. Gus was born in Essenheim in the 1830s, the son of a teacher with "revolutionary ideas". He would probably have been executed for being a revolutionary, but was he (Gus's father) was the son of a Schultise (not sure of the spelling), an appointed political position similar to a Burgermeister. The family moved from Essenheim to Oppenheim. Gus and 2 brothers (Justus Wilhelm & Georg) came to the US in 1854. My third German line comes from Elberfeld/Barmen area. The names from that area are: Hunninghaus, Preuss, and Dahlhaus. I have not yet connected with anyone researching these families.
von Knab 1900's Munich, Bultman(n) 1900's Starnberg, Hartwig late 1800's Prussia
Lisa, What have you found with respect to the Hartwig ? I have a suspicion that the Hartswick that I am trying
to find that came into Phila. in the late 1700s has been changed from some similar German name. The earliest
reference I can find mentions "the father came from Prussia in 1787" . I also have some marriage info from
" Pennsylvania German Marriages" by Donna R Irish for Hartwig.
Lew Hartswick e-mail
I am researching the Borchard and Friedrich family from Werxhausen and Duderstadt. I am looking at before 1880.
I am researching the name of Freudenberg which is now known in the US as Fridenberg. As far as I can tell in 1850ish Frederick Freudenberg came from Pulvermuele, Germany. His wife who he married one month after coming to the US came from Suhl, Germany just a couple of years before he did. It makes me think he knew this family while in Germany. So I am looking for these two places which are near to each other. I've found many Pulvermueles and three Suhls. I'd appreciate any help. Both families left Germany from Bremen.
At this point I have only 2 German surnames: Beckmann and Karkutt. Beckmann pre-1900 especially 1840 to 1910
Karkutt: pre 1845-1900 (could be a different name before this time) BUT when I find out Christian Karkutt's wife, Louise M's maiden name, that will be another to search.. They were married in 1870 in Prussia and emigrated to US in 1880. I assume both were born in Prussia--dates of birth 1845-6 for both.
Fritchel: Were last in Odessa Russia before leaving to US via Canada. late 1890's.
My Great Great Grandparents came to Colorado from Russia.

Gottlieb Frichel: Born: May 10 1865 Rohbach, Odessa, Russia

Wife: Elizabeth Mitschel: Oct 24 1869 Odessa, Russia

I would love to find info on their lives and families in Russia as well as in Germany.
Thanks Michael
The Mitschler from what I can tell are not related since Elisabeth passed away in Colorado. They (she and Husband) came to US in late 1890's and seemed to come right to Colorado.. The Christina however could be a niece or cousin since Christina is a name that is common to the Colorado Fritchels.
Thanks again
Answering the German surname and place question: We come from Neidersachsen or Lower Saxony and more specifically small villages near Duderstadt including Nesselroden, Desingerode, Seulingen and Werxhausen. Surnames include Borchard, Friedrich, Huch, Wucherpfennig, Maring and pretty much most other names in those villages dating back to the 17th century at least can be linked to the family. I would be surprised and pleased if anyone has any ties to this area. I have done a lot of research and tracing and am mainly interested in meeting others from the same area.
My Great Grandfather X 4 was Hans Heinrich Schweer 1764 Steinhude -1828 Bokoloh #25 He was the son of Albert Dietrich Schweer Unknown dates or locations. The Schweer name gets very confusing from here back, with a couple of primary locations. I have gleaned from, a Germany genealogy site, that there seem to be a few distinct Schweer families. The biggest problem is they all seemed to love a few particular given names, like Heinrich, Johan, and Christen. Genwiki is in the German language, so either have the translator enabled in your browser, or learn German, which I never did, even when I was stationed over there, Dumb me!

Sophia Ann Rust, Hans' Wife #3, Thiele # 2, Wilkening #1.
Jurgens - Blumenau & Kolenfeld Germany 1812 - 1846
Mueller - Wickenberg, Hanover 1816-1885
Borgling - Dedensen and Kolenfeld ? 1780
Wedekind - Bokeloh, Neustadt 1826-1911
Schmidt Unknown locations in Germany 1834 -1885

The German research seems to be a little more difficult because of the similarities in names. I've had to really watch the dates when trying to decifer the information.

hi there

i think we may be related back to old heinrich in in steinhude

i used to have a silver coin from then and there - the land was then schaumburg-lippe

when i was a little girl my family including my fathers mother went to steinhude, before genealogy was a big deal.  the folks were really nice to us and told us everything they knew which was everything.  they gave my father the whole lineage, but it got lost in our moves.  i do have a picture of the family crest.  they said that it was given in return for carrying an important message - a hand with a scroll and roses beneath.  i have since heard that a hand can also mean that a person was the right hand man to a king.  also of interest perhaps is the meaning of the name - it may come from the word schwager, or its earlier form schweher - brother-in-law.

Further, we were told that the entire family derived from one woman who arrived in the 14th century from one of the small friesian islands with over a dozen children - and they took over the area, steinhude and the lake.  when i visited there, it was very funny, for driving down the street, we saw only two names on the businesses - schweer and kuckuck!   yes, we were told, the two families....

back to the ancestress - it seems to me from the research i have been doing into history in general, that she may have left a tin y friesian island  during an earlier brief "ice age" when the seas got too wild to live on those tiny islands they call "halligen" - so small that there may only be room for one house! .  apparently right around that time, one entire largish island disappeared in a single night into the sea, giving rise to stories of divine punishment.  i like to think the ancestress was wise and saw the waters rising and decided to leave.  perhaps she was well off and could buy land, for at that time trade was brisk in that part of the world, for fish and salt.

thank you confirming for me the importance of the first names

although we are not talking first names but "christian names" - and usually as many as 5.  my father and my brother had 5 each.

i find the whole thing so dry if there are no stories about the people and how they lived.

i have been told that my father's lineage for several generations, from the time of harkening back to the hometown, was several generations of genius level men raised by single or widowed mothers, until my father's time.  They were inventors and engineers, and my grandfather Wilhelm, i have been told, "invented" or perhaps just calculated liability insurance for lawyers, a new thing then.  i have not yet read his work, which i have only recently found published on the web.  he was also publisher of the pro-jewish or even jewish magazine "Vorwaerts".  he was very well connected, i believe and made a good bit of money, which was then lost through the war.

his son my father dietrich was the head cityplanner of berlin and worked with all the great architects of the day to accomplish that.  he also was an advisor to the shah of iran for a decade.

my brother alexander ended our line, much to my father's horror.  the lineage meant a great deal to him and to all of the family i met.  very proud of it.  if you look up the name in germany you will find a preponderance of well educated professional people or successful merchants

all this to say - i have always been told by the family that schweer genes are powerful and intelligent.

at least my line.....

one day i saw an advertisement for vacationing in the friesian isles and there was a picture of a woman in the traditional beautiful lace garb and i had to gulp for a moment i thought it was myself.....  blond and round faced...


well, i hope you enjoyed this excursion into my part of our shared line

thanks to your hint that reminded me of that family tradition i shall be looking out for those matching first names.


i remember this moment my father saying that it was ok to give a boy a name not previously in the family, but he should carry at least three or four of them....

lets see

karl gustav wilhelm heinrich dietrich johann......  those ones


let me know if you find out anything interesting

good luck

if you need something translated i might be able to help.....







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