Spelling of Personal and Place Names
From Chěžnik to Kieschnick
Our Kieschnick Lineage
Johann Kieschnick and Maria Wutscher
Johann Kieschnick and Agnes Kalich or Kohli
Obituary of Johann (Jan) Kieschnick (1795)
Magdalene Kieschnick and Johann Hottas (Hattas)
SPELLING OF PERSONAL AND PLACE NAMES
The German language employs modified vowels (Umlaut – Umlaute) ä, ö and ü. As a rule, all German names of persons, places, etc., on church and archive records and maps employ umlauts to indicate modified vowels when applicable. We retain umlauts in English by writing ä, ae; ö, oe; and ü, ue. Thus, BÄHR is written BAEHR; MÖRBE, MOERBE; and WÜNSCHE, WUENSCHE. The spelling of place names with umlauts has been retained throughout this history. However, the spelling of personal names with umlauts was discontinued after the names were “transplanted” in Texas.
FROM CHĔŽNIK TO KIESCHNICK
KIESCHNICK is a rather common family name in Lusatia and for this reason it is very difficult to locate early records of our Kieschnick ancestors. Church records indicate that our Kieschnick ancestors came from Dauban, Kreis (County) Rothenburg, Silesia (in German, Schlesien), in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). Before 1819 Dauban was in the County of Bautzen in the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen) and belonged to the Parish of Baruth. When a new boundary was drawn between Saxony and Prussia in 1819 Dauban went to Silesia in Prussia and assigned to the Parish of Förstgen. In 1843 a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church in Prussia, also known as the Breslau Synod, was organized at Weigersdorf near Dauban and many people in the vicinity joined this Old Lutheran congregation, including our Kieschnick ancestors. Pastor Johann Kilian resided in Weigersdorf from 1848 until 1854 while he served this congregation and the Old Lutheran congregation at Klitten. These Old Lutheran congregations belonged to a Free Church and did not belong to the Provincial Church of Prussia, which was a “united” (unierte) church, combining the Lutheran and Reformed religions. After the unification of the two Germanys in 1990, former Silesian territory west of the Lusatian Neisse River was annexed to the Province or State of Saxony, so that Dauban is now in the Province of Saxony.
In 1945, as the Russians advanced toward the west, the church in Förstgen was destroyed by fire and with it, most of the church records. Only a few catechumen records for the years prior to 1850 were saved. The following is recorded for 1810: 6. Johann, Johann Kiznicks aus Tauban ehel. 2ter Sohn im 15ten Jahr (6. Johann, Johann Kiznick’s [Kieschnick] from Tauban [Dauban] legitimate 2nd son in his 15th year). This catechumen was Johann Kieschnick (born in 1795), who, together with his wife and children, came to Texas in 1854.
Over the years the spelling of KIESCHNICK varied. On the Ship Register the name is written KIESCHNIK. In the Serbin baptismal records, in addition to Kieschnik, KJEZNIK and KJESCHNIK emerge. Some other sources render the name KĔŽNIK, KISNICK, KISHNIK, KISCHNIK, and KEJZNIK. Dr. Helmut Fasske, Sorbian Ethnological Institute, Bautzen, answered my inquiry as to the meaning of Kieschnick with: “Kěžnik (Kieschnick) – Ableitung zu sorb. chěža ‘Haus,’ Chěžnik (gespr. Kěžnik bedeutet ‘Häusler.’ (Kěžnik [Kieschnick] is a derivation of the Sorbian chěža ’house; ‘Chěžnik [pronounced Kieschnik] means ‘cottager’). It is interesting to note that many of the Wendish immigrants who settled in Texas were identified as “cottagers” (Häusler) on the Ship Register. A cottager belonged to the peasant class, who owned a house near the manor house in the village and perhaps a small holding of land within the confines of the manorial estate for gardening. Many cottagers followed a trade, such as, blacksmith, wheelwright, mason, tailor, miller, shoemaker, etc.
KIESCHNICK is not only a common name in Lusatia but is also found in other parts of Germany. It is found in telephone directories in cities, such as, Munich and Berlin.
Names of persons born in what is now modern Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. If more than one spelling is rendered then the standardized German spelling is used. States, countries, etc., are in English. The spelling of places (P.) was taken from a modern German map.
A little over 50 percent of the Wends who migrated to Texas in 1854 came from the Province or State of Silesia (Schlesien) in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). They came from the counties (Kreis – Kreise) of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda. The rest came from the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), from the counties of Bautzen and Löbau (Loebau). After theunification of West and East Germany in 1990 the area covered by the above counties is now included in the newly-formed Province or State of Saxony in modern Germany.
OUR KIESCHNICK LINEAGE
Johann Kieschnick married Maria Wutscher
Johann Kieschnick married 09 Jan 1825: Baruth, Saxony to Agnes Kalich or Kohli
B. Apr 1795: Dauban, Silesia B. 28 Apr 1798: Buchwalde, Saxony
D. 21 Nov 1867: Serbin, Texas D. 14 Oct 1876: Serbin, Texas
Maria Schmidt, aka Kowar married 16 Jan 1856: Serbin, Texas to Johann Hottas (Hattas)
B. 28 Jul 1836: Reichwalde, Silesia B. 22 Jan 1828: Reichwalde, Silesia
D. 31 Jul 1858: Serbin, Texas D. 26 Oct 1897: Serbin, Texas
Magdalene Kieschnick [+] married 1 Jan 1859: Brenham, Texas to Johann Hottas (Hattas)
B. 2 Dec 1830: Dauban, Silesia
D. 11 Oct 1900: Serbin, Texas
Maria Therese Hattas married 8 Feb 1876: Serbin, Texas to Andreas Biar
B. 1 Mar 1856: Brenham, Texas B.28 Oct 1853: Gröditz, Saxony
D. 30 Aug 1894: Serbin, Texas D. 8 Feb 1916: Serbin, Texas
Magdalena Groeschel married 16 Feb 1896: Serbin, Texas to Andreas Biar
B. 28 Nov 1851: Weicha, Saxony
D. 29 Nov 1937: Serbin, Texas
Johann Otto Biar married 17 Jan 1905: Thorndale, Texas to Lydia Lina Moerbe
B. 1 Oct 1879: Serbin, Texas B. 8 Feb 1885: Fedor, Texas
D. 14 Nov 1956: Taylor, Texas D. 24 Jan 1957: Taylor, Texas
Names of persons born in what is now modern Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. If more than one spelling is rendered then the standardized German spelling is used. States, countries, etc., are in English. The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map.
B. indicates date of birth. D. indicates date of death. [+] indicates our ancestor when there was more than one marriage.
A little over 50 percent of the Wends who migrated to Texas in 1854 came from the Province or State of Silesia (Schlesien) in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). They came from the counties (Kreis – Kreise) of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda. The rest came from the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), from the counties of Bautzen and Löbau (Loebau). After the unification of West and East Germany in 1990 the area covered by the above counties is now included in the newly-formed Province or State of Saxony in modern Germany.
JOHANN KIESCHNICK AND MARIA WUTSCHER
To date the earliest Kieschnick ancestor I have been able to identify is Johann Kieschnick, whose date and place of birth is not available, but who lived at Dauban. He is mentioned in the Förstgen Cathechumen Register in 1810 as the father of Johann Kieschnick (1795) who came to Texas. His wife was Maria Wutscher. The date and place of her birth are also not available.
The name WUTSCHER is probably the German phonetic spelling of WUČEŔ, Wendish for teacher.
JOHANN KIESCHNICK AND AGNES KALICH OR KOHLI
Johann Kieschnick was born at Dauban, Silesia, in April 1795. His parents were Johann Kieschnick and Maria, nee Wutscher. The maiden name of his wife is problematic. In her obituary Pastor Johann Kilian stated that her maiden name was Agnes KALICH. My efforts to confirm this name in various church records in Lusatia were frustrating. Since her place of birth, Buchwalde, Saxony, belonged to the Parish of Baruth, I wrote to Pastor Joachim Philipp, giving him the date and place of birth recorded on the Ship Register. The Baruth marriage records contain the following (translated by the writer): “Married on 9 January 1825 in Baruth were: Juv. (young man) Johann Kejznik, legitimate oldest son of Johann Kejznik, cottager in Tauban (Dauban) and Virg. (young woman) Agnetha, surviving youngest legitimate daughter of the late Georg Kohli, small farmer on Byttner’s at
Some records indicate that Agnes Kalich or Kohli was born on 28 April 1795, but Pastor Philipp wrote that he could not find any record of a girl born on 28 April 1795, but a girl, named Agneta Büttner (Buettner), was born on 28 April 1798 at Buchwalde. Her parents were Georg Büttner and Maria, nee Pawez. Pastor Philipp also wrote: “The change in family name may be explained like this: Whoever worked someone else’s farm, often assumed the name of the former owner. According to this, at the time of his daughter’s birth, Georg Kohli was called Büttner – farmer. Later on one looked back at ones’ true origin. There are numerous name changes of this type in this place.”
A lady in Lusatia, who did a lot of research on our Wendish ancestor’s, wrote me that the many ways names were spelled was due to the fact that the spelling of names, especially Sorbian names, had not yet been standardized by the time of the emigration of 1854. Persons who made the entries in the church records often spelled the names phonetically. Many were Germans and did not know the Wendish language. Before the emancipation of the peasants of Saxony in 1832 many were illiterate. Kurt Krahl, in his history WOHER DES WEGES, LIEBES GUTTAU? (FROM WHERE DID YOU COME, BELOVED GUTTAU?), refers to an 1839 document which states that “16 out of 41 small property owners at Guttau at that time could not even sign their names, but had to sign by making three crosses.” Guttau is only 3 miles from Baruth.
In Max Gottschald’s book DEUTSCHE NAMENKUNDE (German Onomastics) KALICH has the following definition: “wendisch Kolik, Verkleinerung von koł, Pfahl,” which translates: “Wendish kolik, diminution of koł, ‘stake.’” This book also indicates that a considerable number of both German and Slavic names have their root in Kol (Slavic Koł) and one of the German names listed is Kohli. Actually, there is a similarity between KALICH and KOHLI when the h (which is German) is removed from KOHLI. The entry for Pfahl in my German-Upper Sorbian dictionary reads: “Pfahl koł; Deminutiv kolik” = “stake, ko: diminutive, kolik.” Thus KALICH means a stake or small post. My conjecture is that the maiden name of Agnes Kieschnick, nee KALICH or KOHLI, has its root in the Sorbian diminutive of Koł, in the form of Kolik, the last k denoting diminution.
Johann Kieschnick’s obituary in 1867 states that, after working here and there and also serving in the army, he married in his 29th year. The obituary states that they had 7 children. The Ben Nevis List of 1854 lists 3 daughters and one son underneath their names. It is also known that Andreas, who is listed immediately above their names, was their son. Besides those listed, the above-referred-to Catechumen Register mentions an older daughter, Anna. Thus we do not have the name and birth date of one child. Apparently, all children were born at Dauban. Listed below are the names of six of their children together with some other available data:
NAME BORN DIED SPOUSES
Anna 13 Jan 1826
Andreas 13 Nov 1828 23 Feb 1901 Elizabeth Koerner
Magdalene 02 Dec 1830 11 Oct 1900 Johann Hattas
Maria 07 Jan 1834 Theodor Tonn
Johann 08 Jan 1834 14 Feb 1916 Pauline Bartel
Agnes 25 Jan 1836 17 Jun 1927 Johann Miertschin
Anna is not listed on the Ship Register. The Förstgen Catechumen Register of 1810 lists her name as a confirmant in 1839.
Andreas was confirmed in 1841. After he came to Texas he married Elizabeth Luise Koerner, who came from Württemberg (Wuerttemberg) and who was born on 9 February 1831. They were married at Brenham on 9 March 1858. My late uncle, Gerhard Biar, stated that Andreas was a jovial person who loved to tell humorous stories.
Magdalene, our ancestress, was confirmed in 1843. She became the second wife of Johann Hattas. For more information please see below.
Maria’s birthdate was one day prior to that of her twin brother, Johann. She married Theodor Tonn.
Johann married Pauline Bartel on 14 February 1858 while the Kieschnicks lived at Brenham, Texas. She came from Eichstädt, near Berlin, Germany. They raised a family of 10 children. During the Civil War he was a member of Waul’s Texas Legion. By trade he was a shoemaker.
Agnes married Johann Miertschin. She died at Serbin, at the age of 91.
After the Johann Kieschnick (1795) family arrived in Texas they settled near Brenham. Originally they were members of Ebenezer Lutheran Church, whose building was dedicated in 1855 and whose pastor was Rev. J. G. Ebinger. This church was located in the Berlin community, three miles west of Brenham. Dissension erupted among the members of Ebenezer from the beginning and a division of the congregation was experienced in 1856. The breakaway members organized Salem Lutheran Church with Rev. Ebinger as their pastor and their building, about 2 miles southwest of Brenham, was dedicated in 1857. The Kieschnicks became members of the new congregation. Salem congregation belonged to the Texas Synod.
When Johann Kieschnick (1795) died in Serbin on 21 November 1867, Pastor Kilian stated in the obituary that all surviving children were living in the Serbin vicinity except for Johann (1834), who was still living near Brenham. Johann (John) (1834) later also moved away from Brenham and eventually moved to Thorndale where he died on 14 February 1916.
OF JOHANN (JAN) KIESCHNICK (1795)
With respect and love we remember Johann Kieschnick, resident [of Serbin], whom the Lord called from this [world] this past Thursday at 9:30 in the morning and whose mortal body, after dismissal from his home, was laid to rest in the grave with a blessing and given a Christian burial.
He was born in Dauban in the month of April 1795. His late father was Johann Kieschnick, cottager in Dauban, and his late mother Marie, nee Wutscher, from Dauban. He was baptized Jan (Johann). During the years of his childhood he was given a good upbringing and sent to school, where he received the necessary instruction in Christianity and other knowledge. After the renewal of his baptismal vow he was a laborer here and there and was also a soldier. At the age of 29 he was united in holy matrimony with Agnes Kalich from Buchwalde, with whom he lived in true conjugal union for 40½ years and through God’s blessing begot 7 children of which 3 (?) daughters preceded him into eternity and now 2 sons and 2 daughters survive him.
Concerning his last illness he in weakness lay bedfast and during these weeks received the Lord’s Supper at home and was strengthened through the blessing of Jesus to await his salvation and went home the past week Thursday at 9:30 o’clock in the morning, his age being 72 years and 7 weeks.
May the Lord comfort his grieving widow; 2 grieving sons, Andreas Kieschnick, farmer in Serbin and his wife Luise and children; Johann Kieschnick, farmer near Brenham and his wife, Pauline and children; 2 grieving daughters: Magdalene and her husband, Serbin farmer Johann Hattas and children; and Agnes and her husband, Serbin farmer Johann Miertschin and child; and friends both near and far; one brother and 2 sisters in Europe.
Thanks are extended to Johann Hohle for loving support and assistance, Mattheus Schuster for loving support and assistance, Johann Hattas and his wife for loving support and assistance, Johann Miertschin and his wife for all the loving support and assistance, George Hocker and Matthaus Peter for the visits Friedrich Carcher [Karcher] for the funeral wagon. Translated from the German by Bill Biar, 25 October 1999.
MAGDALENE KIESCHNICK AND JOHANN HOTTAS (HATTAS)
Magdalene, also known as “Lena,” probably from the Wendish Madlena, Kieschnick was born at Dauban, Silesia, 2 December 1830. Her parents were Johann Kieschnick (1795) and Agnes Kalich or Kohli. She came to Texas with her parents in 1854. On 1 March 1856, while living near Brenham, she gave birth to a daughter, Maria Therese. She later married a widower, Johann Hattas. The marriage took place at Brenham on 1 January 1859. The officiating pastor was Rev. J. G. Ebinger, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Brenham. Johann Hattas adopted Magdalena’s daughter, Maria Therese, who was then known by the surname “Hattas.” After they married they lived in Serbin.
Magdalene and Johann had 6 daughters of their own, two of whom died as children. Johann died at Serbin in 1897 and Magdalene also died at Serbin in 1900.
Our Kieschnick line continues with Andreas Biar and Maria Therese Hattas in the Biar family history entitled FROM BÄHR TO BIAR.
On a copy of a handwritten list in my possession reference is made to Christoph Kieschnick and his wife, Maria Magdalene. According to this list he was born on 10 October 1813 at Lang Oelsa and died at Serbin on 14 June 1885. She was born on 29 August 1829. No other information is given except that her second husband was Heinrich Nagel. I have been unable to locate Lang Oelsa on my maps. A book in my possession refers to Oberölsa (Upper Oelsa) and Niederölsa (Lower Oelsa) both of which appear to have been annexed to Förstgen. It would be interesting to know what relationship, if any, Christoph Kieschnick had to the rest of the Kieschnicks.