Spelling of Personal and Place Names
From Sterp to Hottas
Our Sterp to Hottas Lineage

Petri Sterp and his wife, Marie
Jano Sterp and his wife, Marie
Johann Sterp and his wife, Marie
Georg Sterp and his wife, Marie
Johann Sterp, aka Hottass, and Marie Prelop, aka Hottass
Georg Hottass, aka Herz, and Johanna Hodźik, aka Herz
Andreas Hottas (Hattas) and Maria Schulze
Johann Hottas (Hattas) and Magdalene Kieschnick
Maria Therese Hattas and Andreas Biar
Johann Otto Biar and Lydia Lina Moerbe

From Prelop to Hottas
Our Prelop to Hottas Lineage
Jacob Hottass and his wife, Hanna
Marie Hottass and Michael Prelop, aka Hottass
Marie Prelop, aka Hottass, and Johann Sterp, aka Hottass

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.
Revised: 11-18-02
Revised: 6-8-04
In the Serbin records, HOTTAS is spelled HATTASS, HATTASZ and HATTAS.  However, on the original Ship Register and on all my correspondence with persons in Germany, with only one exception, the spelling was  either HOTTASS or HOTTAS. The exception was when reference was made to Paulus HATTASCH (born in 1616).  In this history HOTTASS and HOTTAS are used until the family arrived in Texas. After that HATTAS is used. The first four generations of our male ancestors had the surname STERP. Johann Sterp, born in 1734, adopted the  HOTTASS surname when he married Marie PRELOP, alias HOTTASS, in 1759. Marie’s father, Michael Prelop, had adopted the HOTTASS surname when he married Marie HOTTASS in 1732. Thus we have a member of the STERP family changing his surname to that of his wife whose father had adopted the surname HOTTASS from his wife!
The given name “Marie” appears numerous times among the female members of our Hottas (Hattas) ancestors.  In the early records the family surnames of most of these are seldom available.
Following is a listing of our lineage beginning with our ancestors who had the surname STERP and who then adopted the surname HOTTASS/HOTTAS/HATTAS:
Petri Sterp married Marie
B. 1588                                    B.1614
D. 13Dec 1678: Spree, Silesia     D. 18 Apr 1674: Spree, Silesia
Jano Sterp married Marie
B. 1643                                    B. 1650
D. 14Feb 1723                          D. 19Sep 1716: Tzschelln, Silesia
Johann Sterp married Marie
B. 10Mar 1680: Spree, Silesia      B. 1674
D. 11May 1748: Spree, Silesia      D. 3 Jan 1750: Spree,
Georg Sterp [+] married Marie
B. 4 Aug1708: Spree, Silesia            B.1705
D. 11Feb 1736:Uhyst/Spree, Silesia  D. 11 Aug1760: Spree, Silesia
Jan Kerba married 8 Feb 1746 Marie
B.Nochten, Silesia
Johann Sterp, aka Hottass married 25 Feb 1759: Nochten, Silesia to Marie Prelop, aka Hottass
B. 7Oct 1734: Spree, Silesia           B. 14Dec 1736: Spree, Silesia
D. 14Jan 1781: Spree, Silesia         D. 29 Nov 1798: Spree, Silesia
Georg Hottass, aka Herz married 24 Jan 1792: Spree, Silesia to Johanna Hodźik, aka Herz
B. 9Dec 1768: Spree, Silesia         B. 14 Apr 1774: Spree, Silesia
D. 16Mar 1830: Spree, Silesia        D. 22 Oct 1855: Spree,
Andreas Hottas (Hattas) married 17 Jan 1826: Reichwalde, Silesia to Maria Schulze [+]
B. 23May 1805: Reichwalde, Silesia       B.Reichwalde, Silesia
D. 1Jul 1868: Serbin, Texas                  D. 1842:Reichwalde, Silesia
Andreas Hottas (Hattas) married Maria Tilscher
                                                        B. Reichwalde, Silesia
                                                        D. 10 Dec1890: Serbin, Texas
Johann Hottas (Hattas) married 06 Jan 1856: Serbin, Texas Maria Schmidt, aka Kowar
B. 22Jan 1828: Reichwalde, Silesia         B.28 Jul 1836: Reichwalde, Silesia
D. 26Oct 1897: Serbin, Texas                D. 31 Jul 1858: Serbin, Texas
JohannHottas (Hattas) married 1 Jan 1859: Brenham, Texas to Magdalene Kieschnick
                                                          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. 1Mar 1856: Brenham, Texas            B. 28 Oct 1853: Gröditz, Saxony
D. 30Aug 1894: Serbin, Texas              D. 8Feb 1916: Serbin, Texas
Magdalina Groeschel married 16 Feb 1896: Serbin, Texas to Andreas Biar
B. 28Nov 1851: Weicha, Texas
D. 29 Nov 1937: Serbin, Texas
Johann Otto Biar married 17 Jan 1905: Thorndale, Texas to Lydia Lina Moerbe
B. 1Oct 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 Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded. The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map. States, countries, etc., are in English.
“Aka” was used to translate the German “genannt.” It indicates that a person underwent a name change.
Spree is now known as SPREY. All other place names appear on modern German maps except that TZSCHELLN is no longer designated. The site of this village was inundated in a reservoir.
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.
HOTTAS is the Sorbian equivalent of the personal name OTTO.  One wonders why the Sorbian name does not start with a vowel. Debray in his book Guide to Salvonic Languages states: “Vowels [in Sorbian] occur initially only in exclamations and words of foreign origin.” This explains the use of the “h” in HOTTAS.
The Hottas family has been traced back to Petri Sterp, who was born at Spree (now Sprey), Kreis (County) Hoyerswerda, Silesia, in 1588. His wife’s given name was Marie and she was born in 1614. Since he was 26 years older than his wife, it is presumed that this was not his first marriage. Many widowers at that time married again, often to younger women, because they wanted someone to take care of them in their old age. He outlived Marie by 4 years. Petri and Marie’s son, Jano, was our ancestor. Petri was 55 years old when Jano was born. Marie was 29. Both died at Spree, Petri in 1678 at the age of 90 and Marie in 1674 at the age of 60.
Jano was born at Spree in 1643. He was a farmer. Jano was 13 years older than his wife, Marie, who was born in 1650. Their son, Johann, was our ancestor. It is interesting to note that Marie died at Tzschelln, a short distance north of Spree. She had gone there to take care of her daughter, her son-in-law and her granddaughter. There must have been an epidemic of some sort at that time because all three died on 13 September 1716. Marie followed them six days later, at the age of 66. Jano died on 14 February 1723 at the age of 79.
Johann Sterp was born at Spree on 10 March 1680. Like his father, he was a farmer. His wife, Marie, was born in 1674. Their son, Georg, was our ancestor. Johann died at Spree on 11 May 1748 at the age of 68 and Marie died there on 3 January 1750 at the age of 75.
Georg Sterp was born at Spree on 4 August 1708. He was a farmer. His wife, Marie, was born in 1705. Their son, Johann, was our forefather. Georg died at the age of 27 on 11 February 1736 as a result of a severe throat infection. He died at a spa at Uhyst on the River Spree where he had gone for treatment. His widow married Jan Kerba from Nochten on 8 February 1746 after ten years of widowhood. Marie died at Spree on 11 August 1760 at the age of 55. It is interesting to note that the first four Sterps all had wives with the given name of Marie but no surnames are available.
Johann Sterp was born at Spree on 7 October 1734. He was a farmer and judge. His wife was Marie Prelop, aka Hottass, who was born at Spree on 14 December 1736. Johann adopted the surname HOTTASS when he married Marie Prelop, aka Hottass, at Nochten, Silesia, on 25 February 1759 and the surname was passed on to future generations. One reason why Johann adopted this surname could have been that he succeeded Marie’s father as the village magistrate (Schulze in German – Šota in Wendish), often referred to as judge (Richter). Another reason could have been that he took over the land held by Marie’s father. It could have been both. Johann and Marie’s son, Georg, was our ancestor.  Johann died at Spree on 14 January 1781 at the age of 46 and Marie died there on 29 November 1798 at the age of 61.
Georg Hottass was born at Spree on 9 December 1768. He was a farmer. His wife, Johanna Hodźik, was born at Spree on 14 April 1774. Her father’s name was Paul Hodźik, aka Herz. They were married at Spree on 24 January 1792. Even though Georg and Johanna adopted the surname HERZ their children were known by the name of HOTTAS. Their son, Andreas, was our forefather. Georg died at Spree on 16 March 1830 at the age of 61 and Johanna died there on 22 October 1855 at the age of 81.
Andreas Hattas was born at Spree on 23 May 1805. He was a worker at the brick factory at Reichwalde, Silesia. On 17 January 1826 he married Maria Schulze. Her father’s name was Gottlob Schulze; however, her date and place of birth are not available. Their only child, Johann, born in 1828, was our ancestor. Maria died at Reichwalde in 1842. Andreas then married Maria Tilscher. Their three children were born before they came to Texas in 1854. They were as follows:
NAME               BORN             DIED                                   SPOUSE
Christoph          7 Feb 1849     29 Jan 1896                          Maria Nowak
Andreas(Jr.)      25 Jun 1851    25 Jan  1824
Maria Hanna      24 Oct 1853    24 Apr  1925                         Carl Miertschin
Both died at Serbin, Andreas, on 1 July 1868 and Maria, on 10 December 1890.
Johann Hattas was born at Reichwalde, Silesia, on 22 January 1828. His parents were Andreas Hottas and his first wife, Maria Schulze. He came to Texas with a small group of Wends in 1853. Pastor Kilian published a list of the 1853 immigrants to Texas in which he stated that “Domaschk is taking along Johann Hattass, oldest son of Andreas Hattass, cottager at Reichwalde Ziegelscheune [brick factory].” This has reference to Johann Domaschk (Thomaschke), who formerly lived at Reichwalde, and who was the chief elder (Vorsteher) at Klitten at the time of the emigration of 1853. I have been unable to establish a relation between the two. On 6 January 1856 Johann married Maria Schmidt, alias Kowar, in Serbin. She was born at Reichwalde on 28 July 1836. Their daughter Hanna, born on 18 January 1857, died as an infant on 26 January 1857. Maria died at Serbin on 31 July 1858 after only two years of marriage.
Johann then married Magdalene, also known as Lena [probably from the Wendish Madlena], Kieschnick, who was born on 2 December 1830 at Dauban, Silesia. She came to Texas with her parents and brothers and sisters in 1854. While she was living at Brenham, Texas, she gave birth to a daughter, Maria Therese. Johann Hattas married Magdalene Kieschnick at Brenham on 1 January 1859. The officiating pastor was Rev. J. G. Ebinger, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Brenham. Salem was a member of the Texas Synod. Johann then adopted Magdalene’s daughter. Maria Therese, now known by the surname of Hattas, was our ancestress. After their marriage they lived in Serbin.
Besides Maria Therese they had six daughters of their own, two of which died as little children. The other four were as follows:
NAME                   BORN              DIED                SPOUSE
Maria Hanna         06 Dec 1859    13 Jan 1930
Agnes Lydia          03 Jun 1862
Maria Magdalene   04 Jul 1865
Emma Luise         20 Jan 1867   27 Mar 1905
Johann and Magdalene both died at Serbin, he on 26 October 1897 and she on 11 October 1900.
Maria Therese Hattas was born at Brenham, Texas, on 1 March 1856. She was the daughter of Magdalene Kieschnick. When her mother married a widower, Johann Hattas, he adopted her and she was known by the surname “Hattas.” On 8 February 1876 she married Andreas Biar. He was born at Gröditz, Saxony, on 28 October 1853. Their son, Johann Otto Biar was the writer’s father. After Maria died at Serbin on 30 August 1894, Andreas married Magdalina Groeschel, who was born on 28 November 1851 at Weicha, Saxony. Andreas died at Serbin on 8 February 1916 and Magdalina died at Serbin on 29 November 1937.
The writer’s father, Otto Biar, was born at Serbin on 1 October 1879. He came to Thorndale in 1900 and on 17 January 1905 he married Lydia Moerbe. My mother was born at Fedor, Texas, on 8 February 1885. She came to Thorndale in 1899 with her parents, C. August Moerbe and Ernestine, nee Michalk. This writer was this couple’s 8th child, born at Thorndale on 7 July 1919. Both of my parents died in a Taylor hospital, my father on 14 November 1956 and my mother on 24 January 1957. Both are buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, Thorndale.
Church records at Sprey (formerly Spree) reflect that the HOTTASS surname goes back to Jacob Hottass. Jacob’s daughter, Marie, married Michael Prelop. After his marriage, Michael adopted his wife’s surname of HOTTASS. Michael Prelop, aka Hottass’ daughter, Marie, married Johann Sterp. Johann then changed his surname to HOTTASS. It is complicated to say the least.
There is a reference in the Sprey church records to Paulus HATTASCH. He was born at Spree in 1616 and died in 1673 at the age of 56. He was a village magistrate (Schulze), often referred to as judge (Richter). No records of his wife and children are available. Since the above-mentioned Jacob Hottass was a Schulze in Spree conjecture has it that Paulus Hattasch was the grandfather of Jacob.
The following takes us from Jacob Hottass to his daughter, Marie, and son-in-law, Michael Prelop, aka Hottass. Michael and Marie’s daughter, Marie, then married Johann Sterp, who adopted the surname HOTTASS and passed it on to future generations.


Jacob Hottass married Hanna

B. Spree, Silesia                      B. 1685: Spree, Silesia

D. 9 Jan 1758: Spree, Silesia    D. 7 Jan 1738: Spree, Silesia


Marie Hottass married 25 Nov 1732: Spree, Silesia to Michael Prelop, aka Hottass

B. 25 Mar 1713: Spree, Silesia                   B. 13 Jun 1708: Zschelln, Silesia

D. 9 Jan 1758: Spree, Silesia                    D. 17 Feb 1763: Spree, Silesia


Marie Prelop, aka Hottass married 25 Feb 1759: Nochten, Silesia to Johann Sterp, aka Hottass

B. 14 Dec 1736: Spree Silesia                    B. 7 Oct 1734: Spree, Silesia

D. 29 Nov 1798: Spree, Silesia                  D. 14 Jan 1781: Spree, Silesia


[C] contains the same data as [5] above.

Jacob Hottass was born at Spree in 1682. He was the “Schulze,” that is, the village magistrate, at Spree. His wife’s given name was Hanna.  She was born at Spree in 1685. Their daughter, Marie, born in 1713, was our ancestress. Hanna died at Spree on 7 January 1738 and Jacob died there on 9 January 1758.
Marie Hottass was born at Spree on 25 March 1713. On 25 November 1732 she married Michael Prelop, who was born at Zschelln, Silesia, on 13 June 1708. Michael became the village magistrate at Spree and adopted the surname HOTTASS. Their daughter, Marie, born in 1736 at Spree, was our ancestress. Marie Hottass, (1713), and her husband, Michael Prelop, alias Hottass, both died at Spree, she on 9 January 1758 and he on 17 February 1763.  Please note that Marie Hottass and her father died on the same day.  When deaths of this type occurred it was usually due to an epidemic of some sort.
Maria Prelop, alias Hottass, was born at Spree on 14 December 1736. On 25 February 1759 she married Johann Sterp, who was born at Spree on 7 October 1734. He adopted the surname HOTTASS when they were married.  This is how the surname HOTTASS entered the STERP lineage and was passed on to future generations.
Some of the data in this paragraph repeats data that was stated in [5] above.

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