Spelling of Personal and Place Names
From Kristian to Zieschang
Our Zieschang Lineage
Johann Zieschang and Hanscha Hommel
Magdalene Zieschang and Carl Michalk
Johann Zieschang (1810)
Peter Zieschang
Ernstine Zieschang and Ernst Michalk
Therese Zieschang
Too Many Johann Zieschangs
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: 6-12-04


The family name ZIESCHANG is relatively common in Lusatia. There are a number of ways this name is spelled in the church records and for this reason our Zieschang ancestors are hard to trace. Besides ZIESCHANG we have found the following ways the name was spelled: ZIESCHANK, ZSCHIESCHANG, KSCHISCHAN, KSCHISCHAN, KSCHIZAN, KZSCHISCHAN, KŘESĆIJAN and KŘESĆAN. Since the name was spelled so many different ways it is obvious that in olden days the spelling was done phonetically. However, judging from the gravestones the writer observed in several cemeteries northeast of Bautzen, the standard spelling is ZIESCHANG.  KŘESĆAN, is the correct Sorbian spelling.

Pastor Joachim Philipp from Baruth wrote that ZIESCHANG is presumably a derivation of the Swedish KRISTIAN. Jurij Wjela in his Lehrgang der sorbischen Sprache (Course of Instruction in the Sorbian Language) states that in Sorbian “kr” is pronounced like “ksch” in German; therefore, the first syllable was often written “kschi” in some of the records. Another source uses the “h” sound, somewhat like “x” in anxious.

Since ZIESCHANG, presumably, came from the Swedish KRISTIAN we are curious about how a Swede could have made his way to Lusatia. The best explanation seems to be that a Swede by the name of Kristian belonged to the Swedish army that fought in Lusatia against the Bohemians in the Thirty Years War. During the latter part of this war Swedish troops fought in Lusatia. The war ended in 1648 and Swedish troops occupied Lusatia for two years after the war. It was not unusual for soldiers to remain in areas in which they fought.

It has been rather difficult to find reliable church records of our early Zieschang ancestors. One of the problems could be the variant spelling mentioned above. Another problem could be that the boundary between Saxony and Silesia was changed in 1819, making it difficult to determine what parish records to search for our early Zieschang ancestors. The writer has been unable to find a “contact person” who is willing to search records in
several parishes.



Johann Zieschang married Hanscha Hommel


Magdalene Zieschang married 24 Oct 1837: Gebelzig, Silesia to Carl Michalk

B. 13 Oct 1819: Sandförstgen,Silesia    B. 28 Jul 1813: Sandförstgen, Silesia

D. 25 Aug 1899: Malschwitz, Saxony    D. 14 Dec 1895: Baruth, Saxony


Ernstine Michalk married 9 Feb 1883: Fedor, Texas to Carl August Moerbe

B. 14 Oct 1862: Sandförstgen, Silesia        B. 17 Jan 1860: Serbin, Texas

D.15 Jan 1936: Thorndale, Texas              D.  6 Sep 1944: Taylor, Texas


Lydia Lina Moerbe married 17 Jan 1905: Thorndale, Texas to Johann Otto Biar

B. 8 Feb 1885: Fedor, Texas                    B. 1 Oct 1879: Serbin, Texas

D. 24 Jan 1957:  Taylor, Texas                 D. 14 Nov 1956: 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. If more than one spelling is rendered then the standardized German spelling is used.

States, countries, etc., are in English.

B. indicates date of birth. D. indicates date of death.

The spelling of places 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 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.



Our oldest identifiable Zieschang ancestor is Johann Zieschang, whose date and place of birth, as well as,  death, are not available. Indications are that he came from Förstgen, Silesia. Since most of the church records at Förstgen, except for some catechumen records, were destroyed in 1945, this has not been confirmed. His wife’s maiden name was Hanscha Hommel. Her date and place of birth, as well as, death, are also not available. Their daughter, Magdalene, was our ancestress. The church records at Gebelzig, Silesia, state that the parents of Magdalene were Johann Kzschischan, a Halbbauer [at Sandförstgen], which translates “half-farmer,” but actually means a farmer that owns one half of a hide of land, and Hanscha Hommel from Ober Gebelzig. Sandförstgen belongs to the parish of Gebelzig. According to Max Gottschald’s book DEUTSCHE NAMENKUNDE (German Onomastics), HOMMEL is a derivation of the Wendish HOMOLA, which he states means “Hügel” in German (hill in English). However, my German – Upper Sorbian dictionary translates “Hügel” as “horka.”



Magdalene Zieschang was born on 13 October 1819 at Sandförstgen in Silesia. Her parents were Johann Zieschang and Hanscha, née Hommel. On 24 October 1837 she married Carl Michalk, who also came from Sandförstgen. Between some time in 1874 and January 1876 the Carl Michalks moved from Sandförstgen, Silesia, to Baruth, Saxony. The distance was less than 3 miles. At that time the Saxon-Silesian border wasin the proximity of Sandförstgen. Their daughter, Ernestine, who came to Texas in 1879, was our ancestress. On 9 February 1883 she married Carl August Moerbe in Fedor, Texas.

Our Zieschang line continues with CARL AUGUST MOERBE AND ERNSTINE MICHALK in the Moerbe family history titled FROM DZICK TO MITSCHKE TO MÖRBE.


Johann Zieschang, born on 11 April 1810, and his wife, Hanna, née Greulich, born 25 November 1808, were among the Wends who came to Texas in 1854. The places of birth are not available. The place of residence (Heimath) on the Ship Register is not legible. The late Pastor Böhm (Weigersdorf) wrote that he was a master-miller at Gross Saubernitz when he and his wife joined the Old Lutheran congregation at Weigersdorf on 12 February 1847. Dr. Nielsen’s book states that he was born at Förstgen. After his first wife died, Johann married Rosina Paulick, nee Bartsch, in 1875. Both died at Fedor, he in 1879 and she, in 1906. It is very likely that this Johann Zieschang was the uncle of Carl Michalk referred to as “Zuschong Michalk” in the biography of John A. Michalk that was published in 1911 by Captain B. B. Paddock in his book A HISTORY OF CENTRAL AND WESTERN TEXAS. Of course, this also makes him the uncle of our grandmother, Mrs. C. August Moerbe, née Michalk.


Peter Zieschang, the son of Johann Zieschang (Died: 20 Apr 1843 Kreckwitz) and Agnes née Hilbing or Hilbenz (Born: Dubrauke ner Bautzen), was born at Kreckwitz, Saxony, on 13 October 1827. Peter had a sister Christiane (Born: 27 Feb 1825 Kreckwitz – Died: 24 Jan 1907 Pannewitz). Peter’s first wife was Magdalene Rentsch, who was born at Drehsa, Saxony, in 1827. In 1855, under the surname KSCHIESCHAN, they left Hamburg on the ship BIELEFELD and arrived at Melbourne, Victoria, on 25 November 1855. From here they went to Adalaide, South Australia, on the ship ALICE BROOKS. Then they went overland to the vicinity of Bethel. When they came to Australia they came with their daughter Magdalena and also mother Magdalena’s sister, Anna (nee Rentsch) Poldrack’s daughter called Magdalena Poldrack. Peter Zieschang was her guardian and gave her away at her marriage. [It is interesting to note that Magdalene Lehmann, who in 1856 married Andreas Biar in South Australia, was on the same ship. She was the sister-in-law of my great grandfather, Johann Biar.] After they located Mrs. Zieschang’s brother, Johann Rentsch, and his wife, Maria, née Nettig, in the vicinity of Hochkirch, now Tarrington, Victoria, they moved to be near her brother. The daughter Magdalena died on 12 March 1857. Peter and Magdalena Zieschang had 2 sons in Victoria and in the late 1860s Peter sold out and went back to Saxony  with his Australian born sons and wife plus other Zieschang sisters and brother. In 1870 the family came to Texas and at first settled at Fiskville, near Plugerville. Later they moved to Noack. When Magdalena Rentsch Zieschang died in 1898 and was buried at Noack then Peter married a widow Bertha Sakewitz (nee Sakewitz)whose first husband was her first cousin.This is only a brief sketch and it is my hope that a member of this prominent  family has produced a complete history. Most of Peter Zieschang’s sojourn in Australia was taken from SORBS/WENDS OF LUSATIA, a book published in Australia.


Dr. Nielsen’s book mentions Ernstine Zieschang, the wife of Ernst Michalk. They came to Texas from Baruth in 1879 and settled in Victoria. Some years ago my late Aunt Frieda Kieschnick, née Moerbe, told me that Ernst and Ernstine were first cousins. See item 10 on page 4 of FROM MICHA TO MICHAK. She also belonged to our Zieschangs. Her husband was my grandmother, Mrs. August Moerbe, née Michalk’s, brother.


Dr. Nielsen’s book lists Therese Zieschang, the wife of Karl Ernst Keiling, who wasborn at Kreckwitz in 1835. She died at Walburg in 1917. Since she came from Kreckwitz she could have been related to the above Peter Zieschang who also came from Kreckwitz.


One problem a person encounters in identifying our early Zieschang ancestors is that there were just too many JOHANN ZIESCHANGs. The Gebelzig records identify one, who was born in 1772, another, born in 1780, and our ancestor, Johann Zieschang (no birthdate available), the father of Magdalene Michalk, née Zieschang. To this must be added the father of the above-mentioned Peter Zieschang whose given name was also Johann. Lastly, we have the Johann Zieschang who came to Texas in 1854. And none of these appears to have had a middle name!  The fact that they could have married more than once adds to the confusion.

To date I have been unable to establish what the relation all of the above-mentioned Zieschangs had to each other or even whether or not they were related.

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