FROM BÄHR TO BIAR

Preface

Some Background

Bähr (Baehr) – Biar

Our Bähr to Biar Lineage

Notes

Hans Bähr and Urthe Kayser

George Bähr (Juri Biar) and Wurta Paulik

Johann (Jan) Biar and Hanna Hennersdorf

Johann (Jan) Biar and Anna Maucke (Małke)

Michael Biar and Anna Schneider

Johann Biar and Magdalene Möhle (Mehle)

Andreas Biar and Maria Therese Hattas

Johann Otto Biar and Lydia Lina Moerbe

Biar Descendants in Germany

The Biars in Australia

Translation of Letter dated 22 April 1881

Coping with Gröditz Records

Gröditz (Groeditz) and Hrodźiščo

Sermon Delivered by Rev. F. H. Stelzer at the Funeral of Otto Biar

Sermon Delivered by Rev. F. H. Stelzer at the Funeral of Lydia Biar

7-7-96

Revised: 11-18-02

Revised: 6-10-04

PREFACE
This history is about the Biar family and covers some of its genealogy and a variety of subjects pertinent to the family’s background. It was not my intention to write a complete history and genealogy of the Biar family. My resolve was to go back as far as possible and bring the family from Lusatia and “transplant” it in America. Perhaps some day someone will bring the history and genealogy up-to-date.
My knowledge of German enabled me to do much research in that language. The fact that I spent two years (1945-1947) with U.S. Army Intelligence in Germany gave me an insight into gathering information. Researching  your “roots” is much like collecting intelligence data – you need to fit the bits and pieces together. In work like this persistence, accuracy and perseverance are of utmost importance.
In 1972 I made a trip to the Bautzen area in East Germany and visited many of the villages listed in this history. Another trip was made in 1982 and two short trips were made in 1992 and 1994. There was also very much correspondence with various people, most of it in German.
I want to thank all those who helped me with dates of birth, marriage and death. If any of you want to use parts of this history, or make a copy of all or part of it, you have my permission. However, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you and invite your comments. This history has been revised several times and copies have appeared under several titles. I had no intention of revising it again, but since I lost my last revision in my old computer, I loaded what I had into my new computer and, naturally, I revised it again, hopefully for the last time. Should you find any errors, please call them to my attention. As corrections and additional information become available addenda may be warranted.
I owe a debt of gratitude to the late Frau Annemarie Mihan, Niedergurig, Germany, not far from Bautzen, who supplied much of the information of the early history of the Biar family and who answered a multitude of my questions. It was a great pleasure for me to meet this fine Christian lady in 1982. At least 25 letters flowed each way.  Frau Mihan was in her middle eighties when she suffered a stroke and died in 1989. Her late husband, Johannes, was a descendant of Peter Kayser, the father of Urthe, the wife of Hans Bähr (Baehr). There were several marriages between the Bähr/Biars and Kaysers. Johannes Mihan also had Moerbe ancestors and was related to me on my maternal side.  In 1992 I had the pleasure of visiting Frau Mihan’s son, Johannes, in Niedergurig.
Descendants of our Biar family live on 3 continents: Europe, North America and Australia. Those in Europe are the descendants of the half-sister of the two Biar brothers who migrated, Johann to America and Andreas to Australia. I am indebted to Mr. Geoffrey Saegenschnitter, Greenock, South Australia, for getting me started on the search for my “roots” and giving me a wealth of information. Back in 1970, while writing his history of the Biar family in Australia, Geoff contacted my youngest brother, Harold, in Thorndale, Texas. He wanted to know if Harold had any knowledge of the Biar family in Germany. Since I spent over two years in Germany and knew the German language, Harold asked me to help. We have been in contact with Geoff ever since. He and his wife, Enis, visited us in 1977 and 2000. Geoff’s distant cousin, Christine Biar from Hahndorf, South Australia, visited us in 1978 and her parents, Eric and Joyce Biar, in 1986.
For those who do not know me, permit me to mention that I am a native of Thorndale, Texas. My parents were Otto Biar and Lydia, née Moerbe. In 1947, while working for the War Department in Germany, I married Stefana Todt, who was born and grew up in Neisse, Silesia (Schlesien), Germany. Since 1968 we have been living in Denver where I completed 36 years as an accountant with Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) before retiring on 1
August  1983. Having no blood relatives in Colorado we moved to Carrollton, Texas in 2001.
SOME BACKGROUND
My search for our Biar ancestors took me to Germany, to a region called Lusatia (Lausitz). They lived, for the most part, in Kreis (County) Bautzen in Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz), northeast of the city of Bautzen. At the time of most of my research, Kreis Bautzen was a part of the District (Bezirk) of Dresden, one of the 14 districts that made up the former East German Republic.
After World War II about one-fourth of German territory, all east of the Oder and Lusatian Neisse Rivers, referred to as the Oder-Neisse Line, was given to Poland and Russia. The rest of Germany was divided into two countries. West Germany, known as the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland), was orientated toward the west. East Germany, known as the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), was one of the eastern block of nations which embraced communism. East Germany did away with former provinces or states, such as, Saxony and Brandenburg. In the place of provinces 14 administrative districts (Bezirk – Bezirke) were formed. These were named after the chief city in each district. In 1990 the two Germanys were united and the country is now known as the Federal Republic of Germany. Provinces were re-instated in the east. Former Silesian territory on the west side of the Lusatian Neisse River is now included in the newly-formed Province of Saxony. This is the area from where most of the Prussian (Silesian) Wends migrated to Texas. The Saxon Wends came from Saxony toward the south.
When our Biar ancestors came to Texas in 1854 they were known as Wends, in German, Wenden. At one time all Slavic people who lived in Germany were called Wends. Later, the Slavic speaking people who lived in Lusatia were referred to as Wends. However, today, the Lusatian Slavs, often referred to as Wends, are officially known as Sorbs – Sorbian (German: Sorben – sorbisch) (Sorbian: Serbja – serbski). The Sorbs are the only people in Germany that can still be identified as Slavic. All others have been totally assimilated by the Germans and their languages have disappeared. Sorbs is better usage than Wends. However, most people in Texas have never heard of the Sorbs, but are acquainted with the Wends. In this composition our ancestors are referred to both as Wends and Sorbs.
Lusatia was the homeland of the Wends or Sorbs for centuries. The region of Lusatia is divided into two parts, Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz) in the south and Lower Lusatia (Niederlausitz) in the north. The Sorbs in Upper Lusatia spoke Upper Sorbian (Obersorbisch) while those to the north in Lower Lusatia spoke Lower Sorbian (Niedersorbisch). At the time of the Wendish Emigration of 1854, the southern part of Upper Lusatia belonged to the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), while the northern part belonged to the Province of Silesia(Schlesien) in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). Lower Lusatia was located in the Provinces of Silesia and Brandenburg in Prussia.
My search took me back to the time of the Thirty Years War. This war, which began in 1618, ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Many battles were fought in Lusatia. Less than 50 per cent of the Wendish population survived this catastrophe. Lusatia had five epidemics of the plague from 1625 and 1643. Nearly 2/3 of all property was destroyed. It took the German territories almost two hundred years to fully recover from this terrible war. Our Biar ancestors survived this and many other wars and hardships. They were hardy peasants.
The German language employs the 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 the ä, ae; ö, oe; and ü, ue. Thus, Bähr is written Baehr; Mörbe, Moerbe; and Wünsche, Wuensche. The spelling of place names with umlauts, when applicable, has been retained throughout this history. However, the spelling of personal names with umlauts was discontinued after the names were “transplanted” in Texas.
 BÄHR (BAEHR) – BIAR
The German name, Bähr (Baehr), which means “bear” in English, was the family name of our Biar ancestors recorded in the Gröditz (Groeditz) church records in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The alternate spelling Bär (Baer), also appears in the records. In legal documents in the archives in Bautzen, the German name Bähr was used as late as 1802.
In early church records Bähr and Bär were often recorded as “bar” in the possessive form of Bar\schen and Bar\sches, without the umlaut. My German-Upper Sorbian dictionary indicates that Bär was taken into Sorbian as “bar”. This was confirmed by Dr. Helmut Fasske, Sorbian Ethnological Institute in Bautzen. He wrote that the b in bar is a soft b and in Sorbian must be followed by a soft vowel, either e or i. We know that i was chosen and that is how we got our family name of Biar. What if e had been chosen? Imagine Bear!
Bihar is probably a phonetic spelling of Biar. No close relationship has been established between persons bearing the names Biar (Bähr) and Bihar. However, it appears that they originally belonged to the same family. People from the same family sometimes spell their surnames differently. There is an entry in the records that “on 3 June 1704: Hans, the old Bihar, was buried.” Since he was not identified as a blacksmith, or the family of the local blacksmith, it is doubtful that he was closely related to the Biars or Bährs, who, as a rule, were referred to as blacksmiths. Biehar is an alternate spelling of Bihar.
The writer feels that the original Bähr (Baehr) was of German instead of Sorbian origin, the reason being that the name was actually “Sorbianized” and there was no translation involved. Bear (Baer) is Mjedwjedz in Sorbian.  Gröditz, for the most part, was a Wendish village and, as late as the 1880s, Dr. E. Mucke reported that of the 390 inhabitants 338 were Sorbs and 52, Germans. It appears that the ratio of Sorbs to Germans was greater than that in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is difficult to explain why there was a German blacksmith in the village of Gröditz in the 17th century. One explanation could be that after the Thirty Years War Gröditz was without a blacksmith and found one with a German name. Another explanation could be that a soldier with that name came to Gröditz after a war, perhaps the Thirty Years War, when many mercenaries either fled or were discharged, and stayed in Lusatia. Still, another explanation could be, that a person named Bähr fled from religious persecution and took refuge in Gröditz.  Lusatia was a place of refuge for many Protestants who fled from the Catholic lands to the east. It could also be that a very large person was referred to, or perhaps nick-named, Bähr (bear) and eventually adopted the name as his surname.
On the ship register the name is spelled Bjar. This spelling does not appear in the early records and is considered an alternate spelling of Biar. There is a business in Bautzen called Küchen Bjar [Kuechen Bjar], so-called, because they sell only kitchen furniture and appliances. The proprietor, Horst Schmieder, is a grandson of August Bjar, who started the business as a furniture factory. August had his roots in Gröditz, although he came from Rackel. I have located a Walter Bjar, who lives in Weigsdorf-Koeblitz southeast of Bautzen, near Mt. Czorneboh, and somewhat removed from Gröditz, which is northeast of Bautzen. However, he was unable to tell us where his ancestors originated. Even though Biar is the way we spell our family name, it could have been either Baehr, Baer, Bihar, Biehar or Bjar.  Pastor Johann Kilian preferred Bjar, because that is how he spelled the name on the Ship Register and early Serbin records. Bjar has the advantage that all of us would pronounce our name the same way, instead of the original Bee-ar, used by some, and By-ar, used by others.
OUR BÄHR TO BIAR LINEAGE
The records in Gröditz indicate that our oldest identifiable Biar ancestor was Hans (Johannes) Bähr. His wife’s name was Urthe, nee Kayser. It was their son, George, who first used our family name of Biar. Names of persons and places listed below are spelled just like they appear in the records, including umlauts. The church records in Gröditz date back to 1666.
[1]
Hans (Johannes) Bähr married Urthe Kayser
D. 8 Apr 1680 [#]:Gröditz, Saxony         D. 14 Mar 1669 [#]:Gröditz, Saxony
[2]
George Bähr, aka Juri Biar married 3 Nov 1693: Gröditz, Saxony to Hanna Kayser
B. 28 Feb 1668 [*]: Gröditz, Saxony               B. 10 Jan 1676 [*]: Drehsa, Saxony
D. 9 Sep 1757: Gröditz, Saxony                     D. 9 May 1698: Gröditz, Saxony
George Bähr, aka Juri Biar married 1 Feb 1700: Gröditz, Saxony to Wurta Paulik [+]
                                                                  B. 11 Dec 1676 [*]:Drehsa, Saxony
D. 6 Apr 1739 [#]:Gröditz, Saxony
[3]
Johann (Jan) Biar [+] married 5 Nov 1743: Gröditz, Saxony to Hanna Hennersdorf
B. 27 Mar 1703 [*]:  Gröditz, Saxony                 B. 17 Dec 1723 [*]: Cortnitz, Saxony
D. 29 May 1760:  Gröditz, Saxony                    D. 17 Jul 1765 [#]: Rackel, Saxony
Georg Böhmer married 20 Jan 1761: Gröditz, Saxony to Hanna Hennersdorf
[4]
Johann (Jan) Biar married 25 Feb 1772: Gröditz, Saxony to Anna Maucke, aka Małke
B. 2 Jun 1751: Gröditz, Saxony                         B. 5 Sep 1754 [*]: Cortnitz, Saxony
D. 28 Mar 1802: Gröditz, Saxony
[5]
Michael Biar married 5 Jan 1800: Gröditz, Saxony to Margaretha Schulze
B. 18 Oct 1773: Gröditz, Saxony                      B. 11 Feb 1776: Cortnitz, Saxony
D. 18 Aug 1850: Gröditz, Saxony                     D. 15 Oct 1820: Gröditz, Saxony
Michael Biar married 14 Oct 1821, Gröditz, Saxony to Anna Schneider [+]
                                                                    B. 19 Dec 1784: Nechern, Saxony
D. 18 Mar 1841: Gröditz, Saxony
[6]
Johann Biar married 17 Aug 1845: Kotitz, Saxony to Magdalene Möhle [Mehle]
B. 16 Feb 1823: Gröditz, Saxony                    B. 19 Nov 1824: Särka, Saxony
D. 10 Jun 1885: Serbin, Texas                       D. 18 Sep 1867: Serbin, Texas
[7]
Andreas Biar married 8 Feb 1876, Serbin, Texas to Maria Therese Hattas [+] (See % in notes)
B. 28 Oct 1853: Gröditz, Saxony                     B. 1 Mar 1856: Brenham, Texas
D. 8 Feb 1916: Serbin, Texas                         D. 30 Aug 1894: Serbin, Texas
Andreas Biar married 16 Feb 1896, Serbin, Texas to Magdalena Groeschel
B. 28 Nov 1851: Weicha, Saxony
D. 29 Nov 1937: Serbin, Texas
 [8]
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
NOTES
Given names and original surnames, including maiden 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. The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map, including the German umlauts. States, countries, etc., are in English. “Also known as” (aka) was used to translate the German genannt. It indicates that a person underwent a name change.
B. indicates date of birth. D. indicates date of death. P. indicates place of birth, or death. [*] after B. indicates date of baptism instead of date of birth, [#] after D. indicates date of burial instead of date of death, [+] indicates our ancestor when there was more than one marriage. [%] The name HATTAS in the records in Lusatia is practically always spelled HOTTAS or HOTTASS. Pastor Kilian, however, used HATTAS and HATTASS and the Serbin records also used those spellings.
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.
George is usually spelled GEORG in German. However, there are numerous instances in the old records in which the name is spelled GEORGE. This is the reason why George is spelled both ways in this history. Juri is George in Wendish.
[1]
HANS BÄHR AND URTHE KAYSER
The Church records at Gröditz, the home of the Biars, begin in 1666. Previous records were probably destroyed by fire. Among the entries for 1668 is the baptism of our ancestor, George Bähr, as follows: “1668, 28 Febr. ist Meister Hanssens des Schmiedes Söhnl. Georgins getauft” (1668, 28 February, Master Hans, the blacksmith’s son, George, was baptized). In other records this blacksmith is identified as Hans Bähr, a typical German name. Hans Jack) is the nickname for the German Johannes and Johann (John) and Bähr is translated Bear.
There is no way to determine with any degree of certainty just how many Hans Bährs lived at Gröditz during the latter 1600s and early 1700s. Only one birth (baptismal) date is available: that of Johannes, born on 19 September 1672. He was either the brother, or the half-brother of, our ancestor, George Bähr (Juri Biar).
When the estate of Peter Kayser of Gröditz was settled in 1669, Hans Bähr was mentioned as one of the three brothers-in-law of Peter’s son, Matthäus, and served as Matthäus’ trustee. Hans was married to Urthe, the daughter of Peter Kayser. Some records spell this surname Közor (Koezor). Közor appears to be the phonetic spelling of the Sorbian Kejzor, which means Kaiser (emperor) in German. Kayser is an alternate spelling of Kaiser. Neither the date of birth nor the date of her marriage to Hans Bähr is available. According to the late Frau Annemarie Mihan, Urthe must have been born around 1640 in order to take her apparent place in the Kayser family. Urthe died at Gröditz in March 1669.
There is an indicant that Hans married again but this cannot be substantiated. When he died at Gröditz in April 1680, he was identified as a master blacksmith and church elder.
[2]
GEORGE BÄHR (JURI BIAR) AND WURTA PAULIK
George Bähr’s baptismal date was 28 February 1668. His father’s name was Hans Bähr. His mother’s maiden name was Urthe Kayser. George’s first wife was Hanna, née Kayser, who was born at Drösa (Droesa), now Drehsa, on 10 January 1676. The marriage took place on 3 November 1693. She died at Gröditz immediately after the birth of their daughter on 5 September 1698. On 1 February 1700 George Bähr married Wurta, née Paulik, also from Drösa. When their son, Jan (Johann), was baptized on 27 March 1703, the parents’ names were recorded as “Juri Biar und Wurta geb. Paulik” (Juri Biar and Wurta, née Paulik). Among other entries, George is sometimes identified as “George Bähr genannt Juri Biar” (George Baehr, aka Juri Biar). Juri is Sorbian for George. I am certain that George Bähr and Juri Biar was the same person. George was the hereditary blacksmith (Erbschmied) at Gröditz. An entry in the church records reads that George Bähr was buried on 9 September 1757. It is interesting to note that his original name was used instead of Juri Biar. Since no other record of his death has been found it appears to be authentic. His age was 89 years. In the Gröditz records for 6,April 1739 is the entry:“Wurschla Schmieds Hausfrau begraben” (Wurschla, blacksmith’s housewife buried). It is my conjecture that this meant the burial of Wurta Biar, née Paulik. Their son, Jan, was our ancestor.
[3]
JOHANN (JAN) BIAR AND HANNA HENNERSDORF
Johann was born at Gröditz in March 1703. His parents were George Bähr, aka, Juri Biar, and Wurta, née Paulik.
Johann, the village blacksmith, married Hanna Hennersdorf on 5 November 1743. She was born at Cortnitz in December 1723. He was 40 years old at the time and she, 20. This difference in age has been checked and re-checked several times and so far nothing has been found to contradict this difference in age. Her parents were Jan Hennersdorf and his wife, Ursula, whose maiden name is not available. Hennersdorf is a German name which means “Henry’s village.” This could very well be the name of the village where the Hennersdorfs originated. There is a village by this name about 10 miles west of Bautzen. It is a very short distance from the Marienstern monastery at Kuckau where the present day Catholic Sorbs live. Bernhard III, a Saxon nobleman, founded the monastery in 1248. We must remember that all Sorbs were Catholics before the Reformation. The name “Hennersdorf” implies that the village was founded by German settlers. The fact that Jan Hennersdorf used the Sorbian given name of Jan implies that he was “Sorbianized.” There was a Peter Hennersdorf among the Wends who migrated to Australia in the middle of the 19th century.
Johann Biar died in May 1760 and was survived by his widow and three sons. The following is a translation of the notice of the sale of the blacksmith shop at Gröditz recorded in the archives in Bautzen under the date of 3 January 1761: “Georg Bochmer, lessee of the blacksmith shop at Gröditz desires to marry Hanna, the late blacksmith Hans Bähr’s surviving widow [and buy the blacksmith shop]. The blood brother of Hanna, Hans Miedrach [Mittrach], a farmer at Buchwalde, is appointed to serve as her trustee. For her husband’s surviving children: Hans Bähr, 9 years, and Georg Bähr, 6 years, the renter, Martin Adam or Bedrich from Wuischke, is appointed. Her blood brother, Martin Wiederach from Cortnitz, is appointed as trustee for the son, Christoph Bähr, 4 years. The value of her [late] husband’s property is 250 Thalers. Funeral expenses – 10 Thalers.”
Signed / Ana Baren
Signed / George Böhmer (Boehmer)
Please note that Jan Biar was referred to as “Hans Bähr” in legal records. Hanna signed her name ANA BAREN. Hanna and Anna (Ana) were frequently interchanged in the records. I am at a loss why she signed her last name BAREN, without the umlaut. Perhaps she forgot to place it there. It was not unusual to end surnames with “en” and “in” in the records, especially when listing sponsors at baptisms. It was not uncommon that persons with the
given name of Georg were shown as “George” in the records.  Please note the spelling of Bochmer in the notice and that the signature is Böhmer. It should be pointed out that at this time, most peasants could barely write their names. One thing is certain: at that time there was no standard way to spell our ancestors’ names.
Many names were spelled phonetically by those who made the entries in the records. This is the reason for the great variation in spelling of names. It is interesting to note that Hanna’s two bloodbrothers had the surnames Miedrach [in church records, Mittrach] and Wiederach, even though Hanna’s maiden name was Hennersdorf. In other records it is revealed that all three of the above trustees changed their names after their marriages.
Hanna married Georg Böhmer on 20 January 1761. His dates of birth and death are not available. Hanna died at Rackel in July 1765 after being married to her second husband for 4 years. As far as I know, there were no children from this marriage. She reached the age of 41 years. Johann and Hanna’s oldest son, Johann, was our ancestor.
[4]
                                                JOHANN (JAN) BIAR AND ANNA MAUCKE (MAŁKE)
Johann (Jan) was born at Gröditz on 2 June 1751. His parents were Johann (Jan) Biar (born in 1703) and Hanna, née Hennersdorf. Johann, like his forefathers before him, was the blacksmith at Gröditz. He married Anna Maucke (Małke) at Gröditz on 25 February 1772. She was born at Cortnitz on 5 September 1754. Her parents were Jan Maucke (Małke) and Hanna, nee Kayser. Maucke is the German phonetic spelling of the Sorbian Małke. In Sorbian Małke is written with a slash over the l, (ł). The ł is pronounced like “u.” Other examples of ł are Łuzica (Lusatia) and Pawoł (Paul). Maucke and Małke are essentially pronounced alike, although the l sound is now used in Germany as well as in Texas. There are some records which read: Maucke genannt Małke (Maucke, aka Małke). The Sorbian Małke means Klein in German, a common German name; in English it means little, small,
etc.
Johann (Jan) was the hereditary blacksmith at Gröditz even though his father died when he was only 9 years old and the blacksmith shop was sold by his mother to his step-father, Georg Böhmer. At the age of 14 his mother died.  Since we do not have the date of death of his step-father or whether or not his step-father re-married, we do not know with whom Johann and his brothers lived until they reached maturity. Johann, as the oldest son, had the right to inherit the blacksmith shop when he reached maturity. However, there were provisions to pay out his brothers and this procedure was handled by the court. Johann and Anna had an only son, Michael, who was our ancestor. Johann died at Gröditz on 27 March 1802. To date I have been unable to find the date and place of Anna’s death.
[5]
MICHAEL BIAR AND ANNA SCHNEIDER
Michael was born at Gröditz on 18 October 1773. His parents were Johann (Jan) Biar and Anna, nee Maucke, aka Małke. Michael, like his father, was identified as a master hereditary blacksmith. An excerpt from the records of 1802 in the archives in Bautzen states that Johann Polter, aka Małke, farmer at Wuischke, was appointed “the trustee of the widow of the recently deceased blacksmith and small farmer, Johann Bär [Baer], 29 years.” This is the most recent record I possess in which our ancestors were referred to by the surname Bär (Baer). Michael’s first wife was Margaretha Schulze, who was born at Gebelzig, just across the border in Silesia in Prussia, on 11 February 1776. Her father’s first name was Georg and the name of her mother is not available. They were married on 5 January 1800. Eleven children were born to this union but only one daughter, Anna, born on 10 October 1807, reached maturity. Another daughter, Magdalena, reached the age of eleven. All the rest died even younger than that. Margaretha died at Gröditz on 15 October 1820. Anna Biar, the daughter of Michael and Margaretha, married Andreas Małke from Cortnitz on 21 January 1834. The descendants of this couple are the nearest Biar relatives in Germany of the Biars in America and Australia.  Anna died at Gröditz on 31 January 1882.
On 14 October 1821 Michael married Anna Schneider. She was born at Nechern on 19 December 1784. Her parents were Peter Schneider, aka Zimman, and his wife, Anna, whose surname is not available. Michael and Anna had two sons, both born at Gröditz. The eldest of the two sons was Johann, who was born on 16 February 1823. He immigrated to Texas in 1854. The Biars in America are his descendants. The younger son, Andreas, who was born on 6 January 1827, went to Australia in 1854. The Biars in Australia are his descendants. Anna died on 18 March 1841 at the age of 56. Michael died on 18 August 1850 at the age of 76. Both died at Gröditz.
[6]
JOHANN BIAR AND MAGDALENE MÖHLE (MEHLE)
Johann was born at Gröditz on 16 February 1823. His parents were Michael Biar and his second wife, Anna, née Schneider. On 17 August 1845 Johann married Magdalene Möhle (also Mehle) from Särka. She was born on 19 November 1824 and her parents were Andreas Möhle and Anna, née Wuchatsch. Andreas Möhle came from Krischa, Silesia, which was re-named by the Nazis and is now Buchholz. Anna Wuchatsch came from Särka. The Andreas Möhles made their home in Särka after their marriage. Since Särka belongs to the parish of Kotitz, it is very likely that Pastor Kilian married Johann and Magdalene because he was the pastor at Kotitz at the time of their marriage.
In some of the records in Gröditz, Johann is referred to as a Meister Erbschmied (master hereditary blacksmith). As the oldest son he inherited his father’s property. He was also referred to as a Häusler (cottager), which means that he owned a house and perhaps a little land within the confines of the manor for gardening. The house was located near the site of the former manor house (the manor house was destroyed by fire in 1922 and re-built), where in feudal days the nobleman or his caretaker lived. One part of the building served as living quarters while the other part housed the blacksmith shop. In 1972 I spent about 30 minutes visiting the Lehmann family who owned it. The house bore the number “3.” One unique feature of the living quarters was that the doors between the rooms were very low and the average person had to stoop to pass through them. Perhaps at the time it was built, people were not as tall as they are now. Johann Biar sold the house and adjacent property for 1100 Thalers to finance the immigration to Texas in 1854. The buyer was a person named Dutschmann whose wife was a Biar descendant. The property still belongs to the Dutschmann family. When I saw the house in 1982 it was still in good condition. In 1992 when I was in Gröditz I noticed that the house was being renovated. In 1854, Johann and Magdalene and two small sons, immigrated to Texas, together with a large group of over 550 Wends from Prussia and Saxony. I do not know the specific reason or reasons why the Johann Biars chose to leave their homeland. It must have taken very much courage and fortitude to leave relatives and friends behind and start all over in a new country, with a different climate, customs and language. The late Rev. Gerhart Laser, a former pastor at Hochkirch, summed up the reasons for emigrating in a letter to me in 1972: [They] “searched for religious freedom, separation of church and state.” [There was] “the addition of social abuses, suppression by the large landowners, and the like.” He also wrote that in 1850 Pastor Kilian led a delegation to Dresden and that Johann Bjar (Biar) was a member of that group. The Johann Biars settled at Serbin. Here, Johann was a farmer.
Johann and Magdalene had seven children, five sons and two daughters. The first three children, all sons, were born at Gröditz. The first son died at birth. The other two, Johann (Jr.) and Andreas, accompanied their parents to Texas. In 1854 Johann was 4 years old and Andreas was 1. The other four children were born at Serbin. One daughter, Maria Theresia, born in 1859, died at the age of five. Those reaching maturity were as follows:
NAME                   BORN                 DIED                    SPOUSE
Johann (Jr.)          30 Aug 1850      20 Jun 1923           Agnes Handrick –
Andreas                28 Oct 1853      08 Feb 1916           Maria Therese Hattas – 1856-1894
Maria                   29 Aug 1856      05 Aug 1924          August Schulz – 1850-1924
Ernst August         17 Jun 1862      10 Oct 1888           Anna Helene Zschech –
Johann Hermann  27 Oct 1864      29 Nov 1950           Anna Lydia Miertschin –
Magdalene died from typhoid (Nervenfieber) at Serbin on 18 September 1867 at the age of 42 years. Johann died at Serbin on 10 June 1885 at the age of 62. Both are buried in the Serbin cemetery.
[7]
ANDREAS BIAR AND MARIA THERESE HATTAS
Andreas was born at Gröditz, Saxony, on 28 October 1853. He came to Texas with his parents, Johann Biar and Magdalene, née Moehle, in 1854, when he was only one year old and grew up on his parents’ farm near Serbin.  On 8 February 1876 he married Maria Therese Hattas. She was a daughter of Magdalene Kieschnick, born at Brenham, Texas, on 1 March 1856. She was known by the surname “Hattas” after her mother married a widower, Johann Hattas (Hottas), and he adopted her. The officiating pastor of the wedding of Andreas and Maria was Rev. Timotheus Stiemke, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Warda, Texas. It appears that St. Peter’s Congregation at Serbin had a pastoral vacancy at the time of the wedding. The Biar and Johann Hattas families both belonged to St. Peter. The original congregation, St. Paul, split into two congregations in 1870, and the two did not re-unite until 1914, 44 years later. Johann Hattas was born at Reichwalde, Silesia, on 22 January 1828. He was the only child of Andreas Hottas and his first wife, Maria, née Schulz. Maria Schulz was born at Reichwalde; the date of birth is not available. She died at Reichwalde in 1842. Johann came to Texas in 1853 with a small group of Wends, who preceded the large immigration to Texas in 1854. On 28 January 1856 he married Marie Schmidt, alias Kowar, in Serbin. She was born at Reichwalde on 28 July 1836. The daughter who was born to this union died as an infant and Maria died at Serbin on 31 July 1858. Magdalene, also known as Lena, [probably from the Wendish Madlena] Kieschnick was Johann Hattas’ second wife. She was born at Dauban, Silesia, on 2 December 1830. Her parents were Johann Kieschnick (1795) and Agnes, née Kalich or Kohli. She came to Texas with her parents and brothers and sisters as part of the large immigration of Wends to Texas in 1854. Johann and Lena were married at Brenham on 1 January 1959. The officiating pastor was Rev. J. G. Ebinger, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Brenham. Salem Lutheran Church belonged to the Texas Synod. After their marriage they made their home in Serbin. Andreas and Maria had four children, two sons and two daughters, as follows:
NAME                            BORN                 DI ED                 SPOUSE
Johann Ernst Gerhard     30 Nov 1876       20 Nov 1954        AnnaLehmann –
Johann Otto                  01 Oct 1879        24 Nov 1956        Lydia Moerbe – 1885-1957
Emma Maria Theresia     18 Jun 1882       04 Jul 1921          August Menzel –
Maria Magdalene            02 Sep 1885      25 Jul 1963          Robert Malke –
Their son Johann Otto was my father. Maria died at Serbin on 30 August 1894. Andreas married Magdalina Groeschel on 16 February 1896. She was born at Weicha, Saxony, on 28 November 1851. Her parents were August Groeschel and Agnes, née Malke. Andreas and Magdalina had no children.  Andreas died at Serbin on 8 February 1916. Magdalina died at Serbin on 29 November 1937. Andreas and his first wife, Maria, and his second wife, Magdalina, were all buried in the Serbin cemetery.
[8]
JOHANN OTTO BIAR AND LYDIA LINA MOERBE
Johann Otto, who went by his second given name, was born at Serbin on 1 October 1789, the son of Andreas Biar and Maria, née Hattas. Both parents were of Wendish or Sorbian descent. Otto was confirmed on 26 March 1893 by Pastor C. Bernthal of St. Peter Lutheran Church at Serbin.
Otto Biar came to Thorndale in 1900. His brother, Gerhard, who preceded him to Thorndale in 1899, worked on the Carl Michalk farm when he was asked by Michalk to accept employment at the German Mercantile Company.  Gerhard said that he was a “Landsmann” and was not interested, but suggested his brother, Otto. Otto accepted the offer and packed his box with personal belongings at Serbin, boarded a SAAP (San Antonio – Aransas Pass) passenger train at Northrup, transferred to an IGN (International Great Northern) train at Rockdale, and after traveling a little less than 50 miles, arrived in Thorndale, where he made his home the rest of his life. Before he married he lived with the Hermann Moerbe family, where, according to a daughter, he was accepted like a brother. He worked at the mercantile store until the treasurer absconded with the money and the store went bankrupt. Otto was a farmer for the rest of his life. On 17 January 1905, Otto married Lydia Lina Moerbe, oldest daughter of Carl August Moerbe and Ernestine, née Michalk, both of Wendish descent. Lydia was born at Fedor on 8 February 1885. She was confirmed by her uncle Pastor Emil F. Moerbe, on 3 April 1898 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Giddings. She came to Thorndale with her parents in 1899. After the mercantile business failed, Otto and Lydia and family lived on a farm north of town, just outside the city limit. In 1936, after the death of Lydia’s mother, the family moved to the C. August Moerbe (Lydia’s father) residence south of town. After the death of Lydia’s father in 1944, the residence, together with about 110 acres of land, was purchased by the Otto Biars. Otto and Lydia were active members of the Lutheran Church their entire lives. Otto served St. Paul’s congregation in Thorndale as president, elder, lay reader, secretary and other capacities. He was a gifted musician.  He was an organist and a member of the Männerchor (male choir) for many years. For a long time he played in the Thorndale Band. Lydia was a good homemaker. She knew how to manage a home and take care of a large family. Otto died in a Taylor hospital on 14 November 1956 and Lydia also died in a Taylor hospital on 24 January 1957. Both were buried in St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery in Thorndale. They were blessed with 12 children. All were born at Thorndale.
1. Hedwig Otillia was born on 14 August 1906. She was working in Houston when a typhoid epidemic struck and she died from it on 17 December 1927.
2. Henry Otto was born on 12 January 1908. On 18 December 1934 he married Hannah Simmank, who was born at Thorndale on 28 January 1910. They resided in Austin for a number of years, where Henry worked as a grocery store clerk until he entered the U. S. Navy during World War II. After the war he was a carpenter and lived in Thorndale. They were blessed with three sons; Henry Harold, Olin Fred and Howard Louis. Henry also served in the Navy during the Korean War.  He died in the Veteran Hospital in Temple on 20 April 1975 and Hannah died on 28 April 1976.
3. Martha Ernestine was born on 19 August 1909. She worked in San Antonio for many years. During World War II she worked at Kelly Air Force Base. The last 24 years before her retirement she worked for Frost Brothers.  Martha died in a San Antonio nursing home on 1 February 2003 at the age of 93.
4. Edna Lydia was born on 17 March 1911. She worked in Houston for a short time before her job took her to Los Angeles. During World War II she worked for Lockheed Aviation Company. After the war she was employed by Newcomb Electronics Corporation for 20 years prior to her retirement. Edna died in a nursing home in San Antonio on 16 January 2004 at the age of 92.
5. Carl Alvin was born on 28 October 1912. He became a Lutheran pastor, graduating from the Springfield (Illinois) Seminary in 1938, and served congregations at Spring and Lincoln, Texas. On 4 August 1940 be married Lillian Schmidt, who was born in Houston on 12 November 1917. Their daughter, Ruth Ann, was adopted. Carl died at Lincoln on 31 December 1973. Lillian resides in Giddings.
6. John Walter was born on 11 March 1915. Walter served in the U. S. Army Air Corps during World War II and spent several years in England. After the war he worked for Celanese in Bishop, Texas, before he went to work at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi and later, Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio. On 2 February 1957 he married Edna Kappler, who was born on 28 August 1915. Walter and Edna had one daughter, Nancy Janelle. He
died in a nursing home in Natalie, Texas on October 26, 2005 at the age of 90 years.
7. Martin Albert was born on 10 April 1917. Before and during World War II he served in the U. S. Army Medical Corps. During the war he made a number of voyages on a hospital ship, mainly to England and back, but also one voyage through the Panama Canal to the South Pacific to New Guinea. After the war he made his home in the Dallas area and was employed at several places, including Simplex Time Recorder Company, a Chevrolet sales and service company, Snap-On Tools Corporation, Utility Trailer Sales and, before retirement, Great Dane Trailers. On 19 January 1952 he married Gertrude (Trudy) Foerster, who was born on 15 January 1927. They were blessed with five children: James Andrew (who died in infancy), Timothy Allen, John Charles, Deborah Helen and Andrew Frederick.  Martin and Trudy make their home in Garland, Texas.
8. Bill Edwin was born on 7 July 1919. During World War II he served in the U. S. Army Air Corps for 3 years before being transferred to U. S. Army Intelligence. He spent over two years in Germany. On 12 June 1947 he married Stefana Todt, who was born on 18 February 1925 in Neisse, Silesia (Germany), Bill worked for Atlantic Richfield Company for 36 years, working in Midland (twice), Odessa (twice), Corpus Christi, Bakersfield (California) and Denver. Bill and Steffy have two children, Rita Marianne and Norman Edwin. After retiring in 1983 Bill and Steffy lived in Denver for 18 years before moving to Carrollton, Texas in February 2001.
9. Otto August was born on 15 July 1921. After serving in the Pacific Theater during World II and seeing combat in Okinawa, he worked for Celanese in Bishop for a year and then 5 years for Missouri Pacific Railroad in Kingsville. After that he moved to San Antonio and spent nearly 33 years as a dealer for Snap-On Tools Corporation before retiring in San Antonio.  He died on 13 January 1997 at the age of 75.
10.  Ruth Eleanor was born 9 March 1924. For a number of years she made her home in Austin where she married Dewayne Farschman on 14 April 1951. At that time both of them were employed by Austin Laundry Company. Dewayne was born on 10 September 1918. They left Austin and made their home in Amherst, Ohio,
Dewayne’s home town. They were blessed with 3 children: Mark Wayne, Joyce Ann and Linda Ruth. Dewayne died on 7 January 1984. Ruth continues to reside at Amherst.
11. Doris Erna was born on 14 April 1928. She made her home in Austin and went to work for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. On 19 February 1955 she married Marvin Urban, who was born on 1 June 1924. After a few years they moved to San Antonio and later to Grand Prairie. They have one son, Jeffrey Glenn. Doris worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for 37 years before retiring. Doris and Marvin continue to live in Grand Prairie.
12. Harold Alvis was born on 19 November 1931. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War. After his discharge from the Army, Harold returned to Thorndale and went to work at Alcoa’s Rockdale Works. On 21 October 1956 he married Rosalie Wuthrich, who was born at Thrall on 4 January 1938. Their marriage was blessed with 4 children: Lorna Diane, Beverly Gail, Rhonda Fay and David Harold. Harold and Rosalie live on the Biar home place, which they bought and farm, together with some rented land.
BIAR DESCENDANTS IN GERMANY
With the departure in 1854 of Johann Biar (1823), who migrated to Texas, and Andreas Biar (1827), who went to Australia, the surname BIAR died out in Gröditz. They left behind their half-sister, Anna Malke, née Biar.  Her descendants are our closest Biar relatives in Germany. Starting in 1972 until his death in 1983, the writer corresponded with Walter Benad, a descendant of Anna Malke, who lived in Briessnitz, a small hamlet about two kilometers from Gröditz. He was a widower with one daughter, Elisabeth. The author visited Walter Benad and daughter, both in 1972 and 1982, while he was in East Germany. The second time he also met Karl Höntzsch, Elisabeth’s husband. Since her father’s death, he has been corresponding with Karl and Elisabeth. Thus the writer is in contact with Biar descendants on two continents besides North America. The author also visited the Höntzsches in 1992 and 1994. Karl and Elisabeth visited us in Denver in the summer of 2000. After World War II the mother of Horst Schmieder, the proprietor of KÜCHEN BJAR (Kitchen Bjar) in Bautzen, contacted Mr. & Mrs. Otto Biar (the author’s parents) in Thorndale, Texas, who sent her a number of CARE packages. Her father was August Bjar, who had his roots in Gröditz and who started the furniture business in Bautzen.  The author also contacted Horst Schmieder when he started his search for Biar ancestors in East Germany. He stayed with the Schmieders on his 1972 and 1982 trips to the Bautzen area.  owever, the relationship is very distant and Horst Schmieder did not know anyone with the name of Biar or Bjar in the Bautzen area.
 
THE BIARS IN AUSTRALIA
Andreas Biar, the younger brother of Johann Biar, who came to Texas in 1854, was born at Gröditz, Saxony, on 6 January 1827. Just like his brother, Johann, very little is known of Andreas’ early years. He was a sponsor at the baptisms of his nephews, Johann and Andreas, who were born to Johann (Sr.) and Magdalene, née Moehle, at Gröditz.  In both instances he was referred to as a farm-hand (Dienstknecht). He was still single when he left Hamburg for Australia in July 1854 and arrived at Adelaide, South Australia, on 11 November 1854. It would be very interesting to know why one of the brothers decided to migrate to South Australia while the other one decided to go to Texas. The fact that they both emigrated in 1854 is also noteworthy. They both knew of the other’s intentions when they went their separate ways, never to see each other again. The only close relative they left behind was a half-sister, Anna Malke, nee Biar. When the two brothers departed no one with the surname of Biar remained at Gröditz. It is believed that Andreas sailed from Hamburg to Australia on the ship “Steinwerder”, arriving there in November 1854. The voyage from Hamburg to Australia took about 3 months. Christiane Hiller, née Petschel, describes the voyage her family made to Australia in 1848 in her autobiography which bears the title: Of the late Frau Pastor CHRISTIANE HILLER. I feel that the inconveniences, hardships, seasickness, illnesses, deaths, etc., were also experienced by our Wendish ancestors except that the voyage to Texas took only 3 to 4 weeks compared to the voyages to Australia which took 3 months. A copy of this valuable autobiography has been placed in the library of the Texas Wendish Museum at Serbin.
Andreas married Magdalena Lehmann on 3 November 1856 in Australia. On the marriage record her father’s name was given as Christoph Lehmann. She was born at Jerchwitz, Silesia, on 19 December 1834. Andreas and Magdalena knew each other in Germany before they emigrated, he in 1854 and she in 1855. Magdalena worked at Gröditz before she went to Australia. Even though Gröditz was in Saxony and Jerchwitz in Silesia, the villages are only about 3 miles apart. She was well-acquainted with Pastor Johann Kilian and at one time went to church at Weigersdorf. We have found a letter in which she wrote that she was in love with Andreas and followed him to Australia. By the way, a book printed in Australia relates that she sailed on the ship “Bielefeld” which arrived at Melbourne on 25 November 1855. Another passenger on this voyage was Peter KSHIESCHAN (Zieschang), who later returned to Germany and then came to Texas and settled at Noack. Andreas and Magdalena were blessed with 6 children as follows:
NAME                          BORN                   DIED               SPOUSE
August                         03 Nov 1857         09 Sep1935     Johanne Lousie Roocke
Maria Magdalene          04 Sep 1859         12 Sep 1914     Hermann Wilhelm Noack
Johann                        20 Oct 1863         03 Mar 1939     Sarah Atkins
Andreas                       15 Oct 1865                               Auguste Emma Nitschke
Anna                           05 Sep 1867         28 Jul 1933      J. Friedrich Roocke
Magdalene                  21 Jun 1870          01 Sep 1956     Paul Adolph Doering
Their descendants held a family reunion in 1971. A book entitled: Family History of Andreas Biar and His Descendants – 117 Years in Australia was written for the occasion by a great great grandson of the original immigrants, Mr. Geoffrey Saegenschnitter, Greennock, South Australia. His grandmother’s name was Agnes Antonie Alma Saegenschnitter, née Biar. Up to 1971Geoff had identified 394 direct descendants of Andreas Biar and Magdalena, née Lehmann, in Australia. This writer placed a copy of this excellent history in the library of the Texas Wendish Museum at Serbin. We know that the brothers’ families correspondedwith each other because 41 old letters from Australia to Texas have been found. One letter was found by Mark Biar, Ft. Worth, and 40, by the late Edwin Biar, Giddings. In two instances as many as 3 letters [from different family members] were mailed in one envelope. The letters span a period of 45 years. The earliest letter was dated 22 April 1881 and the latest, 3 January 1926. It is safe to assume that there was correspondence from the beginning, perhaps in 1855, so that the Biars in Australia and Texas corresponded with each other for 70 years. The letters that have been found were written by the immigrants, Andreas, Sr., and his wife, Magdalena; two of their sons, August and Andreas, Jr.; and a granddaughter, Martha Semmler, née Noack.  Mrs. Semmler was a schoolteacher before her marriage. The only letter found that was written by Andreas, Sr., to his brother, Johann, Sr., at Serbin, was dated 22 April 1881. A re-produced copy and a translation appear elsewhere in this history. All the rest of the letters, except one, were sent to Edwin’s grandfather, Johann Biar, Jr. in Serbin. The remaining letter was written by Magdalena to Mark’s grandfather, Hermann Biar in Giddings, Texas. A translation of this letter appears in the history of the Biars of Australia written by Mr. Geoff Saegenschnitter.
The letters cover the routine of daily life in Australia, with its joys and sorrows, good harvests and poor ones, droughts and floods. In spite of short-comings and frailties, which affect all of us, these people had a strong faith in their Savior, which was repeatedly emphasized in their letters and also quoted in hymn verses. Andreas, Jr., wrote that his parents usually spoke Wendish to each other and that he was also conversant in that language. Andreas, Sr., referred to Wendish newspaper articles and a Wendish periodical named NOWINKA, which he believed was also  received by his brother’s family in Texas. However, none of the letters or parts of the letters which were found were written in Wendish. All were written in German. The writer was puzzled by the fact that the hand-writing of Mrs. Magdalena Biar’s letters varied so much until in one of her letters she stated that she usually dictated her letters to members of her family. All letters have been translated by the writer and copies have been placed in the library of the Texas Wendish Museum in Serbin. In 1970, after an interlude of almost 45 years, the Biar descendants in Australia and America have again established communications.
 
TRANSLATION OF A LETTER WRITTEN ON 22 APRIL 1881
BY ANDREAS BIAR, ST. KITT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA,
TO HIS BROTHER, JOHANN BIAR, SERBIN, TEXAS
St. Kitt
22 April 1881
Dear Brother,
It is already more than 2½ years ago that I received a letter from you. The last one you wrote was on 18 June 1878. I did not get any letter later than that. If I am not mistaken, I wrote you in January 1879 and waited for you to write again but without success. Long ago I would have mailed you a book of the immigration of Lutherans to Australia and the Australian Lutheran Church but I have been waiting for you to write again. So I
am sending it along with this mail with the hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Also enclosed is something from the local newspaper about Pastor Krause from America and about T. F. Krumnow about whom you found something in the Wendish newspaper. I believe that you subscribe to NOWINKA.
Michael Docke and I receive it every month. Dear brother, as far as we are concerned we are all still well, thank God. Our oldest son, August, got married last year in February and has rented a farm of 250 acres for 4 pence per acre, which also cost me a great deal of money, 200 pounds if I want to figure it all. He lives about 20 miles from here. One-half of the land is still bush land. This year he had a fairly good harvest of over 800 bushels. The second son, Johann, is learning to become a wheelwright in Dutton at Master Jaehne (Father Jaehne came from Bautzen). The third son, Andreas, is with me at home. He has been sick over one year so that he could not work, neither was he permitted to work. He hurt himself by loading a plow onto the wagon. In addition to that, other complications set in. He has visited many doctors and chiropractors, which also cost me a lot of money. Now he is well again and can work. He is now plowing with three horses, using a double-plow. Maria is still at home, but I do not know for how long. Anna is with August. Magdalene goes to school in Dutton, 1 hour away, because our school was suspended. There were too few children for us to keep our teacher. We still have divine services every Sunday in the school building. I conduct church services every Sunday.  Pastor Appelt does not come more often than every 6 or 7 weeks to officiate.
Dear brother, now I want to report to you about my past harvest; unfortunately, it was not too much to cheer about. The harvest was very short here in our region, mainly due to the long drought and the redrust, so that nearly one-half of the crop was not saleable, because the wheat is like caraway seed. In addition to that, there was a long continuous rain from which the wheat lost its color and weight so that it was nearly unsalable. In some areas it was even worse. The people did not even harvest their seed. On the other hand, in other areas they had very good harvests.  Thereto also must be considered the low price because America flooded the market in England. The price of the best wheat is 3 shillings, 10 pence; barley 2 shillings, 6 pence; butter, 1 shilling, 1 pence; eggs, 10 pence per dozen – all very low prices for what the farmer has to sell. This harvest I had a little over 700 bushels of wheat and 40 bushels of barley.  It is now very dry here andlittle pasture for livestock. Since the harvest we did not have a soaking rain and the cattle have to be fed a little at home. Now is the worst time for cattle because last year there was also not much grass due to the drought. I have enough feed for the horses, hogs and chickens, since I had over 200 bushels that could not be sold. I have four draft horses; 1 colt, 1½ years old; 14 head of cattle; 10 hogs; some geese and about 50 chickens.
Dear brother, I have plenty of time now, as long as there is no rain. Then I will start to sow. About 40 acres are already plowed and there are 60 more if we get some rain soon. Plowing dry ground does not go very well and takes very many plowshares; a dozen cost 11 shillings. Early sowing is usually advantageous. Whatever is sown in June does not do very well. Moreover, in the spring, in October and November, we still have much rain and
no hot winds. I am fallowing half of my tillable land so that the land will get a rest. Then a person has good grazing for the cattle. It has become unclean with oats and grass because it was impossible to keep all the land clean. Wild oats have run off many a farmer from the land because when it is plowed up it remains dormant in the ground; then when it is no longer plowed, it grows better than ever. Now I want to close with the hearty wish that this letter will find you in good health. Many hearty greetings from me and my wife and children to you and your family. Write me again as soon as possible. Greet all my acquaintances and relatives. I remain your brother,
                                                                                    S/Andreas Biar
Address:
A. B.
St.Kitt
P. O. Dutton
South Australia                                                     Translated from the German by Bill Biar, 8 August 1976
Andreas Biar, Sr., died on 2 November 1896 at the age of 69 years and his wife, Magdalena Biar, nee Lehmann, died on 18 June 1916 at the age of 81½ years. Exhibit I is a photocopy of the letter written on 22 April 1881 by Andreas Biar, Sr., St. Kitt, South Australia, to his brother, Johann Biar, Sr., Serbin, Texas.
COPING WITH GRÖDITZ RECORDS
All the early Gröditz records are in handwritten Gothic script, often referred to as Fraktur Schrift. In the 1930s the teaching of this script was discontinued in Germany, just about the time the author learned it in parochial school. The records are very hard to read, since the authors often wrote hurriedly and used abbreviations that are no longer in use or have lost their meaning. Besides that, the records leave much to be desired. Especially noticeable is the failure to list the mothers’ names on birth records and the brides’ names on marriage records. The following presents some of the difficulties encountered when using these old Gröditz records. Sometimes only the occupation of a man is given; such as, “Der alte Schmied” (the old blacksmith). In other instances, only the given name is recorded. For example, “1668, 28. Febr. ist Meister Hanssens des hiesigen Schmiedes Söhnl. Georgins getauft.” (1668, 28 Feb., the local blacksmith, Master Hans’ son, George, was baptized). The father’s surname was not recorded and both, the given name and surname, of the mother were omitted. “1672, 19. Sept. ist Meister Hanns Barschens hiesigen Schmiedes Sö. Johannes getauft.” (1672, 19 Sept., the local blacksmith, Master Hans Bar’s [Bär’s] son, John, was baptized). Here we have the full name of the father, but the mother’s name is not mentioned. Shouldn’t the father’s surname be Barsch? After mulling over this for a long time the writer concluded that it could not be Barsch because when Barschens and Barsches were used it was always in the possessive case; that is, Bar/schens and Bar/sches. In other records, “Bähr” and “Bär” were used when the possessive case was not involved. Also the blacksmith shop was identified with “Bähr” and “Bär” in the legal records and never with Barsch. By the way, the English word for the German Barsch is perch (the fish) and in Sorbian it is pjersk. “1700 Gröd. d. 1. Febr. ist George Bär hiesiger Schmied mit Wurta Paulickin v. Drösa ehel. cop.” [ehel. cop. = ehelich copuliert]. (1700, Gröditz, the lst of February, George Bär, the local blacksmith, was legitimately married to Wurta Paulick from Drösa). If the bride’s name had not been mentioned, it would have been very difficult to identify George Bär [Bähr] as Juri Biar in subsequent records. “Gröd. 1670, 26.1 Mstr. Hanss hiesiger Schmied cop. mit seiner Braut” (Gröditz, 1670, 26.1, Master Hans, the local blacksmith, married his bride). The groom’s surname is not mentioned and the name of the bride is not mentioned at all. “1739, 6. April Wurschla, Schmiedes Hausfrau begraben”(1739, 6 April, Wurschla, blacksmith’s housewife, buried). If the given name Wurschla is a form of Wurta, then the deceased was probably Wurta Biar, née Paulik, wife of George Bähr, also known as [aka], Juri Biar. By now the reader has probably noticed that the records are not always clear. This is one of the reasons why many researchers want to know the names of sponsors (the German words used are Pate [singular] and Paten [plural], (the older forms are Pathe and Pathen), at baptisms. They also want to know the names of witnesses at weddings and trustees at hearings settling inheritances. In most instances, the persons named are blood relatives and the spelling of their names help to identify the person in whom they are interested. This could be called “circumstantial evidence.” By now the reader has probably noticed that German records are inclined to use abbreviations, even though the above, for the most part, are easy to figure out. But, as a whole, the Germans use abbreviations whether they are needed or not. The bad thing is that many cannot be found in German dictionaries. Coping with the Gröditz church records, as well as, those of any of the other parishes where our Wendish ancestors originated, is challenging to say the least.
 
GRÖDITZ(GROEDITZ) OR HRODŹIŠĆO
When one drives into the village of Gröditz the first line of the road sign along the highway reads: “GRÖDITZ” and underneath, in smaller letters, the second line reads: “HRODŹIŠĆO”.  Gröditz is the German name, while Hrodźišćo is the Sorbian name.  Gröditz is in Kreis Bautzen, Kreis being the equivalent of our county. Artifacts dating from the Bronze Age have been found in the vicinity of Gröditz. Pottery from the Billendorf Period, the
transitional period from bronze to iron, have been found in fields near Gröditz. It is usually accepted that in the sixth century, after the Völkerwanderung (barbarian or German migration), Slavs migrated into Upper Lusatia, drifting into the vacuum created by the departure of the Germanic inhabitants. After members of the Milceni tribe of the Sorbs arrived in the area a large hill-fort was constructed at Gröditz. In German, a hill-fort is called a Burgwall, a fortified earthen rampart. A hill-fort is also known as a Schanze in German, that is, an entrenchment. The hill-fort at Gröditz is known as a “Skalenschanze,” being near the Gröditzer Skala. Skala means gorge or ravine in Sorbian.  Thus, the hill-fort at Gröditz is on a cliff near the Gröditzer Skala through which a small stream, known as Löbauer Wasser, flows. In Sorbian Hrodźišćo (“h” is silent when followed by “r”) has reference to “the village at the large hill-fort” (in German, Ort am grossem Burgwall). Much of the old half-circle earthen rampart or hill-fort at Gröditz is still visible today. When the Germans conquered Upper Lusatia around the year 1000, Germanization started immediately. Landed-estates, more often than not, were given to German knights (Ritter), probably for their service during a war of conquest. Other landed-estates were given to noblemen. Place names were often Germanized by keeping part of the Sorbian name, usually the first syllable, and adding a suffix. In olden days Hrodźišćo was spelled with a “G.” The Germans kept the first four letters, Grod, eventually placed a vowel modification mark (umlaut) over the “o” and added the diminutive suffix itz, and that is how we got Gröditz. In the County of Bautzen alone there are over 50 place names that end with itz and witz. That is why we know that our ancestors came from old Wendish or Sorbian territory.  It is really a wonder that remnants of the Wends or Sorbs and their language remain to this day. A landed-estate owned by a knight or a nobleman was known as a Landgut, that is, a manor. The Sorbian people, as well as, other peasants, living on these manors and/or in these villages became serfs or bondsmen, subjects of knights and noblemen. The manorial house, where the knight, nobleman or the caretaker lived, was surrounded by the huts of the peasants and the manorial land surrounded these villages. Some villages had more than one manor.  Most of the manorial land was owned by knights or noblemen and many of them had more than one manor. There were, however, small holdings of land by individual peasants in varying amounts and with varying rights within the manors. After the Sorbs were subjugated there was still much virgin land in the area to be cleared, to enlarge the arable land in established manors and to establish new ones in the Bautzen area. However, there were not enough Wendish serfs available so that German colonists were recruited in the west and brought to the east. This is why there were many manors with both Sorbian and German peasants. In 1222, Gröditz was known as Graedis; in 1378, Grodes, in 1485, Graedis; in 1545, Groedis; in 1682, Gradiz. Spelling of place names changed from time to time. In 1719 the Sorbian name is given as Rodźischcźo.
Originally, Gröditz was a Rittergut, a manor wned by a knight. The name of the original feudal lord is not vailable. In he 13th and 14th centuries the family name was von Porschitz. There is a sndstone heraldic emblem over the portal of the church tower at Gröditz which mentions a Peter Porschitz. In the 15th and 16th centuries the feudal lords were named von Maxen. The von Maxens were active in political circles, as well as, large land owners. From 1600 until around 1900 the name was von Gersdorff. Peasants in Saxony were freed in 1832; however, most of the land of the former manors remained in the possession of large land owners. Christianity came to Upper Lusatia after the Sorbs lost their independence around the year 1000. We have no records of just when Christianity came to Gröditz. The earliest written reference to Gröditz found to date is a Latin document, dated 1222, which named nine churches to be placed under the newly-established St. Peter’s Cathedral in Bautzen. The document identifies Gröditz as Gradis. Thus we know that our ancestors were Christianized at least 300 years before the Reformation or around 775 years ago. The first church building must have been rather portly and artistic because a portal of the original church has been preserved to this day. It is made of granite and has a stone cross inserted into the arch above the portal. It is over 750 years old. It serves as the door to the sacristy in the present church building. Gröditz became Lutheran in 1560. The parish church at Gröditz, the third largest village church in the area, serves the people of 13 villages and hamlets surrounding the village. The manor house at Gröditz was destroyed by fire in 1922. It was soon re-placed and after World War II it was a TB sanitarium. It is now used as a home for retarded persons. Many of the old buildings near the site of the manor house, in which the lowest class of peasants lived back in feudal times, were still standing in 1994. These peasants were referred to as Gesinde, that is, domestics, menials, day laborers, etc. Their living quarters were above the animal stalls. For many years the old buildings near the site of the old manor house were used to raise hogs. Under the East German regime the land around Gröditz became the site of an agricultural collective. These were called LPGs, which stands for Landwirtchaftliche Produktions Genossenschaften. Since the unification of the two Germanys these collectives were transferred to private ownership. In many cases they are run by the persons who operated them  before unification. Map 1 shows the manorial estates in the County of Bautzen as of 1832. Map I identifies the Manorial Estates in the County of Bautzen in 1832.
 
Sermon Delivered by Rev. F. H. Stelzer
at
the Funeral of Otto Biar
Rev. Stelzer’s sermon was re-constructed by the writer from his notes for the children who were not able to attend their father’s funeral.
Date of Death: November 14, 1956
Date of Funeral: November 16, 1956
Jeremiah 31: 3 – “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”
Beloved Mourners and Friends!
1. “I thank you for that sermon; it was comforting. I thank you. It is not my custom to praise and flatter my pastor, but this morning’s sermon had a special appeal. It was so comforting to me.” These were the words Mr. Otto Biar spoke to me as he shook hands with me after I had preached a sermon on the text John 4: 46-54 (the nobleman’s son) just three weeks ago. He had suffered with a severe case of arthritis for several weeks and was unable to come to church for one or two Sundays. And he received so much comfort when I spoke of God’s intention, when He lets us endure afflictions. God does this (1) to keep us from losing our faith; (2) to strengthen our faith. Nothing encourages a pastor more than to have the assurance that his parishioners leave the church comforted, satisfied, edified, with greater faith, greater love, greater zeal and greater strength to continue on their Christian pilgrimage.
2. I doubt that there is any person living or dead who has heard more of my sermons than the deceased, whom we are today giving a Christian burial. He will never hear me preach another sermon. And I will never again hear him say to me: “I thank you for that sermon.” His soul is now in heaven.
3. The text which I have chosen seems very fitting for today’s occasion, for the constancy of God’s love was a sturdy staff on which our fellow Christian often leaned during his earthly pilgrimage and which supported him especially during his last sickness. Let us consider “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee,” for it tells us:
I.  HOW RICH ARE THE EVIDENCES OF GOD’S LOVE IN THE LIFE OF THE DECEASED.
II. HOW EVEN MORE STRIKING ARE THE EVIDENCES OF GOD’S LOVE IN THE DEATH OF THE DECEASED.
I.
1. GOD’S LOVE WAS EVIDENT IN THE LIFE OF THE DECEASED. From eternity God loved the deceased and wanted him always to be one of His very own. With loving-kindness God drew him into His Kingdom of Grace, when he was but an infant of a few days, by the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Not all are thus blessed! His childhood was in that place on earth which is closest to the gate of heaven – a Christian home. Not all are thus blessed! His formal schooling he received under the influence of Christian teachers who gave him a never-to-be-forgotten understanding and appreciation of many of the great truths and stories written in the Bible and helped to prepare him confidently to renew his promise of allegiance to God by the rite of confirmation. Not all are thus blessed! Mrs. Werner, who is nearly 99 years old and waiting for her Lord to call her home, told me Wednesday afternoon, when I visited her, that she recalls seeing the deceased in church in Serbin at the altar promising God faithfulness until death. In the course of time, God gave him a consecrated Christian mate with whom he established a Christian home, blessed with a dozen children. Not all are thus blessed! Ever and again throughout his life our departed brother demonstrated that he was fully conscious of the great love God had for him by responding to the encouragement of St. John: “We love Him because He first loved us,” and “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another,” I John 4: 19 & 11.
2. We have not gathered here today to eulogies the deceased. He would be the first to object to it.  The strength of his Christian character, the zeal and high devotion of his Christian life are known to all of us. The memories we have of him we shall cherish through the years, and they will be his eulogy. He would nod approval if we summarize his life in the words of Paul: “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave himself for me,” Gal. 2: 20. God granted him the three score years and ten mentioned by the Psalmist and seven years more. There is no doubt about it: God loved your husband, father, grandfather, friend, during his earthly life. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”
II.
1. THE EVIDENCES OF GOD’S LOVE ARE EVEN MORE STRIKING IN HIS DEATH. God was merciful to him for death came quickly, sparing him a long siege of suffering. Let me say very frankly that I have enjoyed a high privilege in having been permitted to minister to the deceased, not only during his last days on earth, but for over 37 years. We often spoke together of the love of God. I prayed with him, I witnessed his joy and confidence in his Savior, and his resignation in his Savior as things earthly faded and things heavenly became more real to him. The last word of God I discussed with him on the day before his death was: “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none on earth that I desire besides Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever,” Psalm 73: 25-26. He died as he professed and lived: “I believe in God, Who created me, my loving Father. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, my Lord, Who has redeemed me. I believe in the Holy Spirit, in the forgiveness of sins, in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” The manner of his dying was like a great “Amen” to that confession. God’s eternal love in Christ the Savior was his happy hope even in death.
2. The love of God which through Baptism drew our brother into the Kingdom of Grace has now through death drawn him into the Kingdom of Glory. God has removed him from a sorely bewildered world. No more will tears gather in his eyes, no more will pain and sickness attack his body, no more will sighs escape his lips. He has fallen asleep on things earthly at what seems to be a late hour in the history of the world. He will sleep peacefully through all the dark years ahead. His last resting place will be the cemetery. The word “cemetery” comes from the Greek and literally means “sleeping place.” When he awakes a crown of everlasting life will be granted him as a permanent gift of God’s love.
3.To the members of the bereaved family let me say that your lives will be brightened by the assurance that God also loves you. Through your sorrow the love of God is inviting you: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matt. 11: 28. God be with you!  Amen.
Sermon
Delivered by Rev. F. H. Stelzer
at
the Funeral of Lydia Biar
Rev. Stelzer’s sermon was re-constructed by the writer from his notes for the children who were not able to attend their mother’s funeral.
Date of Death: January 24, 1957
Date of Funeral: January 25, 1957
II Corinthians 5: 1-3 – “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.”
BelovedMourners and Friends!
1. Again death has knocked at the door of our congregation. This time death claimed a member, who was separated by death from her husband only two short months ago.
2. Her soul has now joined the soul of her life’s companion in heaven. Of this we are confident, for we know her childlike faith and her Christian life and her patience in bearing all the burdens of life laid upon her to test and strengthen her faith.
3. Oh, that all of us may live a Christian life and depart in true faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and thus reach our heavenly home.
4. To encourage us to take our life seriously and not to meet death unprepared, permit me to direct your thoughts to the text before us, which gives us “A DESCRIPTION OF A CHRISTIAN, WHO IS READY WHEN THE LORD SAYS, ‘COME.’”
According to the text:
I. A true Christian lives in the sure hope that he shall some time reach the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
II. A true Christian has at all times an “honest desiring” to reach that home, which Jesus has prepared for him.
III. In order to be sure of reaching the eternal home in heaven, a true Christian daily keeps himself prepared to make the transition from his earthly temporal home to the permanent “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
 I.
1. A Christian who is ready for eternity, lives in the sure hope that he shall someday reach the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” A Christian “knows,” as our text says, that “our earthly house of this tabernacle will someday be dissolved.” A Christian will not try to evade the fact that his body, made of the dust of the earth, will again return to dust and ashes, and fall apart as on old house or tabernacle, and that the soul will then move and leave the body.
2. This knowledge does not make a true Christian sad and gloomy, but fills his soul with the sure hope. And what is that sure hope? Our text explains it in these words: “We have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Let us ponder over these heartening words for a moment. “We know,” our text says. A Christian does not imagine this, he is not uncertain about his future, his condition after death. How does he know? Who told him?  God Himself has told him in His unerring word. And what has He told him? This, that when “our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,” then, “we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” and this heavenly house will not dissolve like the earthly house, but it endures in all eternity.
3. This a Christian believer knows. He is not in doubt about it. For Jesus has given him this assurance in His word as we read in John 14: 2-3: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and received you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Ordinarily, the thought of death makes a person sad. But it is not so with a Christian believer. When the thought of death forces itself upon him, he looks beyond death and thinks of the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” which he will be permitted to enter. What a wonderful, blessed exchange: a frail earthly house with a strong heavenly house. Yes, and this a Christian believer knows. Of this he is sure. And this sure hope helps him to face death cheerfully. He even welcomes death. Blessed is everyone who can meetdeath so calmly and fearlessly.
4. We proceed with the second “description of a Christian, who is ready when the Lord says, ‘come.’” A true Christian has at all times an “earnest desiring” to reach that home which Jesus has prepared for us.
II.
1. In our text we read these words, “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” “In this we groan,” our text says. As long as a Christian lives in this earthly house of his body he has aches and pains, which often bring much misery. But the sinful thoughts and desires from his natural sinful heart at times break out in words and deeds, bring a Christian his greatest heartache, so that he feels constrained to say with Paul: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7: 24.
2. On the other hand a Christian “earnestly desires to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” A Christian knows that this heavenly house is prepared for him. So from year to year the desire to enter the new home becomes greater.
3. Since, however, a Christian does not know the exact time when this earnest desire will be fulfilled, he daily keeps himself prepared.
III.
1. The last words of our text read: “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” What is meant by our nakedness and by being clothed? Our nakedness is our sinful condition, our original sin and our actual sins. With our own filthy dress we cannot stand before God. Therefore, we repeat this precious prayer again and again, as did also the deceased the afternoon before her departure, when I visited her in the hospital:
“I pray Thee, my heavenly Father:
Let me fall asleep in Jesus’ wounds,
There pardon formy sins abounds,
Yes, Jesus bloodand righteousness
My jewels are and royal dress
With these before my God I’ll stand
When I shallreach the heavenly land.”

FROM KRISTIAN TO ZIESCHANG

Spelling of Personal and Place Names
From Kristian to Zieschang
Our Zieschang Lineage
Notes
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
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.
7-25-96
Revised 11-18-02
Revised: 6-12-04

FROM KRISTIAN TO ZIESCHANG

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.

 OUR ZIESCHANG LINEAGE

[1]

Johann Zieschang married Hanscha Hommel

[2]

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

[3]

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

[4]

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

NOTES

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.

[1]

JOHANN ZIESCHANG AND HANSCHA HOMMEL

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.”

[2]

MAGDALENE ZIESCHANG AND CARL MICHALK

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 (1810)

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

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.

 ERNSTINE ZIESCHANG AND ERNST MICHALK

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.

THERESE ZIESCHANG

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.

TOO MANY JOHANN ZIESCHANGS

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.

FROM MJELA TO MOEHLE (MÖHLE)

Spelling of Personal and Place Names

From Mjela to Möhle (Moehle)

Our Mjela to Moehle Lineage

Notes

Johann Möhle and His Wife, Dorothea

Andreas Möhle and Anna Wuchatsch

Magdalene Möhle and Johann Biar

Obituary of Magdalene Biar, nee Moehle

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.

7-8-96

Revised: 11-18-02

Revised: 6-6-04

FROM MJELA TO MÖHLE (MOEHLE)

One thing is certain, a person need not be engaged in researching his Wendish ancestors very long before he finds out that surnames were frequently spelled more than one way. In the early Serbin records the maiden name of Magdalene Biar, wife of Johann Biar, Sr., is spelled MEHLE. However, in old Krischa and Kotitz (Upper Lusatia) church records the name is usually spelled MÖHLE. Since Möhle (Moehle) appears much more frequently
than Mehle or any other spelling, I have chosen to use Möhle (Moehle) in this history. The name Möhle is listed in many German telephone directories. Moehle is also found in many American telephone directories, including Denver. However, our ancestors were Wends or Sorbs and since the name in the records is also rendered MEHLE, MEHLA, MJELA and MILA, indications are that the origin is not German. Dr. Helmut Fasske of the Sorbian
Ethnological Institute in Bautzen wrote that Möhle is Mjela in Sorbian and that the name is a short form of the Sorbian personal names BOGUMIL, MILOSLAW and MILIDUCH. This has reference to mil, milo and mili which stem from milu, an old Slavic word meaning “love.” It is interesting to note that my late Slovakian friend, Godfrey Cadra, Midland, Texas, was baptized Bogumil Cadra. Members of his immediate family called him “Milo”  (pronounced Mee-lo).

Our Möhle ancestors came from Krischa, which the Nazis re-named “Buchholz” in 1936.  This is one of the few place names that did not revert back to its former name after World War II. It is interesting to note, that back in 1767 this village was called Buchholz and this could be a reason why it was not changed back to Krischa. It is located 9 miles east of Bautzen. The Sorbian name for Krischa is Krisow. Onomastics point to two sources for this place name: either a person named Křiš, shortened form of cross, or place of one Křiswoš, whose name was shortened to Křiš.

OUR MJELA TO MOEHLE LINEAGE

                                                                            [1]

Johann Möhle, married Dorothea

[2]

Andreas Möhle married 24 Apr 1814: Kotitz, Saxony to Anna Wuchatsch

B. 27 Jan 1792: Krischa, Silesia                        B. 25 Jul 1793: Särka, Saxony

D. 8 Jan 1870: Särka, Saxony                          D. 14 Nov 1858: Särka, Saxony

[3]

Magdalene Möhle married 17 Aug 1845: Kotitz, Saxony to Johann Biar

B. 19 Nov 1824: Särka, Saxony                         B. 16 Feb 1823: Gröditz, Saxony

D. 18 Sep 1867: Serbin, Texas                          D. 10 Jun 1885: Serbin, Texas

                                                                            [4]

Andreas Biar married 8 Feb 1876: Serbin, Texas to Maria Therese Hattas [+]

B. 28 Oct 1853: Gröditz,Saxony                        B. 1 Mar 1856: Brenham, Texas

D. 8 Feb 1916: Serbin, Texas                            D. 30 Aug 1894: Serbin, Texas

Andreas Biar married 16 Feb 1896: Serbin, Texas to Magdalena Groeschel

B. 28 Nov 1851: Weicha, Saxony

D. 29 Nov 1937: Serbin, Texas

[5]

Johann Otto Biar married 17 Jan 1905: Fedor, 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

NOTES

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. 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.

[1]

JOHANN MÖHLE AND HIS WIFE, DOROTHEA

We have little information on Johann Möhle, our earliest identifiable Möhle ancestor. All we know is that he and his wife, Dorothea, lived in Krischa (now Buchholz). Their son Andreas was our ancestor.

[2]

ANDREAS MÖHLE AND ANNA WUCHATSCH

Andreas Möhle was born at Krischa on 27 January 1792. On 24 April 1814 he married Anna Wuchatsch at Kotitz. She was also known as Hanka. After their marriage they made their home in Särka, where Andreas was a farmer (Gärtner).

Anna Wuchatsch was born at Särka on 25 July 1793. She had a twin brother named Jank. Her father was George Wuchatsch, who was born in 1764, probably at Särka, where he was a farmer (Gärtner). Her mother was Anna, née Kloss, from Unwuerde, near Kittlitz, Saxony. They were married at Kittlitz in 1787. Anna’s mother died in 1813 and her father in 1814. Max Gottschald in his DEUTSCHE NAMENKUNDE (German Onomastics) lists Wuchatsch: wend. wuchač “grossohrig” (Wuchatsch: Wendish “big-eared”).

Andreas and Anna Möhle had four sons and six daughters. Two sons and two daughters died as infants. Their daughter, Magdalene, was our ancestress. Anna died at Särka on 14 November 1858 and Andreas also died at Särka on 8 January 1870.

[3]

MAGDALENE MÖHLE AND JOHANN BIAR

Magdalene Möhle was born at Särka on 19 November 1824. Her parents were Andreas Möhle and Anna, née Wuchatsch.

On 17 August 1845 she married Johann Biar, who was born at Gröditz, Saxony, on 16 February 1823, the older son of Michael Biar and Anna, née Schneider. They were married at Kotitz on 17 August 1845. It is likely that Pastor Johann Kilian performed the ceremony since he was the pastor there at that time. They made their home at Gröditz where he was the village blacksmith.

In 1854, Magdalene and Johann and two small sons, immigrated to Texas. Magdalene left behind two brothers and four sisters, while Johann left behind one half-sister, Anna Malke, née Biar. His only brother, Andreas, immigrated to Australia in 1854, the same year they went to Texas.

Magdalene and Johann had seven children, five sons and two daughters. The first three children, all sons, were born at Gröditz. The first son died at birth. The other two, Johann, born in 1850, and Andreas, our ancestor, born in 1853, accompanied their parents to Texas in 1854.  At that time Johann was 4 years old and Andreas, 1. The other four children were born at Serbin. One daughter, Maria Theresia, born in 1859, died at the age of five. Those reaching maturity were as follows:

NAME                  BORN             DIED                   MARRIED

Johann (Jr.)         30 Aug 1850   20 Jun 1923          Agnes Handrick

Andreas              28 Oct 1853    8 Feb 1916           Maria Therese Hattas

Maria                  29 Aug 1856    5 Aug 1924         August Schulz

Ernst August       17 Jun 1862    10 Oct 1888         Anna Helene Zschech

Johann Hermann 27 Oct 1864    29 Nov 1950        Anna Lydia Miertschin

Magdalene died from typhoid fever (Nervenfieber) at Serbin on 18 September 1867 at the age of 42 years. Johann died at Serbin on 10 June 1885 at the age of 62. Both are buried in the Serbin cemetery.

Our Moehle line continues with ANDREAS BIAR AND MARIA HATTAS in the Biar family history entitled FROM BÄHR (BAEHR) TO BIAR.

OBITUARY OF MAGDALENE BIAR, NÉE MOEHLE

With respect and love we remember Magdalene, the wife of Johann Bjar, a farmer at Serbin, whom the Lord God called from this world at 11 P.M. on Wednesday of last week, and whose mortal body, after the dismissal at her home, was buried with Christian benedictions on Thursday of last week and in whose honor a funeral sermon was held a week ago.

She was born on 25 November 1825*. Her father was Andreas Mehla, a farmer (Gärtner) at Särka; her mother was Hanna, née Wuchatsch, from Särka. When she received holy baptism, she was given the Christian name Magdalene. In the years of her childhood she was given a good upbringing and sent to school, where she received the necessary instruction in Christian doctrine and other knowledge. After she renewed her baptismal vow, she was a maid here and there, until, at the age of 20, she was united in holy matrimony with Johann Bjar, a farmer (Gärtner) at Gröditz, with whom she lived happily in wedlock for 22 years. By God’s blessing she bore 7 children, of whom one son and one daughter preceded her into eternity. Four sons and one daughter are still living. In regard to her last illness and death, she became ill with typhoid fever (Nervenfieber) Tuesday, two weeks ago. On Monday of last week she received Holy Communion at home, and strengthened by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, she departed on Wednesday of last week at 11 P.M. at the age of 41 years, 10 months and 2 days+.

May the Lord comfort the bereaved widower; 4 bereaved sons, Johann, Andreas, Ernst and Hermann; and one bereaved daughter, Maria; in Europe, her father, Andreas Mehla of Särka; and one brother, Andreas Mehla of Särka; and 3 sisters in Europe, Maria, the wife of Johann Jentsch of Särka, Agnes, the wife of August Israel of Rosenhain, and Christiane, at home with her brother; and other relatives and acquaintances.

Thanks are extended to Johann Hattass and his wife, Magdalene, for their assistance and loving support; Jacob Moerbe and his wife, Anna, for their help; to Johann Miertschin and his wife, Agnes#, for their help; to Ernst Menzel for his demonstration of love; to Johann Zieschang for transporting the body; to the two grave diggers; to the pall-bearers; and those present at the funeral.

In final honorary memory, hymn 42, “My Jesus is blood, etc.,” will be sung.

* A copy of her birth certificate supplied by Pastor Heinz Wiedmer, Weissenberg, indicates her date of birth was 19 November 1824.

+ Her date of death was on 18 September 1867.

Note:  The above obituary was translated from the Wendish into German by Dr. Helmut Fasske, Sorbian Ethnological Institute, Bautzen, in 1971 and translated into English by the writer shortly thereafter. My German copy of the Wendish original ended at the place marked #. For the translation from the place marked # to the end I am indebted to Dr. Joseph Wilson, Houston, Texas.

FROM DUB TO DUBE

Spelling of Personal and Place Names

From Dub to Dube

Our Dube Lineage

Notes

Christoph Dube and His Wife

Michael Dube and Johanna Rosina Tanniger

Johanne Rachel Dube and Ferdinand Jacob Moerbe

Other Dubes 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 the 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.

8-23-96

Revised: 11-18-02

FROM DUB TO DUBE

My search for my Dube ancestors took me to the region called OBERLAUSITZ in what was East Germany. In English it is called UPPER LUSATIA and at the time of the Wendish Emigration of 1854 it was a part of the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen). The oldest Dube ancestor I could identify was Christoph Dube, born in 1767and who lived in the village of Trauschwitz, about 10 miles east of Bautzen. The people living in Trauschwitz attend the church at Nostitz.

In 1813, French soldiers, fighting under apoleon, plundered Trauschwitz and Nostitz and both villages were set on fire. ll houses were burned down but the church in Nostitz was spared. The church records, which were in the parsonage, were destroyed; therefore, there are no records dating prior to 1813.

Trauschwitz is called TRUŠECY in Sorbian, which means “folks of one Družk.”  Evidently, the German name, TRAUSCHWITZ, was formed by taking the first syllable TRUS (Trausch) and adding a diminutive suffix witz to it. This procedure of naming villages and hamlets in the vicinity of Bautzen was common and there are numerous names of villages and hamlets that end with itz and witz. In Sorbian NOSTITZ is NOSAĆICY, which means “folks of one Nosata.”

DUBE, which means oak (Eiche in German), is a derivation of the Sorbian dub, pronounced “dup.” Dube appears in some of the records as DUB and DUBA. DUBE is a common name in some parts of Upper Lusatia.

OUR DUBE LINEAGE

[1]

Christoph Dube

B. 27 Oct 1767

D. 27 May 1843: Trauschwitz, Saxony

[2]

Michael Dube married 19 Jun 1830, Kittlitz, Saxony to Johanna Rosina Tanniger aka Tanner

B. 27 Sep 1807: Trauschwitz, Saxony                        B. 15 Dec 1807: Bellwitz, Saxony

D. 29 Sep 1854: Ireland                                           D. 18 Aug 1889: Serbin, Texas

[3]

Anna Holfeld married 14 May 1854, Baruth, Saxony to Ferdinand Jakob Moerbe

B. 2 Dec 1828: Neudörfdel, Saxony                            B. 6 Dec 1828: Guttau, Saxony

D. 30 Nov 1854: On BEN NEVIS at sea                       D. 13 Dec 1896: Thorndale, Texas

Johanna Rahel Dube [+] married 17 May 1855, Serbin, Texas to Ferdinand Jakob Moerbe

B. 4 Aug 1834: Sohland am Rotstein, Saxony

D. 15 Aug 1917: Thorndale, Texas

[4]

Carl August Moerbe married 09 Feb 1883, Fedor, Texas to Ernstine Michalk

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

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

[5]

Lydia Lina Moerbe married Jan 17 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

NOTES

Names of persons born in what is now Germany are spelled the way they appear in the church records where the baptisms are recorded.

Spelling of places for OUR DUBE LINEAGE (P.) was taken from a modern German map. States, countries, etc., are in English.

“Also known as” was used to translate the German “genannt.”  It indicates that a person underwent a name change.

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.

[1]

CHRISTOPH DUBE AND HIS WIFE

Our Dube ancestors can be traced to Christoph Dube and was born 27 October 1767. He was a farmer (Grossgärtner) at Trauschwitz. His wife’s name and date and place of birth are not available. The church records at Nostitz mention two brothers, Johann and Andreas, and a sister, Agnes. He died on 5 May 1843 at Trauschwitz.

After French soldiers burned his house to the ground Christoph rebuilt his house and from all indications built well, because the house was still standing with the monogram “C D” on it in 1972. The house passed from the Dube family in 1860 when the widow of a descendant, named Adam Dube, married Andreas Schneider. Dube descendants of Christoph live in Zschorna and Löbau.

Christoph’s son, Michael, was our ancestor.

[2]

MICHAEL DUBE AND JOHANNA ROSINA TANNIGER

Michael Dube was born at Trauschwitz, County (Kreis) of Löbau, Saxony, on 27 September 1807. His father’s name was Christoph, who was a farmer (Grossgärtner) at Trauschwitz. His mother’s name is not available.

An entry in the church records at Nostitz attests that Michael married Anna Rosina Tanniger on 19 June 1830. The church records at Kittlitz list her name as Johanna Rosina Tanniger genannt (also known as) Tanner. The name also emerges as TANIGER, DANIGER and TANGER in some of the records. Back in the 1830s spelling of names had not yet been standardized. However, when the German gennant was used it indicated a change of
surname due to a change in status or the assumption of someone else’s property or some other reason. The name change was probably effected by her father. The origin of TANNIGER is problematic. Since they were Wends, the name could have come from a Slavic stem word, such as, dan which means “given,” instead of the German Tanne (fir tree).

Since Mrs. Dube was born at Bellwitz, which belongs to the parish of Kittlitz, Johanna Rosina were probably her correct given names. If the custom was followed to call a person by the given name immediately preceding the surname, she was called “Rosina.” Johanna was often recorded as Hanna or Anna in other records.  She was born on 15 December 1807, the fifth daughter and tenth child of Johann Christoph Tanniger, a resident of Bellwitz, and his wife, Anna Elizabeth GÄRTNER from Eibau. Anna Elizabeth was born at Ebersbach near Zittau. By occupation Christoph Tanniger was a weaver.

Michael Dube and Johanna Rosina, nee Tanniger, alias Tanner, had a large family, with theirchildren being born at a number of places. There are nine children listed on the Ship Register of the BEN NEVIS.  However, we have found records of eleven children. Their names appear in various parish baptismal records as follows:

NAME                             BORN         PLACE                          PARISH

1.  Johann Carl August     1831          Bellwitz                         Kittlitz

2.  Johanne Christiane      1832          Sohland am Rotstein     Sohland am Rotstein

3.  Johanne Rahel            1834          Sohland am Rotstein     Sohland am Rotstein

4.  Johanne Eleonore       1836           Sohland am Rotstein    Sohland am Rotstein

5.  Johanne Marie           1838            Bellwitz                       Kittlitz

6.  Carl Traugott             1839            Mauschwitz                 Kittlitz

7.  Johanne Ernstine       1841            Sohland am Rotstein    Sohland am Rotstein

8.  Johann Traugott        1843            Grossdehsa                 Kittlitz

9.  Marie Therese           1847             Rachlau                     Hochkirch

10. Johann Ernst            1849             Rachlau                     Hochkirch

11. Louise                     1851             Rachlau                     Hochkirch

It is interesting to note that the first name JOHANN was given to three of the above-named boys and JOHANNE was given to five of the above-mentioned girls. It was the custom to call children by the given name immediately preceding their surname, so that the first boy was called “August” and the first girl, “Christiane,” and so on. However, this was not always followed because I understand that my great grandmother, Johanne (also Johanna) Rahel (Rachel) Moerbe, née Dube, went by the name “Anna” or “Anne” for Johanne. It would be interesting to know by what names all of the above were called. Johanne Marie and Johann Traugott were not listed on the Ship Register. It is assumed that they died in early childhood.

The fact that the children were born at various places, as indicated in the above list, presented quite a problem when I first started to research the Michael Dube family. On the birth records of his children Michael Dube’s occupation is listed as Schäfer (shepherd) until the family moved to Grossdehsa. Here he was identified as a Häusler (cotter or cottager), which means that he owned a house and probably a small plot of land for gardening within the confines of the manor at Grossdehsa, near Löbau. Later the family moved to Rachlau and then to Rodewitz. Both of these villages belong to the Parish of Hochkirch. At the time of the emigration of 1854 he was identified as a Halbbauer (half-farmer) at Rodewitz. A peasant, identified as a “Bauer” (farmer), owned what was known as a Hufe (hide) of land, which varied in size from about 20 to 27 acres. A hide of land was supposed to support a family. Being a half-farmer, Michael Dube owned a house and a half of a hide of land within the confines of the manor. In those days it was a long way from shepherd to half-farmer. It is assumed that the property at Rodewitz was sold to finance the immigration to Texas.

Michael Dube died on the Ship BEN NEVIS on 29 September 1854 and was buried in Ireland. Thus Mrs. Dube arrived at Galveston, a widow with 9 children. One of the daughters, Maria Therese, born in 1847, died in the Houston area on 22 December 1854, the first of the Wends to die on Texas soil. It must have been a trying time for the Dube family to start a new life in Texas without a husband and father. Rosina Dube died at Serbin on 18 August 1889. She was buried in the Serbin cemetery.

[3]

JOHANNE RACHEL DUBE AND FERDINAND JACOB MOERBE

Johanne Rahel (Rachel) Dube was born on 8 August 1834 at Sohland am Rotstein, Saxony. Her parents were Michael Dube and Johanne Rosina, née Tanniger, alias Tanner. She was the third of 11 children. Sohland am Rotstein is about 16 miles east of Bautzen and about 5½ miles east of Löbau. It is about 7 miles southeast from Trauschwitz, where her father was born. Sohland am Rotstein is not to be confused with Sohland an der Spree, which is south of Bautzen. The Sorbian name for Sohland is ZAŁOM, which means “the village behind the break in the terrain.” At the age of 20 years she, together with her parents and brothers and sisters, was a member of the large Wendish immigration to Texas in 1854. On 17 May 1855, she married a young widower, Jacob Moerbe, who also was among the Wends that came to Texas in 1854. The writer’s mother told him that when Jacob’s first wife lay on her deathbed she suggested that he marry Anna (Johanne). Anna and Jacob reared a family of 9 children as follows:

NAME                           BORN          DIED               SPOUSE

1. Maria Magdalene        1 Oct 1856  18 Jan 1921     Ernst Waiser – 1843-1918
2. Ernst Adolph             21 Mar1858  23 Nov1939     Maria Urban – 1863-1936
3. Carl August              17 Jan 1860    6 Sep 1944     Ernestine Michalk – 1862-1936
4. (Carl) Johann (John)   6 Jul 1863   16 Jun 1936     Johanna Ernestine Michalk -1868-1943
5. (August) Hermann     11 Feb1865  22 Nov1928      Maria Schultz – 1867-1940
6. Emil Ferdinand          30 Mar1868   1 May 1951     Maria Emilie Schneider – 1878-1962
7. Carl Traugott            13 Jan 1870  13 Feb 1935     Emma Simmank –
8. Johanna Emma         14 Aug 1872   4 Dec 1905     Paul Schultz – 1864
9. Johanna (Anna)          2 Oct 1875  15 Nov 1896     Wilhelm Eifert –
All children were born in the Serbin area except the youngest daughter, Johanna, who was born at Fedor. Pastor Kilian’s baptismal records at Serbin do not contain the births of Carl August, John and Hermann. At the time of their births the Jacob Moerbes belonged to what is now known as the “first St. Peter congregation.” This congregation belonged to the Texas Synod and was dissolved in 1867. Then the Jacob Moerbes again joined the original St. Paul congregation.

The Jacob Moerbe family moved to Fedor in the latter part of 1872.

Ernst Adolph was a farmer at Fedor while August, John and Carl were farmers in the Thorndale area.

Herman and John Michalk operated Moerbe and Michalk Mercantile in Thorndale. In 1911 Hermann and his wife and family moved to Bishop, where he was a farmer.

Emil was a Lutheran pastor, who from 1892 until 1895 served as a missionary, based at Cisco, also served Abilene, Baird and Big Spring. He spent a considerable amount of time in Abilene. When an Episcopal chapel became available he borrowed $500 from his father to buy it. The congregation repaid some of the debt, but not very much. When he married, his father, as a wedding gift, canceled the remainder of the debt. This was certainly an unusual wedding present. He was the pastor at Giddings from 1895 until 1909 and then at Hamilton from 1909 until 1939, when he retired. He served on the Texas District Mission Board for 36 years. When Pastor Moerbe visited Thorndale he always visited his brother, August, and this writer had the pleasure of hearing him relate his experiences as a member of the Texas District Mission board, one such experience being a trip to Mexico City.

Maria Magdalene married Ernst Waiser and Johanna Emma married Paul Schultz, both farmers in the Thorndale area. Johanna (Anna) married Wilhelm Eifert from Cisco in 1895. She died a year later and was buried at Thorndale. In 1893 Jacob and Johanne moved to Thorndale. He died on 13 December 1896 and was buried in St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery. After Jacob’s death Johanna made her home with her son, August. She died on 15 August 1917 and was buried beside her husband.

Our Dube line continues with CARL AUGUST MOERBE AND ERNESTINE MICHALK in the Moerbe family history entitled FROM DZICK TO MITSCHKE TO MÖRBE.

OTHER DUBES

The Ship Register of the BEN NEVIS lists Johann Dube and his wife, Magdalene, and son, Carl August, from Prauske. This has reference to Ober Prauske, which is a short distance southeast of Weigersdorf, Silesia. Some time ago the writer was asked whether or not Johann Dube and Michael Dube were related. My investigation revealed that Johann was born on 24 April 1826 at Cortnitz, Saxony, which belongs to the parish of Gröditz in Saxony. His father was Andreas Dube, who was born at Trauschwitz. His mother was Anna, nee Reisner, who was born at Baruth, Saxony. At his baptism on 26 April 1826 one of his sponsors was his uncle Johann Dube, from Trauschwitz. His father and uncle were brothers of the above-mentioned Michael Dube, so that the subject Johann Dube was Michael’s nephew. Since Johann was a member of the congregation at Weigersdorf, one of the two “Old Lutheran” congregations served by Pastor Johann Kilian before the emigration of 1854, one wonders what influence he had on the decision of his uncle’s family to emigrate. He was 28 years old when the Wends migrated. After the Wends arrived in Texas, he, together with Carl Lehmann, went ahead of the trekking colonists to select a place for the settlement.

Johann Dube’s first wife was Magdalene Gross from Wuischke, Saxony. She was born on 22 June 1829 and died on 19 December 1860. His second wife was Maria Symny from Rackel, Saxony. She was born on 6 October 1842. Her date of death is not available.

FROM DZICK TO MITSCHKE TO MOERBE

Index

Preface
Some Background
Our Dzick to Mitschke to Moerbe Lineage
Notes
Merten Dzick and His Wife, Urta
Jury Dzick and Hanna Brauzke, nee Donke
Jakob Dzick-Mitschke-Mörbe and Maria Lück
Jakob Mörbe and Anna Nurčan
Testament of Judge and Armorer Jakob Mörbe
Retirement
Mertin Nurčan’s Day in Court
The Thaler (Taler)
Jakob Mörbe and Maria Kuchar
Ferdinand Jacob Moerbe and Johanne Rachel Dube
Jacob Moerbe’s Obituary
Excerpt from Pastor Kilian’s Letter dated 10-19-1858
Carl August Moerbe and Ernestine Michalk
Lydia Lina Moerbe and Johann Otto Biar
Other Moerbes
Johann Carl Mörbe (1826)
Ernst Adolph Moerbe (1824)
Johann Mörbe [Moerbe] (1830)
Pastor Gustav Mürbe (Mjerwa)
Mörbe (Moerbe) or Mjerwa
Dubrausky (Dubrauske)
Dubrausky (Dubrauske) Lineage
Guttau or Hučina
Excerpt from A Centennial Story of the Lutheran Church in Texas – Page 99
2-22-96
Revised: 11-18-02
Revised: 6-12-04
PREFACE
This history is about the Moerbe family and covers some of its genealogy and a variety of subjects pertinent to the family’s background. It was not my intention to write a complete history and genealogy of the Moerbe family. My resolve was to go back as far as possible and bring the family from Lusatia and “transplant” it in Texas. Perhaps someday someone will bring the history and genealogy up-to-date.
My knowledge of German enabled me to do much research in that language. The fact that I spent two years (1945 – 1947) with U.S. Army Intelligence in Germany gave me an insight into gathering information. Researching your “roots” is much like collecting intelligence data – you need to fit the bits and pieces together. In work like this persistence, accuracy and perseverance are of utmost importance.
In 1972 I made a trip to the Bautzen area in East Germany and visited many of the villages listed in this history. Another trip was made in 1982 and two more trips were made in 1992 and 1994. There was also very much correspondence with various people, most of it in German.
I want to thank all those who helped me with dates of birth, marriage and death. If any of you want to use parts of this history, or make a copy of all or part of it, you have my permission. However, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you and invite your comments. This history has been revised several times and copies have appeared under several titles. I had no intention of revising it again, but since I lost my last revision in my old computer, I loaded what I had into my new computer and, naturally, I revised it again, hopefully for the last time.  Should you find any errors, please call them to my attention. As corrections and additional information become available addenda may be warranted.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the late Frau Annemarie Mihan, Niedergurig, Germany, who supplied much of the information of the early history of the Moerbe family and who answered a multitude of my questions. It was a great pleasure for me to meet this fine Christian lady in 1982. At least 25 letters flowed each way. Frau Mihan was in her middle eighties when she suffered a stroke and died in 1989. Her late husband, Johannes, was a descendant of Maria Mitschke, the daughter of Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, and his first wife, Anna Mitschke, neé Britsche.  Jakob Mitschke, later adopted the surname Mörbe and his daughter, Maria Mitschke, was then known as Maria Mörbe. Frau Mihan’s late husband was also related to the Biar side of my family. In 1992 I had the pleasure of visiting Frau Mihan’s son, Johannes, in Niedergurig.

For those who do not know me, permit me to mention that I am a native of Thorndale, Texas. My parents were Otto Biar and Lydia, neé Moerbe. In 1947 I married Stefana Todt who was born and grew up in Neisse, Silesia (Schlesien), Germany. Since 1968 we have been living in Denver where I completed 36 years as an accountant with Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) before retiring on 1 August 1983. In February 2001 we moved to Carrollton, Texas.

Bill Biar

SOME BACKGROUND 
My search for our Moerbe ancestors took me to East Germany, to a region called Lusatia (Lausitz). They lived, for the most part, in “Kreis” (County) Bautzen in Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz), northeast of the city of Bautzen. At the time of most of my research, Kreis Bautzen was a part of the District (Bezirk) of Dresden, one of the 14 districts that made up the former East German Republic.
 
After World War II about one-fourth of German territory, all east of the Oder and Lusatian Neisse Rivers, was given to Poland and Russia. The rest of Germany was divided into two countries. West Germany, known as the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland), was orientated toward the west. East Germany, known as the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), was one of the eastern block of nations that embraced communism. East Germany did away with former provinces or states, such as, Saxony and Brandenburg. In the place of provinces 14 administrative districts (Bezirk – Bezirke) were formed. These werenamed after the chief city in each district. In 1990 the two Germanys were united and the country is now known as the Federal Republic of Germany. Provinces were re-instated in the east. Former Silesian territory on the westside of the Lusatian Neisse River is now included in the newly formed Province of Saxony. Most of the Prussian (Silesian) Wends who migrated to Texas came from this area. The Saxon Wends came from Saxony toward the south.
 
When our Moerbe ancestors came to Texas in 1854 they were known as “Wends,” in German, WENDEN.  At one time all Slavic people who lived in Germany were called Wends. Later, Slavic speaking people who lived in Lusatiacontinued to be known as Wends. However, today, the Lusatian Slavs, often referred to as Wends, are officially known as Sorbs – Sorbian (German: Sorben – sorbisch) (Sorbian: Serbja – serbski). The Sorbs are the only peoplein Germany that can still be identified as Slavic. All others have been totally assimilated by the Germans and their languages have disappeared. Sorbs is better usage than Wends. However, most people in Texas have never heard of the Sorbs, but are perhaps acquainted with the Wends. In this composition our ancestors are referred to both as Wends and Sorbs.
 
Lusatia was the homeland of the Wends or Sorbs for centuries. The region of Lusatia is divided into two parts, Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz) in the south and Lower Lusatia (Niederlausitz) in the north. At the time of the Wendish Emigration of 1854, the southern part of Upper Lusatia belonged to the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen), while the northern part belonged to the Province of Silesia (Schlesien) in the Kingdom of Prussia (Königreich Preussen). Lower Lusatia was located in the Provinces of Silesia and Brandenburg in Prussia.
My search took me back to the time of the Thirty Years War. This war, which began in 1618, ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Many battles were fought in Lusatia. Less than 50 per cent of the Wendish population survived this catastrophe. Lusatia had five epidemics of the plague from 1625 and 1643. Nearly 2/3 of all property was destroyed. It took the German territories almost two hundred years to fully recover from thisterrible war.  Our Moerbe ancestors survived this and many other wars and hardships. They were hardy peasants.
 
The German language employs the 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 the ä, ae; ö, oe; and ü, ue. Thus, BÄHR is written BAEHR; MÖRBE, MOERBE; and WÜNSCHE, WUENSCHE. The spelling of place names with umlauts when applicable has been retained throughout this history. However, the spelling of personal names with umlauts was discontinued after the names were “transplanted” in Texas.
 
OUR DZICK TO MITSCHKE TO MOERBE LINEAGE 
[1]
Merten Dzick married Urta
B.1638                                                   B. 1638
D. 19 Mar 1700: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony   D. 3 Jul 1688: Baruth, Saxony
[2]
Juri Dzick married 22 Oct 1697: Baruth, Saxony to Urta Valke
B. 31 Aug 1672: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony               B.1674: Buchwalde, Saxony
D.12 Feb 1734: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony                D. 25 Mar 1712: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony  
Juri Dzick married 15 Apr 1713: Baruth, Saxony to Hanna Brauzke, née Donke [+]
B. 5 Mar 1678: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony                 D. 27Feb1762: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony
[3]
Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe married 19 Sep 1742: Gröditz, Saxony to Anna Mitschke née Britsche
B. 1 Jun 1720: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony                  B. 1709: Kleinsaubernitz, Saxony 
D. 6 Jan 1804: Baruth, Saxony                              D.2 Apr 1746: Buchwalde,Saxony     
Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe married 17 Jan 1747: Guttau, Saxony to Maria Lück [+]
                                                                         B. Gleina, Saxony
                                                                         D. 21 Nov 1780: Baruth, Saxony
Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe married 30 Nov 1783: Brosa, Saxony to Magdalene Basche
                                                                         B. Brösa, Saxony
[4]
Jakob Mörbe married 2 Feb 1779: Gröditz, Saxony to Anna Nurčan
B. 16 Mar 1755: Baruth, Saxony                 B. 10 Jan 1760: Rackel, Saxony
D. 25 Mar 1806: Baruth, Saxony                 D. 20 Jan 1825: Milkel, Saxony
[5]
Jakob Mörbe [+] married 27 Apr 1819: Guttau, Saxony to Maria Kuchar
B. 2 Oct 1789: Baruth, Saxony                     B. 19 Mar 1801: Neudörfel, Saxony
D. 17 Nov 1832: Guttau, Saxony                  D. 21 May 1855: Guttau, Saxony
Andreas Kästner married 2 Feb 1834: Guttau, Saxony to Maria Kuchar                         
B. 1807: Wurschen, Saxony                                        
D. 9 Feb 1844: Guttau, Saxony
 [6]
Ferdinand Jakob Mörbe married 14 May 1854: Baruth, Saxony to Anna Holfeld
B. 6 Dec 1828: Guttau, Saxony                      B. 2 Dec 1828: Neudörfel, Saxony
D. 13 Dec 1896: Thorndale, Texas                 D. 30 Nov 1854: On BenNevis at Sea
Ferdinand Jakob Mörbe married 17 May 1855: Serbin, Texas to Johanne Rahel Dube [+]
                                                                  B. 4 Aug 1834: Sohland am Rotstein, Saxony
                                                                  D. 15 Aug 1917: Thorndale, Texas
[7]
Carl August Moerbe married 9 Feb 1883: Fedor, Texas to Ernstine Michalk
B. 17 Jan 1860: Serbin, Texas                       B. 14 Oct 1862: Sandförstgen, Silesia
D. 06 Sep 1944: Taylor, Texas                      D. 15 Jan 1936: Thorndale,Texas
[8]
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. 24Jan 1957: Taylor, Texas                        D. 14 Nov 1956: Taylor, Texas
NOTES
Given names and original surnames, including maiden 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.
 
“Née” was used for the German “geborne” (geb.), indicating a maiden name.
 
The spelling of place names 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 counties of Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda are included in the newly-formed Province or State of Saxony in modern Germany. 
 
[1]
MERTEN DZICK AND HIS WIFE URTA 
Moerbe ancestors can be traced in church records to Merten Dzick. His date of birth predates the records at both Baruth and Guttau; however, his death on 19 March 1700 is recorded in the Baruth records. He reached the age of 62 so that he was born circa 1638. He was a small farmer (Gärtner) at Kleinsaubernitz, east of Guttau. Merten and Urta Dzick are recorded in the Baruth marriage records as the parents of Jury Dzick, who was our ancestor.  Urta’s maiden surname is not given. She died on 3 July 1668 at the age of 50 so that she also was born circa 1638.
 
[2]
 JURY DZICK AND HANNA BRAUZKE NÉE DONKE 
Jury (Georg) Dzick was born on 31 August 1672 at Kleinsaubernitz. He was a small farmer (Gärtner) and judge (Gerichtsältester). His first wife was Urta Valke, whom he married on 22 October 1697. She was born in 1674 and died on 25 March 1712.
 
His second marriage was to a widow, Hanna Brauzke, née Donke, on 15 April 1713. She was born on 5 March 1678 at Kleinsaubernitz. Her parents were Juri (Georg) Donke and Wurtha, née Heinze. Jury Dzick died on 12 February 1734 and Hanna on 27 February 1762, both at Kleinsaubernitz. Their son, Jakob, was our ancestor.
 
[3]
JAKOB DZICK – MITSCHKE – MÖRBE AND MARIA LÜCK
Jakob Dzick was born at Kleinsaubernitz on 1 June 1720. On 19 September 1742 he married Anna Mitschke, née Britsche, the widow of Jan Mitschke. She was born at Kleinsaubernitz in 1709 and at the time of their marriage she was 33 years old while he was 22, a difference of 11 years. At this time Jakob changed his surname to Mitschke. In those days when a peasant with little or no means married a widow whose former husband owned some farm land, he usually adopted the surname of the former husband. The amount of land in this case was one-half of a hide (Hufe), known as a Halbhufengut. These peasants were known as Halbhüfner and were the “biggest” farmers on some of the manors northeast of Bautzen. These manors or landed-estates were known as Rittergüter or Herrengüter (landed-estates owned by knights or lords). The Mitschke land was located at Buchwalde, southwest of Guttau. Jakob and Anna’s marriage was blessed with one daughter, Maria. Anna died on 22 April 1746 after only four years of marriage. It is assumed that the oldest son of Anna’s first marriage was in line to inherit the farm. At any rate, Jakob Mitschke lost his farm and had to look elsewhere.
 
On 17 January 1747 Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, married Maria Lück. Her date and place of birth are not available. Her father was Johann Lück from Gleina, south of Guttau. The surname Lück actually belonged to Maria’s mother. Her father’s original surname was Wokow before he adopted his wife’s surname. After Maria’s father died her mother married Martin Holisch, the blacksmith at Guttau. Jakob and Maria were blessed with two sons, Jan  (also called Johann) and Jakob. The younger son, Jakob, was our ancestor.
In 1756 Jakob Dzick, aka Mitschke, purchased one-half of a hide of land at Baruth, paying 250 Görlitzer Marks for it. The Halbhufengut belonged to the estate of Mathes Mörwe and his wife, both of whom died in 1744.  At this time Jakob changed his surname to Mörwe. The name-change was associated with the purchase of the Mörwefarm. The relationship that Jakob had with the Mörwes was through the first wife of Jury Dzick, Urta Valke.  Laterthe spelling was changed to Mörbe. This is how the family name MÖRBE, that is, MOERBE, came to us since Jakob’s children also adopted this surname even though they were formerly known by the surname of Mitschke.  Maria Mörbe, neé Lück, died on 21 November 1780. She was our ancestress.
 
On 30 November 1783 Jakob married yet a third time, to a widow, named Magdalene Basche, from Brösa, west of Guttau. Her maiden name, the date and place of birth, as well as, the date and place of death, are not available. She outlived her husband, who died at the age of 83 on 6 January 1804. Survivors, besides his wife, were the daughter, Maria, from his first marriage and two sons, Jan and Jakob, from his second one.  Jakob DZICK, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe, must be recognized as the patriarch of our Moerbe family.
 
[4]
JAKOB MÖRBE AND ANNA NURČAN
Jakob was born at Baruth on 16 March 1755. On 2 February 1779 he married Anna Nurčan. This name is spelled various ways: Nutzschansk, Nutszan, Nutzschan, Nuzzschank, etc. Nurčan is Sorbian. She was born on 10 January 1760 at Rackel near Gröditz and her parents were Mertin Nurčan and Hanna, neé Schram.
According to custom Jakob’s older brother, Jan, inherited the Mörbe farm. In various documents Jakob is identified as the hereditary blacksmith at Baruth. Even though there is the indication of being the hereditary  blacksmith (Erbschmied), no record of being related to a former blacksmith of Baruth, either by blood or by marriage, has been found. It must be pointed out that a valid relationship could go back several generations. If there was no relationship to a former owner, then Jakob’s father could have purchased the blacksmith shop with the approval of the owner of the manor.
 
We have a record of a will Jakob made on 25 June 1802. (A translation appears elsewhere, together with a short description of retirement, in those days.) He was identified as a judge and armorer (Richter und Waffenschmied) and designated his oldest son, Johann, as his successor in 4 years. There were pay out provisions for other surviving brothers and sisters. Provisions were made for a place to live, for food and a garden plot.  However, Jakob died a fewmonths before the 4 years, stipulated in his will, were over. Jakob’s wife, for whom the will also provided, lived until 1825.
 
Mertin Nurčan, Hanna’s father, had some difficulties with the authorities. It usually had to do with mandatory or compulsory labor (Frondienste, Fronarbeit, etc.; in Sorbian Robota, from where we get the word “robot”) for the manorial estate. A synopsis of the court proceedings appear elsewhere.
 
At the time of Jakob’s death on 25 March 1806, he was identified as a blacksmith, judge and church elder(Schmied, Richter und Kirchvater). Anna died at Milkel, northwest and somewhat removed from Baruth, on 20 January 1825. Jakob, their youngest son, was our ancestor.
 
TESTAMENT OF JUDGE AND ARMORER, JAKOB MÖRBE, IN BARUTH, 1802
In the Name of God:
I, the undersigned, acknowledge herewith that I bequeath my blacksmith shop to my oldest son, Johann Mörbe, under the following conditions:
 
I still want to keep the shop for four more years.
 
408 in conventional coins to be paid to the surviving brothers and sisters for 6 consecutive years after he takes over the shop, 5 also to be paid to me or his mother. Rights reserved (Ausgedinge), 3 bushels of rye and 12 cans (Kannen) of butter from Walpurgis [1 May] until St. Michaels’s Day [29 September]; 2 cans of good milk and the border field [garden plot] near the meadow; for each festival reserve 2 measures of wheat flour and a goose and a hen and some garden vegetables; and not restrain me from making something out of my iron in the blacksmith shop.
 
And I will live in the upper room and provide the necessary firewood. [I will receive] half of all fruit and should the mother die before I do, then a decrease of 1 bushel of rye and 4 cans of butter will be made; or if I should die in like manner; and should my son die before his future wife without legitimate heirs, then a payout of 100 Thalers will be made to her parents.
Signed / Jacob Mörbe, Local Blacksmith Baruth, 25 June 1802
[Translated by Bill Biar]
 
The original will is in the State Archives in Bautzen. As you will note the will is not always clear. Most of the periods and all semicolons were put in by the translator.
 
A Saxon Kanne (can) was .94 liter or almost a quart.
 
St. Walpurgis was an English missionary and abbess in Germany, who died in 778. Her canonization is observed 1 May. Superstition has it that on St. Walpurgis Night witches danced on old heathen sacrificial and tribunal sites.
 
RETIREMENT
Retired peasants in many parts of Germany, including our Wendish ancestors, were called Auszügler or Ausgedinger in German. Both have to do with retirement.
 
An Auszügler [one who moves out] moves out to smaller living quarters, either in the same house or to a smaller house [hut] nearby. The person named in his will, as his successor, may then occupy the living quarters of the farm, blacksmith shop, etc., when he takes over.
 
An Ausgedinger [one who reserves rights] makes a will prior to retirement with certain reservations [Ausgedinge].He names his successor and stipulates certain rights to which he is entitled; such as, a place to live, food, a garden plot, etc.
 
The oldest son usually inherited the farm, or other property, with payout provisions for the rest of the children.
MERTIN NURČAN’S DAY IN COURT
Legal proceedings in the court at Baruth against Martin Nutzschank (Mertin Nurčan), the father of Anna Mörbe, neé Nurčan, are on file in the State Archives in Bautzen. Following is a brief summary:
On 7 May 1756, he was charged by the Baruth Court [In those days the upper nobility in the County of Bautzen lived at Baruth and Neschwitz so that both had the character of small principalities] that, “On 10 April 1756, he was ordered on the day of mandatory labor for the manorial estate to haul some rye from Klein-Radmeritz [11 kilometers, about 7 miles, southeast of Baruth] and since the rye was of poor quality he should have hauled 8 bushels per bill of sale, but he brought only 6 bushels to Baruth.” He was also charged with “about 14 days ago he cut wood near the pheasantry without getting permission from the proper authorities.” He admitted hauling only 6 bushels. He said that “he was not required to load more whether or not it was inferior or good rye; maybe it should have read barley.” It was explained to him that the bill of sale clearly stated 8 bushels of inferior rye and that he was required to follow orders. Concerning the wood he said that “he had not been sufficiently instructed; therefore, he should not be punished.”
The court ruled that he was guilty of impropriety for hauling less grain than required by the bill of sale and by unlawfully cutting wood. The court set his fine at 2 Reichsthaler and 12 Groschen, payable within 8 days. 
Since he failed to pay the fine in the allotted time the Rackel authorities took a cow away from him. This cow was sold at Baruth for 6 Reichsthalers and 12 Groschen. Evidently, the Rackel authorities kept the entire amount.
A person wonders why there was an issue made of hauling only 6 bushels of rye instead of 8. The answer seems to rest in the weight. Inferior rye weighs less than good rye. Barley also weighs less per bushel than rye. It appears that a normal load of rye was 6 bushels while a normal load of barley was 8 bushels. The authorities wanted to get a little extra “mileage” out of Mertin Nurčan but he did not want to be pushed around. Like always, the lord of the manor won. The German word for bushel is Scheffel. At that time a Saxon Scheffel of
rye weighed about 192 pounds and a Scheffel of barley weighed about 164 pounds. It is interesting to note that at one time Scheffel was also used for measurement of land in Saxony.
THE THALER (TALER)
A Reichsthaler was a silver coin worth about 3 Marks. Using the January 1985 exchange rate of approximately 3 Marks to the dollar, the Reichsthaler was the equivalent of an American dollar. Reich means “empire” or “imperial,” and Thaler [modern spelling Taler] means “dollar.” The Thaler was named after a coin that was minted in Joachimsthal (now in the Czech Republic) called Joachimsthaler. The Joachims was eventually dropped and the coin was called Thaler, Reichsthaler, etc. Even our dollar derivated from Thaler. The Thaler, now spelled Taler, is no longer used in Germany. Groschen is sometimes translated as “penny,” in German Pfennig, meaning one-hundredth part. However, at first there were 24, later 30, Groschen to the Thaler. Groschen are no longer used in Germany. The Czech name for Joachimsthal is Jachymov.
[5]
JAKOB MÖRBE AND MARIA KUCHAR
Jakob was born at Baruth on 2 October 1789. He, like his father and oldest brother, was a blacksmith. His oldest brother, Johann, inherited the blacksmith shop at Baruth. Jakob was the hereditary blacksmith (Erbschmied) at Guttau. Here is a typical example of how a peasant became the hereditary blacksmith even though the shop did not belong to his father. In 1727, Martin Holisch, the blacksmith at Guttau, married the widow, Maria Lück. Maria Holisch, neé Lück, was the mother of the Maria Lück who became the second wife of Jacob Dzick, aka Mitschke, aka Mörbe. (See JAKOB DZICK-MITSCHKE-MÖRBE AND MARIA LÜCK) Actually, Martin Holisch was the step great grandfather of Jakob Mörbe (born in 1789). Since there was no other eligible male available Jakob became the hereditary blacksmith at Guttau by virtue of his being distantly related by marriage to the former blacksmith at
Guttau. It was unusual to have brothers as hereditary blacksmiths in two separate villages, Baruth and Guttau.
On 27 April 1819 Jakob married Maria Kuchar (Koch in German – Cook in English) from Neudörfel, about 2 kilometers from Guttau. She was born on 19 March 1801. Her parents were Johann Kuchar, a farmer(Grossgärtner) at Neudörfel, and his wife, Anna Kuchar, neé Triede, from Gröditz.  
Johann Kuchar’s parents were Georg Biele, aka Kuchar, and Hanscha Kuchar. Hanscha did not have any brothers and when George married her, he adopted the surname Kuchar.
Jakob and Maria Mörbe had three sons and three daughters. The youngest son, Ferdinand Jakob, was our ancestor. He and his oldest brother, Ernst Adolph, came to Texas in 1854 with the large Wendish  immigration.  Jakob (1789), identified as a blacksmith, church elder and assistant judge (Schmied, Kirchvater and Gerichtsschoppe) at Guttau, died of pneumonia on 17 November 1832 at the age of 43.
The widow, Maria, married Andreas Kästner in 1834. He was born in 1807 at Wurschen, south of Baruth.  He died in 1844. Maria died at Guttau on 21 May 1855.
[6]
FERDINAND JACOB MOERBE AND JOHANNE RACHEL DUBE
In 1854, Jacob and Anna were among a group of over 550 Wends who left their homeland and came to Texas. Among the 73 persons who died en route was Anna. She died on the ship BEN NEVIS on 30 November 1854 and was buried at sea. Thus Jacob was a young widower when he arrived at Galveston, Texas, on 16 December 1854. After reaching Serbin he stayed with his older brother, Ernst Adolph, and family, until he married again.
On 17 May 1855, Jacob married Johanne Rahel (Rachel) Dube. She was born at Sohland (now known as Sohland am Rotstein), County of Görlitz, Saxony, on 4 August 1834. Her place of birth was a considerable distance from where most of the Wends came. Her parents were Michael Dube and Johanna Dube, neé Tanniger. The writer’s mother told him that when Jacob’s first wife lay on her death bed she suggested that he marry Annie (Johanne).
As far as can be determined from the records on file in the National Archives, Washington, D,C., Jacob was mustered into service in the Confederate Army at the age of 34 on 24 June 1862. He was enrolled as a private in Captain Julius Bose’s Company, Texas Volunteer Infantry, at Camp Terry, located on the Colorado River near Austin. However, after only 20 days in the army, including a furlough from 24 June to 7 July 1862, the following appears on his service record: “Discharged – Remarks: By reason of surgeon’s certificate of discharge at S. Antonio, July 14, ’62.” This writer heard that the disability was his extreme bowleggedness.
It appears that his service during the Civil War did not end with his discharge from the army. The writer’s mother said that he, being a tailor, sewed uniforms for officers in San Antonio. No other information about his duty as a tailor is available.
Jacob and Annie reared a family of nine children as follows:
NAME                         BORN                DIED              SPOUSE 
Maria Magdalene (1)    01 Oct 1856      18 Jan 1921     Ernst Waiser – 1843-1918      
Ernst Adolph (1)          21 Mar 1858     23 Nov 1939     Maria Urban – 1863-1936     
Carl August (2)           17 Jan 1860      06 Sep 1944      Ernestine Michalk* – 1862-1936
Carl Johann (2)           06 Jul 1863      16 Jun 1936      Johanna Ernestine Michalk+   
August Hermann (2)    11 Feb 1865     22 Nov 1928      Maria Schultz – 1867-1940     
Emil Ferdinand (1)      30 Mar 1868     01 May 1951     Marie Emilie Schneider – 1878-1962
Carl Traugott (1)        13 Jan 1870     13 Feb.1935      Emma Simmank – 1877              
Johanna Emma (3)     14 Aug 1872      04 Dec 1905    Paul Schultz – 1864     
Johanna (Anna) (4)    02 Oct 1875      15 Nov 1896     Wilhelm Eifert                                   
[Mrs. John Moerbe+ was Mrs. August Moerbe’s* niece.]
(1) Born while members of St. Paul, Serbin
(2) Born while members of first St. Peter, Serbin
(3) Born while members of second St. Peter, Serbin
(4) Born while members of Trinity, Fedor
St. Paul was initially known as “The First Sorbian Lutheran Church in Texas.” On 8 January 1871 the official name was changed to “The First Wendish and German St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Unaltered Augsburg Confession, in Serbin, Lee County.”
It is obvious from the above that the Jacob Moerbe family belonged to both break-away Lutheran congregations at Serbin. There were internal difficulties in Serbin from the very beginning. The congregation had been organized by members of the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church in Prussia, a Lutheran free church.  Up to 1843, when the Old Lutheran congregations at Weigersdorf and Klitten (in Prussia) were organized, all
Lutherans in Prussia were considered members of the Prussian State Church. Even though many Lutherans living in Saxony were in sympathy with the Old Lutheran movement, they did not organize Old Lutheran congregations but remained in the Saxon State Church. Many of the Prussian Wends, who came to Texas, did not join the Old Lutherans until just before the emigration. Thus, to begin with, the Serbin Wends came from an Old Lutheran, as well as, a state church, background.
Another factor that neéds to be taken into consideration is that the Lutheran Church in many parts of Germany had been influenced by pietism since the 17th century. Pietism often overemphasized experience and enthusiasm. Pietism did not separate itself from the Lutheran Church but remained in it. It is, therefore, safe to state that some Wends brought pietistic tendencies to Texas.
We also learn from history that the Wends had a tendency toward factionalism. Another factor was the language problem, although it appears to have been less of a factor in forming the first St. Peter congregation than the second one. Finally, Pastor Kilian was obligated to teach school. This decreased the time he had available for pastoral duties, not only in Serbin, but in the surrounding area. By taking all the above factors into consideration it is not hard to understand why internal strife commenced soon after our Wendish settlers arrived at Serbin.
In the vicinity of Serbin there was a congregation composed of German Methodists. Some of the Wends, especially some of the Saxons, were impressed with Methodist worship. They appear to have been very much influenced by pietism. The leaders of these Wendish enthusiasts were Johann Noack from Gröditz and Johann Urban from Rackel. However, only Johann Noack and his wife joined the Methodists.
Some of the dissidents contacted Pastor J. Georg Lieb of Round Top, a member of the Texas Synod. In a letter, dated 19 October 1858, Pastor Kilian wrote Pastor Gumlich in Weigersdorf that on October 9 one of the so-called separatists, Jacob Moerbe, appeared with Pastor Lieb at his house on behalf of the dissidents. Jacob Moerbe wanted to know why the secessionists were excluded from Communion at the Wendish church. [A translation of an excerpt from the above letter is included in this history.] On 16 October 1858, the first St. Peter congregation
was organized and joined the Texas Synod. Pastor Lieb served as their first pastor. He accepted a call to Austin in 1864 and Rev. C. Christian Rudi became their next pastor. The congregation never exceeded 45 communicant members. Pastor Rudi must not have been very impressed with the members because he stated that they were always quarreling among themselves. Toward the end of 1866 he accepted a call to East Navidad.  The Texas Synod did not supply St. Peter with another pastor and the congregation withdrew from the Texas Synod in early 1867. Following the withdrawal the members returned to the Wendish mother church. This was the end of the first St. Peter.
In a voters’ meeting on 26 December 1867 the Serbin mother church accepted nine of the former members of St. Peter, including Jacob Moerbe, as voters. In the voters’ meeting on 5 January 1868, only 17 days later, Jacob Moerbe was elected to the seven member church council. He was the only one of the former members of St.
Peter to be elected.
All along, internal strife in the mother church erupted from time to time. Just before and after the Civil War, many more immigrants arrived from Germany and settled in the Serbin area. They joined the Wendish church. Those who were pure Germans had little interest in learning Wendish. This caused the tension of the language problem, Wendish versus German, to increase. However, the pro-German party was not made up of pure Germans but
chiefly of Wends. Thus it was really a pro-Wendish versus pro-German problem and not so much Wendish versus German problem. It appears that nationalism became yet another factor in the controversy. Finally, the internal strife led to the second separation on 25 September 1870. The new group called itself St. Peter, but unlike the first group, they did not join the Texas Synod but, rather, the Missouri Synod, so that there were two Missouri Synod congregations at Serbin.
The Jacob Moerbe family also joined the second St. Peter congregation. Many of the members of the second St. Peter congregation migrated to Fedor later on. The Jacob Moerbe family moved there the latter part of 1872. Here he was a prominent church member. Rev. Gotthilf Birkmann in his article in the April 2, 1931, issue of the GIDDINGS DEUTSCHES VOLKSBLATT stated that when he and his sister arrived in Fedor in 1876 they stayed with the Jacob Moerbes until they could make their house a little more habitable.
Ernst Adolph, the oldest son, was a farmer at Fedor while August, Johann (John) and Carl were farmers in the Thorndale area.
Hermann and John Michalk operated Moerbe and Michalk Mercantile in Thorndale and in 1911 Hermann, his wife and family moved to Bishop, where he was a farmer.
Emil was a Lutheran pastor, who from 1892 until 1895, served as a missionary, based at Cisco, also served Abilene, Baird and Big Spring. A considerable amount of his time was spent at Abilene. When an Episcopal chapel became available in Abilene he borrowed $500 from his father to buy it. The congregation repaid some of the debt, but not very much. When he married, his father, as a wedding gift, canceled the remainder of the debt. This was certainly an unusual wedding present. Emil was the pastor at Giddings from 1895 until 1909 and then at Hamilton from 1909 until 1939, when he retired. He served on the Texas District Mission Board for 36 years. When Pastor Moerbe visited Thorndale he always visited his brother, August, and this writer had the pleasure of hearing him relate his experiences as a member of the mission board, one such experience being his trip to Mexico City.
Maria Magdalene married Ernst Waiser and Johanna Emma married Paul Schultz, both farmers in the Thorndale area. Johanna (Anna) married Wilhelm Eifert from Cisco in 1895. She died a year later and was buried at Thorndale.
In 1893 Jacob and Johanne moved to Thorndale. He died on 13 December 1896 and was buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. After Jacob’s death Johanne made her home with her son, August. She died on 15 August 1917 and was buried beside her husband.
JACOB MOERBE’S OBITUARY
 FROM
A NEWSPAPER CLIPPING FILED IN THE TEXAS DISTRICT
OF
THE LUTHERAN CHURCH-MISSOURI SYNOD ARCHIVES
Thorndale, Texas, Jan. 6 (1897) (Delayed) Last Sunday our congregation held its annual meeting. During it three members were received, so that the congregation now has 27 voting members in all. During this meeting we also had to delete the name of a dear member, the name of our chief elder, Jacob Moerbe, whom the Lord called home shortly before the end of the year. Father Moerbe, as he was generally called, was born on 1[?] December 1828 in Guttau, Kingdom of Saxony. In 1854 he immigrated to Texas with Pastor Kilian and, at first, settled in Serbin, Lee County, where he married Johanna Dube in the year of 1855. In 1872 he moved to Fedor and in 1893 to Thorndale, where three of his children settled before him. The Lord permitted Mr. Moerbe to live and work in our midst for only three year, but in these few years he did much in our congregation and, in word and deed, he worked in the external and internal affairs of it, so that we also, as a congregation, must acknowledge him with the honorary title of “Father Moerbe,” he was a teacher and an example for our young congregation. The deceased also took a brisk and active part in synodical matters, especially in mission work.  Since 12 October of last year, Mr. Moerbe was bed-ridden as a result of cerebral apoplexy and everyone foresaw his approaching end. He also longed for it and was looking forward to departing and to be home with the Lord. On 13 December his wish was granted, when, he, as a tired, earthly pilgrim, peacefully, like a Simeon, fell asleep, “fine, gentle and silent,” in confident faith in his Savior and entered, just like we confidently hope, into eternal rest, which is in store for the people of God. The funeral sermon that was delivered was based on the words in Revelation: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,” etc. The deceased is survived by his deeply afflicted wife, eight children (the youngest daughter recently preceded him into eternity), three sons-in-law, six daughters-in-law, besides a large number of grandchildren. May the memory of him remain with us as a blessing.
Translated from the German by Bill Biar, 15 June 1979
 
EXCERPT
FROM PASTOR JOHANN KILIAN’S LETTER DATED 10-19-1858
Below is an excerpt from a letter written by Pastor Kilian on October 19, 1858 to Pastor Gumlich, Weigersdorf, Silesia (Prussia). The translation is by Bill Biar, Denver, CO, 7 July 1993.
On the 9th of October (Saturday) Pastor Lieb, personally known and befriended by me, came to my house with the separatist, Jacob Moerbe from Neudorf near Guttau, and said that he was asked by persons who were knowledgeable to find out what was going on between us. He was taking an interest in these people so that they would not go over to the Methodists. I answered: “It is a matter of an unresolved congregational quarrel; I stand accused by the seceded party at my superiors in St. Louis; my case is pending at the synodical judiciary; therefore, as an accused, I could not tell him what to do or not to do. We need to wait for an answer from St. Louis.” Then Jacob Moerbe broke in: “Why I stated at the congregational meeting that the secessionists were excluded from our communion?” I answered: “Because they are irreconcilable and after the receipt of the congregational letter they no longer wanted to negotiate with us, which the letter explicitly requested, which is also required by Christian duty.” Where-upon Pastor Lieb referred to Matt. 5:23-24 and decided not to give them Holy Communion on the 10th of October, the day it was scheduled. On the 10th of October (Sunday), another attempt at reconciliation was arranged.  I did not object for him to address the separatists and admonish them to make peace. The attempted reconciliation was held that afternoon. Our side was represented by the Church Council, namely, Johann Dube, Carl Lehmann, Andreas Lowke, Matthes Wukasch, Carl Teinert and George Schelnik. The separatists were represented by Johann Urban from Rakel, August Polnik from Weigersdorf and Matthes Schmidt (the old Hunter-Schmidt) from Reichwalde. The latter asked what we really wanted from them; they did not want to return to me. They did not want me as father confessor.  There is freedom in America.  They accused me that in my sermons there was too much gospel, too little law in its severity. I said, “I did not have any other manner of preaching and could not understand their accusation.” To this Urban said my sermons had no power. Already toward the last in Weigersdorf my sermons had no power. If I would mend my ways, which would soon become evident, he would come back to me. I asked if it was true that they were of the opinion that it did not matter much to which church one belongs as long as repentance and faith were preached. Johann Urban embraced this statement as his own and pointed to Martin Boos.  [Martin Boos, 1762-1825, was a Catholic priest who preached a doctrine of salvation by faith resembling that of Luther for which he was imprisoned several times and driven about.] I asked, “Would you also run to the Catholic Church, just like you did the Methodists, when a man like Martin Boos makes an appearance?” Urban broke in: “Yes, that I would do.” Then one of our side said: “So you want to become ‘united.’” [In Prussia ‘united’ (Uniert) had reference to the union of the Lutheran and Reformed religions.] Urban: “Let us indeed be ‘united.’” During this meeting there were sharp attacks against one another. However, since these attacks did nothing to resolve the matter, but only led to more agitation, the meeting was adjourned.
The unreconciled and irreconcilable separatists had Pastor Lieb come again and before noon last Saturday, the 16th of October, he preached and gave them Holy Communion. With that, on the 16th of October our separatists went over to the so-called Lutheran, but really “united” (unierte) Texas Synod.
[7]
CARL AUGUST MOERBE AND ERNESTINE MICHALK
Carl August Moerbe, who went by his second name of August, was born at Serbin, Texas, on 17 January 1860, the third child and second son of Jacob Moerbe and Johanne, neé Dube. In late 1872 the Moerbe family moved to Fedor. August grew up on his parents’ farm. By hard work and thrift he was able to purchase a cotton gin and 149 acres of land in 1893. After six years he sold out for $8,000. In 1899, with the money placed in a molasses bucket and the bucket placed under the seat of his wagon, he headed for Thorndale. Here he purchased 329 acres of land of which 145 was under cultivation. He plotted a portion of his land and sold a number of lots, sold some for farming purposes and farmed the rest. Later he bought another 320 acres just south of town on which the family residence was built. He and his wife, Ernestine, neé Michalk, lived there the remainder of their lives. The site is where the Harold Biar residence is located. Harold happens to be a grandson.
August married Ernestine Michalk at Fedor on 9 February 1883. She was born at Sandförstgen,Silesia (Prussia), on 14 October 1862. Her parents were Carl Michalk and Magdalene, neé Zschieschan (Zieschang). Around 1875 the Michalk family moved from Sandförstgen to Baruth in Saxony, where she was confirmed in 1877. In 1879 she decided to go along with her brother, Ernst, and his wife, Ernestine, neé Zieschang, who had decided to immigrate to Texas. She wanted to visit her brother, Carl, who left Prussia in 1859, several years before she was born. He was 19 years old and living in Texas when she was born. On the voyage to Texas she became extremely seasick and vowed never to go on another ship. She stayed in Texas and later married August. She never really mastered the English language; however, I remember that my grandfather took her to cast her ballot on election days and stated that he had to help her vote. Some of her grandchildren, who spoke little German, spoke to her in English, but she answered in German. Somehow they always got along!
August and Ernestine were blessed with seven children. They were as follows:
NAME                    BORN             DIED                  SPOUSE
Lydia Lina              08 Feb 1885    24 Jan 1957       Johann Otto Biar – 1979-1956
Alwin                    18 Feb 1887    05 Sep 1907                       –
Emil John              02 Jan 1889    09 Mar 1974         Martha Simmank – 1892-1976
RichardHermann    22 Mar 1891   24 Jun 1979          Sophie Melde
Frieda Hedwig       18 Mar 1893   03 Nov1986           Samuel Kieschnick
Oscar Ludwig        30 Apr 1898   30 Apr 1941          Clara Schroeder
Carl John              21 Sep 1901  21 Nov 1978          Lena Rieger
August was a successful farmer for many years. He had a keen interest and was influential inthe economic and political affairs of the Thorndale area. He and Ernestine were lifelong faithful members of the Lutheran Church.  Ernestine died from pneumonia on 15 January 1936. August died on 6 September 1944 as a result of being struck be an automobile at church. Both are buried in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Thorndale.
Attachment I is a copy of the Biography of C. August Moerbe published in Captain B. B. Paddock’s “A History of Central and Western Texas” in 1911.
[8]
LYDIA LINA MOERBE AND JOHANN OTTO BIAR
Lydia was born at Fedor on 8 February 1885. She was the oldest child of her parents, August Moerbe and Ernestine, neé Michalk, both of Wendish decent. She was confirmed by her uncle, Pastor Emil F. Moerbe at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Giddings, on 3 April 1898. She came to Thorndale with her parents in 1899. On 17 January 1905, she married Otto Biar at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Thorndale.
Lydia and Otto were active members of the Lutheran Church their entire lives. She was a good homemaker and knew how to manage a home and take care of a large family. Although she was short in stature she could easily outwork most other women.
Otto died in a Taylor hospital on 14 November 1956. Lydia died on 24 January 1957, also in a Taylor hospital. Both were buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran cemetery in Thorndale.
Lydia and Otto were blessed with 12 children. All were born at Thorndale.
1. Hedwig Otillia was born on 14 August 1906. She was working in Houston when a typhoid epidemic struck and she died from it on 17 December 1927.
2. Henry Otto was born on 12 January 1908. On 18 December 1934 he married Hannah Simmank, who was born at Thorndale on 28 January 1910. They resided in Austin for a number of years, where Henry worked as a grocery store clerk until he entered the U. S. Navy during World War II. After the war he was a carpenter and lived in Thorndale. They were blessed with three sons; Henry Harold, Olin Fred and Howard Louis. Henry also served in the Navy during the Korean War. He died in the Veteran Hospital in Temple on 20 April 1975 and Hannah died on 28 April 1976.
3. Martha Ernestine was born on 19 August 1909. She worked in San Antonio for many years. During World War II she worked at Kelly Air Force Base. The last 24 years before her retirement she worked for Frost Brothers. Martha died in a nursing home in San Antonio on 1 February 2003 at the age of 93.
4. Edna Lydia was born on 17 March 1911. She worked in Houston for a short time before her job took her to Los Angeles. During World War II she worked for Lockheed Aviation Company. After the war she was employed by Newcomb Electronics Corporation for 20 years prior to her retirement. She died in a nursing home in San Antonio on 16 Jan 2004 at the age of 92.
5. Carl Alvin was born on 28 October 1912. He became a Lutheran pastor, graduating from the Springfield (Illinois) Seminary in 1938, and served congregations at Spring and Lincoln, Texas. On 4 August 1940 be married Lillian Schmidt, who was born in Houston on 12 November 1917. Their daughter, Ruth Ann, was adopted. Carl died at Lincoln on 31 December 1973. Lillian resides in Giddings.
6. John Walter was born on 11 March 1915. Walter served in the U. S. Army Air Corps during World War II and spent several years in England. After the war he worked for Celanese in Bishop, Texas, before he went to work at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi and later, Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio. On 2 February 1957 he married Edna Kappler, who was born on 28 August 1915. Walter and Edna have one daughter, Nancy Janelle, and live in retirement in San Antonio.
7. Martin Albert was born on 10 April 1917. Before and during World War II he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. During the war he made a number of voyages on a hospital ship, mainly to England and back, but also one voyage through the Panama Canal to the South Pacific to New Guinea. After the war he made his home in the Dallas area and was employed at several places, including Simplex Time Recorder Company, a Chevrolet sales and service company, Snap-On Tools Corporation, Utility Trailer Sales and, before retirement, Great Dane Trailers.  On 19 January 1952 he married Gertrude (Trudy) Foerster, who was born on 15 January 1927. They were blessed with five children: James Andrew (who died in infancy), Timothy Allen, John Charles, Deborah Helen and Andrew Frederick. Martin and Trudy make their home in Garland, Texas.
8. Bill Edwin was born on 7 July 1919. During World War II he served in the U. S. Army Air Corps for 3 years before being transferred to U. S. Army Intelligence. He spent over two years in Germany. On 12 June 1947 he married Stefana Todt, who was born on 18 February 1925 in Neisse, Silesia (Germany), Bill worked for Atlantic Richfield Company for 36 years, working in Midland (twice), Odessa (twice), Corpus Christi, Bakersfield (California) and Denver. Bill and Steffy have two children, Rita Marianne and Norman Edwin. After retirement Bill and Steffy lived in Denver for 18 years before moving to Carrollton, Texas in February 2001.
9. Otto August was born on 15 July 1921. After serving in the Pacific Theater during World II and seeing combat in Okinawa, he worked for Celanese in Bishop for a year and then 5 years for Missouri Pacific Railroad in Kingsville. After that he moved to San Antonio and spent nearly 33 years as a dealer for Snap-On Tools Corporation before retiring in San Antonio. He died in San Antonio on 13 January 1997 at the age of 75.
10. Ruth Eleanor was born 9 March 1924. For a number of years she made her home in Austin where she married Dewayne Farschman on 14 April 1951. At that time both of them were employed by Austin Laundry Company. Dewayne was born on 10 September 1918. They left Austin and made their home in Amherst, Ohio, Dewayne’s home town. They were blessed with 3 children: Mark Wayne, Joyce Ann and Linda Ruth. Dewayne died on 7 January 1984. Ruth continues to reside at Amherst.
11. Doris Erna was born on 14 April 1928. She made her home in Austin and went to work for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. On 19 February 1955 she married Marvin Urban, who was born on 1 June 1924. After a few years they moved to San Antonio and later to Grand Prairie. They have one son, Jeffrey Glenn.  Doris worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for 37 years before retiring. Doris and Marvin continue to live in Grand Prairie.
12. Harold Alvis was born on 19 November 1931. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War. After his discharge from the Army, Harold returned to Thorndale and went to work at Alcoa’s Rockdale Works. On 21 October 1956 he married Rosalie Wuthrich, who was born at Thrall on 4 January 1938. Their marriage was blessed with 4 children: Lorna Diane, Beverly Gail, Rhonda Fay and David Harold. Harold and Rosalie live on the Biar home place, which they bought and farm, together with some rented land.
OTHER MOERBES
When I returned from Germany in 1947 my parents were corresponding with the late Oskar Scheeler of Bautzen. The maiden name of his wife was Johanna Mörbe. She was a granddaughter of Johann Carl Mörbe (1826), the brother of Ernst Adolph and Ferdinand Jacob Mörbe, who came to Texas. As far as I know this was the only
contact my parents had with Moerbe relatives in Germany after World War II.
JOHANN CARL MÖRBE (1826)
The brother of Ernst Adolph and Jacob Mörbe, Johann Carl, remained in Guttau, where he was the local blacksmith and a church elder. He was born in 1826 and died in 1900. He was buried at a special place near the Guttau church next to his father, Jakob Mörbe (1789). His wife’s name was Anna Rötschke, who was born in 1825 and died in 1901. Their son, Johann Ernst, was born in 1849 and died in 1894. He, like his father, was the blacksmith at Guttau. After World War I Rev. Emil Moerbe, Hamilton,Texas, corresponded with Walter Hermann, the son of Johann Ernst Moerbe. He was born at Guttau in 1888. Hermann answered the writer’s first letter in 1971, when he was 82 years old, but failed to answer the second one. He was an interpreter and had been living in Berlin since 1936. Mrs. Lillie Moerbe Caldwell visited him in West Berlin prior to writing her book Texas Wends – Their First Half Century. Her book was copyrighted in 1961. Reference was made to Hermann’s sister, Johanna, in the preceding paragraph. The writer has not been able to establish any additional correspondence with any other descendant of Johann Carl Mörbe.
ERNST ADOLPH MOERBE (1824) 
The oldest brother of F. Jacob Moerbe, Ernst Adolph, was born in 1824 at Guttau and died in 1870 at Serbin. His wife’s name was Agnes Symny, who was born in 1826. They lived at Klix after they married. He was one of the Wends who signed the document calling Pastor Kilian as pastor of the newly-organized congregation that was founded at Dauban, Silesia (Prussia), which later became St. Paul Lutheran Church of Serbin. In 1854, they, together with two sons and one daughter, participated in the Wendish immigration to Texas. Their youngest son
and daughter died en route to Texas. The family settled at Serbin. The oldest son, Johann Traugott, died in 1864 as a result of a wagon accident while hauling freight. They had another son, Andrew, who was born at Serbin in 1857.  Andrew married Amelia Maria Foerster and this couple had four sons and nine daughters. Their son, Gerhard Harold, born in 1882, was the father of Lillie Moerbe Caldwell, who was one of the founders of what is now the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and the author of the book Texas Wends – Their First Half Century.
JOHANN MÖRBE [MOERBE] (1830)
The ship register of the BEN NEVIS listed Johann Mörbe from Dauban, born on 4 June 1830, together with his mother, Maria, and his sister, Hanna. However, their names were crossed out and the notation “Kommen nicht mit” (not coming along) appears opposite their names. They stayed in Germany and Johann married his fiance, Maria Basche, born on 3 June 1833, who was also listed on the ship register with the same notation as above opposite her name. After 5 children, Maria, neé Basche, died on 17 November 1864. Their oldest son, named Johann August, came to Texas by himself in 1873.
On 8 October 1865, Johann (Sr.) married Maria Schkade from Dauban, who was born on 29 October 1843.  After 3 children were born to them in Germany, they all migrated to Texas in 1875, together with the remaining children from Johann’s first marriage, and settled in the Warda area. One daughter was born in Texas. The oldest daughter of Johann Moerbe and Maria, neé Schkade, born on 2 November 1867, married Pastor Hermann Kilian in 1886. The father of Johann (Sr.) was Andreas Mörbe, a cottager at Dauban. Maria Schkade’s father was named Christoph and he came from Dauban. To date the writer has not been able to determine if the Dauban and Guttau Mörbes were related.
PASTOR GUSTAV MÜRBE (MJERWA)
Reference should also be made of Pastor Gustav Mürbe (Muerbe). When mentioning the name “Mörbe” (Moerbe) in letters to persons in Lusatia they usually bring up the name “Mürbe” (Muerbe). Chances are that they will know of someone who uses the latter spelling. Evidently, both names come from the same root. Pastor Mürbe was born at Grossdehsa in 1882. After studying for the ministry at the University of Leipzig, he was a pastor at Hochkirch from 1910 to 1941, when the Nazis deposed him. Preaching in the Wendish language had been forbidden previously and the Nazis were in the process of transferring Wendish speaking pastors away from Wendish parishes.  The plan was to eventually disperse the entire Wendish or Sorbian population. However, this plan was never carried out. Pastor Mürbe served in a Wartestand (provisional retirement) at Oelsa from 1942 until 1946. After the war he again served the Hochkirch congregation, from 1946 until his death in 1958. The Sorbian Superintendency of the Lutheran Church was revived and Pastor Mürbe was the first superintendent. He also became the first editor of POMHAJ BÓH (in German, ‘Gott helfe’), (in English – literally, ‘God help;’ ‘may God help you/us’), the Sorbian church periodical, after World War II. It would be interesting to know what relation Mörbe and Mürbe have to each other.
MÖRBE (MOERBE) OR MJERWA
Under the heading JAKOB DZICK – MITSCHKE – MÖRBE (p. 7) we learned how the surname Mörbe (Moerbe) came to us. Also, some people in Lusatia spell the name Mürbe instead of Mörbe. However, in Wendish or Sorbian the name for both Mörbe and Mürbe is Mjerwa.
Mörbe is said to be a derivation of the Wendish Mjerwa. According to the late Pastor Töpfer, who was the pastor at Guttau in 1972 when the writer visited the Bautzen area, illiteracy was widespread among the Sorbian peasants for many years and names were spelled phonetically. Thus, the Wendish Mjer’-wa derivated to Mörwe and then to Mörbe.
Dr. Helmut Fasske, Sorbian Ethnological Institute in Bautzen, answered my inquiry as to the meaning of Mörbe with “Spottname, mjerwa heisst im Sorbischen ‘Wirrstroh” (Derisive nickname, mjerwa means tangled [or disorderly] straw). The name was probably given to a person for a specific reason.
A Czech professor who looked into the meaning of Mjerwa in the Czech, Polish and Russian languages wrote the writer that the name had to do with straw with a degree of disorderliness. He wrote that one source referred to a straw man made from the last straw of the harvest.
DUBRAUSKY (DUBRAUSKE)
The following attachment traces one line of the ancestors of Maria Moerbe, neé Kuchar, back to  Christoph Dubrausky (Dubrauske), who lived in Guttau, Saxony, the place from where the two Moerbe brothers were born who immigrated to Texas in 1854.
DUBRAUSKE (DUBRAUSKY) LINEAGE
Christoph Dubrausky (Dubrauske) was born in Guttau circa 1686. His wife was born in circa 1687. These two were the great great grandparents of Maria Moerbe, neé Kuchar (1801-1855). 
We have to take our ancestors the way they were. Our ancestors were not saints, but sinners, just like all of us. We are just like those who lived before us and have the same gracious and forgiving God they had. The church put the best construction on an incident that occurred way back in 1723. Following is a translation by the writer of an entry in the Guttau Church Register:
“Guttau Church Register – the 19th of May, 1723 – Christoph Dubrausky who had driven to Purschwitz, had the misfortune, when he was about to drive home after having had something to drink, fell in front of his horse. The wagon went over his temple and immediately before he died he said the words: ‘Lord, be merciful to me and forgive my sins.’ The body was brought here and on the 22nd was buried [Dobranuz]* with a funeral sermon. His age was 37 years. His wife was about to bear a child. God be merciful to his soul.”
* Translator wasunable to determine what the word DOBRANUZ means but believes it is a Sorbian word that has to do with “good.”
The lineage from Christoph Dubrausky (Dubrauske) continues until it reaches Maria Kuchar and Jakob Mörbe (1789).
FROM CHRISTOPH DUBRAUSKE TO MARIA KUCHAR
[2]
Maria Dubrauske, married 26 Jan 1744, Guttau, Saxony, Johann Kuchar
B. 29 Mar 1720, Neudörfel, Saxony       B. 5 Feb 1719, Guttau, Saxony
D. 21 Dec 1760, Neudörfel, Saxony       D. 25 Dec 1760, Neudörfel, Saxony
[3]
Hanscha Kucha, married in Guttau, Sazonh, George Biele, aka Kuchar
B. 6 Nov 1749, Neudörfel, Saxony       B. 10 Oct 1741, Guttau, Saxony
D. 21 Feb 1796,Neudörfel, Saxony      D. 7 Mar 1791, Guttau, Saxony
[4]
Johann Kuchar, married Anna Malcke, aka Triede
B. 28 Apr 1766, Neudörfel, Saxony       B. 8 Jan 1777, Gröditz, Saxony
D. 30 Nov,  Guttau, Saxony                 D. 29 Aug 1845, Guttau, Saxony
[5]
Maria Kuchar, married 27 Apr 1819,  Guttau, Saxony, Jakob Mörbe
B. 19 Mar 1801,  Neudörfel, Saxony       B. 2 Oct 1789, Baruth, Saxony
D. 17 Nov 1832, Guttau, Saxony           D. 21 May 1855, Guttau, Saxony
Maria Kuchar, married 2 Feb 1834, Guttau Saxony    Andreas Kästner
                                                       B. 1807, Wurschen, Saxony
                                                      D. 9 Feb 1844, Guttau, Saxony 
For Jakob Moerbe and Maria Kuchar see item 5 and JAKOB MOERBE AND MARIA KUCHAR.
GUTTAU OR HUČINA
When one drives into the village of Guttau the first line of the road sign along the highway reads: “GUTTAU” and underneath in smaller letters, the second line reads: “HUČINA.” Guttau has become the acceptable German name of the village, while Hučina is the modern Sorbian name. Guttau is in “Kreis” Bautzen, Kreis being the equivalent of our county.
Guttau and Hučina, are of Sorbian origin. What Sorbian scholars disagree on is which of the two was the original name. One group of researchers say Guttau while the other group says Hučina. Guttau has reference to “the village of one Guta.” Hučina has reference to thicket (in German, Dickicht), suggesting that the village was located in a wooded place.
When the Germans conquered Upper Lusatia around the year 1000, Germanization started immediately. Landed estates, more often than not, villages, were given to German knights (Ritter), probably for their service during the war of conquest. Other landed-estates were given to noblemen. A landed-estate owned by a knight or a nobleman was known as a Rittergut or Landgut, that is, a manor. The Sorbian people, as well as, other peasants, living on these manors and/or in these villages became serfs or bondsmen, subjects of knights or noblemen. The manorial house, where the knight, nobleman or the caretaker lived, was surrounded by the huts of the peasants and the manorial land surrounded these villages. Some villages had more than one manor. Most of the manorial land was owned by knights or noblemen and many of them had several manors. There were, however, small holdings of land by individual peasants in varying amounts, and with varying rights, within the manors.
There was still much virgin land in the area to be cleared, to enlarge the arable land in established manors and to establish new ones. However, there were not enough serfs available so that German colonists were recruited in the west and brought to the east. This is why there were many manors with both Sorbian and German peasants.
Originally, Guttau was a Rittergut, a manor owned by a knight. The name of the original feudal lord is not available. Christoff von Baudissin was mentioned in 1416 as the first feudal lord of record. Caspar von Luttitz is mentioned after that. Caspar von Nostitz is mentioned in 1439 and a number of his descendants owned Guttau for about 200 years. In the 17th century the von Ziegler and Klipphausen family owned Guttau. In the 1830s the von Damitz family took over the ownership. When serfdom was repealed in Saxony in 1832 16 of the 41 small property owners at Guttau could not even sign their names and had to sign the agreement by making three crosses. This shows that over the years the gentry had no interest in educating the peasantry. The last noble family to own the land around Guttau after the abolition of serfdom was the Schall-Riaucour family. The land remained with the Schall-Riaucours until the land was dispossessed by the East German regime as part of the land reform of 1946.
It could be that Christianity came to the area around Guttau as early as the end of the ninth century.  Pastor Mättig, a pastor at Guttau, who died in 1928, wrote: “Probably the first attempt by Slavic missionaries to change the heathen nature festivals into Christian festivals was made at the end of the 9th century, after a pair of brothers, Cyril and Methodius from Bulgaria, traveled through most of the Slavic provinces and the first of the two eventually came as far as Görlitz, Königshain and Jauernick.” Königshain is only about 11 miles southeast of
Guttau. Ancient crosses on stones have been found in the village of Guttau and nearby Gleina and some researchers believe that this could have been the places missionaries preached the first Christian sermons and the first baptisms were performed. At both places water is very close by. There is no record of a continuation of Christianity anywhere in the area at that time and it appears that if the Sorbs were Christianized they soon lapsed back into heathenism.
Western Christianity, that is, Roman Catholicism, came to Upper Lusatia soon after the Milceni tribe of Sorbs in the vicinity of Bautzen lost their independence around the year 1000. In those days Christianity was often spread by the sword. “Convert or extirpate,” was commanded by the German conquerors. A lot of blood was shed to make Christians out of the Wends. The church’s manner of spreading Christianity and the harsh treatment of the Wends resulted in the fact that by the twelfth century many of the Sorbs were still not fully converted. Some researchers believe that this is one of the reasons why the Wends readily accepted Lutheranism many years later.
The earliest written reference to Guttau found to date is a Latin document, dated 1222, which named nine churches to be placed under the newly established St. Peter’s Cathedral in Bautzen. The document identifies Guttau as Guttin. Thus we know that our ancestors were Christianized at least 300 years before the Reformation.
During the Battle of Bautzen on May 20 and 21, 1813, Guttau was set on fire and only two houses escaped the flames. The church and all its records were destroyed. Re-construction of the church did not begin until 1816 and progress was slow. Three cannon balls from the Battle of Bautzen were placed in the gable as a warning to future generations. A relief of Georg von Nostitz, who died in 1579 and who was a great great nephew of the above-mentioned Caspar von Nostitz, can be seen on the southern wall of the church at Guttau. This plate was originally on a gravestone. Georg and his pastor, Matthäus, were instrumental in bringing Lutheranism to Guttau in 1543, sooner than most other villages.
Guttau is the village of many names. Up to 1350 it was known as Guttin; then in 1354, Gude, emerges; 1416, Gutte; 1434, Gotta; 1443, Gotte; 1506, Gottaw. Then in 1710, all of a sudden, H appears at the beginning of the name: Huszen and Husčina. Then in 1813, during the Battle of Bautzen in the Napoleonic War, the name Gotta is used again. That’s why we gather that Guttau is the village of many names.
Under the East German regime the land around Guttau became the site of an agricultural collective.  These were called LPGs which stands for Landwirtschaftliche Produktions Genossenschaften. Since the unification of the two Germanys these collectives have been transferred to private ownership.
Map I identifies the Manorial Estates in the County of Bautzen in 1832.
EXCERPT FROM “A CENTENNIAL STORY OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH IN TEXAS”
by H. C. Ziehe, Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Taylor, Texas (Page 99)
On December 12, 1854, a group of more than 500 Wendish people, hailing from various sections of Prussia and Saxony in Germany, landed at Galveston. Their spiritual leader was Pastor J. Kilian. They established their colony at Serbin, near the line between Lee and Bastrop counties.
The group affiliated with the Lutheran Missouri Synod. Thereafter pastors of that body began to establish themselves in Texas. A separation took place within the Serbin congregation in 1858 and St. Peter church was organized. The congregation requested affiliation with the Synod, was finally received and served. According to the Minutes of the convention of 1861, the President of the Missouri Synod had written a very cordial letter in September of the previous year and had expressed his Synod’s agreement in the matter. Nevertheless, the situation proved to be a difficult one for many years; like others it flared into print in the church papers, it led to the locking of the church door by contending parties, and to the threat of a case at law. 

FROM CHĔŽNIK TO KIESCHNICK

Spelling of Personal and Place Names

From Chěžnik to Kieschnick

Our Kieschnick Lineage

Notes

Johann Kieschnick and Maria Wutscher

Johann Kieschnick and Agnes Kalich or Kohli

Obituary of Johann (Jan) Kieschnick (1795)

Magdalene Kieschnick and Johann Hottas (Hattas)

Other Kieschnicks

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.

4-5-96

Revised: 11-18-02

Revised: 6-8-04

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.

NOTES

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

[1]

Johann Kieschnick married Maria Wutscher

[2]

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

[3]

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

[4]

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

[5]

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

NOTES

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.

[1]

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.

[2]

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
Buchwalde.”

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.

OBITUARY
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.

[3]

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.

OTHER KIESCHNICKS

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.

FROM STERP TO HOTTAS

Spelling of Personal and Place Names

From Sterp to Hottas

Our Sterp to Hottas Lineage

Notes

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

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.
7-3-96
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:
OUR STERP TO HOTTAS LINEAGE
[1]
Petri Sterp married Marie
B. 1588                                    B.1614
D. 13Dec 1678: Spree, Silesia     D. 18 Apr 1674: Spree, Silesia
[2]
Jano Sterp married Marie
B. 1643                                    B. 1650
D. 14Feb 1723                          D. 19Sep 1716: Tzschelln, Silesia
[3]
Johann Sterp married Marie
B. 10Mar 1680: Spree, Silesia      B. 1674
D. 11May 1748: Spree, Silesia      D. 3 Jan 1750: Spree,
[4]
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
[5]
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
[6]
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,
[7]
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
[8]
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
[9]
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
[10]
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
NOTES
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.
[1]
PETRI STERP AND HIS WIFE, MARIE
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.
[2]
JANO STERP AND HIS WIFE, MARIE
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.
[3]
JOHANN STERP AND HIS WIFE, MARIE
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.
[4]
GEORG STERP AND HIS WIFE, MARIE
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.
[5]
JOHANN STERP, AKA HOTTASS, AND MARIE PRELOP, AKA HOTTASS
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.
[6]
GEORG HOTTASS, AKA HERZ, AND JOHANNA HODŹIK, AKA HERZ
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.
[7]
ANDREAS HOTTAS (HATTAS) AND MARIA SCHULZE
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.
[8]
JOHANN HOTTAS (HATTAS) AND MAGDALENE KIESCHNICK
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.
[9]
MARIA THERESE HATTAS AND ANDREAS BIAR
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.
[10]
JOHANN OTTO BIAR AND LYDIA LINA MOERBE
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.
 FROM PRELOP TO HOTTAS
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.
OUR PRELOP TO HOTTAS LINEAGE

[A]

Jacob Hottass married Hanna

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

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

[B]

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

[C]

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

NOTE:

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

[A]
JACOB HOTTASS AND HIS WIFE, HANNA
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.
[B]
MARIE HOTTASS AND MICHAEL PRELOP, AKA HOTTASS
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.
[C]
MARIE PRELOP, AKA HOTTASS, AND JOHANN STERP, AKA HOTTASS
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.

FROM MICHAŁ TO MICHAŁK

Spelling of Personal and Place Names

From Michał to Michałk

Notes

George Michalk and His Wife, Agnes

George Michalk and Magdalene Eyen

Carl Michalk and Magdalene Zieschang

Other Michalks

Andreas Michalk and Caroline Krakovsky

Maria and Hanna Michalk

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 the 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.
7-17-96
Revised: 11-18–02
Revised: 6-12-04
FROM MICHAŁ TO MICHAŁK
Our Michalk ancestors came from Sandförstgen in the vicinity of Gebelzig in Silesia, near the former Saxon-Prussian border about 12 to 13 miles northeast of Bautzen. The people living at Sandförstgen belonged to the church at Gebelzig.
When the Wends were Christianized many of them adopted Christian names. This was especially true if their former names expressed anti-Christian sentiments. Since Michael is a Biblical name it is plausible that somewhere along the line one of our ancestors adopted the name Michael, which is MICHAŁ in Sorbian, after he became a Christian. In 1972 when I visited the Sorbian Ethnological Institute in Bautzen I met Dr. Siegfried Michalk. (He stated that he was not related to the Michalks in the vicinity of Gebelzig.) He emphatically pronounced his name MICHAUK, which seemed rather strange to me. Later I learned that in Sorbian or Wendish, MICHALK is written with a slash through the ł, that is, MICHAŁK, and that the ł is pronounced like a u or w in German and like ow as in now in English. Since MICHAEL is MICHAŁ in Sorbian we have to deal with the k at the end. The k is a
diminution indicating little, small, etc. Thus MICHAŁK means “Little Michael” (der kleine Michael). It appears that somewhere along the line one of our ancestors was called MICHAŁK, that is, “Little Michael,” to distinguish him from another MICHAŁ(MICHAEL).

OUR MICHALK LINEAGE

[1]

George Michalk married Agnes

[2]

George Michalk married 11 Feb 1812: Gebelzig, Silesia to Hanischa Eyen

B. 21 Feb 1782: Sandförstgen, Silesia         B. Jerchwitz, Silesia

D. 13 Jul 1836: Sandförstgen, Silesia          D. 10 Mar 1836: Sandförstgen, Silesia

[3]

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

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

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

[4]

Ernestine 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

[5]

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

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

D. 24 Jan 1957: Taylor, Texas              D.14 Nov 1956: Taylor, Texas

NOTES

The 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.

The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map. States, countries, etc., are in English.

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

NOTES
The 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.
The spelling of places was taken from a modern German map. States, countries, etc., are in English.
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.
[1]
GEORGE MICHALK AND HIS WIFE, AGNES
The first Michalk ancestor I have been able to identify is one George Michalk. His date and place of birth are not available but it is assumed that he came from Sandförstgen because that is where his son, also named George, was born. His wife’s first name was Agnes. Her maiden name and her date and place of birth are also not available.
[2]
GEORGE MICHALK AND HANISCHA EYEN
George Michalk was born on 21 February 1782 at Sandförstgen, Silesia. His parents were George Michalk and his wife, Agnes.
George married Hanischa Eyen at Gebelzig on 11 February 1812. Hanischa is a Sorbian (Wendish) form of Agnes. Her date of birth is not available. She came from Jerchwitz, Silesia, which like Sandförstgen, belongs to the parish of Gebelzig.  Hr father’s name was Gottfried Eyen. According to DeBray (Guide to Slavonic Languages) Sorbian words do not begin with vowels except for exclamations and words of foreign origin; therefore, Eyen must be a foreign and not a Wendish name. Eyen is not listed in my book of 50,000 German names. It could be that it comes from an ending of a longer name or a name like Van der Eyen or Van der Oyen. It is known that Jerchwitz was settled by Germans and some of these came from the Lowlands, that is, from Flanders and Holland, in the west. Jerchwitz, in Sorbian, Jerchecy, was originally known as Erichsdorf, because it was the settlement of one Erich. According to Jan Meschgang’s book Die Ortsnamen der Oberlausitz (The Place Names of Upper Lusatia), the fact that this German place name with the ending of dorf took on the ending witz was only possible if the inhabitants of the village were Sorbian in a region that was completely“Sorbianized.”
Carl, the son of George Michalk and Hanischa, nee Eyen, was our ancestor. Hanischa died at Sandförstgen on 10 March 1836 and George also died at Sandförstgen the same year on 13 July 1836, when Carl was 23 years of age.
[3]
 CARL MICHALK AND MAGDALENE ZIESCHANG
Carl Michalk was born on 28 July 1813 at Sandförstgen, Silesia. On one record his given names were listed as Johann Carl, which would be in line with the custom of that time of calling persons by the name immediately preceding their surname. His parents were George Michalk and Hanischa, nee Eyen. On 24 October 1837 he married Magdalene Zieschang, who was born at Sandförstgen on 13 October 1819. Her parents were Johann Zieschang and Hanscha, nee Hommel. See FROM KRISTIAN TO ZIESCHANG for information on the Zieschang and Hommel families.
Around 1875 the Carl Michalk family moved from Sandförstgen, Silesia (Prussia), to Baruth, Saxony, a distance of less than 3 miles. At that time the Saxon-Prussian border was in the proximity of Sandförstgen.
The church records at Gebelzig list 12 children being born to Carl Michalk (1813) and Magdalene Michalk, nee Zieschang. All were born at Sandförstgen.  They were as follows:
NAME                                                BORN                   NOTE
1. Johann Carl                                    07 Jul 1838           died 23 Aug 1839
2. Johanne                                         19 Sep1840
3. Johann Carl                                    15 Aug1843
4. Johanna Christiana                          09 Jul 1845
5. Johann                                          17 Apr1847            died 28 May 1848
6. Johann                                          28 May1848
7. Carl August                                   18 Oct 1850           died 12 Dec 1852
8. Johanne Marie                               05 Jun 1853
9. Curt August                                   08 May1855
10. Carl Ernst                                    21 Aug1857
11. Maria Magdalena                          05 Apr 1860
12. Ernstine                                       14 Oct 1862
It is interesting to note that after the first Johann Carl died the next son received the same given names.  The same is true of the first Johann after he died and the next son received the same given name. Some of my contacts in Lusatia confirmed that this was a common practice.
1. The first Johann died when he  was 1 year old.
2. Johanne (Anna) married a man by the name of Kochte and they lived at Krischa, now Buchholz, at that time in Silesia but now in Saxony.
3. The second Johann Carl came to Texas in 1859, when he was not quite 17 years old. Pastor Kilian, in a letter to Germany on 6 July 1859, states that among others “the young Carl Michalk from Sandförstgen arrived the past week.” According to a biography of his son,John A. Michalk, published in 1911 in Captain B. B. Paddock’s book A HISTORY OF CENTRAL AND WESTERN TEXAS, he had an uncle in Texas named “Zuschong Michalk.”  It is assumed that this uncle was Johann Zieschang, born 25 November 1810, who was a member of the Wendish Emigration of 1854. Carl was in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was captured by the Confederacy and later released off Galveston. I have copies of his service record in the Civil War which is on file in the National Archives and Record Service, Washington, D. C. He married Maria Birnbaum in 1867 and they had a large family.  He died at Thorndale in 1901. She also died at Thorndale in 1912. Carl Michalk and Maria, nee Birnbaum, have many descendants and the writer hopes that there is someone out there who has written a comprehensive history of this family. Attached to this history is a copy of the above-mentioned biography. I am indebted to the late Rev. Adolph Michalk who furnished most of the information for the footnotes entered on the bottom of this biography.
4. Johanna Christiana married Johann Peter Tuppack from Weigersdorf, Silesia, in 1866. Three sons and one daughter of theirs migrated to the United States. They were Carl Herman, Paul Edward (the Weigersdorf birth register lists his name as Emil Paul), Johann Emil and Ernestine. Due to an error on the naturalization papers, Paul’s surname was spelled TUPACK, with one p instead of two. He married Minna Moerbe, daughter of Hermann Moerbe and Maria, nee Schultz, Bishop, Texas. Several years ago Mrs. Tupack wrote me that my father, Otto Biar, “lived with us [at Thorndale] and we girls and boys knew him like a brother.”
5. The first Johann died as an infant.
6. No records are available on the second Johann.
7. Carl August died when he was 2 years old.
8. Johanne Marie married Johann Carl Böthig (also Pöthig) and they lived at Wilthen, Saxony, south of Bautzen.
9. Curt August was in the Germany army. He visited his sister, Ernstine (Mrs. C. August Moerbe), and his two brothers, Carl and Ernst, in Texas, the latter part of the 1880s. He was a “baptizing witness” for Carl Samuel Michalk, the son of his brother, (Johann) Carl, and Maria, nee Birnbaum, on 19 March 1888. In 1948, his daughter, Mrs. Elsa Muck from Dresden, wrote me the following among other things: “My father was in America for only 2 or 3 years. Since he did not want to be absent without leave he came back over here. My father wanted to go back over to you, but my mother did not want to go and that is how it stayed. There is a destiny for each one of us. God leads us and what He does is always right, even when it is often hard for us to accept.” This quote was taken from her letter to us dated 17 April 1948 and translated by the writer.
10. Carl Ernst married Ernstine Zieschang and they immigrated to Texas in 1879. My late aunt, Frieda (Mrs. Samuel Kieschnick, nee Moerbe), told me that they were cousins and that they settled in Victoria. His sister, Ernstine (Mrs. C. August Moerbe), accompanied them on the voyage to Texas.
11. Maria Magdalena married Ernst Thomaschke (also Domaschke) and they lived at Malschwitz, Saxony.  Her mother, Magdalene Michalk, nee Zieschang, lived with her at Malschwitz after her husband died.
12. Ernstine, the youngest child, was our ancestress. She was confirmed on 25 March 1877 in Baruth, Saxony. In 1879 she came to Texas with her youngest brother, Carl Ernst, who, with his wife, Ernstine, nee Zieschang, immigrated to Texas. It was her intention to return to Saxony after visiting her brother, Johann Carl, who had come to Texas before she was born. On the voyage to Texas she became very ill from seasickness and vowed never to board another ship. She remained in Texas and married my grandfather, C. August Moerbe.
Carl Michalk, the father of his sons, Johann Carl and Carl Ernst, and daughter, Ernestine, who came to Texas, died at Baruth on 14 December 1895, and Magdalene died at Malschwitz, Saxony, on 25 August 1899.
For more information on our ancestress, Ernestine Moerbe, nee Michalk, see CARL AUGUST MOERBE AND ERNESTINE MICHALK in the Moerbe family history entitled FROM DZICK TO MITSCHKE TO MÖRBE.
OTHER
MICHALKS
The surname “Michalk” is also found elsewhere in Lusatia, especially toward the north of Bautzen. It is known that members of two other Michalk families came to Texas. One family, the Andreas Michalk family, originated in the same general area where the above Michalks originated. Two sisters, Maria and Hanna Michalk, came from the area further to the north.
ANDREAS MICHALK AND CAROLINE KRAKOVSKY
Andreas Michalk and his wife, Caroline, nee Krakovsky, are listed in Dr. George Nielsen’s IN SEARCH OF A HOME – Nineteenth-Century Wendish Immigration; however, the place of birth is not given. In my quest to determine whether or not our Michalks and Andreas Michalk were related I learned that he was born on 23 March 1840 at Maltitz, Saxony. His parents were Andreas Michalk and Marie, nee Wolf. Johanne Caroline Krakovsky was born on 3 August 1846 at Dauban, Silesia. Her father was Georg Krakovsky and her mother’s name is not available.
On 10 May 1868 Andreas (1840) and Caroline were married at Krischa (now Buchholz), Silesia. They had twelve children, nine of whom were born in Germany. They, together with six children (three had died before their departure), came to Texas in 1881. They settled in the Warda area, where their last three children were born.
Below is a list of their children:
NAME                                                               BORN                   DIED
Johann Ernst                                                    1868                     1897
August                                                             1869                     1942
Carl Ernst                                                         1871                     1891
Heinrich                                                           1873                     1873
Maria Magdalene                                               1874                     1951
Anna Emilie                                                      1876                      1876
Carl Herman                                                     1878                      1882
Anna                                                                1879                      1879
Anna Amanda                                                    1881                      1965
Karl Heinrich                                                      1882                      ?
Theresia Selma                                                  1885                      ?
Martha Minna                                                     1888                     1904
Sandförstgen, where our Michalks originated, is about three miles from Krischa (now Buchholz), the home of Andreas Michalk (1840) before he migrated to Texas. Naturally, one wonders whether or not Andreas Michalk was related to the “Sandförstgen” Michalks. I was told by my late brother, Otto, that years ago, when Grandfather and Grandmother (August) Moerbe visited her brother in Victoria, they stopped by at Warda and Fedor on the way home to visit other relatives. I, personally, knew some of the relatives at Fedor but none at Warda. The Andreas Michalk family could very well have been the relatives they visited at Warda. Perhaps, Andreas was grandmother Moerbe’s cousin.
 MARIA AND HANNA MICHALK
Maria Michalk was born at Oelsa near Klitten, Silesia (Prussia), on 24 February 1828. On 2 February 1848 she married Christoph Krause, who was born at Mücka, Silesia, on 23 March 1817. This couple, together with their 9 months old son, Johann, came to Texas with a small group of Wends in 1853. This group was composed of about 35 persons, including children. They were shipwrecked near Cuba. No lives were lost, but all their possessions were lost. They were brought to Havana and with the help of a German society were taken to New Orleans where they received new clothing and then transportation to Galveston. While Maria Michalk Krause was in Havana she learned how to roll cigars and during the voyage between Cuba and Galveston she gave birth to her daughter, Hanna. The family settled at Frelsburg and later joined Pastor Kilian’s congregation at Serbin. The writer does not have access to data concerning additional children, etc. Christoph Krause died at Serbin on 15 June 1869 and Maria died at Serbin on 26 July 1912.
Maria Michalk’s sister, Hanna, was born at Oelsa on 8 May 1825. The ship register identifies her place of birth as Klein Oelsa. She came to Texas as a single person with the large Wendish Immigration to Texas in 1854.  Hanna became the second wife of Johann Carl Teinert, a prominent member of the Wendish migration. Carl Teinert’s first wife, Maria, nee Schneider, died at sea in 1854. Hanna died at Serbin on 16 November 1863 and Carl died at Warda on 19November 1904. I was unable to determine whether or not these two sisters were related to the other Michalks.

Fourscore Years Plus Ten

            My place of birth was on a farm just north of the city limits of Thorndale, Milam County, Texas.  My date of birth is rather unique – July 7, 1919 (7.7.1919). I was the eighth child of a family of twelve children. My ancestors were Wends or Sorbs, who came from Germany. I became a member of God’s family when I was baptized on July 27, 1919. One of my earliest childhood memories is when I went to bed at night my mother sat down next to me on the low rollaway bed and had me to repeat the prayer, “Abba, lieber Vater, Amen.” (Abba, dear Father, Amen.) Thus I, from early childhood, was taught to love God the Father. Another prayer I learned was, “Ich bin klein, mein Herz ist rein. Soll Niemand drin wohnen, als Jesus allein. Amen.”  I am little, my heart is pure.  No one should live in it except Jesus alone. Amen.) Thus I was taught to embrace Jesus in true faith. From early childhood I was taught for God to “create in me a clean heart” through Jesus Christ, my Savior. As a family we always went to church and my father held daily morning devotions after breakfast.
            Our home was bi-lingual, leaning more toward German during my early years, while later on English became predominant. When I became a first grader at St. Paul Lutheran School in the fall of 1926 I knew more German than English. The school was bi-lingual – German and English and I enjoyed going to school. I was confirmed on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1933.  I grew up during the Great Depression and considered myself fortunate to be able to graduate from high school in 1937, which was not the norm under the circumstances under which I grew up. When I took Vocational Agriculture in high school I became very interested in cattle raising and before World War II several of us brothers were engaged in a small cattle feeding operation.
            World War II changed my entire life. My enlistment date was on Good Friday April 3, 1942 and I was assigned to the U. S. Army Air Corps. After attending technical schools at Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado and at Sperry Gyroscope Company factory school in Brooklyn, New York, I was assigned to a heavy bombardment group, working on the armament of B-17 (Flying Fortress) bombers and eventually became the inspector of the armament section of my squadron. I was stationed in Washington, South Dakota, Oregon and Florida. My highest rank was Staff Sergeant. In early 1945 I was transferred to the regular army and served with several military intelligence detachments in Germany.
            While in Germany I did another thing that changed my entire life and which I in no way ever regretted, I married Stefana Todt, my dear wife. I thank God that he has given us two wonderful children and their two spouses, besides 5 grandchildren.
            When I look back and consider the many events that happened during my lifetime I have to say that there certainly were some disappointments. Growing up during the Great Depression of the 1930s had its drawbacks. For one thing my dream of attending Texas A&M College and majoring in Animal Husbandry never
materialized. But God in His mercy showered many material blessings on me. Even without a college education I was privileged to work for a major oil company for 36 years, many years as a supervisor in accounting. I retired on August 1, 1983 in Denver, CO.
             Since my job required us to move several times we belonged to LC-MS congregations in Midland, Odessa and Corpus Christi, Texas; Bakersfield, California; and Denver, Colorado. In each congregation I served as an elder and Bible Class teacher, besides being a member of various boards, especially the Board of
Evangelism.  I also sang in the Senior Choir in each one of these congregations. While in Denver I held devotions in a nursing home for 16 years. In early 2001 we moved to Carrollton, TX. During my lifetime God protected me from major illnesses and many misfortunes.  For all the spiritual and material blessings I experienced I owe God a huge debt of gratitude. I need to take to heart what Moses says in Psalm 90: 10 (KJ): “The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,  yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” And in verse 12: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom;” that is, I need to realize that human life is uncertain and in true wisdom to be prepared for the life to come. That is why it is so comforting to hear the words of Jesus: “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 – KJ)  And “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1&2 – KJV).
            When I consider my unworthiness, reaching 90 years has little significance unless I mention what God has done, that is, granting me His grace, mercy and blessing. Realizing that God has been so good to me I thank and praise Him for everything – the good as well as the not so good, God always knows what’s best for me and by God’s grace, with faith in my heart, and the assurance of complete forgiveness through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I can truthfully say with St. Paul, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” (Phil. 1:23 – NIV)
Heav’nly Father, my Creator,
Jesus Christ, my Savior dear;
Holy Spirit, spiritual Couns’lor,
Thanks to Three in One so near.
You have loved me all of my life,
Going through this earthly strife
And by grace and not by merit,
I eternal life inherit.
Bill Biar
July 7, 2009

Old Lutheranism and the Wends

What is Old Lutheranism?  Who were the Old Lutherans?  Actually the Old Lutherans were just plain confessional Lutherans, but because of the forced union of the Lutheran and Reformed religions in Prussia, called the Prussian Union, those Lutherans who did not accept the union were ridiculed, and in many cases persecuted, and called “Old Lutherans” (Alt-lutherisch).  Old Lutherans were sometimes called Mucker by their opponents, that is, bigots, hypocrites and narrow-minded.

Following the Congress of Vienna  in 1814-1815 the King of Saxony, Friedrich August I, had to cede half of his kingdom to Prussia because of his loyalty to Napoleon.  The land lost to Prussia included all of Lower Lusatia and the greater part of Upper Lusatia.  Upper Lusatia is the place where the Texas Wends originated.  The King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm III, set about to re-organize his enlarged country.  His re-organization included the churches.  It did not affect the Roman Catholics very much, but it definitely affected the Lutherans and Reformed.  The church at that time was considered part of the state and the king saw the church as an instrument to help unify his newly-enlarged country.

As part of the  re-organization, and in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Reformation, the Prussian king issued a decree on September 27, 1817, which announced the union of Lutherans and Reformed into one Evangelical Christian Church.  He appealed for the voluntary union of Lutherans and Reformed in all of Prussia.  Lutherans under the leadership of pastors, such as, Dr. Claus Harms, Dr. Johann Gottfried Scheibel, Dr. Eduard Huschke and many others objected.  Many Lutheran pastors felt that serving in the union made them unfaithful to the Lutheran Confessions.  They strictly adhered to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and the entire Book of Concord.  They could not, in good conscience, accept the Prussian Union’s form of the Lord’s Supper.  In the resulting controversy compulsory measures were adopted in 1821, and subsequently candidates for the ministry were required to pledge loyalty to the so-called Prussian Union.  In 1830 it was decreed that “Evangelical” be substituted for the distinctive names “Lutheran” and “Reformed.”  Lutherans also objected  to the new agenda which the union church prescribed in 1834.  Many pastors and lay people were persecuted and often imprisoned for their refusal to use  the official agenda of the union.  There were more than 40 Lutheran pastors, as well as many laymen, imprisoned in Prussia because they opposed the Prussian Union.  Some people fled to other German lands to avoid persecution.

In 1830 reaction against the union resulted in the formation of a Lutheran Free Church, called the “Evangelical Lutheran Church of Prussia.”  This church, composed of so-called Old Lutherans, was also known as the “Breslau Synod.”  It was headquartered in Breslau in the Province of Silesia.  Even to this day some Lutheran congregations in Germany still use Alt-lutherisch (Old Lutheran) as part of their congregational identification.  Two of these churches  are the Old Lutheran congregations at Weigersdorf  and Klitten, the two congregations  served by Pastor John Kilian before he came to Texas. The Free Church movement gained a great amount of support and sentiment all over Europe, including the countries that did not have organized Free Churches.  One hundred years after the start of  the Reformation Europe was devastated by the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).  This war produced horrible economic conditions.  It took the German lands almost two centuries to fully recover economically from this terrible war.  The war also produced moral decay.  Many Protestants all over Europe found comfort in Pietism, which ignored many Biblical doctrines.  There were also those who succumbed to Rationalism, a philosophy that promotes, among other things, a  reliance on reason as the basis for establishing religious truths.  But thanks be to God that there were always those who followed confessional Lutheranism based on the Bible.
Beginning in the second half of the 1830s there was a tremendous increase of Lutheran emigration from Europe, one of the chief reasons being freedom of religion.  The provinces from which the Prussian Old Lutherans were to come were Brandenburg, Pomerania, Posen, Silesia and the new Prussian Province of Saxony (Provinz-Sachsen, not to be confused with the Kingdom of Saxony).  In 1946 the Province of Saxony was combined with Anhalt and is now the modern province of Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt) in the Federal Republic of Germany.  Two pastors who led Old Lutherans from Prussia to Australia were Rev. August Ludwig Christian Kavel in 1838 and Rev. Gotthard Daniel Fritzsche in 1841.  In 1839 Rev. Johannes Andreas August Grabau led a large group of  Old Lutherans from Erfurt, Magdeburg and elsewhere in the Province of Saxony, to Buffalo, New York.  Many of these emigrants later settled in Wisconsin.  Pastor Leberecht Friedrich Ehregott Krause’s congregation from Silesia, a group of 265 people, settled in Buffalo, New York.  Pastor Krause, who came to America prior to this group, however never served his congregation in America.  He returned to Germany, and later came back to America, and still later went to Australia.  The above Silesian congregation became a charter member of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in 1847.

Rev. Wilhelm Iwan’s book Die Altlutherische Auswanderung um die Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts (The Old Lutheran Emigration in the Middle of the 19th Century), published in 1943, lists 7,134 Old Lutherans who filed papers in Prussia to migrate, 4,977 to America, 2,139 to Australia, and 18 to Russia.  He included the Texas Wends who came from Prussia.  His book identified only those who desired to emigrate from 1835 to 1854.  Many Lutherans from Old Lutheran congregations migrated to America and Australia in subsequent years.  The name Old Lutheran was also applied to the Saxon emigration to Missouri in 1838-1839, led by Pastor Martin Stephan, Sr.

Although not from Prussia, Wilhelm Löhe, a pastor in Neuendettelsau in the Franconian part of northern Bavaria, was an energetic confessional Lutheran, certainly akin to the Old Lutheran movement.  He began sending “emergency workers,” called Sendlinge, to America in 1842.  He trained his workers in his “parsonage seminary.”  Many of these “emergency workers” started congregations  which joined The Lutheran – Missouri Synod.  In 1846 he was instrumental in founding a “Practical Seminary” in Ft. Wayne, IN, and supplied money and many young men to study for the Lutheran ministry.  Over the years this seminary  was moved to St. Louis,  then to Springfield, IL, and is now Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne.

When the Old Lutherans arrived in America confessional Lutheranism was on the verge of disappearing in America.  They founded several new Lutheran synods.  As time went on, and after numerous alignments and some  mergers, descendants of Old Lutherans can be found in all three major Lutheran bodies: The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (via the American Lutheran Church) and The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

The area from which most of the Texas Wends of 1854 emigrated was still in Saxony until 1819 when, as a result of the Congress of Vienna, a new boundary was drawn right through Upper Lusatia, the original home of the Texas Wends.  The northern part was ceded to Prussia while the southern part remained in Saxony.  Thus well over half of the Texas Wends came from Prussia while the rest came from Saxony.  As a matter of interest, today, as a result of the unification of the two Germanys in 1990, the former Silesian and the former Saxon areas, where the Texas Wends originated, are in Saxony, a province of the Federal Republic of Germany.

How did Old Lutheranism come to the Wends in the panhandle of the former German Province of Silesia in Prussia?  First of all, it must be remembered that the Prussian Union was ushered in by decree by King Friedrich Wilhelm III and  its inauguration was not common knowledge.  Weigersdorf did not have a church at that time and the people belonged to the parish of Baruth to the south in Saxony before the new boundary was drawn in 1819.  After 1819 the people of Weigersdorf belonged to the parish of Gross-Radisch to the east.  When Andreas Urban (1790-1879), a shoemaker in Weigersdorf, went to Spremberg to buy leather he heard of the controversy that was going on at Hönigern, Silesia.  Urban alerted the Lutherans in Weigersdorf and surrounding area of what was going on in the church.  The pastor at Gross-Radisch stuck with the union and appeals to him fell on deaf ears.  The Lutherans in Weigersdorf and surrounding area rallied around Andreas Urban and Teacher Andreas Dutschmann, and in Klitten and surrounding area they rallied around a farmer by the name of Christoph Lehnig.

Weigersdorf  did not have a school until 1827 when Andreas Dutschmann, who was born at Rakel in Saxony on August 8, 1808, was engaged as their teacher.  The school was started on September 24, 1827 after the County School Supervisor, Superintendent Busch in Rothenburg, approved the opening of the school and Dutschmann as  teacher.  The school started with 57 pupils.  Over the years Dutschmann gained the support of the people.

The confessional Lutherans in and around Weigersdorf and Klitten took the matter to the Lord in prayer before many of them separated themselves from the Prussian Provincial Church, the so-called Prussian Union.  By January 17, 1846 one-half of the village of Weigersdorf  had left the union church.  When the County School Inspector became aware of the fact that Teacher Dutschmann left the union church, he immediately demanded that he return.  Dutschmann refused and was immediately removed from his office.  On May 5, 1846 the County Judge and two rural police-men from Rothenburg, the lord of the manor and the mayor of Weigersdorf, and several others from the local village, who were threatened with a 2 Taler fine, the fine for disturbing the peace, if they did not go along, came to Dutschmann’s house.  They moved Dutschmann’s belongings out of the house and into the nearby woodshed.  At that time the Dutschmanns had 3 children and Mrs. Dutschmann was highly pregnant.  After living and sleeping in the woodshed for some time Andreas Urban had them move into his retirement room (Auszugsstube).  The people in Weigersdorf asked Dutschmann to continue as the teacher of their children in Weigersdorf.  A room for a school was furnished by a local resident until a schoolhouse could be built.

In the meantime the Lutherans had quietly contacted Pastor Gessner from Freistadt, Silesia.  He had been held in prison for five years for not accepting the union, but by this time had been released.  The Lutherans met secretly in the house of Andreas Urban.  On May 1, 1843 fourteen members from Weigersdorf  and Dauban were received into the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Pastor Gessner could serve them only once every three months.  Even at that this group grew in numbers.

On July 23, 1845, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who succeeded his father as king of Prussia, issued the Generalkonzession (General Concession), which  permitted  the Lutherans, who remained separate from the Prussian Union, to organize free churches.  The confessional Lutherans of Weigersdorf and Dauban now met in a chapel in an upper room provided by Johann Schäfer in Dauban.  By January 17, 1846 over 100 members, who came from Weigersdorf, Dauban, Klitten, Zimpel, Kaschel, Förstgen, Gebelzig, Gross-Saubernitz, Prauske and other places, had joined this Lutheran group.  Since the chapel was too small and the congregation was very scattered, extending to Tzscheln and Spree, etc., to the north, it was decided to build two churches, one in Weigersdorf and one in Klitten.  The church in Weigersdorf was dedicated on December 20, 1846, while the church in Klitten was dedicated on October 3, 1847.

Andreas Urban, without a doubt, was the most influential layman during the formative years of the Old Lutheran congregation in Weigersdorf.  As  a matter of interest, Andreas Urban immigrated to Australia in 1851 and eventually settled in Gnadenthal near Mt. Rouse, in the vicinity of Hochkirch (now Tarrington), Victoria.  He kept in touch with the people in his native land via letters and gave the poor in Weigersdorf financial assistance.

Without a doubt the most influential personality in the early years of the Weigersdorf congregation was Andreas Dutschmann, who was a teacher in Weigersdorf for 58 years and a cantor, lector and elder of  the congregation for 40 years.  After Pastor Kilian came to Texas his friendship with Teacher Dutschmann continued.  They exchanged many letters.  They even exchanged flower seeds.

Pastor Johann Kilian, who had served a congregation of the Saxon state church at Kotitz, Saxony, accepted  the call of the Old Lutherans of the Weigersdorf and Klitten congregations.  At first he served as interim pastor from Kotitz until he had overcome many of the obstacles thrown in his path by the Prussian Union.  He moved to Dauban, near Weigersdorf, in 1848, and in 1852 into the parsonage at Weigersdorf.

On March 25, 1854 a new congregation was formed at Dauban by a group of Wends who desired to emigrate.  On May 23, 1854 the group called Pastor John Kilian to be their pastor.  In September 1854 the Wends started their long journey to Texas, and after many hardships, arrived  in Galveston in December and then went overland and settled in Serbin and surrounding area.

After the unification of the two Germanys in 1990 the two Old Lutheran congregations at Weigersdorf and Klitten are members of the Selbstständige Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche (Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church), a partner church of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  Both LCMS and SELK are members of the International Lutheran Council.