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PLEASE NOTE: All content on this site is being transferred to http://bowershomestead.com/

Following is data collected from archives in Germany when I lived near Darmstadt in the 1990s.

NOTE: Many of the following items are not direct translations because any word I could not decipher I left out. I have retained the incosistencies in the spellings of the names and occupations. You'll also notice inconsistencies in the numbering system because each time a pastor started a new book he began with a new Page 1.

Preiss Family in Germany - photos
preisserbach3.jpg
Erbach, Germany, home of the Preiss family during the late 1600s and early 1700s.

GENERAL INFORMATION

"Familiennamen aus dem Hessischen Odenwald," (Family Names Out of the Hessian Odenwald) by H.W. Debor. Page 37.
Preiss: "a most honorable nickname" (meist ehrender Uebername).
Before 1586, Christopher Preiss appears in records in Erbach, which was the seat of the counts that ruled over much of the Odenwald region before it became part of Hesse-Darmstadt in the early 1800s. A Hans Philipp Preiss appears in Erbach records in 1605 and Christoph Preiss from "Vrenz" in Wuerttemberg appears in Erbach in 1674. In 1688, Christoph and Mattess Preiss are listed as living in Erbach.

Erbach Protestant Church records. Matthaus Preiss was the son of Hans Preiss, resident of "Prenz" in Wuerttemberg. This is actually Brenz an der Brenz in the present German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Much of Wuerttemberg was ravaged during the 30 Years' War in 1618-1648, forcing many to flee. The depressed economy in the following years may have spurred Matthaus and Christoph Preiss to move to Erbach in the 1670s or 1680s. These two men were probably brothers or at least close relatives because they appear together in later baptismal records. It is possible that the family originated in Erbach and migrated south to Brenz during the 30 Years' War, only to return several decades later. It appears unlikely that this can be proved.


BRENZ PROTESTANT CHURCH RECORDS

(The following records were uncovered and translated by Friedrich R. Wollmershaeuser, an excellent genealogist from Oberdischingen. He said the parish records for Brenz start in 1649. One of the following records refers to Stotzingen, which is probably the present Niederstotzingen, whose 17th-century records were destroyed in a town fire in 1725. Aside from church records, few other documents concerning common folk exist from this era. Because of this, there is little hope that further research will turn up much on the Preiss family. I want to check the records myself to see whether Matthaus' siblings appear.)

HANS PREYSS
(Hans was the son of Christoph Preyss and may have been born around 1629. Erbach church records say Hans was an "Einwohner," or resident, of Brenz. This usually indicates that the man was not a full citizen of the town and often means he was a farmer or laborer. However, since he married the daughter of a schoolmaster and court member, it seems possible that the family had some standing in the community. Then again, the area may have been severely depopulated during the 30 Years' War and its women left with few choices for husbands.)

October 1651: The marriage between Hans Preyss, son of the late Christoph Preyss at Brenz, and Christina Kastler, daughter of the late Paul Kastler, schoolmaster and member of the local law court (Gerichts) at Stotzingen, has been performed in Brenz.

November 2, 1653: Baptism of Mattheus, son of Hans Preys and Christina Kastler. Sponsors were H. Matthaeus Karrer, Wilhelm Ma... Vogel, Fr. Anna Braeuch and Engla Althamer. (The month is difficult to read and may be December.)

1675: On 2 April Hans Preys died at age 46.

1678: On 25(?) April Christina Preyss, widow, died at age 48.


ERBACH PROTESTANT CHURCH RECORDS

MATTHAUS PREISS
March 8, 1683, Matthaus Preiss, son of Hans Preiss, resident (Einwohner) of Prenz (Brenz) in Wuerttemberg, married Margaretha, daughter of Hans Schaefer, gardener (for the count of Erbach) of here. Page 179.

July 21, 1683, Matthaus Preiss and Margaretha, his wife, of Erbach, had a daughter. Named Anna Margaretha. Page 25.

May 23, 1688, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger (citizen with full rights) of here, and Margaretha, his wife, had a son. He was baptized on the 24th. Named Hans Willhelm. Page 33.

July 2, 1705, Margretha, wife of Matthaus Preiss, chancery messenger of here, died. Age 59 years. (She was born about 1646, if this is correct.)

Nov. 19, 1705, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger (Canzleybote) of here, and Maria Elisabetha, daughter of Meister Hans Philipp Rexrodt, master taylor (Schneidermeister) of here, were married. Page 186.

Feb. 1, 1706, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger (Canzleibote) of here, and Elisabetha, his wife, had a young daughter. She was baptized on the third of the month. Anna Eva, Friedrich Preiss' wife, was the sponsor. Named Anna Eva. Page 65.

Feb. 7, 1708, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger of here, and Maria Elisabetha, his wife, had a young daughter. She was baptized on the 10th of the month. Susanna, Meister Michael Amman's (?) daughter, was the sponsor. Named Maria Elisabetha. Page 67.

Dec. 19, 1709, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger of here, and Maria Elisabetha, his wife, had a daughter. She was baptized on the 21st of the month. Henrietta Juliana, wife of Meister Michael Amman (?), Buerger, was the sponsor. Named Henrietta Juliana. Page 73.

June 19, 1713, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger of here, and Maria Elisabetha, his wife, had a young son. He was baptized on the 20th of the month. The sponsor was Hans Baltzer Walme (?), son of Georg Ludwig Walme (?), Buerger and smith. Named Johann Baltzer. Page 83.

Oct. 25, 1715, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger of here, and Maria Elisabetha, his wife, had a young daughter. The sponsor was Susanna, daughter of Michael Jacob Wismann. Named Susanna. Page 92.

Jan. 15, 1719, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger, and Maria Elisabetha, his wife, had a son. He was baptized on the 18th. The sponsor was Meister Christoph Preiss, court butcher (Hofmetzger). Named Johann Christoph. Page 104.

Feb. 3, 1722, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger, and Maria Elisabetha, his wife, had a son. He was baptized on the eighth. Named Johann Thomas. Page 116.

Feb. 13, 1727, Matthaus Preiss, count's chancery messenger (Herrschaftlich Canzleybotte) of here and Maria Elisabeth, his wife, had a young son. Named Johann Baltzer. Page 1.
(Matthaus had two sons with the same name, which was not all that uncommon in Germany at this time. The younger Baltzer died May 10, 1731, at age 4 years, 3 months. Page 425. The elder Baltzer died Feb. 12, 1734, at age 20 years, 8 months. Page 430.)

Jan. 11, 1729, Maria Elisabeth, wife of Matthaus Preiss, chancery messenger of here, died. Age 44 years, 5 months. (Born about August 1684). Page 422.

June 14, 1740, Johann Matthaus Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger of here, died. Age 77 years, 32 weeks. Page 440. (He actually was about 87.)

JOHANN WILHELM PREISS
May 23, 1688, Matthaus Preiss, Buerger of here, and Margaretha, his wife, had a son. He was baptized on the 24th. Named Hans Willhelm. Page 33.

June 10, 1717, Hans Wilhelm Preiss, son of Matthaus Preiss, count's chancery messenger (Herrschaftlich Canzleibote) of here, married Louysa Maria, daughter of Meister Heinrich Spiess, court official (Gerichts), Buerger and church elder (Kirchenaeltester) of here. Page 193.

(Birth record of Louysa Maria Spiess: March 26, 1692, Johann Heinrich Spiess, wagon maker and court official of here, and Anna Margaretha, his wife, had a daughter. Named Loysa Maria. Page 39. Marriage record: On Feb. 16, 1687, Johann Heinrich Spiess, widower, Buerger, wagon maker and member of the local law court, married Anna Margaretha Wiessman, the daughter of Johannes Wiessman, smith of Erbach. Page 179.)

April 11, 1718, Meister Johann Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and smith (Schmidt) of here, and Louysa Maria, his wife, had a young son. He was baptized on the 14th. The sponsor was Johann Matthaus Preiss. Named Johann Matthaus. Page 104.

April 7, 1720, Hans Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and smith of here, and Louysa Maria, his wife had a daughter. Named Anna Cordula. Page 109.

Sept. 9, 1721, Hans Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and master smith (Schmidmeister) of here, and Maria Louysa, his wife, had a daughter. Named Anna Maria. Page 114.

March 18, 1725, Meister Hans Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and master smith of here, and Maria Louysa, his wife, had a young son. The sponsor was Mr. Johannes Kischel (?), Buerger and shoemaker of here. Named Johannes. Page 130.

March 24, 1725, Louysa Maria, wife of Meister Hans Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and master smith of here, died. Age 33 years.

July 12, 1725, Hans Wilhelm Preiss, widower, Buerger and master smith of here, married Eva Rosina, single daughter of Meister Johannes Schild, Buerger and master taylor (Schneidermeister) of Michelstadt. Page 198.

June 16, 1726, Johann Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and master smith of here, and Eva Rosina, his wife, had a daughter. She was baptized on the 17th. Named Johanna Charlotta. Page 134.

March 11, 1731, Meister Hans Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and smith of here, and Eva Rosina, his wife, had a son. Named Conrad Christian. Page 20.

Aug. 20, 1734, Hans Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and master smith of here, and Eva Rosina, his wife, had a son. Named Johann Jacob. Page 34.

Jan. 15, 1741, Sophia Charlotta, small daughter of Meister Johann Wilhelm Preiss, master smith, Buerger and chancery messenger (Canzley Botte) of here, died. Age 3 years, 3 weeks(?). Page 441.
(I missed the record of this girl's birth.)

Dec. 21, 1745, Rosina Preuss, wife of Johann Wilhelm Preuss, chancery messenger (Kanzeley Bote) of here, died. Age 50 years, 13 days. Page 50.

June 21, 1746, Johann Wilhelm Preiss, widower, Buerger, master smith, now chancery messenger (Canzeley Bote) of Erbach, married Elisabetha, daughter of Johann Lauth, resident and citizen (Gemeindsmann) of Unter-Mossau. Page 374.

April 28, 1747, George Christian Preiss, was born to Meister Joh. Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger, master smith and chancery messenger of here, and his wife, Elisabetha. Page 90.

Jan. 13, 1749, Georg Wilhelm Preuss was born to Johann Wilhelm Preuss, chancery messenger, and Elisabeth, his wife. Page 97.

Feb. 27, 1771, J. Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger, master smith and chancery messenger of here died. Age 82 years, 9 months, 4 days. Page 495.

May 21, 1772, Elisabetha Preiss, widow of Joh. Wilhelm Preiss, Buerger and chancery messenger of here, died. Age 60 years.

(Johann Wilhelm probably assumed his father's job with the chancery upon his death. Matthaus died in 1740 and a record from 1741 says Johann Wilhelm was a chancery messenger. Upon his death, the position seems to have been inherited by his grandson Johann Wilhelm Preiss, son of Johann Mathaus Preiss, who died March 2, 1755.)


JOHANNES PREISS
March 18, 1725, Hans Wilhelm Preiss, citizen (Buerger) and master smith of here, and Maria Louisa his wife had a young son. The sponsor was Johannes Kischel(?), citizen and shoemaker of here. Named Johannes. Page 130.

1742 Confirmation: Johannes, son of Johann Wilhelm Preiss, age 16. Page 292.

Dec. 12, 1752, Johannes Preyss, Buerger and smith (Hufschmidt) of Erbach, son of Johann Wilhelm Preiss, count's chancery messenger (Herrschaftlich Cantzley-bothe), married Maria Margaretha, daughter of bell-ringer (Gloeckner) Simon Weber. Page 381.

(Birth record of Johannes' wife: Maria Catharina, born to Simon Weber, tailor (Schneider) and resident of Dorf Erbach, on Jan. 18, 1719. The date fits with the death record of Johannes' wife. The name matches the name of his wife as listed in the baptismal records of their children. Card file in the Erbach City Archive.)

April 2, 1753, Johann Nicolaus Preiss, was born to Johannes Preiss, master smith in Erbach, and his wife, Maria Catharina. The sponsor was Johann Nicolaus Weber, bell-ringer of Erbach. Page 115.

June 25, 1754, Johann Leopold Preiss was born to Johannes Preiss, Buerger and smith, and Maria Catharina. The sponsors were Johann Matthaus Preiss, smith of here, and Johann Leopold Weber. Page 121.

April 7, 1756, Johann Leopold Preyss, small son of Johannes Preyss, Buerger and smith of here, died. Age 1 year, 9 months, 3 days. Page 461.

July 24, 1756, Anna Maria Preiss, Johannes Preiss, master smith of here, died. Age 37 years, 7 months. Page 461.
(Either this record or the following one is misdated. In all likelihood, she died soon after giving birth to Johann Simon, listed below. Regarding the switching of the wife's names, it seems that many pastors were sloppy when it came to the wife's name, so that is probably the case here. All of these records certainly relate to our family for several reasons. These are all of the records pertaining to any Johannes Preiss for a span of almost 100 years. In this time, only two births of a Johannes Preiss are recorded, in 1725 and 1761 -- the second was the illegitimate son of our Johannes' stepdaughter. The occupation and status of Buerger listed in each item make it unlikely another Johannes Preiss appears in these records. Also, the sponsors of this Johannes' children seem to match the family of the wife our Johannes married.)

Aug. 5, 1756, Johann Simon Preyss was born to Johannes Preyss, Buerger and smith of here, and Maria Catharina, his wife. The sponsor was Johann Simon Weber, bell-ringer, of here. Page 136.

Sept. 4, 1756, Johann Simon Preiss, small son of Johannes Preiss, master smith, died. Age 1 month.

April 26, 1757, Johannes Preiss, Buerger, smith (Huf-Schmidt) a widower, married Elisabeth, daughter of Bernhard Platt, roofer (Schiefer-Decker) and Buerger of here. Page 384.

Jan. 29, 1762, Johann Nicolaus Preiss, son of Johannes Preiss, Buerger and master smith, died. Age 9 years, less than 2 months. Page 481.

(Both of Johannes' marriage records from Erbach get difficult to read in parts. In one or the other there may be an indication that it was the bride's second marriage. This is important because in 1761, Wilhelmina Alzfeld is listed as a stepdaughter of Johannes Preiss in the record of the illegitimate birth of her son Johannes. Page 167. I must check to see whether our Johannes' first or second wife had been married to an Alzfeld.)

MARIA ELISABETHA PLATT
(Johannes Preiss' second wife appears to have been a cousin. Maria Elisabetha Platt's mother was Maria Barbara Preiss, the daughter of Christoph Preiss. He appears to have been the brother or other close relative of Matthaus Preiss, Johannes' grandfather. Christoph and Matthaus named children after each other, with the namesake serving as baptismal sponsor. Also, Maria Elisabetha's baptismal sponsor was the second wife of Matthaus.)

Oct. 7, 1710, Bernhardt Platt, Buerger and roofer (Schiefer-Decker) of here, and Maria Barbara, his wife, had a young daughter. She was baptized on the eight of month. The sponsor was Maria Elisabeth, wife of Matthaus Preiss, chancery messenger. The child was named Maria Elisabeth. Page 74.

May 12, 1698, Bernhardt Platt, roofer from Rohrbach, near Heidelberg, married Maria Barbara, daughter of Meister Christoph Preiss, Buerger and shoemaker of Erbach. Page 182.

ERBACH BUERGER LIST FOR 1766, in Erbach city archives. No Johannes Preiss is listed, meaning the Johannes listed above had moved out of town by then. Also, his death isn't recorded in Erbach.


REICHENBACH PROTESTANT CHURCH RECORDS

JOHANNES PREISS
In 1763, Maria Elisabeth, wife of Johannes Preiss, master smith of Gadernheim, died on Jan. 17 at age 54 years, 3 months and 7 days. Page 644. (Elisabetha Platt)

In 1763, Johannes Preiss, a widower and master smith of Gadernheim, on the 19th of April married Maria Magdalena, daughter of Johann Dieter Braun, citizen (Gemeins Mann) of Gronau. (Page number missing from photocopy.)

In 1764 in Gadernheim, Christian, the son of Johann Preiss, master smith, and Magdalena, was born on the 17th of August and was baptized on the 19th. The sponsor was Christian Mind, citizen of Gadernheim. (Page number missing from photocopy.)
(There is a later notation that Christian left for North America in 1831.)

In Gadernheim in 1768, Johann Philipp, son of Johannes Preiss, master smith, and Magdalene, was born on the 12th of July. The sponsors were Johann Philipp and Johann Georg (probably Rauch). Page 146.

On Jan. 7, 1770, Johann Philipp Preiss died at age 1 year. Page 708.

In 1794, Anna Magdalena, wife of Johannes Preiss, resident and master smith of Gadernheim, died on the 9th of March and was buried on the 10th. Age 59 years, 6 months, 27 days. Page 708. (Almost certainly either the "Anna" in this reference or the "Maria" in the marriage records is an error. There is no other marriage record for Johannes or death record of a wife.)

In 1796, Johannes Preiss, resident and master smith of Gadernheim, died on the 11th of August and was buried on the 13th. Age 70 years, 5 months, 6 days. Page 719. (He was actually more than 71 years old.)

(A final document of interest is a baptismal record for a child born to a daughter of Johannes. Ella Gieg "translated" the baptismal record into modern German and I translated it into English. Although I couldn't find birth records for either Anna Margaretha or her brother Johann Peter, their funerals are listed in the church book index. An Anna Margaretha Preiss died June 23, 1856, and is listed on Page 149. Her birthdate is listed as Oct. 14, 1771 in the index. A Johann Peter Preiss is listed as dying on July 1, 1847, in Schoenberg, as recorded on Page 155. His birthdate is listed as Nov. 13, 1774, in the index. The following record comes from Page 208 of the Reichenbach churchbook and is listed under Gadernheim, 1798.)

Johann Peter, the illegitimate son of Anna Margaretha, heir and legitimate daughter of the deceased Johannes Preiss, former resident and master smith, was born on 10 March at 10 in the morning and was baptized on the 11th (of March).
The sponsor was Johann Peter Preiss, journeyman smith and the mother's brother. Holding the child at the baptism in his absence was Elisabetha, heir and wife of the deceased Conrad Caffenberger, former resident.
The father of this child is, after the declaration of the midwife, Johann Jost Lannert of Winterkasten.

CHRISTIAN PREISS
In 1764 in Gadernheim, Christian, the son of Johann Preiss, master smith, and Magdalena, was born on the 17th of August and was baptized on the 19th. The sponsor was Christian Mind, citizen of Gadernheim.
(There is a later notation that Christian left for North America in 1831.)

In 1796, Johann Christian Preiss, master smith of Gadernheim, son of Johann Preiss, master smith, married Anna Margaretha, daughter of Johan Nickolaus Ripper, carpenter, on the 9th of February. Page 591.

In Gadernheim in 1797, Anna Elisabetha Preiss, was born to Christian Preiss, resident and master smith, and his wife, Anna Margaretha, born Ripper, on the 14th of December and baptized on the 15th. Sponsors were Anna Elisabetha and Johann Nikolaus Ripper. Page 207.

In Gadernheim in 1799, Johann Georg Preiss was born to Christian Preiss, master smith, and his wife, Anna Margaretha, born Ripper, on the 15th of November. The sponsor was Johann Georg Schmid, citizen. Page 214.
(There is a later notation that this child died, but no year is given. Presumably this is the same boy as the one listed right below and the "one year" was left out of the notation on the child's age.)

In 1801, Johann Georg, son of Christian Preiss, resident and master smith of Gadernheim, a small son, died on the 16th of April and was buried on the 19th. Age 5 months. Page 737.

In Gadernheim in 1802, Anna Margaretha was born to Christian Preiss, resident and master smith, and his wife, Anna Margaretha, born Ripper, on the 25th of June. The sponsor was Anna Margaretha, wife of Johann Michael (undecipherable). Page 223.
(There is a later notation that Anna Margaretha left for North America in 1831.)

In Gadernheim in 1805, Johann Nickolaus was born to Christian Preiss, resident and master smith, and his wife, Anna Margaretha, born Ripper, on the 7th of July and baptized on the 8th. The sponsor was Johann Nickolaus Essinger, citizen of Reichenbach and (someone undecipherable) of Gadernheim. Page 235.
(There is a later notation that Nikolaus, as he later spelled his name, left for North America in 1831.)

In Gadernheim in 1807, Anna Maria was born to Christian Preiss, resident and master smith, and his wife, Anna Margaretha, born Ripper, on the 24th of February. The sponsor was Anna Maria, wife of Johann Nickolaus (undecipherable, but the first letter is a "B.") Page 245.

In 1807, Anna Maria, small daughter of Christian Preiss, resident and master smith of Gadernheim, died on the 24th of February. Page 762.

In Gadernheim, Anna Susanna Preiss was born on the morning of April 3, 1808, to Johann Christian Preiss, resident and master smith of Gadernheim, and his wife Anna Margaretha, whose maiden name was Ripper. It was her sixth child. The sponsor was Anna Susanna, the wife of Johann Nickolas Ripper. Page 42.

In Gadernheim, Anna Christina Preiss was born on the evening of March 25, 1811, to Christian Preiss, resident and master smith of Gadernheim, and his wife, Anna Margaretha, whose maiden name was Ripper. It was her seventh child and fifth daughter. The sponsor was Anna Christina, wife of Christian Schaller of Lautern. Page 14.


JOHANN NIKOLAUS PREISS
In Gadernheim in 1805, Johann Nickolaus was born to Christian Preiss, resident and master smith, and his wife, Anna Margaretha, born Ripper, on the 7th of July and baptized on the 8th. The sponsor was Johann Nickolaus Essinger, citizen of Reichenbach and (someone undecipherable) of Gadernheim. Page 235.
(There is a later notation that Nikolaus left for North America in 1831.)

(I had help from Ella Gieg on the next two records because the preacher's writing was particularly difficult to read. In each of these records, the minister spells the name "Nicolaus" but the signature at the bottom reads "Nikolaus.")

In Gadernheim, in 1827 on the 13th of November, Johann Nicolaus Preiss, son of Christian Preiss, citizen and master smith of Gadernheim, and his wife Anna Margaretha, born Ripper, 22 years old and a citzen and smith of Gadernheim, married Anna Elisabetha, daughter of Peter Reimund, citizen and farmer of Gadernheim, and his wife Elisabetha Margaretha, born Kredel, 19 years old. Page 16.

In Gadernheim in 1828 on the 5th of April, Johann Nicolaus, citizen and master smith of Gadernheim, and his wife Anna Elisabetha Reimund, had their first child, a son who was baptized on the 6th of the same month and named Johann Georg. The sponsor was Johann Georg Boehm, citizen and farmer of Gadernheim. Page 29.

Elisabetha Catharina Preiss was born in 1830 on the 8th of July to Johann Nicolaus Preiss, master smith, and his wife, Anna Elisabetha, born Reimund. It was their second child, a daughter. The sponsors were Elisabetha Catharina, born Wendel, and Peter Reimund. Page 73.


REIMUND FAMILY

Children of Johann Peter Reimund, from church records of Reichenbach, Germany

In Gadernheim in 1802, Anna Eva was born to Johann Peter Reimund, citizen, and his wife, Elisabetha Catharina, born Wendel, on the second of August. The sponsors were Anna Eva and Johann Adam Wendel, citizen of Winterkasten.

In Gadernheim in 1805, Johann Peter was born to Johann Peter Reimund, citizen, and his wife, Elisabetha Catharina, born Wendel, on the 16th of November. The sponsor was Georg Peter Wendel, citizen of Winterkasten.

From my notes: Birth of Anna Elisabeth on Sept. 26, 1808, lists Johann Peter Reimund as a citizen and court juror who set the boundary stones between properties (Steinsetzer) of Gadernheim. Anna Elisabeth married Nickolaus Preiss.

 

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