What if Our Name was Schmitz Oberst?

Sometimes you come across something that changes everything in your family tree.

I could’ve been a Schmitz Oberst instead of a Konzen (can you even imagine it?).  But, thanks to Wilhelmus Schmitz Oberst & Elisabetha Konzen, I am a Konzen.  They are the reason why many of you are Konzens, too.  I recently found out about Wilhelmus & Elisabetha from a comment by Chip Kalb and through a book he pointed me toward.

Chip’s latest hint was about my Konzen line in Herborn, Luxembourg.  My cousins and I have tried to trace our Konzens back past Theodore Konzen of Herborn, but we couldn’t find anything to connect him to any Konzens in the Herborn records microfilmed by Family Search.  I was afraid that we were never going to be able to trace our Konzen line further back and I wanted more.

I followed Chip’s information to a new relative, Robert Grosch.  Robert and I are sixth cousins once removed – his sixth great grandfather Nicolaus Konzen is my fifth great grandfather – and he wrote a book with Jean-Claude Muller called “Familienbuch und Häuserchronik der Ortschaften Herborn, Mompach, Givenich und Pfaffenberg” (translation: “Family Book and House Chronicles of towns Herborn, Mompach, Givenich and Pfaffenberg”).  This book is a great resource and it traces the Konzen family tree back three generations further than what I had before.

The furthest generation of Konzens we’d found was Theodore Konzen & Catharina Scholer (the parents of Elizabeth who moved to Trierweiler, Peter who moved to Kruchten, and Wilhelm who moved to Olingen).  According to the Herborn book, Theodore was the youngest of 10 children born to Nicolaus Konzen* and Maria-Catharina Meyers or Storck.

Nicolaus Konzen was the younger of 2 children born to Wilhelmus Schmitz Oberst and Elisabetha Konzen.  Yes, Schmitz Oberst.  And no, Nicolaus was not illegitimate.  As the eldest child, Elisabetha had the right to remain in the Konzen family house after her marriage to Wilhelmus.  According to Robert, the couple remained in the Konzen family house and during this time period the parish priest used house names as surnames.  So that is why Wilhelmus and his children had the Konzen last name in records.  After Elisabetha’s death Wilhelmus still lived in the Konzen house and had the Konzen last name.  He married Maria Lauers and had 7 more children with the last name Konzen.  Just to confuse things, of course!

Elisabetha Konzen was the eldest of Nicolaus Konzen & Susanna’s 13 children.  After Susanna’s death Nicolaus married Anna Lauers and they had 4 children together.

So the family tree looks like:

1st generation:  Nicolaus Konzen & Susanna

2nd generation:  Elisabetha Konzen & Wilhelmus Schmitz Oberst

3rd generation:  Nicolaus Konzen & Maria-Catharina Meyers or Storck

4th generation:  Theodore Konzen & Catharina Scholer

5th generation:  Peter Konzen & Theresa Wolff

The book organizes families by houses and it has a photo of the Kounzen house in Herborn.  It also has a map of Herborn that shows the location of the Kounzen house.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.21.19 PM

The Kounzen house in Herborn (photo from Google Maps)

If you’re interested in purchasing Robert Grosch & Jean-Claude Muller’s book “Familienbuch und Häuserchronik der Ortschaften Herborn, Mompach, Givenich und Pfaffenberg,” I can pass Robert’s contact information on to you.  You can email me at konzengenealogy at hotmail.com or comment on this post with your email address.

*In Herborn, our Konzens used various spellings of Konzen, so I will stick with the current spelling for continuity.  According to the Herborn book, it was Kuntzen in 1680, and Kontzen in 1900.  Other spellings are Conzen, Contzen, and Kounzen.

 

 

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One thought on “What if Our Name was Schmitz Oberst?

  1. Very good! As for myself, I choose Kontzem because that’s what it was spelled when the trail ran cold on Wilhelm “Kontzem”. His daughter, Katharina Kontzem Gales, was born in 1820 as as a Konten, married in 1845 as a Konsen, and listed in the 1847 Census as a Kuntzen!

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