Forum Index
Recalling Concordia's Past
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Land ownership, primogeniture, and farm names

Post new topic   Reply to topic Forum Index -> German records and customs
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 384
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:44 pm    Post subject: Land ownership, primogeniture, and farm names Reply with quote

In early years, Germany was primarily an agricultural society. Therefore, land ownership was of prime importance to the people. Property became a family estate, handed down from generation to generation. Male primogeniture rules that prevailed in Germany (Ältestenrecht, which are still in effect in some areas) ensured this succession of ownership. Under these rules, when a father died, all of his land was inherited by the oldest living son. Younger sons would either work for the eldest brother or find some other occupation. In the event there was no son, the land passed down to the eldest daughter. Her spouse would typically be a younger son in another family who did not own land himself. After the marriage, he would often assume the name of the wife's family. This would maintain the farm name of the earlier owner. [Note that farm names were often carved in the wooden lintel over the main door of a housebarn.]

When looking at old church records, birth records usually list the location of the parents by farm number in a particular village (like Meinstedt No. 2) although occasionally it may indicate a farm name (like Boeschen Hus). Similiarly, death records indicate the farm number of where the deceased lived and marriage records may include the farm numbers for the groom and for the both sets of parents. Because the names may be difficult to read or sometimes people used different given names, this may help to identify a person when tracking a family. It also illustrates the application of the primogeniture rules.

Those cases in which a man married a woman with land and took on her family name are usually noted in the church records. After the switch they would often list his old name and his new surname with a term such as genannt, vulgo, modo, or sive listed between them meaning he had one surname but was called by another. That’s why on-line data bases that have indexed the records will list the surname of an individual as “name1 (or name2)”.

Last edited by roger.pape on Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:18 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Site Admin

Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 384
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:43 am    Post subject: Farm name example Reply with quote

The trace of my Baumeister ancestors (see Baumeister Family Trace) includes a case in which a groom took on his bride’s farm name when he married. It also shows an unusual variation from the primogeniture rules.

My Baumeister gr-gr-grandparents both had multiple marriages. Johann Christian Baumeister had three wives because of the early deaths of his first two wives. His third wife Catharine Ilsabein nee Kaase (my gr-gr-grandmother) also remarried after Johann died. He had a total of 14 children, 7 with his last wife Catharine. The Börninghausen church records consistently list Johann’s residence from his birth until his death as No. 6 Börninghausen. In his marriage records, he is listed as “Colonus“ Johann Christian Baumeister, No. 6 Börninghausen indicating that he owned the land. While early records are not complete, he apparently was the first-born son and had inherited the farm.

Johann died of consumption (Schwindsucht) on 19 Jun 1843 at age 57. Wife Catherine was more than ten years younger than Johann and had eight children to care for (three by Johann’s first wife). So in the spring of the following year, she married Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Danielmeier from No. 10 Börninghausen. He apparently had no land of his own, so he came to live with his wife at the Baumeister homestead. After the marriage and the birth of a son, his name is listed as Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Baumeister s. (sive) Danielmeier. One normally determines a child’s surname from the surname of the father. In this entry, Baumeister is underlined and the ‘s.’ between the two surnames indicates “also known as”. The family was living at the Baumeister homestead (No. 6 Börninghausen).

It should be noted that gr-gr-grandfather Johann Christian Baumeister’s oldest living son at the time of his death, namely Jobst Heinrich (by his first wife), was living at No. 22 Börninghausen. He had acquired another farm and raised his family there. Johann’s surviving wife had taken over No. 6 Börninghausen. (Did Johann stipulate this in a will so that she and the younger children would be cared for?)

Church records show that Catharine died on 17 Dec 1865 of some type of back problem (Ruck???) at the farm of Col. Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Baumeister, Börninghausen No. 6 but her second husband continued to live on the Baumeister homestead. On 04 Jul 1867, the church records list Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Danielmeier, Col. Baumeister, widower, marrying Anne Catharine Höke at No. 6 Börninghausen. He died a short seven days later of a hemorrhage (Blutsturz) with the place of death listed as No. 6 Börninghausen. His father was also living on the Baumeister farm and outlived him, dying on 02 Apr 1869, also at No. 6 Börninghausen.

This brings up an interesting question involving the succession of land ownership. As the oldest surviving son of Johann Christian, Jobst Heinrich Baumeister was entitled to the farm under the primogeniture rules of that day. However, he was still living at No. 22 Börninghausen in 1874 when a daughter of his was married. (That was the last year of the records available on microfilm.)

Did Jobst relinquish ownership because his step-mother was living there with a number of small children? Or was the change of ownership specified in the wills of the deceased? Who finally wound up owning the Baumeister homestead? Was it the Baumeister descendents, the Danielmeier descendents, or possibly even the descendents of the Höke family (Danielmeier’s second wife)?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic Forum Index -> German records and customs All times are GMT - 6 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You cannot download files in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group