English -> 1743 Gehentgen Schmidt Mayländer Schorp Kiniat and Imsorry.

1743 Gehentgen Schmidt Mayländer Schorp Kiniat and Imsorry.

by Roland Geiger


It began when I came across this entry in the death book of 1775-1778 of the Catholic parish of St. Wendelin, St. Wendel:


Entry 255 on page 180:

"Anno Domini 1793 die decima nona mensis septembris ex

dysenteria anno aetatis quadragesimo secundo hora quinta

Vespertina mortua est Elisabetha Schorb nata Kiniat

uxor Michaelis Schorb bubulii in Alsfassen sacramentis

paenitentia Eucharistae et extremae unitionis mature munita

coemeterio parochiae communi a me infrascripto parocho.

In fidem W.J. Castello Pastor."


Now, admittedly, my knowledge Latin is nothing special but I have drawn the following conclusions:


On September 21, 1793, at the age of 42, Elisabetha Schorb née Kiniat, wife of Michael Schorb, cowherd in Alsfassen, dies of diarrhoea at the age of 42 and is buried in our local community cemetery.


[Alsfassen is the suburb of St. Wendel, where I live.]

"Kiniat" is a surname that I cannot identify, but Schorb is.


There is a  Michael Schorb who marries Anna Hess on 19.11.1776 in St. Wendel, born 1742 in St. Wendel, daughter of Wendel Hess and Katharina Böffel. They have three daughters and a son between 1777 and 1783. When they marry in 1776, we learn that he is a cowherd by profession.


Okay, I admit it: I got out the cowboy from the marriage register; I could not identify the "bubulii" from the death record. What is no wonder - as Dr. Margarete Stitz, a specialist in the Latin language, just wrote to me, the word is not "bubulii", but "bubulci", in German: ox driver - it should have been noticed, because the supposed first "i" behind the "l" has no point above the line and is therefore not "i", but rather a "c".


In the said death book on page 97 there is entry 269, from which we learn that on November 30, 1785 "Anna uxor Michaelis Schorp ex Altzfassen", died a day earlier. She's dead, he's still alive. If he were dead, she would be called a widow.


On February 21, 1786 - as we read in the Marriage Book 1775-1798 on page 83 - the honourable Michael Schorp from Alsfassen, legally left behind widower of the late Anna Hess, marries the honourable Elisabeth Mailänder from Gehweiler, legally left behind widow of Andreas Mailänder. The marriage reveals a child, Elisabeth, born on 09.11.1786 in Alsfassen.


Unfortunately, the marriage book does not state how old Elisabeth Mailänder is. Elisabeth Kiniat, who died in 1793, was 42, meaning she was born in 1751. The first name is correct, but not the last name. Now, of course, "Mailänder" is not the last name of Andreas Mailänder’s widow, but her marriage name. We learn the birth name from her marriage act.


Gehweiler belonged in the 18th century to the parish of St. Wendel and from 1792 to the newly founded parish of Furschweiler. So the marriage of the Milanese couple should also be in the files there.


In fact, that is the case. On page 21 again at the bottom - no, stop - almost at the bottom you will find the entry:


On 9 May 1778, after three proclamations in St. Wendel and Ottweiler and without anyone objecting, the honourable young Andreas Mayländer from Gehweiler, son of Johann Mayländer and his wife Elisabeth Schaad (from Gehweiler), married the honorable widow Elisabeth Gehengen from "StenWeiler", the legally left behind widow of Conrad Schmidt.


In the church records from St. Wendel we check whether there were children from Mayländer's marriage: yes, that is the case, another Elisabeth, this time Mayländer, born on 07.09.1779 in Gehweiler.


To find out what happened further about the weeping and lamentation of the men and women, please allow me to consult the local family book Stennweiler, which Monika Mörsdorf compiled in 1990 for the period 1537-1880.


There I searched for Conrad Schmidt and found him on page 200 in entry 379.


It says that he was born in 1746 in Stennweiler and died there on 7 September 1772. On September 10, exactly one year earlier, he married the woman named Elisabeth, who will once have met us as Elisabeth Mayländer (well, she will marry the Mayländer only later, but we found the marriage earlier, hence this somewhat awkward form).


As we see here now, her surname is not "Gehengen", but " Gehentgen".


The entry in the Stennweiler book refers to the future marriage to Mayländer in 1778 and gives us a date of birth for Elisabeth: November 10, 1743.


And that fits - not. For Elisabeth Kiniat is said to have been 42 in 1793, that is, born in 1751. And the name "Kiniat" has not yet appeared.


A reference in entry No. 379 refers to Elisabeth's parents. So before we „throw the gun in the grain“ (German term: „die Flinte ins Korn werfen“ = throw in the towel), let's see what's under entry 107. We can find it on page 82.


Her father's name is Johann Georg Gehentgen. The farmer, born around 1703, came from his hometown of Daun in the Eifel first to Landsweiler or Gennweiler around 1720 and to Stennweiler in the 1730s. In 1733 he married Anna Elisabeth Woll from Hirzweiler, who gave him 9 children. The oldest, Johann Adam, was born in Gennweiler in 1735, and the second - Johann Jakob - was born in Stennweiler in 1738.


Elisabeth, who is of interest to us, was the fourth child and the second daughter, born in 1743 in Stennweiler.


An interesting note is behind the name "Gehentgen". Because it appears in different writings in different spellings: "Gehentgen" is also available as "Joengi", "Gehengen" (we know from St. Wendel) and "Johändges". I came across the latter form for the first time in an American cemetery in the state of New York and was quite surprised to find the ancestors of this person in Lebach (not far from my hometown St. Wendel in Germany).


But it does not explain "kiniat" or the discrepancy between the date of birth and the age according to the death record. There is always a bit of a decline, but eight years, that's tough.


So I thought about whether I might have missed a marriage:


Elisabeth Gehentgen marries

1771 Conrad Schmitt

1778 Andreas Milan

1786 Michael Schorp


Assuming that she and Elisabeth née Kiniat, who died in 1793, are not identical, then Michael Schorp must have remarried after Elisabeth Gehentgen, namely Elisabeth Kiniat.


First I tried to find out what happened to Schorp. Perhaps there is something about his wife in his death record. Perhaps he survived the year 1798 (in that year Napoleon introduced civil status with us), and his death notice can be found in the civil register. But there he shines completely through absence.


He marries Elisabeth Gehentgen in February, and her child is born in November. He then reappears as "uxor" in the death of Elisabeth Kiniat. "Uxor" = "wife", i.e. at that time he is still alive, i.e. he dies after 19 September 1793. But not in St. Wendel. He was born around 1750 in "Butten, Parish of Lorentzen, Diocese of Metz". Probably. Wherever that lies, or whatever that is today. This becomes the proverbial needle in a haystack.


So I'm looking for death records for "Schorb." Fortunately, the death book 1775-1778 has a handwritten register of names at the very back:


Schorb has references to pages 97, 180, 190 and 194.

We already know the ones on pages 97 and 180, these are the entries of Anna Hess and Elisabeth Kiniat.


Let's first look at page 194. It says that on January 27, 1794, "ex febri putrida", i.e. "a foul fever", the girl Elisabeth Schorb, 7 years old, daughter of Michael Schorb, "custodis vaccarum" (there is again the cowherd) and Elisabetha née Henn, a married couple who currently live in Alsfassen. She will be buried on 28 January by chaplain Johann Weismüller in the local cemetery.


Now it's getting really complicated.


Literally it says about the whereabouts of the couple "conjugum in Alsfassen pro tempore commorantium". Translated, this is "a couple who lives temporarily in Alsfassen". This is called the "Partizip Present Active", for which the principle of simultaneity applies [this was pointed out by Dr. Stitz - I do not come to such a thing by myself.] This means that the same time applies to participatory as to the main verb "mortua est". This is in the present, so the participation is also in the present. So the girl's parents are living in Alsfassen at the time of her death.


"Henn" is obviously a shortening of "Gehentgen", but if the parents of the deceased child still live in Alsfassen, the mother still living here cannot have died in September of the year before in St. Wendel.


Which means that Elisabeth Kiniat is not Elisabeth Gehentgen. But there is neither a marriage of a Michael Schorb with an Elisabeth Kineat nor a second Michael Schorb at all.


That's crazy.


I haven't looked at an entry in the death book yet: the one on page 190.


It again concerns the death of a girl. On December 22, 1793, 18-year-old Eva Schorb also died of foul fever. She is a legitimate daughter of Michael Schorb and the late Elisabetha née Mayländer, a couple who lived "olim" = "once" in Alsfassen.


At first I thought: Gotcha! That's what I was looking for! "Mayländer" and "deceased". Yes, okay, Elisabeth Gehentgen’s maiden name was not Mayländer, she should be mentioned Elisabeth Gehentgen widowed Schmidt widowed Mayländer. But if anyone had not known all this back in 1793, but only knew that Elisabeth, Michel Schorb's wife, was formerly called Mayländer, the conclusion is that her maiden name was Mayländer.


But if it is called "deceased" here - which fits, because Elisabeth Gehentgen is now three months dead - then Elisabeth Henn from 1794 could be another wife of Michael Schorb - well, she could not and is not. For in this entry in 1794 not the present wife of Michael Schorb of 1794 is to be mentioned, but the actual mother of the girl - and that was Elisabeth Gehentgen. Even if she is called "Henn" there.


So Elisabeth Gehentgen is Elisabeth Henn, but who [skipped blasphemy] is Elisabeth Kiniat?


Oh, for a moment - just for a moment - oh, that was a beautiful moment ...


Nota bene:

One more comment on the last death record. The 18-year-old Eva Schorb, who died on 22 December 1793, is the legitimate daughter of Michael Schorb and the late Elisabetha née Mayländer (Gehentgen). So she was born around 1775.


But her parents did not marry until 1786, when the girl was already eleven years old. Wait a moment, Elizabeth had been married to Mayländer before, but the marriage had been 1778, when the girl was already three years old. Then she certainly came from the marriage to Conrad Schmidt, which had been 1771. Well, that fits.


But Schmidt died in September 1772, when the child was still "minus 3".


So the child was born illegitimate. But why is it called "Schorb" and did not bear the name of the mother "Gehentgen" or at least "Schmidt"? And why does the death record say "legitimate" and not "illegitimate"?



Since the child is called "Schorb", Michael Schorb must have adopted it, i.e. legitimized. Ok. But were there adoptions back then? Before the Code Civil? On the basis of what law and what need? Well, I don't know.


Speaking of "Code civil". In France, adoption was introduced through this code initiated by Napoleon. According to this, only adults were allowed to be adopted, and only if they had either saved the life of the adoptive father or had been continuously cared for by the adoptive father for six years during their minor years. That does not really fit here; we will certainly get the six years of care, but the girl never came of age (she died before), and the thing with the "life-saving", after that we do not even need to look for. Apart from the fact that the Code Civil was not introduced until 1804.


Still, I looked around. In Scotti's "Collection of laws and ordinances of the Churdunation of Trier", parts I-III, published in Düsseldorf in 1832 and published online in the Digital Collection of the University of Bonn [], which contains 922 laws and ordinances of the Electorate from the period between 1310 and 1802, there is much interesting, but not a word about adoptions.


Nor in the "Renewed and Increased Land Law of the Trier Arch-Stift : by the Most Venerable Mr. Carl Archbishop of Trier, (...)", which can be viewed on the website of the State Library Centre Rhineland-Palatinate [].


Well, that would have been too easy.


But if what I just wrote about the death of seven-year-old Elisabeth Schorb - her half-sister - really applies, that the actual facts must be in the entry, that is, the parents, why is the adoptive father standing here? (If it was actually an adoption).


I’m sorry.


Alsfassen, March 9, 2021


Roland Geiger





Johann Georg Gehentgen

* abt. 1703 in Daun, Eifel

+ 20.11.1771 in Stennweiler


oo 03.11.1733 in Ottweiler

Anna Elisabeth Woll

* 01.12.1715 in Hirzweiler

+ 14.08.1776 in Stennweiler.


One of the children of Johann Gehentgen and Anna Woll is:


Elisabeth Gehentgen

* 10.11.1743 in Stennweiler

+ most probably 19.09.1793 in Alsfassen.


(1) oo 10.09.1771 in Ottweiler

Conrad Schmitt

* 05.03.1746 in Stennweiler

+ 07.09.1772 in Stennweiler


         Child of Elisabeth Gehentgen and Conrad Schmitt is:

         Anna Katharina Schmitt

         * 18.06.1772 in Stennweiler

         + 11.12.1810 in Stennweiler

         oo Johann Biering 1804 in Stennweiler


         Child of Elisabeth Gehentgen after Schmidt’s death:

         Eva Schorb

         * abt. 1775

         + 22.12.1793 in St. Wendel.


(2) oo 19.05.1778 in St. Wendalinus, St. Wendel

Andreas Mailänder

son of Johann Mailänder and Elisabeth Schaadt

* 18.01.1750 in Gehweiler

+ before 21.02.1786


         Child of Elisabeth Gehentgen and Andreas Mailänder is:

         Elisabeth Mailänder

         * 07.09.1779 in Gehweiler.


(3) oo 21.02.1786 in St. Wendalinus, St. Wendel

Michel Schorb

son of Nikolaus Schorb and Anna Grebihl

* 14.06.1742 in Bütten, Pfarrei Lorentzen, Bistum Metz.

Occupation: 1776 „cowboy“


         Child of Elisabeth Gehentgen and Michel Schorb is:

         Elisabeth Schorb

         * 09.11.1786 in Alsfassen



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