Family – what that really means

I recently started an email correspondence with a ‘distant’ cousin.  Yes, Katherine IS a cousin – probably a 2nd or 3rd without getting my paper and pencil to figure it out.

Katherine has been sharing with me some family photos as well as the all important ‘information’ and through our furious email messages, I have added MORE names to my database.  But – to me, this is MORE than just names or data – this is about family.  After all, in some respect, everyone in my database is somewhat/somehow related.

Sure, many of the names I add to my database are not related to me by birth but, I add them anyway thinking that someone will see ‘their’ surname and ask me how I am related to them. We start a dialog and before you know it, we share information which helps me and helps them.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, many of the families from Metzenseifen are connected – in some way or another…  And as such, the family grows bigger and bigger which in some ways makes the world a littler smaller.

Published in: on February 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Allied families

If  your ancestors came from Metzenseifen then you probably have kin to many of these families.  In my research on the Pimsner family tree, I have seen often mentioned surnames that include Gedeon, Ballasch, Bodenlos, Mellar, Frantz, Schmidt, Broestl and so many more!  And over the years, the spelling of these names have changed – some have added letters or, like Ballasch, removed letters; in this case, differing generations have removed the ‘s’ so that the name is now spelled Ballach.

My Pimsner ancestors have found ways to marry all these families.  The big question for me is just how are all these various families related to each other?

Metzenseifen was not a particularly large village from what I can tell. According to Duncan Gardner’s web page “… The town of Metzenseifen was founded in the 1300s by German-speaking settlers, apparently from the lower Rhine region. The German dialect, known as Mantakisch, is still spoken today by older residents of Medzev and their children (though the majority population is now Slovak speaking). The population in the two parts of town in the late 1800s (and today) was 3500 (Unter-Metzenseifen) and 1500 (Ober-Metzenseifen, a half-mile north of Unter-Metzenseifen).”

Finally, Mr. Gardner’s website states the following: “… Surnames of German-speaking families from Metzenseifen: Gedeon (Gedeohn), Wagner, Tischler, Goebl, Broestl, Schuerger, Schuster, Ballasch, Stroempl, Tomasch, Bodenlos, Froelich, Eiben, Kundt (later Kundtz), Schmiedl, Sorger, Antl, Muellner; Stefany, Tache, Kovats, Friedl, Glosner, Imling, Koosch, Malicsky, Schmidt, Flegner, Krupitzer, Poehm, Boehm, Ruehrkraut, Schmotzer, Hennel (Hoenl), Holop, Pimzner, Ruzsbaczky, Lazar, Schenk, Filakovszky, Franz, Frint, Gallus, Hoffelder, Huebler, Klein, Kozman, Kuchar, Lengyel, Lepesch, Majer, Poser, Progner, Pukelnik, Quallich, Roob, Roth, Schmeer, Scholtz, Streidl, Szedlay.

In Ober-Metzenseifen the most frequent names were: Eiben, Schmotzer, Meder, Frindt, Gedeon, Stark, Antl, Grentzer, Zawatzky, Jalsch, Lang, Mazorlik, Mueller, Schuerger, Tohol, Tomasch.”

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 3:05 am  Comments (2)  

Where are their descendants now?

I won’t say ‘everywhere’ but it’s almost as if descendants can now be found across the globe!

My husband and I recently drove from Northern California to Cleveland and met with three generations plus one.  (Grandkids of one generation…) During the same trip, we also met another descendant living near Buffalo New York.  I have been engaging in email dialogue with Pimsner  ‘kin’ living in Maryland, Virginia and Central California while in 2008 I spoke with someone in Arizona and emailed someone in another part of Ohio.

We are everywhere!  And we are all, to some degree, related!  That is so cool, don’t you think?

So – what’s next you ask?  My answer is really simple!  Find more!

I plan on detailing some individuals I have ‘found’ so far and maybe provide some research strategies as my mood strikes.  And in the mean time, I will keep looking.

I know you are out there!

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 2:03 am  Leave a Comment  

How did they get to America?

Many of the Pimsner’s (and the multitude of allied families) came directly from Slovakia to America.  Others, like my great great grandparents and family, immigrated to Germany before emigrating to America.

Andreas and his family [with exception of daughter Theresia who was married to John Ballasch] all lived (and some worked) in Hamburg, Germany for about 5 years before finally booking passage for New York City in 1882.  Anna Marie worked as a maid.  I am guessing that it is during this time that she met her future husband, Johann Dittmer of Hamburg… How else would someone from Slovakia and someone from Hamburg become acquainted and eventually marry??

I have found ship manifests for a great many of the Pimsners and am only now starting to look for the ‘allied’ families…  Of course, knowing the very poor condition the ship manifests ended up means many travelors will NEVER be found!  The copies of the manifest for the ship (my web site says the SS Gellert but I think I found them on the David Hoadley) was in such awful shape before it was microfilmed – the Pimsner family, minus Anna Marie, were on the first page and right at the top.  Anna Marie might well have travelled with her parents and siblings but appeared later in the manifest which was eventually destroyed by neglect, rot, rodents, etc…

I’ve NOT been able to find when John Ballasch and wife Theresia (Pimsner) and their children came to the US…  I’ve also not been able to find the other spouses (like the Fleischers) coming to the US but I keep searching!

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 3:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Where they began?

Germany – of course!  But, depending on who is writing history, many Germans migrated to Slovakia for whatever industry was being pushed by the ruler at that time.  And, depending on who you talk to, agriculture was not the main focus for this push to populate!

Our Pimsners were mostly wood workers though Andreas Pimsner (my ancestor) was a tanner. In Cleveland, many became machinests, mechanics, wood workers, etc.

The first Pimsner I have a record of is Martin(us) Pimsner.  I don’t have a birth or death date for him but I DO have a marriage date – 27 Oct 1754 to Margaretha Stefanin.  (No birth or death for her either…) This couple and their children is where the ‘line’ begins for ALL Pimsners with connections to Cleveland!


I pretty much guess (and this is ONLY a guess) the Pimsner name originates somewhere in Germany.  Why?  For two reasons.

  1. When corresponding with a descendant from someone I’ve NOT yet been able to connect to this family, she made mention of how the Russians considered PIMSNER to be a ‘German’ name during WW II and treated someone from Romania as a Germany prisoner rather than a citizen of Romania.
  2. There are quite a few resources on-line that document the fact that inhabitants of the villages of Ober and Unter Metzenseifen came from all over Germany. And, as such, a form of the German language was spoken by all!!


Last thought for the day, there is ONE ‘line’ I know is NOT related by blood.  How do I know this?  Joseph Pimsner died.  His widow retained the surname Pimsner yet gave birth to children, born out of wedlock, and these two boys carried the Pimsner surname.  Neither actually is descended from Joseph.

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

All things Pimsner!

I have been thinking for some time on having a blog page so that I can post ‘finds’ as I do my research.  Some of what I have been adding to my database is real news to me – I’ve been sharing this information with cousins also researching this surname.  But there are others out there I have never met who might just be starting their family research quest and wondering – how does this or that name connect?  I hope to help with that question!

As an example – I recently visited Cleveland Ohio.  Cleveland became the base or beginning for just about every Pimsner descendent in the United States.  We all can claim our ancestors originated in Metzenseifen Slovakia.  It’s HOW we are all related that is the big question now.  While visiting Cleveland I met 3 ‘cousins’.  We all have the same common ancestors – Louise and I are the same generation (our great grandmother’s were sisters.) and Arlene is a generation above us – her grandfather and out great grandmother’s were siblings!

Some of the the often time ‘connected’ surnames from Metzenseifen include: Ballasch, Bodenlos, Frantz, Gedeon, Kuntz, Mellar, Schuerger, Tischler to name a few…

I will try and include an occasional web link I find helpful when researching which may help others along the way.

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 2:41 am  Leave a Comment