33. Weißenborns and Wittenborns in 1618

Posted on Facebook on 6 April 2017.

Last week I have entered the 8000th Weißenborn in my internet database. I considered that to be a good occasion for making visible on a map where I have encountered Weißenborns and Wittenborns at the start of the Thirty Years' War. This war lasted from 1618 until 1648. Society in central Germany was disrupted intensely during this war. The two books I am studying for a proper understanding of this disruption are "German Villages in Crisis" by John Theibault and "Hortus Bellicus" by Herbert Langer. I find it hard to read in them for a long time on end, as then the reality of the excessive atrocity and violence of the time becomes too vivid in my mind. It is the time of Rembrandt and Rubens, a time we think of as highly civilised.

In the first of the attached maps green refers to Wittenborns and red to Weißenborns. The town or village and the year following the first name is the place and year of the earliest hard data. It is seen on the map that before 1618 the family name had already spread beyond Thüringen and its borders. Within the area there is a suggestive clustering around the villages Weißenborn in the north-western and in the eastern part. These villages have been indicated in the second map. Both observations - the spreading before 1618 and the clustering - are in line with the fact that the name Weißenborn already existed in the 12th century - and may have been adopted as family name and started spreading since then - and the hypothesis that spreading across Germany (and ultimately the whole world) started in earnest after the Thirty Years' War.

In the version on my webpage you can click on the names of the 21 persons to see what data I have gathered about the particular person and his offspring. Some of them, such as Georg from Kelbra, Kleinhans from Abterode and Martin from Zeitz have offspring in the present time.

The maps are located on the webpage http://www.weisenborn boer.nl/Weissenborn_Wittenborn/Stambomen/data.htm. You may have to remove "history" data from you browser, in order to have the webpage function correctly. I use Google Chrome. I find that the "cascaded style sheet" is not always found by the database after uploading.