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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


 The Kranichfeld Coat of Arms


This is a supplement to my blog post of October 26, 2010,

 and an earlier one, dated October 4, 2011,

on the subject of my Kranichfeld ancestors, based upon new photographs and information I obtained in the course of my visit to Thuringia in April, 2014.

View of the City of Erfurt, from a painting of the Age of Goethe.

In response to requests, I have drawn the following sketch of the connection between Friedrich Rudolph Kranichfeld (1756-1805), mentioned below, and the current members of the family in the USA, Argentina, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, namely the Krannichfeldts, Sonntags and Sperlings.

Friedrich Rudolph Kranichfeld (Erfurt, 1756 - Hohenfelden, 1805)

Friedrich Johann Anton Kranichfeld (Hohenfelden, 1788 – Hamburg, 1860) = Friederike Henriette Kirchheim (1820-1860)

Friedrich Ernst Krannichfeldt (Hamburg, 1826 – Rio Grande do Sul, 1869) = Clementine Rheinstädter

I. Johann Friedrich Oscar Krannichfeldt (Rio Grande Do Sul, 1865 – Berlin, 1931)

German Krannichfeldts

Ruth Krannichfeldt =  Sperling

Klaus, Ise and Peter Sperling

II. Ernst Ludwig Maria (Rio Grande do Sul, 1868 – Buenos Aires, 1941)

Argentinean Krannichfeldts

Alfredo Krannichfeldt = Maria Caceres

Oscar Krannichfeldt family


Elsa Lia Krannichfeldt = Redlich

Iliana Redlich = German Sonntag

Sonntag family

The titled family of Kranichfeld, counts of Kranichfeld and owners of the castle (Schloss Kranichfeld, Oberschloss und Unterschloss) died out in the fourteenth century. More on that below. Families of the younger sons of the titled Kranichfelds moved to other parts of Germany and to the Netherlands in the course of the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.  My records show primarily the Kranichfelds of Erfurt and surrounding cities, from whence came my own Kranichfeld family. 

Rudolph Kranichfeld (1574-1637), who was born only ten years after the death of the humanist intellectual Frans van Cranevelt, a relative from the Netherlands branch of the family, is the first one in the family MS pedigree who is described as Handelsherr (Tradesman) doing business in the city of Erfurt. Thereafter, and throughout the seventeenth century, the family seems to have remained rooted primarily in Erfurt, and drawn to secular vocations, such as Consuls, Businessmen, and Public Notaries. Thus Wolfgang Rudolph (b. 1620) was Consulent, Notarius Publicus and Juris Practicus in the city of Erfurt; Hieronimus Rudolph (b. 1667) was a tradesman (Handelsherr) in Erfurt; Johann Cristoph (b. 1713) was also a tradesman (Handelsherr) in Erfurt, where he died in 1756. His son, Friederich Rudolph (1756-1805), was to be the first Hohenfeldner Kranichfeld, and the first recorded Minister of the Lutheran Church in the family. He was also a contemporary of Goethe.

But the intriguing interlude of the Kranichfelds in the Hohenfelden Pfarrhof was not to last very long. Friedrich Johann Anton Kranichfeld, third son of Friedrich Rudolph, was born in Hohenfelden in 1788, but died in Hamburg in 1860, the Hamburg where Schopenhauer worked for a while as a businessman in his father's trading house, in the early 1800's. Friedrich Johann was also a tradesman (Handelsherr) in Hamburg, and was probably connected to the South American interests of that port city. He was first married to Natalie Jacobi (1806-1823), a native of the small town of Hettstedt [Lichtstedt?] near Rudolstadt, also in the vicinity of Hohenfelden, in the Thüringer Wald. Natalie, whose beautiful portrait is in the possession of Frank Sperling in Noordwijk, did not survive her honeymoon, and died at the age of seventeen as a result of pneumonia. It is said that she caught cold at a ball during the couple’s honeymoon. Friedrich Johann then married Friederike Henriette Kirchheim (1802-1860), and had seven children by her.
Their second son, Friedrich Ernst Kranichfeld, was born in Hamburg in 1826 and died in Rio Grande do Sul, by his own hand, on August 29, 1869. He was German Consul in the Province and owned a Bank there. When his business went bankrupt, he committed suicide, leaving two sons behind, Johann Friedrich Oscar (b. October 7, 1865, died September 6, 1931 in Berlin), who was the founder of the European branch of our family, and my great-grandfather, Ernst Ludwig Maria, who was born on January 12, 1868 and died in Buenos Aires on May 17, 1941.

The background for my first significant Kranichfeld memorial is the city of Erfurt. I was aware that many of the sixteenth and seventeenth century members of the family had lived and had actively participated in the life of the city.  The titled branch of the Kranichfelds, who had resided in the fortress of that name in the nearby locality, had ended in the fourteenth century when only three sisters survived and married out of the name.  In Terram Salicam Mulieres Ne Succedant.  In the Salic lands, women were not permitted to inherit land, and Thuringia was then still under Frankish dominion.  The lands and the two fortresses of Kranichfeld were taken by marriage, by the Counts of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, who possessed them until 1918.

 The Castle at Kranichfeld


 Schloss Kranichfeld, on the shores of the river Ilm, has undergone many changes since its original foundation.


The end of the Kranichfelds as a titled family caused a dispersion, which reached to Switzerland and the Netherlands. (See my blog post on Frans van Cranevelt (1485-1564) or Craneveldium, dated October 4, 2011).  The main Kranichfeld line remained in Thuringia, however, and principally in the city of Erfurt.

View of Erfurt's old city in a painting of the Age of Goethe

The children of younger sons, my ancestors, lived mostly in the city of Erfurt or its surrounding communities.  According to my records, the following Kranichfelds were directly connected to Erfurt:

·        Jacobus Kranichfeld, who died in Erfurt in the year 1570
·        Johannes Kranichfeld, born 1467 and died in Erfurt, where he was Ratsbaumeister, in 1533.
·        Sebastian Kranichfeld, born 1538 in Arnstad and died 1597 in Erfurt, He was an advisor (Amt) to the local ruling family of Schwarzburg and then Kämmerer and Ratsherr at the Monastery of Paulinzella.

·        Rudolph Kranichfeld, Tradesman, born in 1574 at Erfurt and died there in 1637.
·        Wolfgang Rudolph Kranichfeld, Consul at Erfurt, Public Notary and Jurist, was born in Erfurt in 1620 and died there in 1683.

·        Hieronimus Rudolph Kranichfeld, born in 1667 in Erfurt and died there in 1745.  He was a Tradesman and Merchant.

·        Johann Cristoph Kranichfeld, born in 1713 in Erfurt and died there in 1757.  He was also a Tradesman and Merchant.

·        Friedrich Rudolph Kranichfeld, born in 1756 in Erfurt and died in 1805 in Hohenfelden, where he had been the Lutheran Pastor (Pfarrer) for many years.

Erfurt became rich in the Middle Ages on the basis of its trade in the blue dye made of woad, and in the production of dyed commodities.  Its prosperity declined after indigo blue began to be imported from India in large quantities, during the eighteenth century.

 Erfurt Blue

Erfurt became a rich city in the late Middle Ages, which accounts for the proliferation of churches and fine gabled houses.

 The Coat of Arms of the city is the Wheel.  Wheel of Commerce, or Wheel of Fortune?

 The city has a turbulent history due to the religious wars.  It had traditionally been one of the most important centers of the Church east of Fulda and the Weser, where the oldest monastic institutions were located. There were scores of churches and many monasteries in the city, as well as a prestigious University. Luther, who was both a Law Student and a Monk there, called it ‘Erfurta Turrita’ in reference to the many church steeples and towers in the town.

The city is crowned by two promontories, the Petersberg, which was the military barracks and fortress for the Dukes of Weimar, and the possible location of Napoleon’s meeting with Goethe in 1806, and the promontory where the Cathedral (Dom) and the Church of Saint Severus (Severuskirche) are located.

 The Erfurt Cathedral (Dom) on the left and the Church of Saint Severus on the right

Church of Saint Severus

Memorial to Jacobus Kranichfeld (1570) in the Severuskirche, Erfurt

Kranichfeld Coat of Arms

Memorial to Jacobus Kranichfeld in the Severus Chruch, Erfurt:

"From this Vale of Tears did the soul of the venerable Jacobus Kranichfeld, Vicar of the Church and Senior Citizen, ascend to the Heavenly Valley, in the year of our Lord 1570, and it is the last will of his voluntary executors, Doctor Ioannis De Monte and Doctor Nicola Krige, Canon of the Virgin Mary, and doctor John Wagener, Vicar, to erect this monument."


Memorial to Jacobus Kranichfeld in the Severus Chruch, Erfurt:


View of Hohenfelden from the east.

The town of Hohenfelden is only a few miles south-east of Erfurt and even closer to the small town of Kranichfeld further to the south-east, through forest and fields of yellow flowers known as Rapp. (Rapeseed (Brassica napus), also known as rape, oilseed rape,rapa, rappi, rapaseed (and, in the case of one particular group of cultivars, canola), is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family). The name derives from the Latin for turnip, rāpa or rāpum, and is first recorded in English at the end of the 14th century). Here, in the late eighteenth century, lived the grandfather of the grandfather of my grandmother, Friedrich Rudolph Kranichfeld, who was born in Erfurt in 1756 and became the Lutheran Pastor of the little agricultural town of Hohenfelden.

Friedrich Rudolph Kranichfeld

In Hohenfelden they have established an open-air museum of a well-preserved eighteenth century rural Thuringian town, mostly involved in sheep and fruit farming.  (See )

The 'Pfarrhaus':  Pastor's house in Hohenfelden, home of my ancestor Friedrich Rudolph Kranichfeld.

 Parsonage of Sessenheim around 1770. Sanguine by Goethe

 The parsonage at Hohenfelden is not unlike the parsonage in Sessenheim, near Strasbourg, where Goethe met Friederike Brion.  The following is Wikipedia on Friederike Brion:

The date of birth of Friederike is unsure because the parish registers were destroyed during the French revolution. Friederike was the third of five surviving children of the married couple Brion. The father, Jakob Brion, took over a post as the parson of the village of Sessenheim on St. Martin's Day 1760. Friederike—nice, jolly, but a little sickish—grew up in the village.
The young Johann Wolfgang Goethe from Frankfurt am Main visited the hospitable parsonage, like several other young people, while studying law in Strasbourg. He first reached Sessenheim in October 1770 and met Friederike there, for the first time, the same month,[1][2] when he was exploring the region on horseback with an Alsatian friend, the medical student Friedrich Leopold Weyland (1750-1785[3]). His depiction of Friederike, whom he liked most of the parson's three daughters, contains a lot of fantastical additions, but shows the situation vividly and lovingly, mentioning Friederike's slenderness and lightness, her way of walking "as if she did not have to bear anything at herself", the impression that the neck nearly was too tender for the dainty head with its mighty tresses, the clearly brisk glance of her serene blue eyes, and the nice snub-nose "searching as freely in the air as if there could be no sorrow in the world".[4] The description is counted a literary masterwork that shows an enchanting scene with the help of modest colors.[5]

Goethe, beginning already in winter,[6] rode to Sessenheim many times, over the following months, and used to stay with the Brions for periods of up to several weeks.[7] He roamed the surrounding area with Friederike, undertook boat trips with her, in the waters of the Rhine, and visited acquaintances with her. For the ensuing time, Sessenheim became the “center of the Earth” for the poet. He experienced an idyll that brought about things new and unknown to him[8] and was inspirited by this to verse, after a longer time, again. In spring 1771, he wrote a couple of poems and songs, which he sometimes sent to Friederike with painted ribbons. These Sesenheimer Lieder (among them Maifest, Willkommen und Abschied and Heidenröslein) became crucial for the Sturm und Drang and founded Goethe's fame as a poet.[9]
But Goethe already in early summer 1771 thought of ending the liaison. On 7 August 1771, he saw Friederike for the last time before he returned to Frankfurt. Only from Frankfurt, he sent the beloved a letter by which he definitely severed the love-affair.[9] Friederike answered him in a heart-rending letter.[10]
Goethe at least one time—on a trip to Switzerland in 1779—returned to the Sessenheim parsonage. Some unsure sources mention a further visit in 1782, when Friederike's older sister Maria Salomea married Gottfried Marx from Strasbourg, who had just become parson in Diersburg (today Hohberg).
In summer 1772, Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz courted Friederike, who was still strongly suffering from her lover's grief. But Friederike stayed unmarried till the end of her life and lived in her parents' house up to the death of her father in 1787. (Her mother had died just the year before.) After that, she and her younger sister Sofie went to live with their brother Christian at the parsonage of Rothau (Bas-Rhin), where they stayed when Christian was transferred. They earned their living by selling weaving, earthenware, pottery and handicraft produce and operated a boarding-house for girls from Sessenheim and the village's surroundings who were thought to learn French at a school erected for that sake in Rothau.
Friederike moved to the Diersburg parsonage in 1801 to support her sickish older sister Salomea,[11] and stayed there, afterwards, with some interruptions. In 1805, she followed the family to Meißenheim. Salomea died in 1807. In 1813, Friederike had to ask her sister Sofie to provide for her. After her death on 5 April of the same year, she was buried on the Meißenheim cemetery. The grave's tombstone by Wilhelm Hornberger was put in its place only in 1866.

Old Barn and Dovecote Tower


Fruit storage bins

 Pig Sty



 The Sheep Wagon

 The Sheep Wagon

Shepherds' Staffs

Shepherds' Pipe

 Shepherds' Kitchen

Views from the Barn

The Parish Church


 Interior of the Church

Epitaph of Friedrich Rudolph Kranichfeld



Sebastian Kranichfeld (born 1538 in Arnstad and died 1597 in Erfurt), was an advisor (Amt) to the local ruling family of Schwarzburg and then Kämmerer and Ratsherr at the Monastery of Paulinzella, some time in the mid-sixteenth century.  The monastery of Paulinzella was a Benedictine Abbey located in the Rottenbachtal, the valley of a river called Rotten, in Thuringia. The ruins of the abbey church are among the most important remaining Romanesque structures in Germany. 

(Wiki Deutsch)

Das Kloster Paulinzella ist ein ehemaliges Benediktiner(innen)kloster in Paulinzella im Rottenbachtal in Thüringen. Die Ruine der Klosterkirche gehört zu den bedeutendsten romanischen Bauwerken in Deutschland.


Der Ursprung Paulinzellas liegt in einer Einsiedelei, welche zwischen 1102 und 1105 von der sächsischen Adligen Paulina gegründet wurde. Paulina war die Tochter des Truchsessen Moricho (Moritz) vom Hofe des Königs Heinrich IV. Der König hatte Moricho in den Jahren 1068/69 24 königliche Hufen zu Gebstedt geschenkt.[1] Diese Güter überließ Moricho, der gemäß einer weiteren Urkunde[2] ein Bruder des Merseburger Bischofs Werner von Wolkenburg war, vor seinem Eintritt ins Kloster Hirsau[3] seiner Tochter Paulina, die ihren Wohnsitz zuvor in Gatterstädt (bei Querfurt) hatte.[4] Paulina erwarb in der Nähe der Güter außerdem noch die Vorwerke Hengelbach, Liebringen und Nahewindten. Die eigentliche Gründung des ursprünglich Marienzelle genannten Klosters in der frühen fränkischen Siedlungszeit geht einer Legende nach auf einen Reiseunfall Paulinas in dem zuvor unbesiedelten Waldtal zurück.
1106 begannen die Arbeiten am Klosterkomplex. 1107 trat das Kloster der Hirsauer Reform bei. 1124 wurde die Klosterkirche, die nach dem Vorbild der Klosterkirche in Hirsau errichtet worden war, geweiht. Das Kloster erreichte rasch reichen Besitz. 19 Dörfer befanden sich im Eigentum des Klosters, an 52 anderen Orten besaß das Kloster weitere Güter, Rechte besaß das Kloster insgesamt an über 100 Orten. Ökonomischer Mittelpunkt des Klosters und seiner Dörfer war das heute wüste Vorwerk Neusis zwischen Gösselborn und Hengelbach.[5]
Bereits der dritte amtierende Abt erhielt 1195 vom Mainzer Erzbischof die Inful verliehen. Bis zur Mitte des 14. Jahrhunderts war Paulinzella ein Doppel-, dann nur noch Mönchskloster. 27 namentlich bekannte Äbte wirkten im Kloster. Schirmvogte waren die Grafen von Schwarzburg. Von 1133 bis 1153 wurde Sizzo III. genannt. Das Kloster besaß auch Leibeigene. Einige adlige und begüterte Familien in der Nähe des Klosters standen in Lehnsverhältnissen. Die Äbte übten das Patronsrecht über 24 Kirchen oder Kapellen aus. Über 400 Jahre existierte das Kloster.
Dann tauschte der Schwarzburger Landmann im Bauernkrieg den Pflug mit den Waffen, um seine Selbständigkeit zu erringen. Dies war mit Einführung der Reformation 1533 durch die Schwarzburger Grafen der Beginn des Untergangs. Johann V. Schidt, aus dem Nachbardorf Milbitz, war von 1528 bis zur Auflösung 1541/42 der letzte Abt. 1542 war man nach fruchtlosen Widerstand in die weltliche Gerichtsbarkeit übergegangen. Die Güter wurden verpachtet oder von Amtsleuten verwaltet. Heinrich von Schwarzburg-Leutenberg bemächtigte sich des Kirchenschatzes und zog alle Besitzungen des Klosters ein.[6]
Während der Bauernkriege wurde das Kloster geplündert und im Verlauf der Reformation 1542 aufgehoben. Der frühere Klosterbesitz kam 1547 an die Grafen von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. Diese errichteten das aus sieben Orten bestehende Amt Paulinzella, das 1803 um das Amt Ehrenstein vergrößert, aber 1851 dem Amt Stadtilm eingegliedert wurde.
Nach der Aufhebung des Klosters begann ein allmählicher Verfall der gesamten Klosteranlage, die man auch zur Gewinnung von Sandsteinen für Bauzwecke als Steinbruch benutzte. Nach 1600 brannte die gesamte Anlage aus und verkam völlig zur Ruine. 1680 fand eine Erneuerung von Teilen der Klosteranlage statt.
Im 18. Jahrhundert entstand dort auch ein Jagdschloss der Grafen von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. Ab dem späten 18. Jahrhundert begann man mit behutsamen Sicherungsmaßnahmen an der inzwischen von Vertretern der Romantik geschätzten Klosterruine. Die um die Ruine liegende Ansiedlung wurde im 19. Jahrhundert zur Gemeinde Paulinzella erhoben.

Bedeutung für Romanik und Romantik

Kloster Paulinzella nimmt sowohl für die Romanik als auch die Romantik eine bedeutende Stellung ein.
Als romanisches Kirchenbauwerk zählte die Klosterkirchenruine aus dem 12. Jahrhundert schon zu den bedeutendsten Baudenkmälern der einstigen DDR und wurde auf der Zentralen Denkmalliste geführt. Da die Kirche nach dem Vorbild der Hirsauer Kirche erbaut worden war, hat sie seit der völligen Zerstörung der Hirsauer Kirche 1692 große Bedeutung als Beispiel der Hirsauer Reformbewegung im Kirchenbau erlangt.
Um 1800 erlangte die Ruine eine besondere Bedeutung durch eine romantische Hinwendung zur Vergangenheit, die eng mit dem erwachenden deutschen Nationalgefühl verbunden war. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe und Friedrich Schiller waren tief beeindruckt von den malerischen Resten der verfallenen Klosteranlage.
Das lange Zeit Friedrich Schiller zugeschriebene Gedicht wurde am 26. August 1810 von A. E. Hermann verfasst:
Einsam stehn des öden Tempels Säulen,
Efeu rankt am unverschlossnem Tor.
Sang und Klang verstummt, des Uhus Heulen
schallet nun im eingestürztem Chor.
Weg sind Prunk und alle Herrlichkeiten,
schon enteilt im langen Strom der Zeiten
Bischofsring und Siegel, Ring und Stab,
in der Vorwelt ewig offnes Grab.
Nichts ist bleibend, alles eilt von hinnen,
Jammer und erhörter Liebe Glück;
unser Streben, unser Hoffen, Sinnen,
wichtig nur für einen Augenblick.
Was im Lenz wir liebevoll umfassen,
sehen wir im Herbste schon verblassen,
und der Schöpfung altes Meisterstück
sinkt veraltet in den Staub zurück.


Paulinzella started out as a refuge for hermits, founded in 1102-1105 by the Saxon Paulina, the daughter of the Steward (Vogt) Moricho (Moritz ) who served the Emperor in this region of Thuringia. The Emperor Henry IV had given Moricho stewardship, and hence profit, over the lands of the Abbey in 1068-69  Eventually the land came to be under the dominion of the Frankish aristocrat Paulina, from whence the name of the place.

In 1106, work began on the monastery complex. The church was completed in 1124. Thereafter, the monastery became rich, taking possession of nineteen villages in the neighborhood, acquiring possession of additional property throughout the region, as the rights of possession of the monastery were located in one hundred other locations. The economic center of the monastery and its villages was the now deserted village of Vorwerk Neusis between Gössel Born and Hengelbach.

The influence of the Archbishop of Mainz already makes itself felt in the year 1195 when he awarded the miter to the third governing Abbott, but locally the Abbey was governed by the Counts of Schwarzburg.  From 1133 to 1153, Sizzo III is mentioned in the chronicles. The monastery also owned serfs during most of the four hundred years of its existence.

It was the Counts of Schwarzburg themselves who imposed Protestantism on this part of Thuringia during the sixteenth century.  The Abbey was ordered closed by the Saxon King in 1528 and the last Abbot died there in peace in 1542.  The Count of Schwarzburg, Heinrich, and the peasantry from the surrounding area, raided the premises in the following years and looted whatever remained of value. A fire in 1600 further debilitated the buildings and the sandstone was quarried for loot.  The lands passed to the Counts of Schwarzburg, who built a hunting lodge next to the Abbey ruins in the eighteenth century. In 1817, Goethe celebrated his 68th birthday at the ruins.




Remains of Romanesque fresco

Romanesque Capitals


Grave Monuments (Grabmale)


 Goethe's Birthday at Paulinzella

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