The Obermayers, a widely traveled family

deutscher Text

Published: 24. August 2018, updated: 17. April 2021

During my research in Blankenloch/Baden, Germany, I came across an ancestral line that has been migrated from Upper Austria into the Franconian Alb in Germany, further to the region around the Hardtwald near Karlsruhe/Baden, Germany and to the Middle Rhine. One family member has gone to North America.

The story – as far as I could trace it to date – begins in the “Ländlein ob der Enns”, in about today’s Upper Austria. In the village Rittberg near Natternbach within the Hausruckviertel, in the parish Neukirchen am Wald, lived the family Obermayer, whose members – after the interpretation of the surname – were probably peasants and a kind of managers of a manorial farm. The family was Protestant.

To make the following explanations easier to understand, here is an overview of the documented Obermayer descendants over eleven generations…

During the Counter-Reformation in Upper Austria, the Protestants were increasingly restricted in the exercise of their faith. There were first emigrations, which the authorities tried to prevent by sanctions.

With the mandate of Emperor Ferdinand II, all non-Catholic lay preachers and schoolmasters had to leave the country from October 1624. Since there were no local pastors available, Italian priests were brought into the region, who often did not speak German and who now held Catholic worships in incomprehensible language. This caused the first riots. In Natternbach in January 1625, dean Blasius de Livo and the Italian pastor appointed by him were thrown with stones and chased away by several hundred peasants. Although this initially had no consequences, this was the beginning of further unrest that finally culminated in the dice game of Frankenburg and subsequently led to the Upper Austrian Peasants’ War in 1626, in which the rebellious peasants were defeated by the Austrian and Bavarian troops in the battles on November 9, 1626 at Alkoven and November 15, 1626 at Pinsdorf.

What role the Obermayers played in the 1625 incidents in their neighboring village of Natternbach – or in the peasant uprisings in Upper Austria in general – is not known. The place of their parish Neukirchen am Wald was completely destroyed in a battle on September 19, 1626. It can be assumed that this epoch will not have passed with trace and inactivity at the convinced Protestants.

In the period that followed, the Counter-Reformation continued to intensify. The Protestants were oppressed in their homeland, e.g. civil rights were denied, their books were publicly burnt, and they were forced to attend Catholic worship and the Corpus Christi procession.

Many Protestants were so deeply rooted in their faith that they left their homeland in Upper Austria – losing much of their property and giving up contact with relatives, friends and neighbors. As “Exulant” (exiles) or “Ländler”, as they were often named in the immigration places, they made their way to a new life. At that time, there were no large refugee flows from the Hausruckviertel, but smaller groups explored places to stay for the family members who later followed.

The Protestant regions in Middle Franconia, which were destroyed and depopulated by the Thirty Years’ War, were a popular destination, and hard-working, decent and religious people came to the places of immigration to help rebuild them.

So Wolff Obermayer went on the journey to this region.

In the book “Exulanten aus dem oberösterreichischen Hausruck- und Traunviertel in Franken” by Manfred Enzner and Eberhard Krauss is mentioned a Wolff Obermayer, who witnessed on July 18, 1638 in Theilenhofen at the wedding of Zacharias Gruber “von der Grub”, parish Neukirchen am Wald in Austria with Eva Bannholtz from the parish Engelhartszell.
As the place of origin of Wolff Obermayer Rippberg [= Rittberg] in the parish Neukirchen am Wald is mentioned.

This entry can be found in the church register of Theilenhofen


Beside the linked place Rittberg (today part of Natternbach) there is another place called Rittberg (today part of Steegen) in this region. The latter did not belong at that time to the parish Neukirchen am Wald but to the parish Peuerbach.

In the church documents of Natternbach baptisms and marriages are from 1631, funerals only from 1706 on listed.

On May 27, 1632 Martha, daughter of Sebastian Obermayer and Magdalena, was married there to Hannß Mairle, widower from Natternbach.

On January 27, 1638 Jacob Obermayer from Rippberg [=Rittberg ], son of the late Simon Obermayer and his wife Brigitte, was married to Regina Meyer from Untermaggau.

On February 11, 1638, the wedding of Bernhard Obermayer from Rippberg [=Rittberg ], son of Andreas Obermayer and his wife Maria with Magdalena Wirtinger from Hermatting [=Hörmating ] took place…

In the book “Exulanten aus dem oberösterreichischen Hausruck- und Traunviertel in Franken” by Manfred Enzner and Eberhard Krauss is mentioned an Upper Austrian exile “Bernhard Obermayer living in Bubenheim“, whose origin is described as “from Land ob der Enns near Neukirchen am Wald [see Wolff Obermayer]”. He has the children Andreas, Magdalena and Sara.

This information can also be found in the article “Exulanten in den Registern der Evang.-Luth. Kirchengemeinde Theilenhofen (Dekanat Gunzenhausen)” by Herta Frank.

Here are the marriages of his children in the parish register of Theilenhofen


The fact that the children’s first names correspond to the first names of the wife and grandfather indicates that the two Bernhard Obermayer are the same person. The entry in the Catholic parish register of Natternbach has to be viewed in the context of the Counter-Reformation and the “formal” denomination may have been temporary.

There are also entries by Wolff and Bernhard Obermayer in Karl Gröschel’s exile register, which was completed in 1937.

The fact that the Wolff Obermayers mentioned in Theilenhofen is really our ancestor, could not be finally proven but the relationship is due to the frame conditions and dates very likely.

Even if nothing to Wolff Obermayer could be found in the
church documents of Natternbach (starting in 1631), it seems plausible that Bernhard was his brother and Wolff’s parents were Andreas Obermeyer and his wife Maria.

This assessment is shared by Hans Navratil in “Familienblätter aus der Grafschaft Pappenheim“.

The earliest mention of the Obermayers, which is proved, is documented in Nennslingen on Maundy Thursday (April 5) 1640. On this day a maid “Rosina, Ancilla beim Obermajer” (Rosina, maid at the Obermajer) is listed…


On April 18, 1640 the first documented child of Wolff Obermayer, named Leopold, was baptized in Nennslingen –  this could be the reason, why the maid went to church alone on Maundy Thursday…


Wolff Obermayer is mentioned in Nennslingen on September 23, 1640 with his wife and a maid…


It can therefore be assumed that Wolff Obermayer – maybe with his wife – emigrated before 1638 from the parish Neukirchen am Wald in Upper Austria and – possibly after an intermediate station in Theilenhofen – settled in Nennslingen about 1640 (since the entries in the local church book between 1634 and 1640 are mostly missing, maybe a few years earlier).

Further Obermayers could not be found in Nennslingen at this time. Just the similar names “Obenöder” (from Obenödt in Noderbecker [=Natternbach] Parish in Upper Austria, today Oberned, part of Obertresleinsbach) and “Obernauer” (also from Parish Natternbach) appear.

This assessment is shared by Hans Navratil in the “Familienblätter aus der Grafschaft Pappenheim”.

Between 1641 and 1647 Wolff was in Nennslingen several times witness at the marriages of  Upper Austrian exiles.

On April 20, 1649 Georg Obermayer was born, the next generation in this line…


Wolff Obermayer was buried on February 8, 1662 in Nennslingen


His youngest son Wolffgang Obermayer, born on March 2, 1652, became a farmer and juror. In a court record of May 30, 1702, however, he himself is mentioned as a defendant due to a fight…

(..) Hans Adam Hoffmann. Müller. Michael Kruchbaum. Beck. Christian Korner. Beckengesell. Gabriel Mittermeier. Bauer und Wolfgang Obermeier. Gerichtsmann [Schöffe], sämtlich allhier. haben sich nächsthin im herrschafllich-Brandenburgischen Wirtshaus bei Matthias Ammersdörfers Wittib [Witwe] miteinander verunwilligt und zu Schlägen kommen, dahero sind die ersten vier jeder pro 45 Kreuzer abgestraft worden. Obermeier aber, als welcher Obigen zur Schlägerei Anlaß gegeben, pro ein Gulden 30 Kreuzer [also das Doppelte]. Samuel Winter aber, welcher sich bei solcher Aktion zum Friedenmachen gebrauchen lassen, jedoch einige Schlag ausgeteilt. für 30 Kreuzer. (..)

Source: Hans Deutscher: Marktgemeinde Nennslingen – Band 1: Chronik

Our ancestor Georg Obermayer was a day laborer and Köbler (peasant). He married in 1680, probably in Nennslingen, Maria Großmayer. The marriage entries between 1680 and 1684 are missing in the local church book and there was also no matching baptismal entry of Maria found.

An indication that Maria was a born Großmayer, is just found in the baptismal record of her daughter Kunigunda from August 24, 1684…


In the book “Exulanten in Stadt und Bezirk Weißenburg und Dekanat Heidenheim” by Karl Gröschel (ed.) a Ferdinand Großmajer, son of Johann from Lindach in the Land ob der Enns is mentioned on June 3, 1673 in Nennslingen and also noted in his exile register.

According to the book “Die oberösterreichischen Exulanten im ehemaligen Brandenburg-Ansbachischen Oberamt Stauf-Landeck | Verzeichnis der oberösterreichischen Exulanten im Bezirk des ev.-luth. Dekanats Thalmässing” by Walter Lehnert and Georg Barth the wedding of a Ferdinand Großmajer, son of the late Johann Großmajer, schoolmaster to Lindach deanary Gmunden in the Land ob der Enns with Margaretha Blob is listed on June 3, 1673 in Nennslingen.

Manfred Enzner and Eberhard Krauss documented this wedding under the parish of Laakirchen in the deanery of Gmunden in the book “Exulanten aus dem oberösterreichischen Hausruck- und Traunviertel in Franken” as well.

In the church book of Nennslingen the mentioned marriage entry is as follows …


The proclamation of this marriage also took place in Thalmannsfeld


Although currently not to prove, it can be assumed based on the timelines and the same place (Nennslingen), that Maria was a sister of Ferdinand.

In 1698, the son of Wolff Obermayer named Leopold was buried in Thalmannsfeld at the age of almost 58, another indication of a connection between the two families….


The son Johann Georg Obermayer, baptized on April 6, 1681 in Nennslingen, is the next ancestor in this line…


While his parents died in Nennslingen, Maria at the age of 36 on June 10, 1688, …


Georg, who had married in the meantime again, on May 28, 1732,…


…Johann Georg moved away.

Accorting to an entry in the church book of Nennslingen he married on June 14, 1712 in Höttingen Maria, born Wittmann, the daughter of the Köbler (peasant) Paul Wittmann from Göppersdorf and a widow of the deceased on January 4, 1712 weaver Peter Höhberger from Höttingen. He is evidently moved to Höttingen


In the church book of Höttingen the wedding is confirmed ……


Some information about the first marriage of Maria Wittmann seem a bit surprising.

Her first husband, Peter Höhberger, died on January 4, 1712 in Höttingen at the age of 82…


When he married Maria on January 20, 1702 in Höttingen, he was already 72 years old…


He married his first wife Dorotha on February 5, 1661 in Höttingen, she was already a widow of Caspar Schmidtlin…


…and was buried on 2 September 1701 at the age of 88 years in Höttingen


At first I had the assumption that the named Peter Höhberger is the father of another Peter Höhberger, but my search in the church books of Höttingen did not give any indication. Rather, no descendants of Peter Höhberger and Dorothea were baptized. Both Peter and Dorothea appear between 1661 and 1681 several times as godparents.

So far, I have not been able to find out more about Maria Wittmann. Thus, it remains unclear whether she was much younger than her first husband Peter Höhberger (what is likely) or Johann Georg Obermayer married at the age of 31 a much older woman (perhaps out of material benefit).

Maria Wittmann obviously did not bring any children into her second marriage with Johann Georg Obermayer, because also the second marriage of Peter Höhberger with Maria remained childless after my research.

On August 29, 1716, Johann Georg Obermayer appears at the baptism of his son Hannß Philipp in Blankenloch near Karlsruhe, Baden, about 200 kilometers from Nennslingen. The baptismal record clearly indicates his original origin Nennslingen “auß dem Anspachisch Zu Nentzling”…


About the period between the marriage in Höttingen near Nennslingen on June 14, 1712 with Maria, born Wittmann and the arrival in Blankenloch as well as the reasons to emigrate to Blankenloch, can only be speculated.

Interestingly, Johann Georg Obermayer is mentioned in Blankenloch not with a wife Maria but in all local entries with a wife named Anna.

Neither in the church books or in the Ortssippenbuch of Blankenloch nor in the church books of Höttingen or Nennslingen clues to two different wives were found.

There are several sources on the internet, according to which Anna was a born “Bane”. This is definitely not true. This myth is probably due to a transmission, translation or communication error between the pastor G. Flecht of Blankenloch and the author of the Overmyer Genealogy of 1905, John C. Overmyer. The contents of the letter of the pastor is reproduced in the book “Overmyer History and Genealogy 1680-1905” as follows…

(..) that a citizen named John George Obermayer was born at Nentzlingen, in Anspach, Bavaria, in 1680, the day and month not being given, and was married to Ann Bane, date not given, became a citizen of Blankenloch, Baden, some time previous to 1718. (..) John George Obermayer was a weaver by occupation in Blankenloch, and a copy-holder later in Buechig, a suburb of Blankenloch. (.. ) the child(..) John George, born Oct. 27th, 1727 (..) was baptized the day following his birth, October 28th, by John Christian Ebersole, pastor of Blankenloch and Buechig, Baden. The witnesses of the baptism were John George Bane, a citizen and weaver, Henry Bane, a citizen of Buechig (..). The foregoing data has been copied from the Register of Baptisms, and the Church Records of Blankenloch, Baden. (..) Pastor Flecht, in his explanatory remarks says, “I find in the death records of this parish, that John George Obermayer, the emigrant’s father, died August 12th, 1743, aged sixty- three years, and there is no record of his mother’s death to be found and the supposition was, that after the deat hof her husband, she with her youngest son, emigrated to America, but no such facts can be found in history or tradition, as her name does not appear on the list of passengers that landed with him, neither do we find any mention of her as being with him, in his adopted country, at any time.”

In fact, the as “John George Bane” and “Henry Bane” described witnesses of the baptism of Johann George Junior (Hannß Jörg) Obermayer are registered as as Johann Georg (Hannß Jörg), Raupp and Heinrich Raupp…


From whom and why the family name “Raupp” was transferred to “Bane” and how it was concluded that Anna was supposedly a born Bane (-> Raupp), remains unexplained. It is possible that this was concluded due to the same witnesses with the surname Raupp, who frequently occurs during the further baptisms of the family.

Anna would have to be a born Raupp according to the logic of the above text. Since Raupp is a typical family name in the Blankenloch region, even if it occurs occasionally in Nennslingen , their origin would be more there, because in the Nennslingen area.

Noa Raupp, the father of the witness Johann Georg (Hannß Jörg) Raupp, had in his third marriage a daughter named Anna Maria, who was baptized on August 16, 1699. For the thesis that she is the wife of Johann Georg Obermayer, there is no evidence. Pastor Flecht obviously did not find a suitable wedding entry in Blankenloch around 1905 either.

According to her funeral entry (see below) Anna was born around 1684.

Maybe she was indeed Catholic, as noted in some sources. However, it is questionable whether at this time a partnership between a husband who comes from a Protestant refugee family and was previously Protestant marriaged and a Catholic wife could be imagined.

It is therefore to be assumed that either in the four-year span between the marriage in Höttingen and the birth of the son Hannß Philipp in Blankenloch, on the way from Ansbach area to Durlach area, the name Maria was replaced by Anna and the two wives were the same person or in this time window on the trip or even in Höttingen (a matching entry was not found there) the Protestant wife (Maria) is deceased and Johann Georg Obermayer somewhere again (a – possibly originally Catholic – Anna) got married.

In my database, I have Maria and Anna as two different wives.

Be that as it may, Johann Georg and Anna had six children baptized in Blankenloch:

  1. Hannß Philipp on August 29, 1716
  2. Maria Catharina on February 9, 1719
  3. Anna Maria on January 28, 1721
  4. Anna Barbara on July 8, 1722
  5. Elisabetha Catharina on September 5, 1725
  6. Hannß Georg Junior on November 28, 1727

The youngest son Hannß (Johann) Georg Obermayer emigrated to North America in 1751 at the age of 23. He is reported in more detail in another article…

Johann Georg Senior died on 12 August 1743 at the age of 62 in Blankenloch


Pastor Flecht of Blankenloch did not find a burial record for Anna and suspected she emigrated to America. In fact, Anna died at the age of 74 years on May 27, 1858 in Graben, a neighboring village of Blankenloch


Probably she spent the last years as a widow there with her daughter Maria Catharina, who was baptized on February 9, 1719 in Blankenloch, the older sister of the emigrant Hannß Georg Obermayer…


She is the next generation in our ancestral line and married on January 18, 1746 in Graben the “Beisasse” or “Hintersasse” Johann Thomas Nüchter, whose family had moved from Breitenborn in the Hanau area (near Frankfurt Main, Germany) to Graben


A second cousin of Johann Thomas Nüchter named Anna Martha Koller (married Reitz) emigrated to America with her family almost at the same time as Hannß (Johann) Georg Obermayer. The two may have met there. This is also explained in more detail in the article already mentioned…

Johann Thomas and Maria Catharina Nüchter lived in Graben and had at least three daughters, Salome, baptized on October 24, 1746, Maria Catharina, baptized on March 17, 1757 and Catharina Barbara Nüchter, the next ancestor in this line.

Johann Thomas Nüchter was buried on 27 August 1769 in Graben


A funeral entry for Maria Catharina Obermayer could not be found in Graben.

The baptism of the daughter Catharina Barbara Nüchter took place on January 7, 1751 in Graben.


Catharina Barbara married (probably before 1775) Christoph Wenz.

A marriage entry was not discovered in the church book of Graben, the marriage is found in the entry of the baptism of the daughter Magdalena Wenz (see below).

The name Christoph Wenz occurs several times in Graben at this time. The husband will be – after excluding the other options – the later Webermeister Johann Georg Christoph Wenz, baptized on March 13, 1751 in Graben.

In the church books of Graben no funeral entry of a Catharina Barbara Wenz (born Nüchter) was found. Only a Katharina Barbara Nüchter, who was buried on February 11, 1811 at the age of 60 years, but is described as unmarried (“unverheurathete Beysaßen Tochter von hier”).

Any reference to a married name Wenz is missing …


In the baptismal entry to Catharina Barbara of January 7, 1751 (shown above) is referenced on this funeral record.

This coincides with the information in the baptismal record of Magdalena, the daughter of Christoph Wenz and Catharina Barbara, dated June 14, 1775…


…and fits to her later marriage entry with Christoph Brecht from September 29, 1802.

Thus, the birth entry can be assigned correctly. The funeral entry seems plausible due to the cross-reference to the birth entry and the appropriate temporal context.

Perhaps the pastor did not know that Catharina Barbara was a widow.

Christoph Wenz died on November 30, 1779 at the age of only 28 years in Graben


Magdalena, his daughter, was just four years old.

As already mentioned, Magdalena Wenz later got married in Graben as well. She had ten children with her husband, the hussar and later farmer Christoph Brecht and spent her whole life in Graben before she died there on December 22, 1837 at the age of 62…


Her husband Christoph died on May 26, 1846 also in Graben


The second oldest daughter Catharina was baptized in October 1802 in Graben, there are contradictory entrys to the exact day….


Sie bore on January 19, 1822, in Graben, an illegitimate daughter of an unknown father, who was christened Elisabetha in Graben on January 21 and received the mother’s surname…


Elisabetha Brecht married on March 27, 1843 in Leopoldshafen Johann Adam Stern Junior…


She lived in Leopoldshafen, where her mother Catharina died on February 9, 1861 at the age of 58 years. She will have lived there with her daughter.

The story is continued in the Stern family chronicle (there from the year 1843 on).

If you discover errors or have more information about the named persons, I would be grateful for a hint.

Source documents and background reading:

Author (s)TitlePublisher / OfferYearISBNRemarks
Bender, Heinz650 Jahre Blankenloch 1337 - 1987Gemeinde Stutensee1987--
Bender, HeinzVergangenheit und Zeitgeschehen. Eine Chronik. Blankenloch, Buechig, Schloss StutenseeGemeinde Stutensee1995--
Deutscher, HansMarktgemeinde Nennslingen - Band 1: ChronikRiedel, Gunzenhausen1998300003868X-
Dussel, KonradGraben - Vom Bauerndorf zur modernen IndustriegemeindeUbstadt-Weiher | Verlag Regionalkultur2006978-3-89735-439-5-
Enzner, Manfred | Krauß, EberhardExulanten aus dem oberösterreichischen Hausruck- und Traunviertel
in Franken
Gesellschaft für Familienforschung in Franken e.V.
Quellen und Forschungen zur fränkischen Familiengeschichte, Band 29, Nürnberg
Frank, HertaExulanten in den Registern der Evang.-Luth. Kirchengemeinde Theilenhofen (Dekanat Gunzenhausen)Gesellschaft für Familienforschung in Franken e.V.
Blätter für fränkische Familienkunde, Band 17, Nürnberg
Givaudan, ScottJohann Georg (Obermeyer) Overmire (1727 - 1805)WikiTreelast modified 9 May 2018
created 4 Mar 2016
retrieved 6 August 2018
Gröschel, KarlExulanten in FrankenJahrbuch für Fränkische Landesforschung herausgegeben vom institut für Fränkische Landesforschung an der Universität Erlangen 2, Verlag von Palm & Enke in Erlangen1936--
Gröschel, Karl [Hrsg.]Exulanten in Stadt und Bezirk Weißenburg und Dekanat HeidenheimVerein für Heimatkunde, Weißenburg1935--
Gröschel, KarlExulantenkarteiGesellschaft für Familienforschung in Franken e.V.1937-GFF Exulantenkartei (Members only)
Lehnert, Walter | Barth, GeorgDie oberösterreichischen Exulanten im ehemaligen Brandenburg-Ansbachischen Oberamt Stauf-Landeck | Verzeichnis der oberösterreichischen Exulanten im Bezirk des ev.-luth. Dekanats ThalmässingGesellschaft für Familienforschung in Franken
Freie Schriftenfolge Band 14, Neustadt/Aich
Navratil, HansFamilienblätter aus der Grafschaft PappenheimGesellschaft für Familienforschung in Franken-GFF-Sign. DA0032-
Overmire, LaurenceCapt John George OvermireFind A Graveadded 23 Sep 2005
retrieved 6 August 2018
Overmyer, Barnhart B. | John C.Overmyer History and Genealogy 1680-1905Chas. S. Beelman, Printer, Fremont Ohio1905--
Rusam, GeorgÖsterreichische Exulanten in Franken und Schwaben. Einzelarbeiten aus der Kirchengeschichte BayernsHerausgegeben vom Verein für bayerische Kirchengeschichte unter verantwortlicher Schriftleitung von Dr. Helmut Baier. 63. Band, Degener, Neustadt a.d. Aisch19893768641252-
Scheidle, Walter AugustOrtssippenbuch Blankenloch - Büchig und dem StudtHeimat- und Museumsverein Blankenloch-Büchig20013-00-008164-X-
Scheidle, Walter AugustOrtssippenbuch Leopoldshafen (Schröck)Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen | Gemeinde Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen2015978-3-00-045372-4-
Authors, see respective version historyExulantennamen im Raume WeißenburgStadtwiki Weißenburg
Volkshochschule Weißenburg und Umgebung e.V.
Pfarrgasse 4
91781 Weißenburg
retrieved 9 September 2018--
Authors, see respective version historyWikipedia, the free encyclopediaWikimedia Foundation Inc.
149 New Montgomery Street Floor 6
San Francisco, CA 94105
--The used articles are linked.
-Church books of Blankenloch, Eysölden, Graben, Höttingen, Leopoldshafen, Nennslingen, Thalmannsfeld und TheilenhofenArchion
Kirchenbuchportal GmbH
Balinger Str. 33/1
70567 Stuttgart
--The pictures of church books contained in the article are taken from official pdf downloads. I have written permission to publish. Please follow the copyright notice.
-Church books of NatternbachMatricula Online
ICARUS – International Centre for Archival Research
Erdberger Lände 6/7
A-1030 Wien
--Matricula Terms of use...
-Das Geschichtliche Orts-VerzeichnisCompGen
Verein für Computergenealogie e. V.
c/o Horst Reinhardt
Piccoloministraße 397a
51067 Köln
--The used articles are linked.
-Index PersonarumGesellschaft für Familienforschung in Franken e.V.2018--

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