Widdern, Germany

[engraving graciously provided by Charlotte Smidt of Brookings, South Dakota]



The Knappenberger family originated in what is today southwest Germany in a region called Baden-Wurttemberg.  Supposedly, the people of Baden-Wurttemberg are said to take life seriously and are reputed to be careful how and when they spend their money.  This area is known for its orchards and vineyards.


As family land became filled, younger brothers tended to move upon marrying in order to have their own land.  Thus, the German Knappenbergers moved not far to the Widdern area of Jagskreis which is on the Jagst River where it flows into the Neckar River.  Today this area is known as Hohenloher Ebene named after the princely German family, the House of Hohenlohe.  This is an area of quiet countryside between the Swabian Forest and the Tauber River.  Also located on the Jagst River is Jagsthausen where the Götzenburg Castle (now a hotel) is located.  This was the birth place in 1480 of the knight Götz von Berlichingen - the "Knight with the Iron Hand".  Goethe wrote a drama about him.  It is likely the Knappenberger family was associated with the lands that were linked with this castle.




This early family history was originally obtained from the Widdern Parish records by a researcher for Adam Gedlaman, a Canadian member of the Latter Day Saints Church.  The records were placed on file with the Genealogical Society Library of the church in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The Gedlaman Family descends from Anna Maria Knappenberger, born 21 September 1707, a daughter of Johan Albrecht Knappenberger.  She married George Michael Eltwein on 29 August 1730.  These original records are still available for viewing at the Widdern Parish church.



The earliest known Knappenberger ancestor is Seuffert Knappenberger who was born about 1569 in Unterkessach, Mosbach, Baden who married Anna DIEPACH on February 6, 1588 in Forchenberg, Jagst, Wuerttemberg.  Anna was born about 1573 in Unterkessach, Mosbach, Baden.  This couple had nine children that we currently know about.  The American Knappenberger families can trace their ancestry to this couple via their son Andreas [*].


1. Martin Knappenberger (1589-26 April 1594)

2. Apollonia Knappenberger (1590-1590)

3. Margaretha Knappenberger (born 1591)

4. Johannes Knappenberger (1592-13 October 1596)

5. Barbara Knappenberger (born 1594) who married Johan Junkher on 20 February 1625

6. Maria Knappenberger (born 1595)

7. Apollonia Knappenberger (born 1596)

8. Seuffert Knappenberger (born 27 October 1601)

*9. Andreas Knappenberger (born about 1608) who married Katharina [maiden name unknown] on 4 September 1627



Andreas Knappenberger, son of Seuffert, was born about 1608 in Unterkessach, Mosbach, Baden and married Katharina [maiden name unknown] on 4 September 1627 in Adelsheim, Mosbach, Baden.  Katharina was born about 1600 in Adelsheim and died on 21 February 1643 in Adelsheim, Mosbach, Baden.  We have information on four of their children.  The American Knappenberger families can trace their ancestry to this couple through their sons Johannes Kasper [*] and Wolff Albrecht [*].


*1. Johannes Kasper Knappenberger [see below]

*2. Wolff Albrecht Knappenberger [see below]

3. Margarete Katharina Knappenberger was born 8 February 1633 in Adelsheim and died 8 October 1633 in Adelsheim.

4. Philip Andreas Knappenberger was born about 1635 in Adelsheim and 25 January 1675.  He married Maria Barbara Beimmel on 24 December 1662.  She was born about 1640.  They had five children that we know about: Philippine Elisabeth Knappenberger (born 16 December 1663), Maria Dorothea Knappenberger (born 6 January 1665), Philipp Martin Knappenberger (11 May 1667-24 July 1669), Anna Barbara (born 6 August 1669) and Hans Andreas Knappenberger (born 3 February 1675).  All the children were born in Adelsheim, Mosbach, Baden.



Johannes Kasper Knappenberger, son of Andreas, was born on 5 July 1628 in Adelsheim, Mosbach, Baden.  We do not know his spouse.  Johannes Kasper had a son, Johann Jacob Knappenberger, born 6 January 1673 in Adelsheim, Mosbach, Baden and died 4 May 1741 in Schornbach.  Johann Jacob married Anna Katharine [maiden name unknown] who died 13 April 1735.  They had six children.


1. Georg Friedrich Knappenberger was born 15 October 1698 and died 18 February 1718.

2. Johann Jacob Knappenberger was born 27 May 1701 and died 10 April 1722.

3. Johann Georg Knappenberger was born 6 February 1703 and died 22 January 1761.  Johann George first married Anna Christina Heimberger on 31 August 1728.  She died 4 December 1743.  They had three children.

a. Jakob Knappenberger (2 September 1729-3 April 1782)
b. Margarethe Knappenberger (17 March 1731-1749 in Schornbach)

c. Katharina Knappenberger (23 September 1733-8 April 1765).

Johann Georg then married Magdalene Philippina SAUTER on 17 October 1744.  She was born 30 January 1723 and died 26 October 1782.  They had four children,

d. Johann Georg (born 16 July 1745)

e. Anna Magdalena (1 June 1749-23 December 1825)

f. Johannes (11 October 1758-21 March 1759)

g. J. Friederich was born 10 January 1747 and died 15 March 1823 in Schornbach.  J. Friedrich married Anna Dorothea MICHEL on 10 May 1774.  She was born 6 February 1743 and died 15 January 1801.  One of J. Friedrich's children was Johann Georg.

Johann Georg was born 18 September 1783 and died 17 December 1840.  He who married Maria Katharina CLASS on 20 June 1809.  She was born 14 November 1783 and died 13 December 1839.  One of Johann Georg's children was named Johann George.

Johann George Knappenberger, was born 28 February 1820 in Schornbach and immigrated to Ohio in the United States in the 1850s along with his wife Rosina BAHLER.  He died 15 August 1859 in Crawford County, Ohio.


4. Margarethe Knappenberger was born 30 August 1705.


5. Katherina Margarethe Knappenberger was born 25 June 1709 and died 27 December 1743.


6. Agnes M. Knappenberger was born 23 February 1714 and married M. Daniel Beuerle.



Wolff Albrecht Knappenberger, son of Andreas, was born on 23 December 1630 in Adelsheim, Mosbach, Baden and died on 21 June 1701 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg.  He married Anna Maria SCHMIDT on 24 November 1663 in Widdern, Jagst, Wuerttemberg.   Anna was born about 1646 in Widdern and died on 19 February 1698 in Widdern.  This couple had ten children that we know about.


1. Johann Jeremias Knappenberger was born 6 October 1664 in Widdern and married Margarete Barbara who was born March 1671 and died 17 December 1725.  They had five children: Rosina Maria (born 24 December 1696), Johann Friedrich (born 19 January 1698), Hans Michael (20 September 1700-21 January 1701), Maria Barbara (September 1704-18 April 1705), and Eva Maria (born 15 August 1705).


2. Johan Albrecht Knappenberger was born on 24 September 1666 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg.  He died on 2 March 1743 in Widdern, Jagst.  He married Anna Katharina about 1697 in Widdern.  Anna was born on 17 December 1672 in Sennfeld, Mosbach, Baden and died on 20 December 1729 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg.   This couple had seven children of which two died in infancy and three immigrated to America.


a. Maria Barbara Knappenberger was born 30 April 1699 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg and died on 27 January 1772 in Northampton County, PA (which became Lehigh County, PA).  Maria Barbara immigrated in 1732 and married Johan "Conrad" KOLB, Sr. after arriving.


b. Johann Erhard Knappenberger was born 27 October 1700 and died some time before 1710.


c. Johann Michael Knappenberger was born 13 December 1701 and died 11 May 1703 in Widdern.


d. Johan Erhard Knappenberger was born 30 June 1704 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg and died on August 1776 in Northampton County, PA (which later became Lehigh County, PA).  Johan Erhard immigrated in 1749 with his wife, Sophie Helene WEISMUELLER, and three sons.


e. Anna Maria Knappenberger was born 21 September 1707 in Widdern and died 15 March 1740 in Widdern.


f. Johan Michael Knappenberger was born 27 August 1709 in Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg and died on 13 June 1751 in Northampton County, PA (which became Lehigh County, PA).   Johan Michael immigrated in 1738 as a widower and married Catherine HEILIG after arriving in Pennsylvania.


g. Christina Maria Knappenberger was born 9 October 1713 in Widdern.


3. Hans Thomas Knappenberger was born 22 December 1669 and died in infancy.


4. Margaretha Knappenberger was born 10 August 1672.


5. Hans Georg Knappenberger was born 14 Februaty 1675.


6. Hans Thomas Knappenberger was born 10 February 1678 and died in infancy.


7. Johannes Thomas Knappenberger was born 18 February 1681 and died 12 May 1750.  He married Rosina Margareta Mueller on 13 June 1706.  She was born in 1685.  They had nine children: Johann Peter (born 1707) who married Anna Margreta Heinrich (born 1693) on 21 June 1728; Anna Rosina Elisabeth (born 1710); Johann Albrecht (1712-1713); Johann Georg Adam (born 1714) who first married Anna Barbara Ziegler on 19 June 1736 and then married Maria Barbara Weiss on 15 May 1770; Anna Eva (born 1716); Johann Albrecht (born 1719) who married Rosina Ehrenfried; Anna Eva (born 1722); Johann George (1724-1749); and Georg Christoph (1726-1749).


8. Philip Andreas Knappenberger was born 10 February 1684 in Widdern.


9. Clara Anna Knappenberger was born 1 August 1685 in Widdern.


10. Johann Christian Knappenberger was born 1 July 1689 in Widdern.




The purpose of this website is to bring together people who, although living in different parts of the world, all share one thing in common: the family name KNAPPENBERGER.  During the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, various members of the Knappenberger family emigrated from Germany to other lands.  Some came to North America.  Perhaps others went to South America, Africa, or to other parts of Europe and Asia.  It seems highly likely that the Knappenbergers in Germany today are of the same family as the American Knappenbergers because many still live in the same Jagst River valley from which the original American immigrants came.  In first half of the 1700s, at least three Knappenbergers left the area of Widdern, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg, Germany and came to Pennsylvania.  Others came in the 1800s and settled in Ohio and other places.  It was not easy to maintain contact with cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents living in Germany.  As time passed, these people lived, worked, played, fought in wars, married, and finally died in their new homelands.  Children were born, parents died, grandchildren were born, married, had children and they, too, eventually died.  Although they no longer lived in Germany, they continued to have the name Knappenberger and hold on to many of the customs and ways of their parents and grandparents.  Stories were passed from generation to generation about ancestors.  As each generation died away, so, too, a bit of family information slipped away.


Today, with the use of technology, a wonderful opportunity has presented itself to people around the world.  No longer do we have to wonder about from where our family came or who our cousins are.  We are trying to bring together the people in our great family and establish contact with cousins in other lands.  We are slowly putting together the pieces of a giant puzzle.  That puzzle has several names: family tree, Stammbaum, or database.  It makes no difference what name is used because they all mean the same thing which is cousins learning about other cousins.


We would like to learn more about the Knappenbergers living not only in Germany, but also in other parts of the world.  Also, we are very happy to share our information. Only by sharing information will we eventually build a bridge and link family members together.  CLICK HERE to see the travel journals of family members who have traveled to Widdern. We have heard from some of our German cousins and are currently working to make family connections.  As we gather more knowledge on the ancestry of the current day German Knappenbergers, we will share our information on this website.  We welcome contact from any Knappenbergers around the world.



Gunther Knappenberger of Notzingen-Wellingen, Germany for sharing his family tree.



Knappenberger Family Coat of Arms