"The KUHMANN family Name"
by: Robert Charles Kuhmann, (auf Deutsch)
" Believe in all that is Good..."
"...We receive none, knowingly, into our ranks who are not moral
and upright before God and of good repute before the World..."
What's in a name? ( ...perhaps more than you might think! )
Dad was born in 1910, died in 1975. Mother, Louise E. Kuechler-Kuhman [Emma Louise Küchler-Kuhmann (birth name, and historical spellings)] was also born in 1910, but died in 2010 aged to 100 years, 15 days.
[ IMPORTANT: "Kuhmann" should not be confused with: "Kuhlmann" or "Kühlmann" - the meaning is quite different. ]
Under the entry for 'profession' on the birth certificate (Geburtskunde in German) of Friedrich Ferdinand KUHMANN, his father's line of work was listed as Tagelöhner ("day laborer"). The family "oral tradition" is that Grandfather (Friedrich) came to America at about the age of 21 (in 1885). The tradition is also, that he came through Ellis Island in New York, but I have found no trace of his passage in their archives. No one alive today (circa April 2013) knows of his motives, nor of the route he undertook to come to America. We know from 19th-century birth records (obtained from the local 'Evangelical Lutheran Church', the Evangelische Lutherische Kirche in Bindlach, Bavaria ), that Grandfather had older siblings (that record says that he was their 4th child, 3rd son). Presumably, his father owned no tracts of land that could be divided up and thus... what with the beckoning prospect of inexpensive sections of land in America, his decision was made. I have also theorized that his departure may also have been prodded onwards, due to wars in Europe (and the likelihood of being impressed into the armies of the König (King). We may never know the whole story - since Grandfather died in 1927, when my own father was a youthful 17. Thus, few of those (presumably) wonderful memories of life in the Old World got passed along, and they are lost to time...
Hardly anything of the written family records remain. Most of that was destroyed due to a house-fire (home that my father inherited from his parents on the south side of East Van Emmon Street in Yorkville, Illinois). The family Bible and a photo album survive (digital duplicates are available on a CD-ROM). The Illinois family farm (off of Pavilion Road, west of Yorkville, Illinois), was owned and occupied by my Aunt, Eileen Rose Briggs-Kuhman (died April 24, 2004). All of the land and the original farm buildings have since been sold. The house, machine shed -- pig shed, and corn crib (both converted to living quarters) still stand. The original barn burned in 1999, and it has not been rebuilt. The entire property has been sold.
Most of the families tied to our branch, hail from eastern Bavaria (see history of Bayern). The family farm is located in a hamlet called "Ritterleithen" near "Oberlaitsch" (close to the villages of Ramsenthal, Harsdorf and Bindlach) and due north from the city of Bayreuth. (Note: all of those WWW links are in German language.) Oberlaitsch is situated among green rolling hills still occupied by dairy farms that are just a few kilometers from the border with the Czech Republic. I had the pleasure of visiting all of those hamlets, where I met: Heinrich Kuhmann, his mother, his two sons Bernd and Werner, as well his daughter, Kerstin. Christian Kuhmann, his daughter Heidi, and son-in-law Florian, live in Ramsenthal. Heinrich and Christian (died 2010) are cousins to my father Wilbur and my Uncle Fred, and all of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Dad and Fred died, never knowing of their German cousins.
Almost everything that we know about grandfather, Friedrich Ferdinand KUHMANN came from the sparse, few documents that have survived. He was born in Ramsenthal in November of 1864 to Johann Adam KUHMANN and Katharina HEUSSINGER (HEUßINGER). In Ritterleuthen, there is a farm still owned and operated by Heinrich Kuhmann and his sons (circa 2013), his family shares the same paternal grandparents as my Dad. Friedrich Ferdiand Kuhmann is thought to have entered into the USA, about 1880. He settled in Kendall County Illinois. He first worked as a blacksmith in Oswego, Illinois. The farm was inherited by his wife, Alice May Peterson-Kuhman, Wilbur (Wilbur John Kuhman), and Fred Jr. (Frederick Roland Kuhman) at the time of his death in 1927. Uncle Fred (Jr.) farmed that land until the end of his life in 1980. Friedrich, Alice, Grace (died in infancy), Wilbur, Frederick, and Eileen are buried in Pavilion Cemetery, in Yorkville, Illinois -- about half of a mile south of their Kendall county farm home.
No photographs (as of this writing) are known to exist of my KUHMANN great-grandparents (Johann Adam Kuhmann and Katharina Heussinger-Kuhmann). I have copies of their birth records and of their marriage. Both of those photo-copied documents were also obtained through the Evangelical Lutheran church in Harsdorf.
Note that the historical name was spelled with two "nn's" (it is written with two on all of the German records). Somehow, our name lost that second "n" to become our legal name. I prefer to use the historical name. That's about all I can provide for today, but I will add links to some of the documents mentioned here, and old photos of grandfather and of the family - as time permits. Thank you.
Ethnologists contend that the name "Kuhmann" corresponds to, "Cuman" (in ancient times); it was of Hungarian origin (of the Cuman tribes, formerly of Turkey).
For further reading about our name: the historic village of "KUHMANN" (along the ancient "Roman Limes", pronounced 'LEE-mess')... [click here]
Masonry in Wisconsin
Dedicated to my Father (a Past Master), my Grandfather and their Fathers before them - all were Free Masons.
last updated 12-Apr-2013