The GENEALOGY section will soon be moved to the new Kazmaier family research site Kazmaier Ancestry.
The name Kazmaier is most certainly derived from an estate or a grange which either directly was named Kazmaier but more likely Kast(n)maier. It is likely that this farm was a so called "Maierhof" or "Mayerhof" (from Latin: maiores villae), a farm, estate, grange or building which was occupied or had been occupied by the administrator (the "Maier") of a noble or ecclesiastical estate, belonging to the "Hofkastenamt", collecting and administrating the revenue of the territorial lord.
In the centuries after 1600 the name Kazmaier occurs very frequently in the German country of Württemberg. Before 1600 the name mostly appears, although in different spellings, in Bavaria. In Munich the Katzmairs are detectable from 1318 being members of the council. Most famous Georg Katzmair as the author of "Muenchen unter der Vierherzog-Regierung 1397-1403". With Georg III. Katzmair (son of Niklas Katzmair 1480-1523) in 1533 the house Katzmair in Munich dies off. A 1506 born illegitimate son of Jacob II. Katzmair (Niklas' younger brother) did not leave traces. He might have kept the name and carried it forward.
In 1607 the first German-speaking immigrant to America, Dr. Johannes Fleischer, arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. Five glassmakers and three carpenters or house builders from Germany followed him in 1608. Germantown in Pennsylvania, founded on October 6, 1683 became the first permanent German settlement. In the ensuing centuries, nearly 7 million of Fleischer's compatriots would follow. Incredibly, by the 2000 United States census, more than 40 million Americans, nearly 15 per cent, listed German as their primary cultural heritage.
To my knowledge the first Kazmaiers arrived in the USA in the early 19th century. Some of their lines are researched on this website.
Today most Kazmaiers in the USA live in Ohio, followed by Kansas, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Most famous amongst these are famous family members like William "Bill" Kazmaier, "the strongest man who ever lived" and Richard "Dick" Kazmaier, Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award winner 1951. Unfortunately it still remains unknown where the Kazmaier family originally came from and who was the first bearer of this name. At least for all the Kazmaier in Wuerttemberg I am convinced that they all are one big family although even for this I must still owe the proof. The research on this website and on Tribalpages refers to Balthasar Kazmaier (born about 1611 probably in Honau, died 26.04.1685 in Honau). He is the first proven Kazmaier in Wuerttemberg and from him, and from Honau, all Kazmaiers that I have ever met, descend from.
The Kazmaier family today is very widespread over many states of the USA. It appears they first arrived in the USA in the middle of the 19th century. There are at least half a dozen independent lines to be found in the US. Several Kazmaiers left Germany over the past 200 years to find their luck abroad. It was the American Dream and poor political conditions in the rural parts of Germany that drew people away from their hometowns. However they had to save large amounts of money for the ship and some of them had to leave their families back until they could afford to buy them tickets.
A historic map of southern Germany from 1656
ALL Kazmaiers in the USA are related to the original Kazmaier family in Germany. Research in Germany shows that the common forefather of all Kazmaiers in Wuerttemberg was Balthasar II Katzmayr (1611-1685). His death is recorded in the little village of Honau below Castle Lichtenstein. From Honau, and from this Balthasar Katzmayr all known Kazmaiers descend from.Until his death Balthasar II Katzmayr was "Schultheiss" of Honau. As official it was his duty to order his assigned village, Honau, to pay the taxes and perform the services due to the ruler. The name originates from this function: “Schuld” = 'debt' + “heißen” = ‘to order'. In this function he as well was the highest judge of the village.
Later, the title was also used for the head of a town, the mayor and still today in Wuerttembergian villages the people refer to their mayor as the "Schultes".
Burial Notes from his death record: “Den 26. April nachts umb 11 uhren ist in Gott seelig entschlafen Balthas Katzmayr, Schultheiss und Heylgenpfleger allhier seines allters 74 jahr und den 28. ehrlich zur erden bestattet worden welchen Gott mit frewden zum ewigen leben aufferweckhen wolle, Offertorium erat 22x" (lit.: 26 April, at night by 11 clock, Balthas Katzmayr, Schultheiss and Heylgenpfleger (administrator of monastery property), passed away peacefully in God, 74 years of age, and on the 28th has been honest laid to earth, who God may raise with joy to eternal life.”
It can be assumed that Balthasar was not born in Honau. Birth records for Honau are not available anymore as all the old documents were destroyed in the Thirty Years' War 1618-1648, one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history. Basically wide areas of the Swabian Jura were depopulated, men were drafted for war, troups of all participating forces were marching through the area, murdering, plundering and pillaging. The Black Death did the rest. The best estimates believe that the German population decrease was between 20% and 45%. The above map shows Honau's location below castle Lichtenstein and the larger circle is the area were we find Grabenstetten near the fortress Neuffen.
Most probably Balthasar came to the area during war time. We assume he is of Bavarian origin and his family for long centuries served the catholic rulers of Bavaria. Most probably he descends from from Balthasar I Katzmair (1562-1642) who most probably belongs to the Dettendorfer Katzmair line. He was was nobilitated from Rudolf II of Hapsburg. Probably it was the war that brought our Balthasar to Wuerttemberg as the Katzmairs in Bavaria were a noble family with long catholic and imperial background serving the Hapsburg family since the 13th century. In 1634, at the time of one the most important catholic victories over the Protestants Balthasar was 21 years of age and for an unmarried catholic, Bavarian son of a noble family it would have been likely that Balthasar fought in Noerdlingen for the imperial army.
The Battle of Noerdlingen, was
fought out on September 6th 1634 only about 60 miles away from Honau. The Roman Catholic Imperial army under Ferdinand II of Hapsburg, about 18,000 Spanish and Italian soldiers, won a crushing
victory over the combined Protestant armies of Sweden and their German-Protestant allies (Heilbronn Alliance). Unfortunately that victory brought France into that war and the bloodiest chapter of
this European butchery began.
Georg Ferchl refers to the "wife of the reigning sovereign", Elisabeth Renata of Lorraine, the wife of Maximilian I., Duke of Bavaria, as godmother of Balthasar I Katzmair's 4 children. From 1591-1593 Balthasar was the Valet of Duke Albrecht VI. of Bayern-Leuchtenberg. 1594-1597 he was assigned as "Hofkammerkanzlist" at the court of Duke William V. of Bayern in Munich/Bavaria. Finally he was made Country Judge ("Landrichter") in Dorfen on September 26th 1598 where he remained until June 2nd 1602. On the 1st of July 1602 he became Judge, Bursary Officer and Tax Collector ("Richter, Kastner und Mautner") in Marktl am Inn “woselbst er bis bis Ende des Jahres 1602 noch zu verbleiben hatte, um in diesem Vierteljahre beide Gerichte zu versehen” – he had to serve both courts, Dorfen and Marktl, until the end of the year. He remained in that position until September 29th 1608. On December 10th 1605 Balthasar was nobilitated in Vienna by Rudolf II of Hapsburg, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the king of Bohemia and Hungary.
According to Ferchl Balthasar I Katzmayr died 1642 "in der Fasten", in the fasting period between Easter and Pentecost, after 50 years of service at the age of 80.
To the left the certificate of Balthasar's nobilitation, signed by the German Emperor Rudolf II of Hapsburg (1552-1612).