The Remus Family of West Prussia:
Village Heads (Schultz), Shepherds, and My Ancestry
Flatow, West Prussia on 28 June 1657 after the Attach of the Swedes during the 13 Years War
(Click here to see how the castle site looks in 2004)
My Remus Family
The period around 1700 was not a good time for West Prussia. The Great Northern Wars taking place then led to warfare and destruction resulting in perhaps the loss of a third of the population. To repopulate their land (and generate profits), the Polish nobility sold the right to manage villages (called schultz privilege) and to mill grain to Germans. Thus, my ancestors entered West Prussia following the demobilization of the Saxon Army circa 1717. It is important to note that the Remus family of Kamenz were burgers and thus had some assets with which to acquire schultz privileges.
The first reference to the schultzes and millers in Remus family in West Prussia was in August Blanke's "Aus Vergangenen Tagen des Kreises Schlochau" (1936) where Johan Remus was said to be a miller in Rogonitza, the mill for Bergelau, and to a lesser extent Pollnitz, Kreis Schlochau around 1700. Click here to read 1or page 2 of that article in German. The article goes on to explain that Johan Remus sold the mill to Andreas Rogosznicki around 1720. Otto Goerke's "Der Kreis Flatow" reports that Johan Remus purchased the schultz privilege and the schultzengut in Lanken, Kreis Flatow in 1714 (that is, the right to administer a village and a manorial farm for the villagers to work on). The Johan Remus family also had the schultz privileg for Aspenau (Ossowo) in Kreis Flatow. An article by Walter Tesmer states that the Remus family was an old established family in the Kreis Flatow area by 1706; click here to see the article in German. Is it hard to read the article? Click here for the Adobe Acrobat Version.
Here are the members of Johan Remus and Christine Berent's family:
Christian Remus (schultz of Aspenau (Ossowo), Kreis Flatow
Christoph Remus (schultz of Lukowo and later Waldowo), Kreis Flatow
Johan Remus Burger in Preuss Friedland, Kreis Schlochau
Lorenz Christoph Remus (schultz of Lukowo, Kreis Flatow and later Gnielke)
Martin Remus (schultz of Schwente), Kreis Flatow
Peter Remus (schultz of Zbosse), Kreis Flatow
This generation of the Remus family was largely schultz. Here are some of the details on the Johan Remus family.
The Death of Johan Remus
As noted earlier, Johan Remus with his wife Christine Berent acquired the schultz privilege for Lanken, Kreis Flatow around 1714. They lived there for many years. The death of Johan Remus around 1750 led to major financial adjustments for the family. The schultz privilege in Lanken was initially lost as the estate was distributed. By 1775 Jacob Nehring had acquired the privilege; his wife was Eva Remus, the daughter of Franz Remus, Johan's brother (see below).
Schultz Christian Remus of Ossowo - Johan's Son
The Johan Remus family also had the schultz privilege for Aspenau (Ossowo) in Kreis Flatow. The inheritance settlement here is preserved in the land records of Kreis Flatow and recently published. The settlement was that son Christian Remus made payments to his widowed mother Christine Remus nee Berent as well as Christian's brothers (listed above) and thus was given sole ownership of an inheritable privilege on Ossowo. In the 1772 census of Ossowo it is noted in question 14 that Christoph has the Ossowo schultz privilege in his name. The successors to Christian are difficult to track as the Evangelical Church Books of their parish in Flatow town were destroyed.
Schultz Martin Remus of Schwente, Kreis Flatow - Johan's Son
The two funding sources above helped my earliest proven ancestor Martin Remus (not the Martin Remus of Danzig above) purchase and the schultz privilege for Schwente in 1751; he had purchased the krug privilege for Schmirdau, Kreis Flatow in 1732. Martin Remus and his wife Katharina nee Nitz initially lived near Preuss Friedland but later moved to Schmirdau. According to Goerke's "Der Kreis Flatow," Martin Remus there acquired the "Dorfkrug" (village inn) in 1732 (although Martin probably managed the Krug prior to that). The Krug was later passed to his son first son Caspar around 1751. Kruger Caspar Remus is mentioned in the 1772 census as living with his wife, two hired male workers, and three hired female workers in Schmirdau. The Krug went entirely to the Caspar's eldest son Gottlieb. Caspar's other descendents did not have an inheritance and were farmers and shepherds (click on schafer for details) including my great grandfather.
Martin Remus moved to nearby Schwente, Kreis Flatow. The place name Schwente/Swieta comes from a Slav root meaning "holy hill" (a reference to the prehistoric tumuli in the village) In Schwente he had the "Schulzengut" (the landed estate held by the village head) was acquired in 1751 by Martin Remus and his wife Katharina nee Nitz. Read about Martin in Old German script by clicking Martin Remus. In the Schwente census of 1772, Martin complains that the soil in Schwente was sandy and they could not grow anything. He was also concerned that the schultz privilege in Schwente was not inheritable so could not be passed to his sons. The latter was remedied before Martin's death.
Martin's second son Christoph followed Martin as the Schultz of Schwente. Martin's third son was Lorenz Remus who moved southward to Bondecz, Kreis Wirsitz and his children to Bialobloty south of Poznan. Upon the eldest son Christoph's death, Martin's next oldest son Franz Remus became schultz but sold the land in 1796; Franz probably used the money from the sale of Schwente to buy the postmastership of Vandsburg, Kreis Flatow. Caspar's eldest son Gottlieb above briefly reacquired the Schwente privilege around 1805. These contracts have been recently published.
The genealogy of the Martin Remus is given in great detail following the information about Johan Remus' other sons and siblings below.
Schultz Lorenz Christoph Remus of Lukowo and Gnielke- Johan's Son
Martin's brother Lorenz Christoph was the village head (schultz) in Lukowo, Kreis Flatow for many years; towards the end of his life he moved to Gnielke, Kreis Wirsitz by Vandsburg, Kreis Flatow where he was schultz and owner of a schultzengut (village head's home). This family produced only a small number of children and grandchildren. So the Gnielke estate became associated by marriage with the Schlieper family (although the genes still have the Remus DNA in them). Remains of that gracious estate in Gnielke still remain to date.
Schultz Christoph Remus of Lukowo and Waldowo- Johan's Son
Martin's brother Christoph Remus was the village head (schultz) in Waldowo, Kreis Flatow after initially living in Lukowo with his brother Lorenz Christoph above. Christoph's son Johan Daniel was a Kruger in Waldowo. This family largely migrated east into the next county, Kreis Tuchel.
Johan Remus - Burger in Preuss Friedland - Johan's Son
Johan Remus son of Johan Remus married Eva Halweg (daughter of schultz Andreas Halweg) and later Anna Boordt. They had many children, however, this Johan chose not to be a schulz or miller and instead lived part of his life as a burger in Preuss Friedland, Kreis Schlochau. For reasons unknown to me, most of the family migrated to Kreis Tuchel and there were largely farmers.
Schultz Peter Remus of Zbosse, Kreis Flatow - Johan's Brother
Peter Remus (not Peter the shepherd discussed later but Johan Remus' brother) married into control of Zbosse, Kreis Flatow village around 1718 (a village which had a German and Lutheran presence and prayer house since 1620) and was a schultz. This he passed on to his son Peter around 1750. When the village burned in 1786, Peter Remus traded his privilege to control Zbosse to his uncle Peter Klawitter (whose wife was Susanna Remus was daughter of Lorenz Christoph Remus of Lukowo and Gnielke above). He gained Peter Klawitter's privilege for the krug (inn) in Bucholtz, Kreis Schlochau. Johan died young and thus this male line died out (although it lives on though Johan's sisters and aunts).
Schultz Franz Remus of Stegers and Stretzin - Johan's Brother
Franz Remus of Stegers and Stretzin near Preuss Friedland (all in Kreis Schlochau) is a brother of Johan Remus. Franz Remus is first found as owning a schutzengut (estate which he occupied as head of the village) in Stegers around 1730. For some reason, Franz gave up that privilege and acquired a lease on farmland in Stretzin; apparently he lived well and could be thought of as a gentleman farmer. He had many daughters that married well; for example, his daughter Eva married well into the Nehring family and his daughter Marie Elisabeth married Christian Friedrich Rotzoll of gut (manorial estate house) Rotzollen. At the close of his life, he passed on a small farm in Stretzin to son Michael and stayed in Rotzollen with his daughter Marie Elisabeth. He died there is 1797.
The next section is about my direct ancestors and takes you up to my great grandfather. Note that all started well with Martin the village head but soon the youngest sons (having no inheritance) became shepherds. My direct line is in red and there is some redundancy as I review what I know about them.
Martin Remus' Wife and Children
My certain ancestors Martin Remus and his wife Katharina nee Nitz initially lived nearPreuss Friedland but later moved to Schmirdau; both villages were in West Prussia. According to Goerke's "Der Kreis Flatow," Martin Remus there acquired the "Dorfkrug" (village tavern) in 1751 (although Martin probably managed the Krug prior to that). The Krug was later passed to his son first son Caspar. Caspar Remus is mentioned in the 1772 census as living with his wife, two hired male workers, and three hired female workers in Schmirdau, Kreis Flatow.
I am a descendent of Caspar's son Peter. Caspar's first son received the Krug upon Caspar's death so the younger children became farmers and shepherds (click onschafer) including my great grandfather. In the below genealogy my line is shown in Red.
Descendants of Martin Remus, Schultz of Schwente
MARTIN REMUS was born before 1705, and died before 1777. He married KATHARINA NITZ Before 1723. She was born before 1705.
Children of MARTIN REMUS and KATHARINA NITZ are:
As noted earlier, Martin Remus acquired the "Dorfkrug" (village tavern) in 1751 in Schmirdau (although Martin probably managed the Krug prior to that). The Krug was later passed to his son Caspar. This was quite a good location and Caspar Remus continued running the Krug until after the 1772 census. Caspar's family is as follows:
Descendants of Martin Remus' son Caspar, Kruger of Schmierdau
CASPAR REMUS was born before 1723, and died Between 1772 - 1804. He married (1) CATHARINE HALWEG Before 1745, daughter of ANDREAS HALWEG and CATHARINA STORMERS. She was born November 23, 1723 in Preuss Friedland Parish, Kreis Schlochau, West Prussia, and died Before 1756. He married (2) LUDOVICA KONOPKA before 1756. She was born before 1731.
Children of CASPAR REMUS and CATHARINE HALWEG are:
Children of CASPAR REMUS and LUDOVICA REMUS are:
Peter Remus started out fairly well as a major lessor of property; the 1772 tax records describe him as Pachter der Vorwerks (the tenant of an extension ofWaldowo, Kreis Flatow village some distance from the village center). Thus Peter Remus was initially a small time farmer/shepherd in the Waldowo area. He died in 1778 relatively young (32 years old) and his tenancy may not have been inheritable. Thus, his children may have had little or no inheritance; his sons became shepherds. Click here for more background on shepherds and farmers.
Descendants of Peter Remus, the Shepherd
PETER REMUS (the shepherd) was born around 1746, and died in 1778. He married BARBARA JULIANA PUFAL/ZYCK. She was born before 1746.
Children of PETER REMUS and BARBARA JULIANA PUFAL/ZYCK are:
Click here forthe complete family tree of Peter Remus (the shepherd) including three generations leading to my great grandfather August Wilhelm Remus.
In the family tree of the Peter Remus family above do note Daniel Remus. He is our Remus family ancestor. He was aschafer (shepherd) as was his father Peter. He married Marie Louise Goltz (daughter of Friedrich Goltz, a schultz in a nearby village) on October 16, 1808 in Zempelburg Parish, Kreis Flatow, West Prussia and produced lots of kids. He also had a second wife Christine Hennig and had one child, Michael, with her in 1830. Here is the family of Daniel Remus and Marie Louise Goltz.
Descendants of Daniel Remus
DANIEL REMUS was born 1769 in Zempelburg, Kreis Flatow, West Prussia, and died after 1828. He married MARIE LOUISE GOLTZ October 16, 1808 in Zempelburg Parish, Kreis Flatow, West Prussia, daughter of FRIEDRICH GOLTZ and CHISTINE GROLOCK. She was born 1782 in Vandsburg, Kreis Flatow, West Prussia, and died after 1827 in Zempelburg, Kreis Flatow, West Prussia.
Children of DANIEL REMUS and MARIE GOLTZ (children 1 to 7) and second wife Christine Hennig (children 8 and 9) are:
In the Daniel Remus and Marie Louise Goltz family tree immediately above note his second son Daniel Remus, also a shepherd.
The latter Daniel Remus married widow Christine Bess on July 21, 1839 inNeutuchel, Kreis Tuchel, West Prussia. Note my ancestor August Wilhelm Remus is the first of two kids. However, he had two older half brothers one of which is said to have also made it to America. Christine's first marriage was to Michael Bettin and produced Johan Ferdinand Bettin in 1832 and Carl Wilhelm Bettin in 1835.
Descendants of Daniel Remus
DANIEL REMUS was born October 29, 1811 in Zbosse, Kreis Flatow, West Prussia, and died before 1867. He married widow CHRISTINE BESS July 21, 1839 in Neutuchel, Kreis Tuchel, West Prussia. She was born 1808, and died before 1867.
Children of DANIEL REMUS and CHRISTINE BESS are:
Update: I am often asked about the rest of the story. As you will note above, my great grandfather August Wilhelm Remus migrated to
August and Wilhelmine immigrated to theEmerson, Manitoba area (where some of his descendents live) and later homesteaded near Langenburg, Saskatawan (where even more of his descendents live). August and Wilhelmine's youngest son Eduard (my grandfather) married Mary Lundgren of Langenburg and initially homesteaded near Spy Hill, SK. Farmers were devastated by the bad weather of the 1920's so my grandparent's family including my father Frank Remus moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan (where I was born).
A Genealogical Note
You might be interested in the nature of the church records I have been looking at and how they can be used to directly or indirectly establish family relationships. Click on the marriage of Dorothea Remusowa (Dorothea was born a Remus - hence the -owa suffix to here name. If she instead had married a Remus, then the suffix would be -owna) to see the kind of records in the church books of that era. Or see how I establish that Christoph had a son named Gottfreid born before 1762 when I can't find Gottfried's birth record. Incidentally Gottfried is not yet shown below as a child of Christoph (I will update that as soon as I know if he was older or younger than Franz. We can be sure he is younger than Dorothea b. 1761 but not his birth order relationship to Franz).
Other Remus Families in West Prussia
There were lots of Remus families in the area. In 1772 Prussia, Russia, and Austria partitioned Poland. Both Royal Prussia and West Prussia were incorporated into Prussia. Frederick the Great ordered a census made of his new subjects; click on 1772 West Prussia Land Census to find all the Remus family members in all of northern Poland. Click here for the annotated census just for the Remus family members described above. Note that there were more Remus family members in Pomerania and East Prussia that were not included in this list.
The Master List of Remus Families in West Prussia
I have completed the extraction of many other Remus families in West Prussia in order to find my ancestors. For all these other Remus families in the 1700's, click below.
These records are for the well-documented Remus family in West Prussia.
These records are for fragments of Remus families not yet related to the above Remus families.
Click here to find out more about millers and the Remus family millers in particular.
Click here to find out more about the Remus family farmers and shepherds.
Click here to go directly to other West Prussia villages.
Would you like to see these places?
Please send any queries to Bill Remus at
March 3, 2010