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  • John Adler

The Witt Family History

History of Margaret Weinshenk 1815-? and Josef Witt 1810-1860

Parents of Theodore Witt and in-laws of Juliana Adler Witt

The Witts immigrated to America when Theodore Witt was two years old in 1839.

Margaret Weinshenk Witt is a great great grandmother of Bishop Waldschmidt and Ray

Pritchett. Her picture here is the oldest photograph yet found in our family history

research. She is the same generation as our ancestor Kaspar Adler in Viernheim. An

original of this picture was found in the collection of Elvera (Adler) Herr. Where Elvera

obtained it is anybody’s guess.

Bishop Paul Edward Waldschmidt


"Paul Edward Waldschmidt was born on January 7, 1920 in Vanderburgh, Indiana, the

only child of Edward Benjamin Waldschmidt (1885-1964) and Olga Marie Moers

(1893-1933). He is descended from Margaret Weinschenk (1815-UNK) and Joseph

Andrew Witt (1810-1860), a native of Bavaria.

Margaret (my 3rd great-grand- aunt) was an older sister of my 3rd-great-Grandmother Apollonia Weinschenk Horst.

Margaret & Joseph Witt's oldest child, Theodore Witt (1837-1921) was the Bishop's

great-grandfather, and the cousin of my great-great-grandfather Charles F. Horst. His

paternal grandmother was Catherine "Kate" Witt (1863-1937), the oldest child of

Theodore Witt and his wife Juliana Adler (1831-1900). Kate and my great-grandmother

Pearl Horst Flemming were second cousins. [All this makes the Bishop my 4th cousin

once removed.]"

Forst an der Weinstrasse, Germany

Forst, Baden, Germany Ancestral Village of the Witts and Weinschenks

Forst an der Weinstraße (or Forst an der Weinstrasse) is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality

belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Bad Dürkheim

district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It was known as Forst when our ancestors lived here. The municipality lies at the hilly western edge of the Upper Rhine Plain in the Eastern Palatinate (Vorderpfalz). As its name suggests, it is also on the German Wine Route (Deutsche Weinstraße) in the Palatinate wine region.

The German Wine Route was established in 1933. There was a record harvest in 1934, and

another one was foreseen for 1935, so it was decided to establish a road that connects all

vintners' villages to boost the wine sales. The German Wine Route was officially opened on 19

October 1935. Existing local roads along the route were renamed to incorporate "Weinstraße"

into their names and local municipalities were told to add "an der Weinstraße" to their names.

The German Wine Route is marked by numerous open-air wine festivals, held annually from

March to October, that make it a major tourist attraction. Bicycling the wine-route has become a favorite activity of the region.

The town's website describes it like this:

"The extraordinarily high fertility of our fields prompted the Romans here in our fruit trees, such

as almonds, peaches, plums, but in particular to introduce the wine. The wines arrived here early on to world fame. The village itself is a "village street", ie the main part backed by a single road with a length of about 1,200 meters. We currently have about 850 inhabitants. The work is dominated by viticulture, (and) increasingly from tourism."

Kirche St. Barbara

St. Barbara's Catholic Church, or Kirche St. Barbara, is at the center of the town.

Margaret’s family name 'Weinschenk' is a German occupational name meaning 'innkeeper';

literally translated it means 'wine giver'.


"Johann I, Emperor Heinrich IV's nephew, and the Prince-Bishop of Speyer, gave his personal

holdings in 1100, among which was Deidesheim, as a donation to the Bishopric of Speyer. The

vast woodlands north of Deidesheim, also known as Vorst or Forst (cognate with English forest

and meaning the same) was excluded from this arrangement and was reserved as the Prince- Bishop’s hunting ground. In this forest lie the village’s beginnings, and of course its namesake.

"When the French Revolution spread to the German lands on the Rhine’s left bank, Forst

temporarily became part of France’s territory. In 1816, what had once been Electoral Palatinate territory on the left bank was named the Rheinkreis, and later Rheinpfalz, and annexed to the Kingdom of Bavaria; the Palatinate remained Bavarian until the end of the Second World War."

Forst an der Weinstrasse is 15 miles from Viernheim, the ancestral village of the Adlers.

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