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  Holl Family In Europe

The original Holl family homeland.
The earliest discovered generation (so far) of our Holl family branch traces back to Johann Adam Holl who was born in Volkenrath, Rheinland, now Germany. Johann married Anna Maria Kraemers, February 16, 1750 in the Catholic Church at Blankenrath, Rhineland. From church records, the couple began their life together in Volkenrath where their first child
was born. Within the following three years they moved to nearby Reidenhausen where their next three children were born, including the next generation in our family branch, Joannes Holl. It was not unusual for some or all the children to have the same first names in a family. This was part of the naming tradition in Germany. If this was the case, each child was known by their second name, which was different with each one. The first son was usually named after the paternal grandfather. The first daughter was named after the maternal grandmother. The second son is named after the maternal grandfather and the second daughter is named for the paternal grandmother. The the children were named after their parents, aunts and uncles whose names were not already being used. For this reason, there were often many cousins living in one area who had the same names. The mother's maiden name, child's birth date and name of the spouses are used to distinguish between each one with the same name in records.

Fortunately, women used their maiden names in records throughout their lives, partly for this reason and partly to distinguish their own bloodline in the family. If a woman's family was known for special skills, owning land, being educated, having a heroic military member/tradition, owning or running a business, being related to gentry or other noteworthy accomplishments; these bonuses were considered a "feather in the cap" of her children, and gave them added value and distinction.

These distinctions as well as those of the father's family, came in especially handy when it was time to contract a marriage for these children. At this time in history, parents or guardians arranged the marriage contracts between the families of the bride and groom (not the bride and groom). These were written with specifically set agreements. Loving and caring parents looked for spouses in healthy, productive families with a history of productivity and success in their livelihoods. There should not be a history of  "ill temper", "too much drink", "lack of energy", difficulty "in the breeding and birthing" of children, or being "dim witted".  When the work of raising the children was reaching an end, the mother's job included keeping track of all good marriage prospects through social engagements and local news exchanges with friends and family. She had spent years working to have the children healthy; properly trained in work and social skills; presentable in face and form for future prospects. Now her attention was turned toward helping her husband arrange for their children to marry "up" from their present circumstances. Regardless of where the family stood on the local social ladder, even in small communities, a good marriage of the children offered a sense of pride in good parenthood.  This was a mother's solemn duty to her children.

After being signed by the parents, the marriage contract was then read to the community gathered at the front steps of the church. A small party of family then followed the couple to witness the marriage contract being "blessed" in that local church.  A celebration was often then held as the two families were now considered joined, along with their children, in marriage.

Governments did not keep records of births, deaths and marriages for the first centuries. The churches began keeping records, generally in the 1400 to 1500's in what is now Germany, as the feudal system of peasantry declined. It was then that most families started to develop identities and surnames for the first time, such as "Johnson" after the family patriarch, or "Miller/Mueller", after a skill/profession or "Short/Kurz" after a prominent family physical feature, or "Holl/Cave" after a nearby land feature. People did not wander before that time. They stayed working for the same noble or ruler or bishop until they were told to go elsewhere. Governments went to the church records to establish population numbers to tax the land owners, until the early 1700's.
Holl family towns of Volkenrath, Reiderhausen, Blankenrath and Schauren.

The children of Johann Adam Holl and Anna Maria Kraemers were:
    1. Susanna Holl, who was born December 12, 1751,
        Volkenrath, Rheinland
    2. Johannes Nicolas Holl born January 27, 1756 in
        Reidenhausen, Rheinland
    3. Joannes Holl born December 17, 1757 in
        Reidenhausen, Rheinland
    4. Joannes Adamus Holl born February 24, 1764 in
        Reidenhausen, Rheinland
    5. Matthias Holl born April 26, 1767 in Blankenrath, Rheinland
    6. Julius Holl born January 20, 1770 in Blankenrath, Rheinland
    7. Anton Holl born January 20, 1770 in Blankenrath, Rheinland
   8.  Maria Catharina Holl born February 15, 1773 in
        Blankenrath, Rheinland

Sons Julius and Anton were twins. The father, Johann Adam Holl senior, died in Reidenhausen, Rheinland, December 29, 1786. 

The couple's son Joannes Adamus Holl junior, was married to Maria Margaret Hof.  She was also born in Reidenhausen, 1760. By 1800 the young couple had moved east to Neiderhausen, but must have maintained ties with the home area since their son, Mathias, married Anna Adams from Blankenrath, only a short distance from Reidenhausen where his father, Joannes junior, was born.  Joannes Adamus Holl junior died March 05, 1838 in Neidenhausen, Rheinland.

Joannes Adamus Holl junior and Maria Margaret Hof had the following children:
    1. Peter Holl born January 03, 1792.
    2. Mathias Holl born October 19, 1800 in Neiderhausen, Rheinland. Mathias married  Anna Adams July 04, 1826 in the Catholic Church at Blankenrath, Rhineland.
    3. Anna Maria Holl who married John Joseph Heisen in 1816.
    4. Elizabeth Holl born March 14, 1797.

Our own branch of the Holl family continued through another son of Johann Adam Holl senior and Anna Maria Kraemers. Joannes Holl was born December 17, 1757 while the family resided in Reidenhausen, Rheinland. He married Catharina Hansen and the couple settled in Schauren, a small village just 4 miles southwest of Blankenrath.
The children of Joannes Holl and Catharina Hansen were:
    1. Jacob Holl junior was born June 02, 1785 in Schauren, Rheinland.
    2. Henry Holl was born  May 30, 1787 in Schauren, Rheinland and on July 25, 1813 in Blankenrath, Rhineland, married Elizabeth Theisen, who was born 1784  and died June 18, 1829 in Schauren, Rheinland.
    3. Maria Margaret Holl was January 04, 1799 in Blankenrath, Rheinland  and died in 1841. She was married 1826 in Blankenrath, Rhineland to John Zirwes who was born in Languore, Rheinland.
    4. Susanna Holl was born February 03, 1792.

The family branch goes on through Henry Holl, son of Joannes Holl and Catharina Hansen. Henry and his wife Elizabeth Theisen married in Blankenrath and settled in Schauren, Rheinland. They raised their children in that community where the family attended the Catholic Church. Elizabeth Theisen died June 18, 1829, only two year after the birth of their last child. Our direct ancestor, son Jacob Holl, was 13 years old at the time of his mother's death..
The children of Henry Holl and Elizabeth Theisen were:
    1. Jacob Holl was born July 20, 1816 in Schauren, Rheinland  d: February 12, 1880 He was married August 11, 1856 in Brown County, Wisconsin, United State to Margaret Dollar who had been born January 14, 1836 in Morsdorf, Rheinland. (see first map)
    2. Margaretha Holl was born October 07, 1820 in Schauren, Rheinland. She married John Peter Justens.
    3. Catharina Holl  was born December 31, 1822 in Schauren, Rheinland.
    4. Maria Holl was born March 21, 1827 in Schauren, Rheinland.

Jacob came to North America through the Port of New York in July of 1855.   Passed down through the generations, family oral history says that Jacob was accompanied to North America by a sister, who decided to stay in New York State with relatives as Jacob moved on to Wisconsin. Another sister is said to have been a nanny for a German family that purchased a plantation in Brazil, South America. This sister went along with the family on their move. While in Brazil, she met and married a German foreman at the plantation and they settled there. The names of these two sister are lost to time.

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