Pat Burns

 Family and Genealogy

Descendants of Ludwig Dörr Introduction

Over the next several months, I will be adding genealogies, obituaries and family stories,  of the descendants of Ludwig Dörr, my first known Dörr ancestor and histories of the places they settled.

Ludwig Dörr was born about 1615 in Kirchhain, Hesse-Cassel, Prussia, Holy Roman Empire (now Kirchhain, Marburg-Biedenkopt, Hesse, Germany). He is my 8th great grandfather. 

Our first several generations of Dörr ancestors appear to have lived in three specific locations: Kirchhain, Rüdigheim (a community now in municipal territory of Amöneburg) and Niederklein (a community now in the municipal territory of Stradtallendorf).  These three communities are within 6 miles or so of each other. Kirchhain is about 9 miles (14.5 km) east of Marburg, the capital of the current Marburg- Biedenkopf district; about 4 miles (6.6 km) northwest of Niederklein; and 3 ¾ miles (6.0 km) north of Rüdigheim.  Rüdigheim and Niederklein are a bit over 2 miles (3.6 km) from each other.

Kirchhain, Rüdigheim and Niederklein are located in what is now the country of Germany, state of Hesse(n), district of Marburg-Biedenkopf. The Place Names changed throughout time, and you may find provinces/states named Hesse (Hessen), Hesse-Cassel / Hesse-Kassel), Hesse-Nassau (aka: HeNas) and Hesse-Marburg referred to in various documents and histories. 

I will cover these communities in more detail in future posts.

The above current map of Europe, shows the location of Kirchhain. The following map shows the location of Kirchhain in relation to Marburg, Amöneburg, Rüdigheim, Niederklein and Stadtallendorg. 

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Author Comments

I have obtained information from many sources and will footnote as appropriate, however much of the information was retrieved from family stories, family trees and webgens. When I have comments or see corrections are needed when quoting other sources, I will place them in brackets [like this]. If you see errors or would like to provide additional information your comments and suggestion are welcome.

Calendar Changes

The Julian calendar that was in use several hundred years ago, used March 25th as the beginning of a new year. Because the Julian calendar appeared to be ‘out of sync’ with the seasons, a new Gregorian calendar was put in place by order of Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Although Catholic states adopted the calendar in 1582, other countries and jurisdictions did not adopt it until much later. For more details see my post:  When was the Julian calendar changed to the Gregorian calendar?). 

I have used the dates given in the documents and information that I have received and have not attempted to determine which calendar was in use.

German Spelling

Due to the German spelling reform, in the early 20th century, when standards were formalized, many words that started with a C were changed to a K if the sound was a hard C. Words with C now have a soft sound, such a Caesar. The spelling for the town of Cassel was changed to Kassel. This may also explain some confusion regarding spelling of family names, such as Carl / Karl, Catherine /Katherine, etc. In the early years and even as late as early 20th century, spelling was not always important and depended on the person writing the document. Often names and places were spelled phonetically and depended on the literacy of the person writing the information. Also, the early generations spoke German and/or French, so pronunciation of names varied. I have used the spelling of names and places as they are in the sources, I’ve found them in, frequently adding [correct spelling] in brackets. What may appear to be a typographical error on my part, may instead be a transcription error or error on the part of the original author.

German Special Characters

German names containing umlauts (ä, ö, ü) and/or eszett (ß), may be converted to ae, oe, ue and/or ss.  For example, Müller becomes Mueller, Weiß becomes Weiss, and Gößmann becomes Goessmann. This transcription is generally used for aircraft tickets et cetera, but sometimes (like in US visas) simple vowels are used. (Muller, Gossmann). When emigrating to America, many names were “anglicized” by making these changes, eliminating those pesky special characters. Dörr became Dorr, Derr and Doerr, Müller became Mueller, etc.

German naming law accepts umlauts and/or eszett in family names as a reason for an official name change. Even spelling changes from Müller to Mueller or from Weiß to Weiss is regarded as a name change in Germany. In 2017 the German Spelling Council decided to add a capital ß. Now, instead of using SS to capitalize the Eszett, Germans should use ẞ.

Note: The eszett “ß” has an S sound not a B sound. Some authors have assumed the ß is a b, but it is not. Typically it is converted to ss as in Weiss.

Spelling and Pronunciation of Doerr:
The spelling of the name Doerr, has been spelled this way since the late 19th century, from the German Dörr, dropping the umlaut and adding an e. However, early documents also show the spelling as Dorr and Derr. I do not know how it was pronounced in German. My family pronounces the name “Door”, but an Iowa cousin told me they pronounce it “Deer”.

Disclosure:
The family Information was retrieved from a variety of family trees, webgens and family stories. I will note citations as appropriate and hope the information assists you in your research, but please do not use this as proven evidence. Feedback is welcome!

Pat Burns. Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.
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