Hahnl of Maschau, Bohemia - Genealogy, Part 2 #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>

I am sure many of us were fascinated to read Alexander
Hahnl's clear and interesting account of his family
history in Part 1. You will recall that Alex wrote:

"I strongly suspect that my family was forcibly
converted >from Judaism to Catholicism by the
Habsburgers of Austria at the end of the 30 Years War
[1618-1648]"; in Part 2 I will discuss any evidence
for the Jewish ancestry of the HAHNL family from

1. Alex has many bmd entries in Catholic registers of
the area. >from the family tree we can indeed see the
first baptism in 1657 in the register book of the
Leitmeritzer Kreis - apparently, this was the
registration district at the time. In the 1793 Jewish
census of Bohemia, Maschau is listed in the Saatzer
[Zatecky] Kreis:

18 September 1657 Ist getaufft worden Caspar Hohnls
undt [sic] Margaretha Sohnlein Hans Georg.

English translation: On 18th September 1657, Hans
Georg, the baby son of Caspar Hohnls and Margaretha
was baptised.

No birth or marriage entry for Caspar were ever found.
Caspar died aged 84 in 1713 and was therefore born in
1629. Caspar's early family history falls squarely
within the turbulent period of the 30 Years War.

2. The Catholic records >from Maschau appear to be
complete back to the year 1624. So where are the
records of Caspar's marriage? Would a young Catholic
man and his bride move in to a predominately Jewish
village in these turbulent times? We can of course
postulate that it was in this period that Caspar
converted >from Judaism to Catholicism and that is the
reason we cannot find Catholic birth or marriage

3. I noted with interest that Caspar had two baby
daughters who died in infancy - both were called
Esther. Is this significant? Perhaps they were named
after his Jewish mother? Was Esther a common name for
Catholic girls of that era? I do not know.

4. Alex's gtgtgtgtgtgt-grandparents (Hans) Johann
Georg HOHNL# und Anna Catharina PUTTNER married in
Maschau in 25.2.1716. #[Please remember this name -
it reappears at the end of this posting].

5. Alex had the foresight to undergo DNA analysis and
the results indicate clearly that he has many markers
which confirm a Jewish ancestry. That scientific
evidence is very important.

6. There is a German article in "Die Juden und
Judengemeinden Bohmens", Brunn 1934 [The Jews and
Jewish Communities of Bohemia by Hugo Gold] on
Maschau, but unfortunately it must be one of the
shortest, least informative articles in the book.
However, we have an excellent review of the bloody
history of Maschau:


which tells us that "Maschau was an overwhelmingly
Jewish village since the middle ages" - see the
penultimate sentence: "Das Dorf war schon seit dem
Mittelalter uberwiegend judisches Dorf."

Reading this history, it is hard to imagine that many
people survived these upheavals and it is quite
understandable that Jewish families converted to save
their skins.

7. We also read in Jiri Fiedler's book "Jewish Sites
of Bohemia and Moravia" that the 15th century cemetery
was destroyed by the Nazis and that 50 tombstones were
taken to Teplitz. So here we have more evidence of a
Jewish settlement in place since the 1400s.

The film "Yentl" was filmed in the area by Maschau and
there is also a scene in this old cemetery:

8. Herrschaft Maschau in the Saatzer Kreis comprised
of Stadl Maschau and Stadt Willometz [Vilemov].
Between 1793 and 1794 there were only between 11-12
Jewish families with about 72 Jewish inhabitants in
total. The family heads were:

Juda SAMUEL; Lazar & Jacob STEINER; Moyses BERNARD;
Salomon & Joachim HERSCHL; Adam, Abraham & Israel
LEWE; Abraham & Koppelman HELLER; Simon LICHTENTHAL.

There was also the LEEDERER [sic] family; a widow Anna
AARON and son and a large unnamed fatherless family.

Alex's HAHNL/HOHNL family may be related to any one,
or all, of these families living in Maschau and its
associated Stadt Willomitz [Vilemov] in 1793. The
candidates for conversion to a more Germanic names
like HOHNL. Perhaps it was the HERSCHLS who opted for
HOHNL? We shall never know!

It would be interesting to investigate the Maschau
familianten books to see if there is any clue there
about the earliest familiants in the area: XVI/volume
III Mastov, Vilemov:


A search of the Familianten books shows many Hahn
families throughout Bohemia. Hohnl could just be a
"christianization" of Hahn.

9. Unfortunately the early censuses of 1722, 1724 and
1783 are not transcribed and have to be studied in
Prague, where one has to grapple with the often
undecipherable old German script. The 1783 census of
Kolin has many entries which do not yet show a family
name. So that is another problem.

So how would Alex find a link? As his Catholic family
was already HAHNL/HOHNL in 1657, it would be very
hard, if not impossible to find his Jewish forebears
in Maschau or environs.

If they were converts, this family may have chosen the
names: HAHNL/HOHNL independently of others, who may
not have converted. The latter may then have chosen
another name in the late 1700s, when the Toleranz
Patent made a family name mandatory for Jews in the
Habsburg Empire.

10. It is perhaps significant that we find the family
name MASCHAU listed in the Index of Jewish Surnames in
Prague [15th – 18th Centuries]. However I learn from
our expert Felix Gundacker [I have his permission to
quote] that there are two Maschau. So who knows now
which town the Prague MASCHAU family is named after?


If we could only find direct descendants of the
MASCHAUs of Prague and the families listed above, then
the DNA analysis might show a closer match and Alex
could then be sure that he is related to these
families. There are also Jewish families called

11. Mass conversion of Jews on estates: this has
happened before: see the chapter on Blattna in Hugo
Gold's compendium mentioned above, kindly translated
for me by SIG members John Freund and Josephine
Storek: Countess Serenyi did not want any Jews on her
property/estate. The memorandum of 1774 states that
'they' (meaning the Jews) proved to be of harm to
Blatna. As a result many converted to Christianity.
In our Caspar HOHNL case, a conversion must have taken
place 120 years before the Blattna event.

Summary: Unfortunately, today we can prove nothing
conclusively for Alex, but new records and evidence
may emerge over the next few years, to help him in his
quest. We know >from the church records that his
paternal family were Catholics >from the earliest
baptismal in 1657. But before that, they do not appear
in the Catholic records of the area.

We do have excellent DNA evidence and we do know
that Maschau was overwhelmingly Jewish going back to
medieval times. We also know that Alex's HOHNL/HAHNL
family was already in Maschau in the 1600s.

Finally, here is a bit of excitement. Whereas we
normally use the 1793 census to find our Jewish family
links, I am sure I have found one of Alex's family and
he does not turn up in the census itself, but he is a
signatory ie an official [Beamter!] in charge of the
census. The name Johann Georg HOHNL recurs in Alex's
family tree:

Signing the census document for LITSCKAU {LICKOV} in
the Saatzer Kreis we read:

Sig[natum] Amt Litskau den 18 Feb 1793 Johann G HOHNL
[with umlaut] m.p. Verwalter;

So even if we cannot prove Alexander's Jewish ancestry
- it is most likely that one of his ancestors was "in
the thick of it" in charge of the census in 1793.

So we welcome Alexander HAHNL as one of us; this is a
definitely "a first" - namely to have an Austria-Czech
SIG member who is probably related to one of the 1793
Jewish Census of Bohemia "Beamters", who ironically
may have been descended >from a converted Jew himself.

Celia Male [U.K.]

1. For an overview of the effects of the 30 Years War
in Bohemia read:


2. In the 1793 Jewish census of Bohemia, Maschau lies
in the Saatzer Kreis. For changes in Kreis through the
centuries see the message archives and my posting of
5 May 2005: Bohemian, Moravian and Silesian Kreis -
historical website:

Join main@groups.jewishgen.org to automatically receive all group messages.