36 The Kirmse’s in Altenburger Land

by Karl Heinz Weidenbruch

From: Familienforschung in Mitteldeutschland; FFM; in den Laendern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thueringen und Sachsen. Volume: Bd. 42.2001 Issue: 3 Year: 2001; Bags: 122-125.

Translated by Dale William Kirmse, 27 Jan 2019.

Picture of Church in Gerstenberg
Church in Gerstenberg

If you page through the Altenburger Adressbuch [Address Book, Directory] of 20011, you will find the family name Kirmse almost ninety times. Kirmse is one of the most common surnames of Altenburger Land.

There is now unanimous opinion about the origin of the Kirmse surname. It is a nickname, which tells us something about the characteristics of its wearer. The Kirmse’s were people who were particularly fond of celebrating and participating in the Kirmes [fair, large celebration, feast] that the Altenburger farmers had after bringing in the harvest.

According to the current state of knowledge, the surname of the local Kirmse’s originated in the Altenburger Land itself.  So, it was not carried in by immigration.

One of the oldest documented Kirmse’s is Caspan Kirmse. He is mentioned in a 1446 invoice – unfortunately without a location mentioned2. At that time there was also a monk named Kirmse in the Bergerkloster [Augustinian Monastery at Altenburg known as Bergerkloster – probably St. Mary’s Monastery a former Augustinian monastery on a hill east of the center of Altenburg. It was founded during the 12th century and abandoned in 1543. Only the two Romanesque towers and some walls remain, being the city’s landmark called “Rote Spitzen” (red spires)]. The origins of these Kirmse’s will probably always remain in the dark for us.

At the current state of knowledge, taking into account the unpublished deductions of the Altenburger social physician Dr. med Horst Nehrlich [MD] (1913-1990) 3, we can provide the following research status:

I. Hans Kirmse (also Körmse and Kärmse)

Farmer of Kratschütz. also a subject of Großtauschwitz, Poschwitzer [areas of Altenburg] 1487-98, urk. mentioned 1487 and 1490/98 accounts [invoice] of the Altenburger Ratskämmerei[finance department] born about 1440, died after 1498.

II. Hans Kirmse

Farmer of Kratschütz, mentioned 1498; and Kürbis, mentioned 1518, 1525 and 1526 born around 1455, died between 27 May 1527 and 16 Mar 1539 married around 1480/82 N Nitzsche from Kratschütz

  1. Johannes4, pastor of Göhren, 1541-42 in Tegkwitz. 1542-68 in Zipsendorf.
    born Kralschütz around 1490, died Zipsendorf around 1568
  2. Jacob. Farmer of Kürbitz. mentioned 1537-37: mentioned in DGB5
    born circa 1495. died Kürbitz around 1537, married Anna Lichtestem from Schelditz
  3. Veit, citizen of Altenburg
  4. Daughter, married Michael Höckner of Zehma
  5. Walpa. died before 1539. married Jacob (Gnawse?)
  6. Daughter. married Wenzel Fleischer of Zehma
  7. Urban = see III.
  8. Gal, he is a brother-in-law in 1549 to Anna Kirmes, the widow of Urban Kirmes in Lossen6

III. Urban Kirmse

Hüfner [farmer] and Anspanner [tensioner?] of Lossen. Documented in 1502/3, Lehen of Oberlödla, documented in 1516-18
born Kratschütz around 1480/90, died Lossen between 13 Nov 1544 and 18 Feb 1549
Married I around 1502 Anna Etzold (died before 1527)
Married II after 1527 Anna Misselwit:

  1. Jacob, farmer of Monstab
  2. Anna. born around 1510. died after 1539. married before 1539 Georg Bernstein of Schelditz
  3. Eve, born around 1520. died before 27 Mar 1552. married Gregor Zimmermann of Steinwitz
  4. Kilian, farmer of Petsa and 1571 Oberlödla. 1549 of Gödissa. 1567 of Bohra: born around 1520. died after 1590. married around 1555 Ottilie Köhler 7
  5. Ursula, born around 1525, died Münsa 1588. married before 1549 Lorenz Misselwitz 8
  6. Daughter, married Ludwig Bernstein. Schelditz, 1549 mayor of Altenburg
  7. Dorothea, Married Brosius (Lichtenstein?) Müller of Schelditz
  8. Daughter, married Stephan Burkhard of lllsitz
  9. Osswald = see IV
  10. Peter, youngest son, farmer to Lossen, died 1565. married Margarethe Ruprecht9

IV. Oßwald Kirmse

1570/74 innkeeper of Gerstenberg, farmer of Göldschen, Zschaschelwitz until 1568
and about 1569 of Serbitz born probably Lossen around 1520, died Gerstenberg buried Windischleuba 1577, after Pentecost
before 1552 N Kunze10

  1. Elias, innkeeper and Anspanner [Tensioner] of Gerstenberg
    born Gerstenberg 1553, died Gerstenberg 1 Mar 1633, married before 1580 Walpurga Heiniche
  2. Christine, married Paul Löhme of Serbitz
  3. Ursula, died Fockendorf 11 Sep 1600, married Georg Lange of Fockendorf12
  4. Magdalena, married Georg Müller of Pöschwitz
  5. Eva, married Brosius Müller of Oberzetzscha

At IV. Oswald Kirmse we came across the most famous family Kirmse in Altenburger Land. Most of the living Kirmse’s can trace their origin back to this host family in Gerstenberg, which resided there for several hundred years.

A descendant of this Gerstenberger family line, Dr. Ing. med. Kurt Kirmse, based on Oswald Kirmse, has very well researched this line, documented in 3 pedigrees13. He also donated a family crest to his line around 1920. With reference to the origin of the name, the coat of arms depicts a church adorned with flags – the Gerstenberg Church.

Kirmse Family Crest
Kirmse Family Crest

It is always particularly appealing to a family researcher to discover something previously unknown about the life of his ancestors:

The great-grandson of the Oswald Kirmse. Michael Kirmse the Younger, Innkeeper and Anspanner [tensioner?] of Gerstenberg, died in Gerstenberg on 5 Mar 1643. His widow, Eva Naumann,14 continued to operate the inn.

From documents of the Thuringian State Archives we could see15: In January 1682, for the first time, plague occurrences occur in the area around Altenburg. On the orders of the Duke, Oberzetscha is surrounded by military forces. He ordered that the company of the Obristwachtrister [Major] Polheim, ordered from Camburg, has to get shelter in the neighboring villages without paying. On 24 Feb 1682, Eva Kirmse, the innkeeper’s widow of Gerstenberg, writes to the government, “that from a neighboring village the Contagion16 has an effect, which could lead to the spread of the disease. But that she is to receive the master of the Obristwachter with her family in her inn in Gerstenberg is impossible to bear for the following reason:

Her and her children’s belongings are under the control of various feudal lords, especially the Saxon Office in Altenburg. As curator of her children, she must also pay her taxes, especially taxes. Yes, all taxes on the inn have always been properly paid. But she could not continue that if the Obristwachtmeister stayed with her. At the current difficult times:

  1. No guest will move in with her
  2. The Lord Obristwachttneister the guests, mostly carters, cannot stand. For when they come they take off shoes and stockings, which are ratione foetoris [unaccountable factor] to grind, which it is not accustomed to, can bear ill.
  3. What other travelers there are, they will come to her much less if they understand that the inn is occupied by soldiers, but much rather pass by, it is as dark as it will be.”

Apparently, she has succeeded with her request, because we learn on July 8, 1682, that the Obristwachtmeister Polheim lives in Rasephas at the inhabitant Bastian Gerth, before he leads his company home again.

The often held view – all Kirmse’s in the Altenburg area have a common origin – cannot be supported by the family research so far. There are still families in the area of ​​Monstab, Mumsdorf and Sachsenroda who cannot be assigned to the Kratschütz / Gerstenberger family line.

As with many Altenburger farming families, the Kirmse’s, especially since 1850, have seen emigrations. Their descendants are very interested in their descent today.

This includes Ronald Kyrmse in Brazil, whose ancestors can be determined in the Monstab area so far only until about 1700 exactly.

Furthermore belongs to it Ursula Leonhard in Chester, Great Britain. To her family belongs the master musician Otto Paul Kirmse, a native of Altenburg, who died in 1941 in Regensburg. His performances as Kapellmeister [Chapel Master] and his compositional achievements in the field of military music are still recognized today.
He is a descendant of Johann Daniel Erdmann Kirmse, a citizen of Altenburg and Zeugmacher, who was born around 1750 (in Altenburg?).

The working group of Altenburger family researchers constantly strives to bring about a secure connection between the individual branches.


  1.  Addressbook Stadt Altenburg 2001, Third Edition (after 1990); S. Seil Heimat-Verlag Altenburg 2001
  2. Thuringian State Archives Altenburg, bills [accounts] of the Altenburger council combing 1446
  3. Thuringian State Archives Altenburg, Genealogischer Nachlass Nehrlich, Wallet 14
  4. His daughter N Kirmse, died before 1539. married before 1536 Jorge Junkandres of Untzschen,
    Father: Hans Junkandres, farmer to Goehren
  5. German Geschlechterbuch Volume 145. Appendix Winckelsesser I, C. A. Strong Publisher, Limburg 1967
  6. Thuringian State Archive Altenburg, court book Oberlödla C I 45 fol. 84
  7. Ottilie Köhler was born around 1535. Her father is Martin Köhler from Schlauditz. His top-of-the-line coach is Nicol Köhler, farmer of Mockern, in 1455 he pays cow’s premium to the monastery “Unserer lieben Frauen” to Schmölln.
  8. Lorenz Misselwitz: was a farmer in Münsa. He died there on 27 Dec 1573, his top-line is Georg Misselwitz :, Anspanner [Tensioner?] of Unterlödla, deceased before 20 Dec 1512
  9. Margaretha’s father is Johann Ruprecht. She marries Barthel Krosse a second time.
  10. Her father is Matthes Kunze, Anspanner [Tensioner?] in Plottendorf. His top knight is Benedikt (Bendix) Küntzel of Plottendorf, documented 1486-1488 / 89
  11. Walpurga Heinicke died on 1 Mar 1633 in Gerstenberg. Their top-of-the-line rider is Brosius Heinicke, Anspanner [Tensioner?] in Borgishain. There died on 22 Jan 1527.
  12. Georg Lange died on 19 Jul 1618 in Fockendorf. His father is Vintz Lange, farmer in Serbitz and Fockendorf, died before March 8, 1578, married Dorothea N
  13. Dr. med. Kurt Kirmse, The family Kirmse in the inn of Gerstenberg, print: Adolf Gröger, Auerbach i. V 1920
  14. Eva Naumann was baptized on March 12, 1634 in Gerstenberg and died there on March 8, 1696. Their top-of-the-line rider is Martin Naumann, farm hand in Zscliachelwitz, documented in 1580.
  15. Thuringian State Archives Altenburg, Provincial Government 4854, 24 Feb 1682 and 8 Jul 1682.
  16. Contagion (French) = Ansteckung = A disease spread by contact


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