REITZ FAMILY ORIGINS
Documentary evidence concerning the ancestors of the present-day Reitz family begins with the birth of ADAM REITZ in 1630. Information prior to that date is sketchy, and of doubtful authencity. The reason for this is that the French, under Louis XIV, laid waste to the Rhine Valley, where our branch of the family originated, during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), and many valuable and important records were destroyed.
For a long time there was a belief that the family had originated in the Pommern district of Northern Germany, and had consisted mainly of Lutheran pastors, beginning with Jacobus von Reutz, born in 1510, who was the mayor of Gollnois. The belief in these origins was established by faulty genealogical research, particularly by A.A. Vosterman van Oyen, and it was perpetuated by a family tree drafted by OTTO BENEDICTUS REITZ (1882-1961) which served as the model for the family tree drafted by CONRAD HJALMAR REITZ (1935- ) in Pretoria in 1958.
Even as notable figure as President FRANCIS WILLIAM REITZ (1844-1934) contributed to the confusion when he confirmed the Northern Germany origins in his diary, which was subsequently published.
Northern German origins of our branch of the Reitz family have now
largely been discredited, partly as a result of family papers consulted
by SIGISBERT CHRETIEN BOSCH REITZ (1860-1938) to which he
referred during a 1937 visit to South Africa, and also as a result of
recent very thorough genealogical research undertaken by Jonkheer
F.G.L.O. van Kretschmar. This research, and a great deal of
additional valuable information about the Reitz and Bosch Reitz
families, was compiled into a publication entitled The Bosch
Reitz Genealogy, c1510-1991, by N.A. Bosch Reitz
(Melbourne, Australia, 1992). A copy of this document is located
in the Bureau for Genealogy in the Hague, Netherlands.
correct account of the family descent was compiled by Justin Modera
(1808-1866) and was based on family notes left by his father, Jean
Adrian Modera. Copies of these family notes now form part of the
Six-Bosch Reitz archives in Laren (Holland). The first public account
of the familty genealogy appeared in Vosterman van Oyen's 1890
genealogy, Stam en Wapenboek van Aanzienlijke
Nederlandsche Families. (Groningen, Wolters).
This account was preferred by S. C. BOSCH REITZ and others in preference to Modera's 1835 genealogy, until in 1937 S. C. expressed his preference for the Modera version.
I received S.C.'s transcription of these notes from my Oupa, HJALMAR REITZ upon his death in 1946. He had written: Compiled, as far as the first five generations are concerned, from information gathered by Jean Adrian Modera and notes of Mr. Karel Koenraad Reitz ,,, My grandfather ... and his oldest sons ... did some genealogical research in the middle of the 19th centuery ... The reason for this was that there was the possibility of receiving a large inheritance from a deceased family in Germany or possibly the Baltic provinces, and it was necessary to demonstrate the relationship. I never knew the details, and after the death of my grandfather. the papers fell into the possession of his eldest son Dirk Anton and I never did receive them. For one reason or another, there was a matter of inheritance relating to a family von Reutz in Pommern.
Although somewhat speculative, the following information concerning the forebears of ADAM REITZ is provided in Jean Adrian Modera's notes:
CUNTZ REITZ, born about 1510.
JOHANN REITZ, born about 1540.
CASPAR REITZ, born about 1570, married CATHARINA CHRIST.
ZACHARIAS REITZ, born about 1600, married URSULA MEDER
The REITZ, MEDER and CHRIST families in context
In 1693 JOHANN HEINRICH REITZ (1655-1720) published a work in Herborn which dealt with the religious and educational duties of courtly tutors towards young princes. It was dedicated to Count William Maritz zu Solms, out of indebtedness for the generous patronage displayed by the Solms dynasty towards the threefold ancestry of the Meder-Christ-Reitz families, linked since the oldest of times by mutual consanguinuity, which generosity has produced men in the princely service of the highest degree of learning and ability to counsel.
This statement tends to legitimize the authenticity of the Meder descent, and documents in the Solms-Braunfels archives confirm the employment of these three families. Two generations of Reitzes married into the Christ and Meder families. Much of the genealogical data from that period has been drawn from the 1619 census in Gruningen, although some of the conclusions are of necessity speculative.
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