At this page we report the preliminary results of our search into the Könemann in Germany in the late Middle Ages.
Auf Grund meiner geringen Erfahrung mit dem Schreiben von Deutschsprachliche Dokumente, ist diese Erkundung in die Geschichte der Name Könemanns auf Englisch geschrieben.
In der Suche nach meinen Vorfahren aus Deutschland bin ich in Warmsen (70 km W von Hannover) angekommen. Johann Heinrich Könemann hat dort im Jahr 1685 ein Sohn bekommen, der denselben Namen trägt. Damit hört es auf, weil es keine ältere Kirchbücher gibt In Warmsen.
Der Fund von eine Paffe Konemann aus Jerxheim (1240 – 1315, bekannt von seinem Reimbibel und andere Gedichte) war aber eine Stimulanz für eine weitere Suche. Mit Hilfe von Online-Archive der Bundesländer habe ich ein Inventar gemacht von allen Einträgen von Konemannen (und ähnliche Namen) im Zeitraum 1000 – 1600. Das resultiert in fast 200 Urkunden in den etwa 140 Personen mit der Name Koneman(n) und Kuneman(n) aufgeführt werden (keine davon zwischen 1000 und 1200)
Eine geographische Analyse zeigt das die Namen Koneman(n) und Kuneman(n) sich schon ab 1200 unabhängig entwickelt haben, obwohl ein gemeinsamer Ursprung wahrscheinlich ist. Mehr als die Hälfte der Einträge der Name Koneman(n) (vor 1600 immer ohne Umlaut!) werden südwestlich von Braunschweig gefunden im 13. Jh, im Grenzgebiet von Niedersachsen und Sachsen-Anhalt. Weitere Funde gibt es westlicher, mehr verstreut, bis zum Rheinland.
Die Name Kuneman(n) findet man ausschließlich südlich der Linie Düsseldorf-Kassel, weil es dort nur einige Konemannen gibt.
Unsere Hypothese ist jetzt das die Könemannen sich vom Braunschweig Bereich zum Westen von Hannover ausgebreitet haben, incl. Warmsen, obwohl wir direkte Verbände noch nicht gefunden haben.
Die Weise worauf der Name Konemann im 14. Jh. verwendet wird, gibt den Eindruck das es dann noch mehr ein Vorname als ein Hintername ist. Das macht das Finden von Familienbeziehungen schwieriger.
Dieses Dokument ist ein Arbeitspapier. Wenn es zusätzliche Auskunft gibt, werde ich versuchen es zu ergänzen oder modifizieren.
My father, Gerrit Könemann, was born in the Netherlands in 1915. So were his father (also Gerrit, *1876) and grandfather (Johann Heinrich, *1849). His great-grandfather Johann Heinrich died in Rotterdam (NL, † 1859), but was born in Warmsen (D). We were able to trace his male ancestors back to the 17th century. The earliest ancestor found is Johann Heinrich Könemann, whose son, Johann Heinrich Könemann oder Rüselers was born in 1685.
In these years several Könemanns lived in Warmsen, but there are no earlier local church books. There is a historical inventory of farm inhabitants of Warmsen, but that does not bring us further back in history. It does, however, show the widespread presence of Könemanns in Warmsen at least from the 17the century on. Being unable to find out how far the history of the Könemanns in Warmsen goes back, we widened our scope to other places in Germany.
We quickly discovered Paffe Könemann (approx. 1240 -1315, known for his Rijmbijbel and other poems), stimulating us to dig deeper in the late Middle Ages and the early Modern Period (1100 – 1600). In this working document we report our approach and findings.
The sources studied are manuscripts written in Latin, Low Saxon, and High German. I do not master Latin, the lingua franca of the Middle Ages, but fortunately most of these documents have been translated into German, as is often the case for the Low Saxon documents. I understand German well, but writing takes more time, so I have chosen to draft this document in the modern lingua franca, English. I hope this serves the purpose of sharing my findings with others who are interested in the German origins of the Könemanns.
So far, I have only used online sources for our search. The online state archives of the Bundesländer have provided most of the information.
The nature of the available documents implies an important bias. The events described in the manuscripts refer always to higher societal levels. It cannot be excluded that more people have carried the name Konemann/Kunemann in early centuries without appearing in any document, just because they are poor.
The search period has been restricted to the year 1000 to 1600. The earliest findings date from after the year 1200. From 1600 onwards the Church Books become better genealogical sources. Furthermore, the Könemanns become widespread in Germany, including Warmsen, and they even pop up in several places in the Netherlands.
The only search term used is the family name. Our family name is written in many ways (see Name Variations), but the most useful approach is using Koneman* and Kuneman* (* is a “wildcard”).
NATURE OF THE FINDINGS
The documents retrieved through our search approach are all manuscripts, usually describing a legally relevant event. Examples of such events are:
- A court decision in case of a legal conflict
- Arrangements concerning a person’s legacy
- Arrangements in the feudal system
- Buying and selling of goods and properties
- A description of church functions
The Könemann mentioned is almost always a man. He can be the subject, the judge, a witness, or anything else. Information on a person’s birth is absent and, on his death rare and only indirect. Family relations are sometimes mentioned, names of brothers and wives especially, sometimes fathers.
The original manuscripts are often not available online and if they are, reading them requires a skill that I do not master. But in all cases archivists have indicated the content of the documents and often even made a partial or full transcription. In some cases, the transcription seems to have been made by computerized systems. Such transcriptions are helpful, but not always precise.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE NAME
The structure of names in the western world is standardized: we all carry a family name, usually our father’s name (shared with our siblings), and surnames, which are given at the birth of a baby (in German: Nachname und Vorname). This structure has a long history but was codified in Western Europe in the 19th century under the influence of the by Napoleon’s Code Civil.
In earlier centuries, however, the use of names was more flexible. The late medieval documents show a high flexibility in the structure and use of names. We will give some examples, from transcripts of the original documents:
- 1. Paffe Konemann von Jerxheim
- 2. Die Brüder Robert und Konemann von Dahlum, Ritter (1317)
- 3. Konemann Schenk von Ahr (1336)
- 4. Die Brüder Konemann und Friedrich von Winnigstedt (1341)
- 5. Konemann von Winnigstede zu Hornburg (1342)
- 6. (an den) Knappen Konemann (von) Spiegel (1343, 1352)
- 7. Conemann Sleyfraz (approx. 1350)
- 8. die Gebrüder Bertold und Konemann Buskisten, Burgmänner zu Esbeck, (1354)
- 9. Koneman von Hadamar, Edelknecht (1362)
- 10. Koneman von Hoyem (1369)
- 11. Hans von Hoym ritter, Koneman syn sone (1393)
- 12. Konemann von Hoym und Barkenfeld (1402)
- 13. Friedrich, Eilert und Konemann de Busekesten (Fricke unde Eylerd unde Konneman geheten de Buzekesten) (1403)
In the first place the identity of the person is several times underpinned by his title (Paffe, Ritter, Edelknecht, Knappe).
In the second place, there is usually a geographical indication (von Jerxheim, von Dahlum, von Hoym, etc.) although it is not always clear what this exactly means. See e.g., no. 5, referring to two places. Two different conjunctions are used, “von” and “zu”, where the latter seems to refer to the actual residence. Perhaps “von” refers to the place of birth or a family estate.
Thirdly, it seems that the name Koneman is in the 13th and 14th century more like a given name: Bertold and Konemann are brothers, as are Friedrich and Konemann. This suggest that Koneman is used as a given name instead of a surname, or at least that there is no clear distinction between the two. Did it perhaps develop from a given name to a surname?
This phenomenon complicates the establishment of family relations, since fathers and sons do not necessarily carry the same family name. The geographical part “Von Jerxheim”, “Von Dahlum”), however is probably not specific enough to assume that everybody using that, will have family relationships.
In absence of the civil status in the period 1200 – 1600, the spelling of names is variable. Different variations may be used for the same person.
The most obvious variation is the number of n’s at the end of the name: that appears to depend on the person writing the name and not the individual’s identity. In other words: Koneman and Konemann are identical, as is the case for Kuneman and Kunemann. In the early centuries both forms are used for the same person.
Similarly, the name can be written with a K or a C (under influence of Latin). Sometimes this variation even occurs in one document.
That is different for the use of the Umlaut on the o and u. Manuscripts from the 13th, 14th and 15th century are using the spelling without Umlaut. From about 1500 the use of the Umlaut is introduced for Künemann and about 50 years later also for Könemann. Gradually that becomes the dominant form
Sometimes archivists add the Umlaut in their transcriptions. So, the presence or absence of the Umlaut is irrelevant for a person’s identity. In a few cases we find the combination “oi” or “oy”, where the i/y are probably indications for the pronunciation, like the Umlaut.
The only significant name variation is therefore the spelling Konemann vs. Kunemann. From our current database, there is no indication of one of these forms to be the original. Our database starts in the 13th century and from the very beginning both forms occur. There is, however, clear geographical separation of these name forms (see below).
Nowadays also the forms Köhnemann and Kühnemann exist, but these seem to be absent before 1700.
If we use the name Könemann in this document, we usually include other spellings as well.
THE OCCURRENCE OF THE NAME KUNEMAN(N) (MAP LEFT) AND KONEMAN(N) (MAP RIGHT) IN THE PERIOD 1200 – 1500
(Blue lines for orientation, blue dots = red dots))
The maps clearly indicate that the name Kunemann does not occur North of the blue line, whereas only a few Konemanns feature below this line. For only one of these places the different names are used for one person or family: Konemann/Kunemann from Cramberg. This suggests that the spelling of the names is usually not mixed.
There are several possible explanations for this dichotomy, e.g.:
· One form has only transformed once or a few times in the other
· The pronunciation of Konemann and Kunemann varies regionally in such a way that the differently spelled names sound similar (like the Dutch situation, where all Könemanns became Kunemann or Kunneman, before 1811)
KONEMAN(N) SPREADING TO THE WEST OF HANNOVER
The picture below shows the cluster of events southwest of Braunschweig, but now extended with the data from the 16th century.
In this period the Konemanns gradually spread in the northern of Germany, but the only new cluster of events pops up approx. 50 km West of Hannover, North of Minden (at about 140km distance)
The place of origin of my ancestors, Warmsen, fits well in the second cluster. From the 17th century on, this becomes the dominant area of the Konemanns in Germany.
Based on the quantitative presence of the Konemanns in both clusters it seems likely that the origin of the Konemanns in the Minden-area lies in the Braunschweig-area. This must be proven yet, however.
Our investigations have revealed a long history (from 1200 on) of the presence of Konemanns in the Braunschweig area, with a further spreading (from the 16th century on) to the west of Hannover and elsewhere (Germany, but also abroad). The distribution of the Kunemanns, in the same period, took place in the Rhineland and the Alsace, clearly southwest of the Konemann heartland.
The geographical attributes to the names in old documents help to find family relationships between individuals. The same is hampered, however, by the inconsistent use of the name by family members (fathers/sons, brothers). Perhaps the distinction between first names and family names was not yet well developed. Furthermore, we will need a better understanding of the use of the geographical attributes at the names.
In our further search we will focus on the name Konemann and drop Kuneman. We will need new sources, however, to establish more family relationships and to verify our hypothesis that the Könemann living West of Hannover (such as Warmsen) originate from the Braunschweig families.
 Alte Höfe der Gemeinde Warmsen, Dorothy Geiger. In: 900 Jahre Warmsen, Gemeinde Warmsen (1996)
 New findings Febr 2023: the name Konemund/Kunemund, 79/33 hits in Arcinsys Niedersachsen,but no apparent overlap with Koneman. The gradual shift from use as first name to family name seems comparable.