The Game Ancestry - Second Edition - Part 1 - Chapter 3

Johann Zwierzina, Lieutenant

Johann Zwierzina, Lt.
16 April 1792 - 3 March 1867
The Author's Paternal Great-grandfather
Also Johanna Rainer's Paternal Great Grandfather

Eleventh child of Johann Zwierzina*1741 and Josefa Abraham

Image courtesy Johanna Rainer (née Zwierzina)

Data Summary:

16 April 1792
Uherské Hradisté, CZ
Parents Johann Zwierzina1741 and Josefa Abraham Uherské Hradisté, CZ
Occupation Lieutenant 4th Company of Fusiliers, Duke Wilhelm von Nassau 29th Line Infantry Reg Austerlitz, CZ
Spouse Maria Biedermann  daughter of Alois Biedermann, royal and imperial accountant Brno, CZ,
  Maria Biedermann: born 3 Jan 1806 Brno, married 10 Jul 1827 Brno, died 22 Aug 1885 at Podgorze-Kracow
Children 1. Johann Nepomuk Alois Maria b.1825 Uherský Brod, CZ
  2. "Tante" Opitz (1st name unknown). Married Mr.Opitz of Krakow, Poland Krakow, PL
  3. Eulalia 1829-1908. Married Moriz Schenk (son: FML Alfred Schenk) Prague, Vienna
  4. Hildegard - details unknown  
  5. Moriz 1834-1900 . Married Johanna Dohnal 1866  
3 March 1867
Troppau, CZ

I first learned the name of my great-grandfather in 1988 when my cousins Ida and Dorli Birman kindly sent me a copy of my grandfather's Certificate of Baptism.fggdoc17 In this document the father of the infant is shown as "Johann Zwierzina, former Lieutenant from Nassau, 2nd Infanterie" and the mother as "Maria, daughter of Alois Biedermann, imperial and royal accounts official from Brünn".

For a long time this was all I knew about my great-grandfather Johann and I tried to make much of every word, and even tried to read between the lines. Lacking the experience that I later acquired, I immediately misinterpreted the significance of the word Nassau and took it to mean the former German Duchy of Nassau, while it simply represented the abbreviated name of the Regiment in which Johann had served: "The imperial and royal Duke Wilhelm von Nassau 29th Line Infantry Regiment."

It did not help that this certificate of baptism had been folded and refolded many times during its 120 years of existence and by the time I held a photocopy of it in my hands there was a black dot in the very spot where the "9" in 29 should have been, indicating that the original probably had a hole there. So I read it as "2." which is the German way of writing "2nd". From then on I was looking for records of the 2nd Infantry, and since I did not know whether it was a regiment or a battalion that I was looking for, I checked many records I should have ignored - especially when searching through the LDS files.(1)

This one document took me back two generations before my grandfather, and it remained for the first year of my genealogical research the only solid evidence I had. Then my 94 year-old cousin Ida sent me a tape recording of the things she remembered about Johann Zwierzina1792, and as a bonus, she sent along a family portrait of him with his wife, a daughter and three granddaughters and their nanny. Ida says that the picture was taken "in the year of the big battle of Königsgrätz" (which took place in 1866). In this taped communication she revealed that my grandfather Johann Nepomuk Zwierzina1825 had three sisters, and told all she knew about them and their families, and also mentioned that Johann was somehow connected with the ownership of a coal mine(2), and that in his final occupation he was a "customs collector, or something like that". It should be noted that it was another 18 years later in 2006 that I learned that Johann Nepomuk, my grandfather, also had a brother named Moritz. It is still a mystery how it happened that Ida, this smart, intelligent cousin with an elephantine memory and a sharp mind, had missed mentioning her grandfather's brother Moritz.

New information also came from the Kriegsarchiv (Military Archives in Vienna) consisting of two pages taken from the regimental "Conduit Liste"(3) dated 1820. These papers told me that great-grandfather Johann's place of birth was "Hradisch", which I later confirmed to be Ungarisch Hradisch (now Uherské Hradišté). Since these papers gave his age as 27, they allowed me to compute his year of birth as 1793. Only much later was I able to determine, and document his precise date of birth as 16 April 1792.

Historical Events of the Period
1792 Francis II became Holy Roman Emperor of Austria.
France declared war on Austria, Prussia and Sardinia.
1803-15  Napoleonic Wars
1805 Austria beaten by Napoleon in Italy.
1809  Austria beaten by Napoleon in July at Wagram.

1806 When Johann was 13 years old his father, the Master brewer of Hradisch, died. We know from the previous chapter that the boy had been bequeathed 200 Gulden. We also know that there did not seem to have been enough money to carry out all of the deceased's wishes, and that the brewer's widow almost immediately sold the family home. It is not known where she went with her remaining under-aged children, nor is it known whether this Johann actually received the 200 Gulden, although he most likely did because his mother had made a legal undertaking to carry out the terms of her husband's will. His brother Alois, 3 years older, seems to have received his 200 Gulden because he is on record as having established himself as a local merchant. Six years later we see Johann1792 leaving home to join the army.
"den 26ten September 812 gegen Erlag des Montourgeldes zu 53 Fl. als Expropriis zu Würtenberg Inf. No.40 assentiert, den 1ten April 814 anhertransferiert, eodem dato zum Fähnrich avanciert. Hat 60 Fl Douçeur erhalten"
"On 26 September 1812, upon deposit of the equipment fee of 53 Florins (Gulden), he joined No.40 Würtenberg Infantry as expropriis. Transferred here on the 1st of April 1814. On the same date he was advanced to ensign. He did receive the douçeur(4) of 60 Florins." my translation

1812 Great-grandfather Johann started his military career, before he was 20 years old, by joining the 40th Württenberg Infantry as a cadet on 26 September 1812. The fact that he started as a cadet indicates that he was aiming to become an officer. That he was accepted as cadet, implies that he may have had connections as it was almost obligatory to be recommended to the regiment by an officer, often a member of the family who had served. Johann served 1 year, 6 months and 5 days as cadet.

Historical Events of the Period
Austria declares war on France: Völkerschlacht near Leipzig - Napoleon defeated.
Allied armies (including Austria) defeat Napoleon, and march into Paris. Napoleon exiled to Elba.

1814 Johann was promoted to Fähnrich (ensign) on the 1st of April 1814, and transferred to the 4thCompany of Fusiliers of the Duke Wilhelm von Nassau 29th Line Infantry Regiment. He served 8 years and 5 months as Fähnrich.

Since Fähnrich was treated as an officer grade, we can say that Johann was 21 years old when he became an officer. It is interesting to note that both his grandsons Emo, and Hans attained the rank of Fähnrich when they were only 19 years old. We know, of course, that those two had started their military education at the age of 14, and earned their rank at least partly through graduation after five years from a military school . Their grandfather had earned his rank in one year and five months, and it seems that he earned it all through "practical experience", rather than in school.

1820 Six years later, at the age of 27, Johann appears still as Fähnrich on the Muster Liste (roll) of the 4th Company. The list is dated at Znaym in Mähren (now Znojmo, Czech Republic) on the 19th of August 1820. His commanding officer at the time was a Captain Alois Kundrath. Johann's place of birth is shown as "Hradisch". There is also a notation to the effect that he was commanded to the "Landwer barracks at Austerlitz" (commandiert beim Landwer [sic] Depossitorium zu Austerlitz). In the Remarks column of this document, his military career is summed up like this:

Historical Events of the Period
1821 Austria sends troops to suppress a revolt in Naples. Revolution in Piedmont. The intervening Austrian army is victorious at Novarra.

1822 Promoted to Unterleutnant (Sub-Lieutenant) effective 21 September (This rank was later abolished, and was simply called Lieutenant).

1823 Johann may have been actually suffering from a diagnosed weakness of the respiratory system, which among other things caused him periodically to spit blood, and from an irreparable hernia on the right side of his groin. Perhaps he really needed to get out of the military. It is also possible that he had begun to hate military life, or perhaps felt that after achieving officer rank, it no longer posed any challenge. We do not know all the forces that drove him to seek separation from the Army at this point. He was not a boy any more. He was 31 years old, an officer in the Emperor's Army, and old enough to know that there were other aspects to life beside close-order drill, beer, and cards. Somewhere along the line he met Maria Biedermann, the daughter of Alois Biedermann, an accountant from Brünn (Maria has also been referred to as "Marianna") fggdoc184,186.

His regiment had sent Johann to appear before the local Superarbitrium, the only tribunal authorized to declare an officer to be physically unable to serve, or in other words, legitimately entitled to start drawing a pension. We must assume that Johann had asked for his release from the army. This tribunal examined him on 26 December 1823, and concluded that his condition was hopeless inasmuch as past treatment (by one of the members of the tribunal) had remained without result, and because his hernia was considered incurable. The tribunal declared him a "semi-invalid", but graciously allowed that he could continue to serve in some stationary garrison, or border area command, or with a barracks battalion. Surprisingly, he seems to have had a choice in the matter because the documents indicate that "he wished to draw his pension out of the funds in the War Chest at Brno". Two fancy documents, called Conscriptionsliste and Conduiteliste fggdoc88-2, 88-5 were made up just for Johann on December 26, and signed off on December 30th 1823 by at least four gentlemen whose signatures cannot be easily deciphered, but who all used their signet rings and wax seals in addition to their signatures. Passing a Superarbitrium examination seems to have been an unusual occasion. Among the signatories was someone who was signing on behalf of the Brigadiers (general), one was Colonel Nennel, one was Major Lingauer, and one was an Oberartzt (Chief-Surgeon), and yet another was a Stabsfeldartzt, (a Staff Field Surgeon).

Board Report confirming his status of semi-invalid.

The attached Conduite Liste dated 26 December 1823 does not reveal any new information, but does corroborate things already known, its purpose being to provide a summary of Johann's military service. It spells out his place of birth as Hung. Hradisch in Mähren, gives the date of his promotion to Unterleutnant (21 Sep 1822), shows his religion to be [Roman] Catholic son of a citizen of the town (Sohn eines Bürgers) from whom he does not receive any financial assistance; describes him as cheerful, says that he gets along with civilians and the people in the Regiment. He was judged to be stern but reasonable with subordinates, he had participated in the campaigns of 1813, 1814, 1815 and 1821, and had been courageous before the enemy. He did not gamble, had no debts and did not get into fights. He could speak and write German and Czech, but had no other special skills or aptitudes, although he was rated as adept at all the military things he was required to do.
Ironically, his health was stated to be "good". It may have been this entry which caused someone to add: "The defect which now caused Sub-Lieutenant Swierzina [sic] to be declared an invalid was unknown to the undersigned at the time the last Conduiteliste for 1823 was submitted". This certified copy also bears four signatures complete with wax seals.

1824 The report of the Superarbitrium is dated at Brünn 3 January 1823 (which is obviously a mistake and should be 1824), and resulted in the document "G 232" addressed to the Moravian General HQ, and dated in Vienna on 16 January 824 (i.e. 1824). It wraps up the whole thing and directs that Johann Zwierzina is to be considered eligible for a civilian job, but in the meantime he is to start drawing as of February 1st (1824), a pension from the Brno War Chest. Proceedings are to be started with the Nassau Regiment to have him released.

The "Conduitliste (29/824) für das Jahr 1824 der Ober Officiers [sic] of the Herzog Wilhelm von Nassau Infantrie Regiment 29, Grenadier Division" is dated 31 October 1824 at Brünn, and signed by Oberst (Colonel) Nennel, and Oberstleutnant (Lieut. Colonel) Dobler. One page of this document is called "Verzeichniß über die vom 1sten November 1823 bis Ende Oktober 1824 bei obigem Regiment zugewachsenen und abgegangenen Stabs und Oberofficiere, dann k.k.ordinäre Kadetten" (Register of staff officers, senior officers, and ordinary cadets who have come on strength, or have been taken off strength between 1 November 1823 and the end of October 1824). This page shows the following entry for a Johann Zwirzina:

Gemäß hoher hofkriegsrätlicher Verordnung vom 16ten Jänner 1824 G 232 vom 1ten Februar 1824 in Pensionsstand übersetzt. (Pursuant to decree G 232 passed on the 16th of January 1824 by the Hofkriegsrat, transferred to retired status effective 1 February 1824 my translation.

"G 232" is a reference number of Department "G" (which had to process personnel matters for officers).fggdoc87-1 The document is in the files of the Kriegsarchiv as "G 1 - 5/26 ex 1824". My documents (fggdoc88-1 through fggdoc88-6) associated with that file, provide the information that Johann, after examination by the Superarbitrium, was found to be a semi-invalid inasmuch as he was suffering from a weakness of the respiratory organs accompanied by a periodic show of blood in his sputum, and furthermore because he was afflicted with an incurable hernia on the right side of his groin. He was only 31 Years old!
1824 1. S/26
An das Mährische GC/ (Generalkommando) To the Moravian GC/ (General Command)
Wien am 16 Jänner 824. Vienna, 16th of January 1824.

Der als halb Invalid klassifizirte Unterlieutenant Johan Zwierzina von Nassau Infant: wird für eine Friedensanstellung vorgemerkt, inzwischen aber mit 1ter Hornung d.J. in die normalmäßige Pension jährl 200 (Gulden) übernommen, und demselben dieses auf den Bericht vom 3. d.M. P.8. mit dem Auftrage erwidert, dem gedachten Lieutenant die Pension aus der Brünner Kr: Kassa erfolgen zu lassen, und wegen dessen Außerstandbringung bey dem Regiment Nassau das Erforderliche einzuleiten.
Sell: 3dd=15/; 6 Jänner 824.

Sublieutenant Johann Zwierzina from the Nassau Infantry, who is classified as a "semi-invalid", will be listed as eligible for a peacetime occupation, but in the meantime he will be taken over into regular pension status at 200 Gulden per annum effective 1 February of this year. In reply to the report of the 3rd of this month (p.8), instructions are to have the considered lieutenant's pension paid from the Brno War Chest, and to start the required proceedings to have the Nassau Regiment remove him from strength.

The Kriegsarchiv is quoting from Page 192, of Volume II of the Pensionsprotokoll relating to Sublieutenants :
Generalkommando:Mähren; Unterlieutenant Johann Zwirzina, geboren 1793 zu Hradisch in Mähren, katholisch, ledig; diente bei Nassau Infanterie (Nr.29): als Kadett 1 Jahr, 6 Monate, 5 Tage; als Fähnrich 8 Jahre, 5 Monate, 20 Tage; als Unterleutnant 1 Jahr, 3 Monate. Mit 1. Hornung (Februar) 1824 von Nassau Infanterie vermög hofkriegsräthlichen Rescripts ddo. 16. Jänner 1824 G 232 in Ruhestand. Hat stets gedient. 200 fl. (=Gulden) Pension mit 1. Hornung 1824 aus der Brünner Kriegs-Kassa.

Conduite: Gute. Halbinvalid, zu Platz-, Grenzkordons und Garnisonsbataillons-Diensten noch geeignet.

Seit 1. Juli 1827 eine Tranksteuer-Revisors-Stelle erhalten und hat am 7. Juli den Eid hierauf abgelegt, mit welcher Stelle auch Gehalt von 200 Fl. verbunden ist.

General Command: Moravia; Sub-lieutenant Johann Zwierzina, born 1793 at Hradisch in Moravia, Roman Catholic, single; served with Nassau Infantry (Nr.29): One year, six months and five days as cadet; eight years, five months and 20 days as ensign; one year and three months as sub-lieutenant. Pensioned as of 1 February 1824 from Nassau Infantry as per directive of the Hofkriegsrat dated 16 January 1824 G 232. Had served continuously. 200 Gulden pension effective 1 February, to be paid from the War Account of Brno.

Record: Good. Semi invalid, capable of service in stationary, border, or garrison bataillions.

Received a position on 1 July 1827 as auditor of Beverage Taxes, and swore the relevant oath on the 7th of July. A salary of 200 Gulden (annually) is connected with this translation

Cousin Ida told me in August 1989fggdoc48 that "there was a coal mine in Böhmisch Krumau (Ceský Krumlov), which, while considered a good producer, could not support "the whole family". The owners, Johann Zwierzina among them, decided to divest themselves of its ownership." Ida had said that Johann had sisters and a brother(5), and that the brother had been working in the mine. This means that great-grandpa Johann was at one time co-owner of a coal mine. It sounds as if the term "whole family" may have included others besides Johann's immediate family, such as perhaps uncles and aunts.(6)

Subsequent review of relevant literature would indicate that perhaps Ida meant Mährisch Krumau, which is part of the coal region from the Boskowiz fault to Trnavec. In this area there are only three seams worthy of mining between Oslava and Brünn; they are at a depth of 800 to 1000 meters and have a thickness of 2 meters. The quality is similar to the coal from Pilsen/Lakowitz. They produce an annual 0.7 million tons, and the reserves are estimated at 30 million tons, although the deeper sections of the fault have not yet been surveyed.(7)

Then there is also the other story told to me by cousin Ida in December 1989, that some of the grandchildren of Johann Zwierzina, such as Maria Zwierzina (Ida Birman's mother Minne) to name just one, got a little excited around 1910 at the possibility that they may inherit something from the proceeds of the sale of this mine. As it turned out, they got nothing because whoever acted as executors or trustees concluded that "our branch of the family had broken away much too long ago" to have still any claim against that estate. Unfortunately, there is no record of the executor who seemed to know a fair bit about the old Zwierzina family connections, and I have not yet been able to find out what this was all about.

Could there be any connection between this story of a potential windfall and the document-gathering activity that appears to have gone on around 1905 (The extract of Johann Nepomuk's military Grundbuchblatt is dated 1905; a transcript of his certificate of marriage to Anna Edle von Steinberg is dated 28 May, 1905; a transcript of his death certificate is dated 3 July 1905; a transcript of the death certificate of Anna Edle von Steinberg is dated 6 July 1905). Someone was doing a lot of running around in 1905 to obtain these documents from authorities in Vienna, Graz and Groß Siegharts. The fact that I have them in my possession indicates to me that the "someone" who rounded them all up was Ida's mother Minne from whom they passed into Ida's possession until they fell into my hands after Ida's and Dorli's deaths. It could not have been an easy task to collect these documents from widely separate places, and there must have been expenses for traveling and the stamps (Stempelmarken) which had to be purchased and affixed to the documents as an indication that the tax for preparing them had been paid. I am quite puzzled by this document gathering, but do not know of any event it could be tied to unless they were still trying to settle Johann Nepomuk's estate two years after his death, but since his wife was still alive, and since everyone in the family knew that he had nothing worth inheriting, this could hardly have been the reason for the frantic document gathering.

This writer's final opinioin about the coal mine saga is that it is made up of wishful thinking, and combined into a plausible story of all the various comments made over time by the many daughters of Johann Nepomuk Zwierzina. That there was a Zwierzina family who owned a coal mine is without doubt as proven by the two Kux-Schein documents That some far back relationship between those Zwierzinas and ours could have existed is not impossible in view of the name Emil Zwierzina which appears on one of the two documents. My father's name was also Emil Zwierzina, and such names tend to be based on some ancestor or relative.

1825 The son Johann Nepomuk Alois Maria ( my grandfather) was born 15 Aug 1825.

Several people attended the baptism of Johann Nepomuk. There was Paul Budischovsky, sergeant with the Count Nostiz Regiment. There was Ignac Bohunovsky, miller from Travník(8) and his wife Maria, and there was Magdalena Eder, statt (representing) Alois Biedermann, accounting official.

But the child's father was absent, and the mother's parents were also both absent. It is possible that the mother's mother was no longer alive, but why was the mother's father "represented" by Magdalena Eder, a sister of the child's father? Was she asked to go instead of the father who may not have been able to spare the time, or did she decide to go because he did not want to? Her name at first meant nothing, but about 10 years later she appeared on her father's Last Will as a daughter, which then identified her as a sister of Johann Zwierzina1792. Although the record does not state so, it is a safe assumption that of those present, Magdalena Eder would have acted as the Godmother. On the other hand, there were two couples, one married, one not. Their relationship to Maria Biedermann is not explained, so there is a possibility that Ignac Bohunovsky and his wife were related to the mother and that they in fact were the Godparents. The very fact that there were four witnesses to the baptism is somewhat unusual, and normally only encountered in the case of an inter-faith marriage where both parents bring their own troops.

It was an interesting group of people, and it is tempting to read something into the strange composition of this group. Who are the people that normally attend a christening? Usually the mother and the father of the child to be baptized, and usually a couple who will act as sponsors (also referred to as Godfather and Godmother). Customs vary from place to place, but among Germanic peoples the sponsors are usually picked from among their kin, perhaps the mother's sister and her husband, the father's sister and her husband, or the grandparents. Sometimes their "best friends" come forward asking for the privilege, especially when family members are not available. Other times it seems important that the sponsor have the same name as the one given to the child, or perhaps it is the other way around, and the child is named after the Godfather or Godmother depending on its gender.

This christening document had two paragraphs added to it, one somewhat unusual. That paragraph and its translation are as follows:
Daß der als Vater angemerkte Herr Johann Zwierzina, pensionierter Lieutenant am 15. März 1826 sich zum Vater dieses Kindes bekannt und selbst verlangt habe, daß sein Bekenntniss in dem Taufprotokolle angemerkt werde, wird hiermit bestätigt.

It is hereby certified that Mr. Johann Zwierzina, retired lieutenant, who is the above named father of the child, had acknowledged his paternity on 15 March 1826, and had himself insisted that his acknowledgment be entered in the baptismal record . my translation

Why was the father absent at the baptism? Johann may not have known that Maria was pregnant if their relationship was a casual one, and she may not have known how to let him know. Although Ungarisch Brod, where Johann's son was born, and Ungarisch Hradisch, where his family was living are only 21 kilometers apart, there are indications that Johann may have been moving around between Znojmo, Austerlitz and Brno also. From the child's certificate of baptism it almost appears as if the father had only found out seven months after the child had been born that he had a son, and that he then immediately hurried to the church to have the paragraph added to the records in which he acknowledges his paternity.

There is a further addendum to the baptismal entry which does not appear on the copy I have (document #17 extracted 23 Dec 1868) but which is cited by the Moravian archives in their letter dated 19 Oct 1990,fggdoc126 and which was the first indication that Johann Nepomuk and Maria Biedermann did eventually marry:

1827 Almost two years after Johann Nepomuk's birth his parents married on 10 July 1827.(9)

Laut beigebrachten Trauungsschein der Pfarre St. Thomas in Brünn de dato 6. August 1827 haben sich die Eltern des Kindes "Johann" am 10. Juli 1827 ehelich verbunden.

According to a marriage certificate from the parish of St. Thomas in Brno dated 6 August 1827 presented to me, the parents of the child "Johann" were joined in marriage on 10 July translation



The Dom-Pfarre of St. Thomas in Brno.         

Why did it take so long? One explanation may be that Johann was in the process of having himself declared an "invalid" in order to leave military life, and that it was not until 1 July 1827 (nine days before the marriage) that he obtained a respectable civilian position with the government.

From the citations of two subsequent letter from the Czech Archivesfggdoc126,133 the actual marriage record has become available as it appears in the Marriage Register of the Roman Catholic parish of St. Thomas in Brno for 1827. There on page 242 is the entry showing the marriage of "Johann Zwierzina, Tranksteuerrevisor (beverage tax auditor), 34 years old, son of Johann Zwierzina, Brauermeister at Hradisch and Josepha, born Abraham". The bride Maria Biedermann was 21 years old, the daughter of Aloys Biedermann, Raatsbuchhaltungsrechnungsofficial and Anna Staroch. Whatever that horribly long title exactly means, my great-great-grandfather Aloys Biedermann certainly seems to have known his numbers. His occupation cannot be literally translated, but means something like "book-keeping official with the accounting-councel".

It has never been too clear, where Johann and his family resided, but going by the fact that the church records of his son's birth and his subsequent marriage were found in Brno (Brünn), and that the director of the archives of Uherské Hradiste opined based non the documents he saw, it can be assumed that Johann lived in Brno.

Among the many questions one could ask, is this one: why was a transcript of Johann Nepomuk's baptism required in 1868? Because his son Johann Nepomuk had retired on 1 October 1868, I am assuming with some degree of confidence, that the bureaucracy was demanding documented proof of something which they considered an important condition for receiving a pension. Perhaps they just wanted to make sure Johann Nepomuk really was who he said he was before they paid out the annual 726 Gulden and 60 Kreuzer. (Compare this to the 200 Gulden per year pension his father had received when he was pensioned off 40 years earlier).

1827 On 1 July Johann obtained a civilian job as Tranksteuer Revisor (Alcohol Tax auditor). Not too many will understand today that it was more honorable to work for 200 Gulden, than to sit at home and receive 200 Gulden. It was only a person's self esteem at stake. On the other hand, the author does not know the regulations at the time, perhaps the "pensioner" was not given a choice and was obliged to work. It is also possible that when working, there could be periodic raises in pay either because of time, or because of promotions in the civil service while a pension may have been locked in.

1828 It would have been approximately in this year that a daughter was born to Johann and Maria. She became known as Tante Opitz. All that is known about her is that she married a Mr.Opitz and then lived in or near Krakau in Poland. A picture exists of her at an advanced age.

1829 The daughter Eulalia was born to Johann and Maria. She married Moritz Schenk and had three sons, one of whom became a General and received his patent of nobility and became known as Alfred Edler von Schenk.

1831 About 1831 the youngest of three daughters, Hildegard was born to Johann and Maria. Nothing is known about her, although a picture exists showing her a pretty young teenager with a flair for dressing up..

Guided by information from the Kriegsarchiv, I asked the Hofkammerarchiv to check into Johann's employment with the Hofkammer, which was the predecessor of what in 1848 became the Finanzministerium. In a reply dated 11 June 1990, the Hofkammerarchiv advised that they had reviewed the Schematismus (Rangliste) of the political department of Moravia for the years 1839 to 1848; the Qualifakationstabellen (eligibility lists); the Bankale (Record of Revenues) for the years 1827f, 1839f, 1847, 1836, 1838; the Camerale (Record of Expenditures) for the year 1839f. They found relatively little, and they speculated that the information found was skimpy because Johann's employment may have been administered not centrally from Vienna, but provincially by the Moravian-Silesian Cameralgefällenverwaltung (Expenditure Administration) in Brünn (Brno). They did provide what little they had.

1834 the son Moritz Johann Maria was born to Johann and Maria. I must side track and reach ahead in time, a full 172 years, because in the year 2005 someting very wonderful happened. An omission of Cousin Ida Birman (née Zwierzina) when she recited the entire Zwierzina family to me in 1989, she somehow neglected to mention that this great-grandfather Johann Zwierzina1792, tax collector and retired Lieutenant, had not one, but two sons. I only knew about my grandfather's sisters but had never heard the slightest hint that there was also a brother. Well there was, and his name was Moritz Johann Maria Zwierzina and he was born 16 May 1934. Moritz started a strong and successful branch of the Zwierzina family tree and 172 years later I find myself having a number of close relatives I never even knew existed. I think it is wonderful and I am very excited now about being brought up to date by my "new" cousin Johanna Rainer (née Zwierzina) a granddaughter of this Moritz Zwierzina1834.

1836 Out of a file in the Fonds Bankale ( a group of files recording the income of the administration) the information was gleaned that Johann was not automatically transferred to, and absorbed by the Gefällenwache (Tax-guard) when it was newly created. For some reason he was ineligible because he had held officer rank in the military (perhaps a case where the candidate was overqualified?) Instead he was returned to military pension status, and for a period of three months he managed to draw the pension as well as the severance pay. This was noticed by one of his Majesty's thorough bureaucrats, and the apparent overpayment was promptly deducted from Johann's next pay. A file exists about the subsequent grievance by Johann against this deduction, the initial judgment upholding it, and the appeal of the judgment by Johann (Fz. 14/Z, 437 ex Apr. 1839). The case against him is not very good, and I can sympathize with Johann. He appears to have done his homework and was quoting the exact paragraph which he felt gave him the right to enjoy both the pension and the final salary simultaneously during the severance period. The court was merely able to agree with the wording but felt obligated to point out that "surely the spirit of the law would not intend for the Crown to be charged twice during the same period with the upkeep of this former officer". My own opinion is that some clerk made a mistake in paying him double in the first place, and when the error was discovered, they simply recovered from the payee - as our noble Government would do today.

The following is my translation of the original text of the grievance, judgment, and appeal from copies obtained for me from the Hofkammerarchiv by my late cousin Dorli Birman.fggdoc122 A transcript of the original text in German. What I have learned from studying the transcript of the court proceedings is that my great-grandfather was literate enough to read and interpret bureaucratic regulations with sufficient confidence to take on - without the benefit of legal counsel to represent him - the Finance Administration. He not only did this once, but twice because he appealed the original verdict. Two other personality traits become obvious from this: He had no patience with regulations that were written in an imprecise way, and he was stubbornly tenacious in fighting his case. A reference to his "measly financial and family situation" leads me to believe that he found it difficult to make ends meet, and that he would have had several small children to feed during the years between 1836 and 1839 when this case was fought in court.

Imperial Royal General Court Treasury
P.# 16571 ddo. 27 March 1839
1185 pr. 7 April
Session on 17 April 1839
Chairman: Hofrat Edler von Kremer
to the Registrar April 1839
arrived on 26.4.1839, Registrar #437.

File #14.Z. to the Expediter, arrived on 26.4.1839, recorded: Grohmann 17.4,
collated: Vinz & GR
ordered : 18.4 (signature)
Entered: 19956/627/836 19911/1278/ 838.

Report of the Moravian/Silesian Revenue Administration regarding the number 7417/588 of the current year, pertaining to the complaint of the retired officer Johann Zwierzina that deductions were made from his three months severance pay, which had been given to him as former revenue agent on the occasion of the establishment of a revenue guard. The amount (in question) was that of the military pension that he had again started to receive during these three months, and which in the consequence was withheld from his quarterly allowance.

The petitioner had not been absorbed by the (new) Revenue Guard because of his former rank of military officer, and thus, since he had served for a daily remuneration of 1 Gulden (convention coin), more than ten years with the office of the drink and consumption tax, and (more specifically) lately as agent for consumption tax, and collector of the Jewish consumption tax, he was laid off as of the last day of October 1836, and awarded the three months' agent's draw, i.e. 90 Gulden convention coin, from which was deducted, however, the (amount) of the military pension of 50 Gulden, which the petitioner drew during the months of November and December 1836, and then during January 1837 along with his agent's pay, and the balance of 40 Gulden was paid to him.

Zwierzina grieved against this deduction to the district administration but was turned down for the reason that he cannot be in receipt of two simultaneous draws against the spirit of the Court's Decree Z.9956/627 /836 since the drawing of a military pension would only accrue to him legally after the expiration of the third month of severance.

The petitioner in this grievance is basing his case mainly on the 3rd paragraph of the 4th point in the above mentioned Court Decree, which states that agents with ten years service are entitled to provisions or other benefits, and at the same time to a severance pay for three months; further, the entire three monthly severance was allowed (under local number 1278 /838) to the equally pensioned officer Hanak, who had also been a revenue agent.

The Imperial Finance Administration, on the other hand, points to the earlier stated reason for which it rejected the grievance, and adds that the expression "at the same time", as quoted by the petitioner from the paragraph of the before mentioned Court Decree, can only be interpreted to mean that an agent with ten years of service was entitled not only to the severance pay but also to provisions, the latter, however, only after expiry of that period of time for which the benefits of the agent's pay had been authorized.

The rejection of this grievance is therefore recommended with the comment that Franz Hanak had been dealt with following the same principles.

Moravian Silesian Imperial Revenue Administration

The former tax revenue agent, Johann Zwierzina, now returned to pensioned status, is to have his petition, to draw during the three favored months the full agent's pay and at the same time the military pension he drew, rejected, and he is to be made to understand that the pensioned military officer and former revenue agent Franz Hanak, who found himself in the same circumstances, and to whom the petitioner is making reference, was treated according to the same principles.

The attachments to the report of the 27th of last month, being number 2685/285 are hereby returned.
Vienna, 12 April 1839.

Distinguished IR General Court Cabinet

The enclosed appeal of the pensioned military officer and former revenue agent Johann Zwierzina against the local rejection on the 17th of November 1838 (#Z.13442/1253) of his petition to allow the enjoyment of the military pension throughout the three months period that he drew agent's and severance pay, had been forwarded with high endorsement of 11th February 1839, to the most obedient imperial royal pay administration for report.

As is evident from the enclosed trial files, Johann Zwierzina was, at the time of the establishment of the inner revenue guard, a revenue agent in the district of Teschen with a daily remuneration of 1 Gulden in convention money, and was not absorbed by the revenue guard because of his former military officer's rank. Inasmuch as he had been a Consumption tax agent collector of Jewish Consumption Tax collector for six years as of the end of October 1836, but had served the State a total of ten years with the beverage and consumption tax (administration), and since there were no legal obstacles, the Teschen district pay administration, following guidelines of the High Court Decree of March 1st 1836 (Z.9956/ 627 ), paid him 90 Gulden, or actually after deducting the 50 Gulden of military pension, which Zwierzina had been improperly enjoying simultaneously with his agent's pay through the months of November and December 1836, and January 1837, 40 Gulden through the district administration at Brno.

When Zwierzina grieved this deduction to the imperial royal Pay Administration, and petitioned to be permitted to draw along with his quarterly agent's pay, the military pension, he was turned down for the reason that he cannot be drawing two simultaneous incomes, and that the military pension was only properly due him after expiration of the three severance months, and that it would be against the spirit of the High Court Decree of March 1st 1836.

The enclosed appeal to the distinguished Court Cabinet is directed against this rejection.

Zwierzina mainly attempts in it to interpret the 3rd paragraph of the 4th point of the High Court Decree of March 1st 1836 Z9956/627 in his favor, because it says there that agents with 10 years service are to be given their provisions or other benefits, and at the same time a quarterly cash settlement, and that there is no mention of a deduction of any sort, and that considering his measly financial and family circumstances, a grave injustice was done him, which is the more painful because the also pensioned military officer Franz Hanak, who like Zwierzina, had been a consumption tax agent, through a High Court Decree of July 13 1838 had the entire quarterly settlement authorized.

According to the principles adopted by the most obedient imperial, royal Expenditure Administration that an employee, or a pensioner was not permitted to draw two different kinds of remuneration from the State, such as in the case at hand, Severance and Pension, and further, since the 3rd paragraph of the 4th point of the high Court Decree of 1 March 1836 Z.9956 does not appear to suffer from any change inasmuch as the term "simultaneous" can only be interpreted to mean that an agent with 10 years service was not only entitled to receive severance pay but also to a Pension or provisions (only after expiry of the time for which the enjoyment of his agent's pay had been authorized), the most obedient Expenditure Administration believes that Johann Zwierzina had been correctly treated, and that his petition to be allowed to draw the military pension as well as the quarterly agent' pay during the same period shall not be granted. In addition one permits oneself to comment that the pensioned military officer Franz Hanak had also been dealt with according to the same principles.
Brno 27 March 1839. (3 illegible signatures)

/: Court Cabinet :/
Imperial, Royal Moravian-Silesian Expenditure Administration
submits the following report relative to the court appeal, against the rejection of his petition to be allowed to draw besides his quarterly agent's pay also the military pension, by the pensioned military officer and former consumption tax agent Johann Zwierzina under court number 7417/508.
Adjudicator: Cameral Rath Barnert
Author: Secretary Jungwirth my translation

1839 (April) He is shown in the Fonds Bankale, where one file remains which pertains to him (the one mentioned above), initially as jüdischer Verzehrsteueragent (agent for Jewish consumption tax). This raises the question where he and his family lived when he worked the Teschen district. The family's whereabouts during this period is crucial to further research. We need to find the children's birth records to get the names and ages right, and they might also lead us to the marriage record of Mrs. Opitz, and the identity of her husband.

He seems to have worked the district of Teschen up until 1839. The following year he was back in Brno.

1840 The Schematismus indicates that he was employed by the Brünn Verzehrssteueramt (Brno Consumption tax office) as a clerk (Amtschreiber) at one of the city gates of Brünn.

1847 Johann is now shown as Kontrollierender Amtsschreiber (senior, or perhaps chief clerk).

1848 He is still shown, at 56 years old, working at one of the city gates of Brünn, as he was in 1840.

No information is available for the period after 1848 because in that year the Hofkammer ceased to exist and became the Finanzministerium. Records of the Finanzministerium (Qualifikationstabellen and Indices of Dept II 1849-1856) were reviewed by the Hofkammerarchiv, but nothing was found. The researcher opined that Johann may have come under the jurisdiction of the provincial ministry of finance in Prag. They seemed to have tried that angle also, but since no Schematismus was published before 1856, they were unable to shed any light on the matter from Vienna. Perhaps some day when the archives of the Czech Republic become more easily accessible, The complete work history of my great-grandfather will be found.

Cousin Ida had said about great-grandfather's later years that "in order to keep his head above water, he obtained a well-paying position with the Ministry of Customs, and lived out his days as a collector of customs duty". That was remarkably accurate as confirmed by the above research and the pension documents.

1866 The priceless family photograph seen below is of great-grandfather Johann Zwierzina1792 with his wife Maria Biedermann, their youngest daughter Hildegard Zwierzina (in the white blouse) and three little granddaughters, children of their son Johann Nepomuk Alois Maria Zwierzina (generally referred to as "Muki")1792. The girl in the dark coat, leaning on Johann is the nanny "Stanzi" (Konstanze) who was probably hired to look after the children while their widowed father Muki was serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army engaged about that time in the Battle of Königgrätz.(1866)(10). We know that great-grandfather Johann was born in 1792, which means that if the picture was actually taken in 1866 he was already 74 years old. He looks younger than his true age. Considering the hard life of a soldier, the primitive state of medicine in those days, and the fact that 40 years earlier he was considered a semi-invalid, this is truly remarkable and says something about the Zwierzina genes.(11)

Johann Zwierzina1792 with his household circa 1866.
Picture courtesy Idi Birman (née Zwierzina)

The three small children in the picture are (from left to right) Emilia, Maria and Ida, three of the four daughters of Johann Nepomuk from his first marriage. The oldest, "Netta" (Anna) is not in the picture because she had been sent off to a convent school. Had the picture in fact been taken in the year of the battle of Königgrätz (1866) then these children would be 7, 6, and 5 years old respectively, which their appearance does not bear out. The children look to be (from left to right) about 5, 4, and 3 years respectively, which when added to their years of birth dates the picture at 1864, two years before the Battle of Königgrätz. Their mother had died in 1882, so these children had been without a mother for two years, and since their father was in active service with the army, they are shown here in the care of their paternal grandparents, who in turn had engaged a "nanny" standing behind Johann. There is a slight question because the little girl in the middle seems to look to be the oldest, but since they were named to me by the daughter of the the girl in the middle, I have no reason not to accept that the left to right sequence is in fact also oldest to youngest. Maria was known in the familie as "Minne" and her birth/baptism certificate shows her year of birth to be 1860, and it shows her father ("Muki") to be the son of Johann Zwierzina1792 to be "Steueramtskontrollor" (tax auditor) in Pension (retired). He would have been 68 years old then, so he would be about 72 in this picture.

Staring at the picture I find that Johann looks rather stern, as my father usually did, and as I often do. Perhaps it is a family trait. It could be simply a result of the tension that goes with being asked "not to move" while some self-important photographer fidgets with his equipment - seemingly for an eternity. At the age of 74 he would be entitled to be impatient with the whole business of sitting for a pictur<../img src="images/tech-mteagle-icon.gif" width="43" height="37">e. He could be simply tired, hungry or uncomfortable (let us not forget his old hernia). Then again, he could be just naturally disagreeable, yet the granddaughter (Ida), who is holding on to him, and the hired girl, who is resting her hand on his shoulder, do not appear to be intimidated (the poses were probably coached by the photographer).

No one else in the picture looks strained. The three grandchildren look as relaxed as one can expect of children that age. Daughter Hildegard, grandfather's youngest sister (wearing the white blouse) looks pretty and a bit bored. The other grown girl is Stanzi (Konstanze), a nanny, probably hired to look after the grandchildren. She looks kind, and a bit dreamy. The wife appears composed and aware that it will be over soon. She does not seem to wear a ring. Johann is wearing some kind of medal in his button hole. All in all, not an unhappy looking group. (This was not the impression conveyed to a great-great-great-grandson, 6 year-old Chad Game in 1989, who after one quick glance at his ggg-grandfather's picture pronounced "that guy looks mean").

 Children of Johann Zwierzina and Maria Biedermann 

Johann Nepomuk Alois Maria Zwierzina k.k. Capt.
15 Aug 1825 - 3 July 1903
My Grandfather Muki
First child of Johann Zwierzina1792 and Maria Biedermann


Granfather Johann Nepomuk was known by his nick-name of "Mucki" - obviously an abbreviation of Nepomuk. He was born in Ungarisch Brod (now Uherský Brod, Moravia, Czech Republic).fggdoc17 He died in Groß Siegharts, Lower Austria, near the Czech border.fggdocs52,53 Chapter 4 is devoted to him and his four wives and 24 children (The number 24 is an old family truism. I have been able to find written records for 23).


Mrs. Opitz
Given name unknown, dates unknown
My Grandfather's sister
Daughter of Johann Zwierzina1792 and Maria Biedermann

Picture courtesy Johanna Rainer (née Zwierzina)
Mrs. Opitz, a daughter whose given name is not known, but who is said to have married a man from Kraków (Poland) whose family name was Opitz. At least the spelling of the name Opitz is confirmed in letters of Alfred Schenk to his parents, when he mentions this relative. Further research is almost impossible until all of the moves of her father Johann are determined, the parishes he frequented known, and the birth records of all his children have been assembled. Since her date of birth is not known at this time, it is not known whether she is the 2nd or 3rd child.

On 15 June 2005 I sent an email to the Polish State Archives ([email protected]) Asking that they check for a couple whose marriage or birth or children would show the male as Opitz, and the female as Zwierzina. Two weeks later I received a reply in Polish, which was translated for me by Ewa Swierczyna into German the next day. They did find both family names in a cursory search by their regular staff, but pointed out that a more indepth search is possible against payment of a fee, if I wished. (These three documents are filed in my collection as fggdoc295). I have decided not to pursue this in Poland for now because I believe that, logically, this daughter would have married where the family lived, which is most likely Brno, Czech Republic.

Through a fortunate circumstance in the year 2006 a little bit more became known about Tante Opitz, and a picture of her turned up. It seems she appears in correspondence between Alfred Schenk and his parents as Tante Opitz and seems to have been held in high esteem since he usually sent greetings to her (would this not imply that Alfred's parents and Tante Opitz lived in the same town and were in touch with eachother? Cousin Johanna Rainer (née Zwierzina) provided a picture which had been given to her by her father, who was reportedly very fond of his Tante Opitz, and of whom he often spoke to Johanna.

Eulalia Zwierzina
1829 - 1908

Mrs. Moritz Schenk1827
My Grandfather's sister
Daughter of Johann Zwierzina1792 and Maria Biedermann

Moritz Schenk and Eulalia (née Zwierzina)
Pictures courtesy Johanna Rainer
Eulalia Zwierzina married Moriz Schenk1827 who was an official of the Ministry of Trade or Finance (Finanzwach Commissar). They had three sons (Ottokar 1849-1875, Moritz 1851-1927, Alfred 1863-1952). No information is availaable about Ottokar. Moritz was something like a Section Chief in the Ministry, well regarded and became a Hofrat. He had a son named Robert, who lost his life on his honeymoon cruise. Son Alfred married a girl of impeccable German ancestry (father: Ritter von Grahe, mother: von Blossfeldt) whom he met in Kazan Russia. Alfred became a General, and spent most of WW1 on the Isonzo front. Robert and Alfred Schenk have Chapter 5 devoted to them.

Several of the pictures on this page were obtained in the years 2005/06 from cousin Johanna Rainer, a daughter of Moriz Zwierzina. Johanna is married to Dr.Ing. Helmuth Rainer, both live in Ebensee in the beautiful Salzkammergut Region of Upper Austria.

Moritz Schenk 1827-1906

Moritz Zwierzina
16 May 1834 - 1900
My Grandfather's younger brother
Son of Johann Zwierzina1792 and Maria (née Biedermann)

Oblt.Moritz Zwierzina 1834-1900
Moritz Zwierzina 1834-1900
Picture courtesy Johanna Rainer (née Zwierzina)

In the year 2005 a fortunate event occurred in reference to this family history. Wolfgang Rainer of Vienna was cruising the Web and was led to the web site of my family history The Game Ancestry. There are, of course many occurrences of the name "Zwierzina", in my family history because my father was a Zwierzina, the name which also happens to be the maiden name of Wolfgang's mother Johanna Rainer. He sent me an email, and it quickly turned out that we are very much related: His mother's grandfather Moritz Zwierzina was a brother to my grandfather Johann Nepomuk ("Muki") Zwierzina1825. Both were sons of Johann Zwierzina1792 and Maria (née Biedermann). That the existence of Moritz Zwierzina can remain unknown to me throughout 18 years of intense and very detailed research is one of the surprizes that can happen when doing genealogical research on a very large family that moved often and when by the time the research was started, relatively few descendants were left to tell the tale. Needless to say, there was great joy all around and both sides are able to fill in some huge gaps in our family histories. The credit, of course, goes to Wolfgang Rainer, who made the discovery, and lead his mother and myself together in this wonderful exchange of information and pictures. Thank you Wofgang!

From the charts which Cousin Johanna's husband Helmut has diligently and with engineurial precision maintained, it appears that Moritz1834 only had one child, who was also named Moritz1868 and this younger Moritz also had only one child who is Cousin Johanna, married to Helmut Rainer. Johanna and Helmut have three sons and nine grand children. I have created a separate chapter for Johanna's genealogy and other material.

See more of Moritz Sr. and Moritz Jr. in their own chapters.

Hildegard Zwierzina
Dates not known
My Grandfather's youngest sister
Daughter of Johann Zwierzina1792 and Maria Biedermann

Hildegard Zwierzina
Picture courtesy Ida Birman

Hildegard Zwierzina appears in the above group photograph of her parents and some of her brother Muki's small children. According to Cousin Ida who gave me the picture, it was taken around 1866 when Muki, a widower at the time, was away to participate in the Battle of Köggrätz. Hildegard is wearing a white blouse and looks to be about 15-16 which allows estimating her year of birth to be around 1850. According to cousin Ida, Hildegard was grandfather Johann Nepomuk's youngest sister. We now know (since 2006) that she also had a brother Moritz born in 1834, so if the age of the photo and the estimate of Hildegard's age are correct, then she would not only be they youngest daughter, but the youngest child of Johann1792.  Nothing else is known of her. Future research opportunities will depend on whether Johann's places of residence can be learned. The relevant Roman Catholic parish registers in those localities should yield birth details of all his children.

End of Part I - Chapter 3

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Notes for Part I - Chapter 3
LDS stands for Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, (also known as the Mormons). 

There are in fact a couple of Zwierzinas listed in the 1870 Vienna city directory, who identify themselves as "mine owners": (1) Eduard Zwierzina, Gut- und Bergwerksbesitzer; Schwarzenbergstr. 8 - Comp. II. Circusgasse 8. (2) Lad. (Ladislaus?) Zwierzina, Guts- und Bergwerksbesitzer, II. Praterstr. 25. There was also the "Zwierzina'sche Steinkohlen Gewerkschaft in M. Ostrau" at the same address of II. Praterstraße 25.

Further research may be directed at locating the archives of the k.k. Ministerium für Berg- und Hüttenwesen Himmelpfortg. 8 & Johannesg. 9. There should be records about every mine and of course its owners. (Erika Ulbing checked in September 1996 records at the Hofkammerarchiv, 1010 Wien, Johannesgasse 8. She viewed the Münz- und Bergwerksregisterbände for 1750,54,60,62-65, 1969, 1971-Bd1. There was very little about Mähren and coal mining; mostly silver and copper mines were dealt with).

The Conduite Liste became the Qualifakationsliste  in the 19th Century.
Doçeur generally meant a monetary reward, but in this case the sum represents the usual amount given along with a promotion to the first officer rank (ensign) to cover the cost of additional equipment.fggdoc87-3
This is one more of Ida's statements that had been confirmed when the record of Johann Zwierzina's (*1741) first marriage was discovered. This record also shows that three more sons and a daughter were fathered by him , but all the children appear to be from Josefa Abraham.
Some doubt remains about the exact location of this mine. There is also a Mährisch Kromau, which is ESE of Brno and would be closer to their home in Hradisch, and then there is also a Krummau on the river Moldau, SSE of Budweis.
Karl Sedlmeyer. Landeskunde der Tschecho-Slovakei. 1973, Bernard & Graefe Verlag für Wehrwesen; Frankfurt/Main. (Carleton University Library DB 196 S4). p.27
Although there are several Travnik, the one that is most likely referred to here is the one south-east of  Kromeriz spelled Trávník, just east of Brno (along the right bank of the Morava river) less than 10 Km from Kromeriz.
The Archiv Mesta Brna in their letter to Felix G. Game dated 15.11.1993 fggdoc186, which was a follow-up letter to the one they had written 22.9.1993 fggdoc184 restates that Johann Zwierina, born 15.8.1825 in the birth institute (Gebäranstalt) of Brünn (now Brno) was initially the illegitimate son of Marianna [sic] Biedermann, who later (10 Jul 1827) married Johann Zwierina, son of the brew master Johann of Hradisch and Josepha, born Abraham. fggdoc186 This, and their previous letter are the only documents where the mother's name appears as Marianna. In the previous letter the child's name is quoted as Johann Täufer, and mother Marianna.
Königgrätz is now called Hradec Kralové (a town 60 miles east of Prague in the Czech Republic). The name for the battle was chosen by King William, although the fortress of that name lay some miles behind the Bistritz, and did not figure in the fighting. French writers have generally preferred the name Sadowa, the village on the Bistritz where the first fighting took place on the morning of 3 July 1866. Other writers have pointed out that the most appropriate name would be Chlum since the capture of the Chlum heights by the Prussian guards was the decisive factor in the victory. (Gordon A. Craig, The Battle of Königgrätz). The battle was fought on 3 July 1866 between 215,000 Austrian and 221,000 Prussian troops. The Prussians under Count von Moltke decisively defeated the Austrians under General Benedek, and occupied Brünn nine days later.
Of those with Zwierzina blood for whom I have both birth and death dates, my father Emo was the youngest to die at 65. His father Johann Nepomuk died at 78. Johann Nepomuk's daughters reached the following ages: Netta 78, Minne 84, Ida Wolf 73, Martha 86. Minne's daughter Ida Birman 97, Ida's daughter Dorli Birman 68, and my first cousin Hans Nagati of Abbotsford, B.C. is healthy and well at 87, as is the author at the age of 76 (in 2006). Let me belatedly add to this list my newly discovered cousin Johanna Rainer (née Zwierzina) who is alive and well at the age of 85 years (in 2006).

Date last changed 10 Jun 2007
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