Gaertner and Cipriani Genealogy


Gaertner and Cipriani


This website is dedicated to the families of Gary Gaertner and Christine Cipriani.

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Gaertner/Cipriani Family Tree

Welcome. This website has been established to distribute information about the Gaertner (or Gärtner), Zelik, Cipriani and Colombo families who first settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after emigrating from Europe.

The 'Gaertner / Gärtner' surname is a fairly common one, in some German speaking parts of Europe. Our particular Gaertner family proper last resided in Magdlos, Kreis Fulda, Hesse, Germany, and nearby villages. When they arrived in old Allegheny City, Pa., they became a part of a much larger settlement of Hessians from the same villages. In this website and at the accompanying links, you will find information on the families and differing places of birth of all six of the emigrating ancestors who fall within the Gaertner family grouping. This grouping includes people from Arlesheim, Canton Basel, Switzerland, as well as Rittershofen, Leutenheim and Bergbieten in Alsace, and additionally Garlieston, Wigtownshire, Scotland. You will also find that some of these families also migrated somewhat within Europe, before resettling in America.

Before a short residency in Vienna, Austria, the Zelik emigrating ancestors originated in the village of Pohorelice in Moravia. The Zelik family includes ancestors from the village of Deutsch Schutzen, in the Burgenland.

The Cipriani family came from Collarmele in L'Aquila, Italy, and Oriolo in Calabria. Other emigrants from Collarmele established a much larger settlement in Toronto, Canada, and the largest group of emigrants from Oriolo established their own Little Italy in Frankfort, New York. The branches in Pittsburgh were quite small by comparison and probably were unfamiliar with the settlements of their former townspeople elsewhere.

The Colombo ancestors made their homes for centuries in villages near Como, Italy. These included the towns of Lucernate, Turate and Fenegro. One of the Colombo ancestral lines ends in an orphanage in Milan.

Not only the families, but many of the European towns of origin have interesting histories. For example, the town of Rittershofen sits on the Maginot Line, and was the site of a major eleven day tank battle in January, 1945, in connection with the Battle of the Bulge. The town of Pohorelice is located near the site of the Napoleonic Battle of Austerlitz, and both Russian and French troops marched at various times through the town while ancestors lived there. Collarmele is located on the site of an ancient Roman town, and has been the site of some tragic earthquakes. The histories of various towns will be summarized in separate articles at this web site. The town histories will also be touched upon, as events occurred during the lives of specific ancestors. Photos are also provided where available for these various towns.

This research began in 1975, when my brother Ken and I visited Vienna, Magdlos and Flieden, and looked at some of the original church records of our ancestors. My brother returned thereafter to look at the records in Magdlos and Flieden, while I embarked on a long study of the Pittsburgh civil and church records and the microfilms available through the LDS Family History Library. My work has also taken me back to Germany on three more occasions, where I have been fortunate to develop the friendship of distant relatives who are European natives
The second principal contributor to this study is Margaretha Gärtner-Schmidt, a life-long resident of Magdlos and my third cousin, who has repeatedly welcomed me to her home and demonstrated remarkable dedication and skill in her genealogical research. Marga has worked both on recent generations as well as the oldest possible records, and her accurate work has been a tremendous inspiration. From time to time, Marga has enlisted her entire extended family to further the cause of Gaertner genealogy research. Marga has truly become my little "big sister". And, of course, Harald Auth's translation skills, analysis, ideas and friendship have been a great treasure.

Many additional family members must be thanked, for taking the time to inform me about events in their immediate families. Others deserve special mention though, for work above and beyond their immediate families. Don Cipriani's excellent work in Collarmele and Sora in Italy has been extremely helpful, and he clearly has been "infected with the genealogy virus". Jim Drummond, a second cousin, has done excellent research in the family of Henry C. Gaertner in America, as has Ed Renkey. Brigitte Oesterle has been making very helpful contributions to the story of the Rittershofen Oesterles in America. Thanks also to Anthony Cipriani in Toronto. Ulrich and Regi Graf, and Olga Leuthardt, in Arlesheim have been most helpful. My apologies to other contributors who I have forgotten to mention. My wife, Christine Cipriani, has also been a tremendous supporter and "webmaster", despite being a "genealogy widow". Many thanks go to everyone, but undoubtedly any mistakes in these materials are mine.

Hopefully, the structure of this website is self-explanatory and reasonably easy to navigate. Separate sections are created for each of the four principal families. If you believe that you may be related to one of the families exhibited herein, please remember to sign our guest book. If you believe that you have found an error, then I would like to hear that too. Thank you.

Gary Gaertner