The search for German ancestors is complicated by many factors. One of these is the traditional naming system called "rufnahmen" (rewf-naw-men). In a given family, this custom provided that all children of the same sex shared the same first name. It was their middle name that children were known by. Thus, "Johann Wilhelm" would be known to the family as "Wilhelm" (or William, in America), and his brothers Johann Michael, Johann Peter and Johann Adam would be called simply "Michael", "Peter", and "Adam." The common first name the children shared was sometimes called their "Saint's name." The same scheme was often applied to female children (e.g. Anna Christina, Anna Margaretha, Anna Eva). The choice of middle name was often determined by ancestors. A first born male might be named after the husband's father, the second born male after the wife's father, and so on. Additionally, researchers may encounter equivalent High and Low Dutch or formal Latin variations of an individual's name. As with the family surname, the exact spelling of a given Christian name (e.g. Johannes, Johann, Hans) may reflect the only the clerk/recorder's language preference, not the individual's customary usage. Female family members may be found with an "in" suffix tagged to their surname (Maria KRIECHBAUM thus becoming Maria KRIECHBAUMIN). Old-style German script, the handwriting found in church ledgers, poses another challenge to successful research. Further information on these topics (and the history relevant to the mass migrations from Germany in the 1700's) is available at the following web sites:

German Naming Traditions
Tim's Tips On Pennsylvania German Research
The Palatines To America Home Page

Before the modern era, the vast majority of the population were illiterate. In medieval Europe, records were kept in Latin by church officials. Family surnames were spelt according to the scribe's fancy. In colonial American ports-of-entry, presiding magistrates were often of English descent. Such men were bewildered by the German immigrants' strange, guttural names. This explains why many eighteenth-century ships' lists are a virtual alphabet soup - chock full of whimsical spellings. Multiple entries for given individuals may even differ on the same page!

A large number of variations (70+) of the surname KRIEGBAUM (kreekh-bowm) exist. Readers must bear in mind that the CREEKBAUMs, KRIEGBAUMs, and KRICKBAUMs (among many other families) all share COMMON ANCESTRY. Spelling often varies by generation, even in the same direct family line! The exact spelling may be a matter of family pride today, but the further back in time we go, the less significant it becomes. Some of the common American variations of the surname appear below. Other more exotic spellings (e.g. GREEKPOM, CRAIGHBOUGH ) are also encountered. When a difficult foreign surname is rendered into English, the possibilities are limited only by the imagination!



An unnamed German genealogist, working years ago at the behest of Emery Wilson Creekbaum, traced the ancestry of the immigrant brothers Johann Wilhelm and Johann Adam KRIEGBAUM - who arrived in Philadelphia aboard the ship "Albany" on September 2nd, 1749 - back to the former German principality of Hesse-Darmstadt, now part of the modern state of Hessen. The research establishes a chain of descent from an early patriarch, born circa 1432, whose given name is not known. His surname was styled "KRYCHBAUM." The bulk of this research seems reasonably well documented, but the present authors make no claim or assurance of its authenticity here. Readers are invited to decide its value for themselves.

Before we delve into the KRIEGBAUM family's origins, however, let us touch briefly upon Hessen's complex geography.

The modern state of Hessen (Hesse in English), located in central Germany, includes the major cities of Frankfurt and Darmstadt. The state capitol is Wiesbaden. In the 1600's, this area was divided into four smaller political subunits: Hessen-Kassel, Hessen-Marburg, Hessen-Rhinefels, and (in the south) Hessen-Darmstadt. Our KRIEGBAUM ancestors dwelt in several postage-stamp sized villages in Hessen-Darmstadt, approximately 8-10 miles southeast of the city of Darmstadt itself. This vicinity (southeast of Frankfurt) encompasses the heavily forested Odenwald and a historic Roman road - the Bergstrasse. It has long been noted for its wine grapes and fruit orchards. An internet tourist site for the Odenwald may be visited by
clicking here . More information on the state of Hessen may be found at the Hessen Home Page .

The KRIEGBAUM villages of Laudenau, Ober-Kainsbach, Fränkisch-Crumbach, Reichelsheim and Grossgumpen/Kleingumpen are today found in the Hessen "county" of "Odenwaldkreis." Representative maps of the Laudenau and Reichelsheim areas may be visited by clicking on the underlined links.


Citation of the material below is made second-hand by the present authors, neither of whom have viewed the original research (done many years ago). No geographic place names are associated with this data [may we presume the original source(s) are unspecified Hessian church records?]. Critically, one realizes the impossibility of the relationship of a father and son (Peter and Martin) separated by only five years. Unfortunately, this calls into question the reliability of this period of information.
Generation 1 [given name unknown] KRYCHBAUM born (circa) 1432
Generation 2 Hans KRICHENBAME born (circa) 1450
Generation 3 Hans KRICHBAUM born (circa) 1480
Generation 4 Peter KRICHBAUM born (circa) 1500
Generation 5 Martin KRICHBAUM (see below) born (circa) 1505 died 1566


Beginning with Martin KRICHBAUM, the unnamed German researcher's work seems more trustworthy, for several reasons. First, more data is presented. Second, sources such as marriage and christening records are identified. Third, there are no apparent conflicts in chronology. And finally, specific geographic citations are made. Once again, readers must decide whether to accept this data or not.

Generation 5
Direct Line
Married Katharina [maiden name unknown]
in 1535
born (circa) 1505 died 1566
Generation 6 Jacob KRICHBAUM
Married Anna [maiden name unknown]
in 1566
born 1540 died 1589
Generation 7 Hans KRICHBAUM
Married Elisabeth RUHL
28 Sep 1590 at Hohenstein,
Starkenberg, Hessen, Germany
Elisabeth RUHL born 1569 at Eberbach,
Starkenberg, Hessen, Germany
born 1565
at Hohenstein
died 04 Jul 1630
at Hohenstein
Generation 8 Children - all christened at Hohenstein
except Hans (2) and Margarethe, who
were christened at Raidelbach:
i. Magdalena KRICHBAUM
ii. Barbara KRICHBAUM
iii. Kilian KRICHBAUM
iv. Hans (a) KRICHBAUM
v. Margarethe KRICHBAUM
*vi. Hans (b) KRICHBAUM (see below)
vii. Martin KRICHBAUM
ix. Christine KRICHBAUM

chr 18 Feb 1592/1593
chr 19 Jan 1594/1595
chr 27 Apr 1597
chr 25 Mar 1599
chr 14 Feb 1601/1602
chr 22 Jan 1603/1604
chr 04 May 1606
chr 07 May 1609
chr 01 Mar 1611/1612
chr 29 Sep 1616

died 20 June 1601 22 Jan 1603/4

Generation 8
Direct Line
*vi. Hans (b) KRIECHBAUM
Married (1) Frau (Mrs.) Margarethe BAUER
[maiden name unknown] on 18 Sep 1631.
Children of this marriage unknown.
Married (2) on 18 Oct 1635
Frau (Mrs.) Anna WEINMAYER,
widow of Hans WEINMAYER.
[maiden name unknown]. Anna
born 1608 at Kleingumpen, Starkenberg,
Hessen, Germany.
chr 22 Jan 1603/1604
Raidelbach, Starkenberg,
Hessen, Germany
Generation 9 Children - all born or christened at
Kleingumpen except Heinrich, who
was christened at Neunkirchen:
iii. Martin (a) KRIECHBAUM
iv. Martin (b) KRIECHBAUM
*vi. Heinrich KRIECHBAUM (see below)
vii. Leonhard KRIECHBAUM
married Elisabeth FRANCK
02 Jul 1677
viii. Apollonia KRIECHBAUM
married Hans Philipp ERHARD
20 Jan 1674/1675

born about 1639
chr 13 Mar 1641/1642
chr 27 Aug 1643
chr 24 Nov 1644
chr 15 Nov 1646
chr 08 May 1648
born about 1650

born about 1654

bur 23 Nov 1694
bur 05 May 1714
died 1643
died 29 Nov 1644

bur 10 Oct 1710
died 18 Sep 1717

Generation 9
Direct Line
*vi. Heinrich KRIECHBAUM
Married Barbara [maiden name unknown]
circa 1669. Barbara born 1643
at Laudenau, Starkenberg, Hessen,
Germany; buried 07 March 1718/1719
at Laudenau.
chr 08 May 1648
Neunkirchen, Starkenberg,
Hessen, Germany
bur 10 Oct 1710
at Laudenau
Generation 10 Children - all born or christened
at Laudenau:
ii. Margaretha KRIECHBAUM
iii. Anna Margaretha KRIECHBAUM
*iv. Johann Wilhelm KRIECHBAUM (see below)

born about 1670
chr 14 Sep 1673
born about 1676
born about 1680

bur 27 Feb 1733/4
(died bef 1676?)

bur 06 Apr 1754
at Laudenau
Generation 10
Direct Line
*iv. Johann Wilhelm KRIECHBAUM (see below)
Married Anna Catherina PFEIFFER on
05 May 1706 at Neunkirchen, Starkenberg,
Hessen, Germany. Anna Catherina born 1684
in Pfaffenbeerfurth, Starkenberg, Hessen,
Germany - the daughter of Johannes
PFEIFFER and Anna ARRAS. Anna Catherina
was buried 19 Dec 1761 at Laudenau.
born about 1680
at Laudenau
bur 06 Apr 1754
at Laudenau


As we shall see below, Johann Wilhelm KRIECHBAUM and Anna Catherina PFEIFFER were the parents of eight children, two of whom (Wilhelm and Adam) left Hessen and emigrated to the English colony of Pennsylvania in 1749. The reader will note that the KRIECHBAUM villages cited since the 1560's are designated by an additional geographic place name - Starkenberg. The present authors can offer only speculation as to its meaning and relevance. There is no such place in modern Hesse. It may be that the Starkenberg which exists today in the neighboring state of Thuringia (some distance to the east) was at one time a diocesal or archdiocesal parish whose territory extended west into the Odenwald. Or it may be that Starkenberg was then a county or district of Hessen-Darmstadt which has since disappeared. There is a Steffenberg in modern Hessen, though it is not located in the Odenwaldkreis.

The eight children of Johann Wilhelm KRIECHBAUM and Anna Catherina PFEIFFER were as follows:

Generation 11 All born or christened at Laudenau:
i. Johann(es) KRIECHBAUM
Married Frau [Mrs.] Anna Christina
Catherina HUELSS on 18 May 1741.
ii. Johann Michael KRIECHBAUM
iii. Anna Elisabeth KRIECHBAUM
iv. Barbara KRIECHBAUM
Married Johann Adam KAFFENBERGER
28 Feb 1742/1743
v. Johann Peter KRIECHBAUM
28 Feb 1742/1743
*vi. Johann Wilhelm KRIEGBAUM
Married Anna Barbara RETTICH/RETTIG
01 May 1749, emigrated to America.
vii. Eva Christina KRIECHBAUM
Married Johann Henrich ARRAS
28 Feb 1742/1743
*viii. Johann Adam KRIEGBAUM
Married Eva Maria WEBER
01 May 1749, emigrated to America.

chr 11 Mar 1706/1707

chr 21 Dec 1708
chr 20 Nov 1710
chr 12 Nov 1713

chr 11 Jun 1716

chr 06 Dec 1718

chr 09 Nov 1721

chr 22 Mar 1726/1727

bur 22 Mar 1755

bur 20 Dec 1724
bur 24 Dec 1724

bur 11 Jun 1760

bur 14 Nov 1791

Two German genealogists, Dr. Marie Louise SEIDENFADEN and Cornelia SCHRADER MUGGENTHALER, confirmed the earlier research of Emery Wilson CREEKBAUM's unnamed investigator. In correspondence published in the final issues of the KRIEGBAUM HERITAGE NEWSLETTER
(Volume XIV, April & July 1989, No. 2 & 3), they presented information which differed slightly from that outlined above:

Johann Wilhelm KRIEGBAUM [father]
married 08 May 1706 at Neunkirchen Church, Laudenau, Hessen
to Anna Katharine PFEIFFER

Johann Adam KRIEGBAUM [son]
born 23 March 1729 at Laudenau, Hessen [church Neunkirchen]

The two brothers Wilhelm and Adam (see below) came to America in 1749 as passengers aboard the ship "Albany."
Johann (Hans) Philip was also a passenger aboard this vessel. However, Dr. SEIDENFADEN and Frau MUGGENTHALER state that he was not a brother to Adam and Wilhelm - nor was he born at Laudenau. Frau MUGGENTHALER [letter dated 20 February 1989] also cite the following church records [whether this is the family of the immigrant Conrad remains unclear] :

Kunigunde Eva KRICHBAUM
born 24 March 1729; and her brother
Johann Konrad KRICHBAUM
born 07 December 1733 at Ober-Kainsbach, Hesse
were children of Johann Peter KRICHBAUM [son of Johann Philipp at Kleingumpen]
Johann Peter was married at Reichelsheim 29 August 1726 to
Anna Eva GERMANN [daughter of Johann Heinrich at Crumbach; he died 1760, she died 1772].


Five 18th-century German immigrants: Johann (Hans) Philip KRICHBAUM , Johann Wilhelm KRICHBAUM, Johann Adam KRICHBAUM, Johann Conradt KRIECHBAUM and Eberhart KRIECHBAUM, arrived at the port of Philadelphia between 1749-1754, as follows:

[List 127 C] At the Courthouse at Philadelphia, Saturday 2d Sept. 1749
Present: Thomas Graeme, Wm. Allen, Esquires
The Foreigners whose Names are underwritten, imported in the "Ship Albany," Robert Brown, Master, from Rotterdam, but last from Cowes in England, did this day take the usual Oaths to the Government. By the List 108. Number of Souls 285, from Erpacht [Erbach] and Wirtemberg.
Page 395
Page 396
Johan Wilhelm KRICHBAUM

[List 179 C] At the State House in Philadelphia, Friday, the 22d September 1752
Present: Edward Shippen, Esquire
The Foreigners whose Names are underwritten, Imported in the " Ship Brothers," William Muir, Captain, from Rotterdam and last from Cowes in England, took and subscribed the usual Qualifications, No. 83.
Page 481
Johan Conradt KRIECHBAUM

These five men - Wilhelm, Adam, Conradt, Philip and Eberhart - appear to have been the principal founders of the KRIEGBAUM family in America. While concentrating mainly on the descendants of Johann Wilhelm, Johann Adam, and Johann Conradt, THE KRIEGBAUM HERITAGE NEWSLETTERS (KHN's) also presented some information on Johann (Hans) Philip, and made brief mention of Eberhart as well. Wilhelm and Adam as we have seen, were brothers - their relationship to Conradt and Philip is presently unknown.

This, then, is a brief summary of our immigrant origins. To delve deeper into the KRIEGBAUMs in America, readers may wish to consult Wilma SAKOWSKYs Web Site . Wilma has kindly transcribed the 1918 KRICHBAUM FAMILY HISTORY written by Judge Charles KRICHBAUM and Raymond L. KREIGHBAUM. While this document represents an excellent primer, it contains several unintended factual errors - errors which were brought to light and discussed in the KRIEGBAUM HERITAGE NEWSLETTERS.

    1. World Family Tree Volume 14; Tree 2404.
    2. Private Research Done For Emery Wilson Creekbaum
      345 Rockhill Ct; Marco Island, FL 34145
    3. Deutschland Mitte-West - Michelin Map #417 1/300,000 scale (ISBN 2-06-700417-4).
      A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808
      by Ralph Beaver Strassburger; edited by William John Hinke
      Second Printing in Two Volumes, Volume I - 1727 - 1775
      Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1966

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Last Revision - 03 July 2000