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Chronicle of the Kampf Family



The attached is my English translation of the original German research document Chronik der Familie Kampf by Nikolaus Kampf. Nikolaus Kampf was born in Deutsch Zerne in 1936. Karl Tabar, a relative of Nikolaus Kampf, provided me with this information about Nikolaus. Nikolaus's mother Gertrude Tabar and his father Friedrich Kampf were also born in Deutsch Zerne in 1909. Nikolaus has been able to trace his ancestors back to his great-great-great grandparents, who were all from Deutsch Zerne. As far as he could determine, his Kampf ancestors came from Bernkastel/Rheinland Pfalz in Germany in 1764 and his Tabar ancestors from Elsass Lothringen.

His family suffered from Serbian oppressors at the end of World War II. They killed his grandfather Nikolaus Tabar because he was of German ancestry. His immediate family escaped to Hatzfeld in 1944, then to Vienna, Austria and eventually came to the U.S. in 1956.

I was introduced to this document by Tim Tabar of Cleveland, Ohio, a fellow member of the Rootsweb BANAT-L email list, after we discovered that we both had TABAR and KAMPF ancestors. I am seeking connections to Anna TABAR and Franz KAMPF, born in Deutsch Zerne in the late 19th century. Although I have not found any connections between Tim's ancestors and mine, or between Nikolaus Kampf's ancestors and mine, I undertook translation of this document in hopes that it might lead to the discovery of my ancestors' past. I discovered that there were a large number of KAMPF and TABAR families in Deutsch Zerne for many generations. It seems very possible that the KAMPFs and TABARs of Deutsch Zerne may have similar beginnings and may be the result of the Banaters' tendency to have many offspring.

This document may be of interest to people researching other surnames in Hatzfeld or Deutsch Zerne, because it includes information about the following names, as well:

Jois Peter Stuperich/Stupprich, Johann Brückemann/Bruckmann, Christian Giard, Gerhard/Keret, Johann Huttemann/Hütmann, Adam Holterhoff/Holterhof, Peter Schragel/Schrag, Xavery Gasterich/Xavier Gastrich, Johann Luga/Lucke, Dietrich Michler/Micheler, Heinrich Blassmann/Blaßmann, Paul Schmidt, Heinrich Pokemüller/Bockmüller, Johann Müller, Anton Sauer, Caspar Becker, Caspar Kogl/Gokl, Johann Henner/Heuner, Johann Peter Brüll, Peter Jung, Georg Treiss/Treis, Gertrud Blassmannin/Blaßmann, Bernhard Alberscheid, Johann Mittel/Blaßmann Heinrich, Friedrich Schuldte/Schulte, Johann Schulde/Wilhelm Schulte, Ignatz Breitenhoff/Breithof, Adolf Gertes/Herdes, Johann Henecke, Peter Kampf/Kamp/Gams, Heinrich Hess/Hesser, Idokus Eichhof/Jodok Eichhof, Idokus Honawerth/Jodok Hanöver, Heinrich Winter, Wilhelm Schulda/Schulte, Dietrich Schulda/Caspar D. Schuld, Bernard Frantz/Franz.


Fran Matkovich
[email protected]
March 2, 2002

This English translation copyright ©2002-2023 by Fran Matkovich


Chronicle of the Kampf Family


The name and the coat of arms of the Kampf Family is of Prussian origin, but our roots can only be traced back for certain to 1766. So our family stems from the old Colognien Sauerland in the duchy of Westfalen, north of the states of Trier, Bernkastel a/d Mosel, and Sien an der Glan in today's Bundesland Rheinland-Pfalz and on the borders of Nordrhein-Westfalen. The exact town of our origin cannot be more definitely identified today. However, it is certain that a group of registered Sauerlander, including the Kampf family, came together at Sien on April 24, 1766, under the leadership of the Catholic pastor Sebastian Plenkner determined to emigrate to the Hapsburger territory of the Banat in southeast Hungary. But it we must consider the historical and social reasons for this decision.

Historical Perspective

The historical reasons for the emigration of our family and forefathers can be inferred from the history of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Thirty Years War (1618-1646), the Turkish Wars (1683-1685), the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), and the Sea and Colonial War between England and France (1756-1763) had weakened, scorched, and impoverished a large part of Central Europe, and a majority of the people of Europe were war-weary.

In addition, the Reformation had left severe wounds and marks. A majority of the lands in North Europe had taken on Protestant beliefs; the South still remained Catholic. Besides each prince or king had the right to determine the religion of his country. So it happened that many countries and villages had members of both religions, but only one church to attend. It often happened that the church attendees of one denomination, especially during feast days, entered the church to assure a place for the next service of their own denomination. This led to many an argument, which also often led to legal disputes. At the Court of Appeal in Wetzlar, cases concerning the right of both denominations to share and on repairs of the respective churches came to court.

So it is not surprising that these problems of war and religion persuaded many families from England and Austria, not only in Germany, but also in Luxemburg, Alsace-Lorraine and Switzerland, to resettle to the benefit of the agents and the settlement recruiters. These recruiters who were paid by local and foreign sovereigns and counts to beat the drum for emigration, used religious freedom and the desire for earth and soil to gain settlers for North America, Southeast Europe and Russia. Even William Penn in 1682 visited Germany to win settlers for his lands in America. Czar Peter the Great and successors Elisabeth and Catherine the Great also tried seriously to win German settlers for the Settlement of the Volga territory.

After the Hapsburg's victory over the Turks in 1683, Leopold I, Charles VI, Maria Theresa, and her son Joseph II of Austria had the opportunity to divide the huge territories of Hungary and southeast Europe, which were previously held by the Ottoman Empire, among the respective counts, princes and generals as a reward for their help in the Turkish War. Among others it was mainly Prince Eugen of Savoy, Claudius Florimund, Count Mercy (general under Prince Eugen), and Baron Freiherr of Hatzfeld who received the privileged lands. Count Mercy was also authorized to develop plans for the settlement in the Southeast.

The first of the 3 great "Schwabenzuge"( Swabian Treks) from Germany into the previously-owned Ottoman lands began as early as 1718 and lasted until 1737. This was named the "Karolinish Settlement" after Kaiser Charles VI of Austria. The second settlement in the southern provinces of Hapsburg was continued under Maria Theresia (1774-1772). Later the third and last settlement under Joseph II would continue in the years 1782 to 1787.

In the Rhineland-Palatinate there was a pastor Sebastian Plenkner from Sien in the diocese of Trier, who, together with 18 delegates in 1765 and 1766, sought families in the region between the Badisch Trier, Sien and Mainz for a general group emigration. He had learned that large areas in southern Hungary were available for settlement and families willing to emigrate would be given a homestead, building materials, a field of 20 Joch [Ed. note: about 1.43 acres], a horse wagon, a plow, fowl, livestock, and also freedom from taxation for 6 to 10 years. They would receive a charter, money for living expenses according to the number of accompanying family members, and travel expenses up to Budapest.

In the beginning of 1766 Pastor Plenkner and his delegates had almost 402 families who were ready for settlement in the Banat. When we consider the original territories of the settlers, we find that they have come from over 40 German localities. These are scattered over the whole area, not only Mosel, but also Sauerland, areas between Trier and Mainz, also the Bavarian and Badisch Palatinate and Luxemburg (the Austrian lowlands). Therefore, at most 1 to 4 settler families belong to each individual locality.

Map of Saurland and the Rheinland Palatinate

The highest number of emigrants in the Plenkner group was identified as 22 settler families from 10 villages out of Bernkastel. After summarizing these figures we get the following overview of the original areas of the over 90 first families (in brackets are the number of settler families).

  1. County Bernkastel/Trier: Gutenthal (4), Bischofsthron (2), Hundheim (3), Hunolstein (3), Wintrich (1), Wolzburg (2) Lingkampf (4) Berglicht (2), Wederath-Bischofsthron (1), Hinzenrath (1).

  2. Bad Kreuznach/Trier: Staudernheim (1), Lauschied (2), Kirn (1), Hundsbach (2), Laubenheim (1) Waldböckelheim (1).

  3. County Birkenfeld/Trier: Sien (1+ Pfarrer Plenkner), Idar-Oberstein (1), Rinsberg (1), Niederalben (1), Herrstein (10).

  4. County Wittlich/Trier: Trittenheim (1), Bombogen (1), Lüzem (1).

  5. County Bitburg/Trier: Metterich (1).

  6. County Meisenheim heute Bad Kreuznach: Bärweiler (1).

  7. County Daun/Trier: Lendersdorf (1).

  8. County Kusel/Palatinate: Reipoldskirchen (4), Lauterecken (1), Kaulbach (1).

  9. County Kaiserslautern/Palatinate: Steinwenden (1), Dansenberg (1).

  10. Kanton Eschl/Luxemburg: Kayl (3), Huncheringen/Hunherange (1), Belles/Belvaux (1), Tetingen (3), Rümlingen (5).

  11. District Diekirch/Luxemburg: Ettelbrück (2), Schwiedelbruch (4), Steinsel (1), Berberich/Beckerich (1).

  12. District Luxemburg: Bartringen/Bartrange (8), Steinbrücken/Pointpierre (1), Itzig (4), Zolwern/ Soleuvre (2).

  13. Luxemburg (Others): areas not specified (4).

  14. Others: (4 Families)

Trier, Bernkastel and Sien in
Today's Bundesland Rheinland Palatinate

Father Plenkner had in mind to name the new settlement "Landestreu"(Land of the faithful). A large number of the delegates had resorted to sarcasm, teasing, ridicule, and quarrels with Plenkner and named it "Landstreicher" (Land of Vagrants). So before the journey out of Germany they decided to ask permission of the Vienna exchequer president Count Charles Frederick Anton, baron of Hatzfeld, to allow his name to be attached to the municipality, which he granted.

So by fact and conjecture the result was that, long before the emigration from Germany, the settler families for the Banat had to decide between either Landestreu or Hatzfeld for their new homeland.

The first emigration group led by Plenker consisted of 92 families, including the Kampf family. Towards the end of April 1766 the indispensable bank notes were issued, and they met promptly full of anticipation in Trier and Mainz. On April 24th, accompanied only by their luggage and a broken down wagon, they went by foot to the river Danube, where they boarded the ships at Regensburg. The boats ordered by Plenkner (called "Ulm Boxes" or barges) actually were large, crude boats which were driven downstream to Vienna by some oarsmen; one barge held, on the average, several families.

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Settlement in the Banat - Hatzfeld

According to the Vienna court archives the first settler families arrived in Vienna at the beginning of April 1766; by the end of April there were already 110 persons. The Plenkner group first reached there at the beginning of May, and by the end of May there were 275 persons registered for the migration into the Banat. According to the archives it is beyond doubt that in the period of 8 months (from April to November) over 400 registrations were entered in 45 days.

The original name of the settlement territory in the Banat was Chumbul (today Jimbolia), and we find the evidence referring to this in the papal tax register from the years 1332-1337. A document dated 1489 indicates 3 places of similar names: Great Csomboly, Middle-Csomboly and Inner-Csomboly. In all 3 of these places the Csomboly family had possessions. These lands were devastated in the Turkish era, and the location appeared again on Count Mercy's map of 1723-1725, but as the unsettled Pussta, until in 1766 when the already described Hildebrand Settlement began.

As reported, Count Mercy was responsible for the settlement of the Banat. He worked with the sovereigns/dominions of the Banat, especially Count Freiherr of Hatzfeld, president of the court in Vienna, to organize the territories and villages. At that time Count Hatzfeld charged John William von Hildebrand as the councilor of administration to lay out on the fields of Csombol, Rabi, and Perda, which were, at that time, leased as hay meadows, a settlement and street layout for Landestreu and Hatzfeld. With the approval of Vienna he allowed 405 houses to be built there. He was responsible for the permits and distribution of home sites in both villages and allowed the settlers to organize themselves according to their countries.

During the registration in Vienna the settler families, and therefore also the Kampf Family, were assigned their own house, building materials, 20 Joch of land, a horse wagon, a plow, fowl, livestock, etc. According to further evidence of the Vienna Finance and Court Chamber Archives and the Hatzfeld city and homeland newspapers. it is known that the ancestors of the Kampf Family arrived in Vienna between the 5th and the 9th of May 1766. A few days after their registration they embarked from Vienna to arrive five days later in Pantschowa via Budapest.

In Pantschowa they were held up by a four-week court order due to a quarantine, because of the threat of an epidemic. When this ended, they received their daily expense and fare money, traveled freely on foot and horse cart, and finally arrived in the double municipality of Hatzfeld-Landestreu on June 11, 1766. Upon their arrival not all of the houses for the enlisted settlers from Trier and Mainz were completed, which led to many quarrels among the families after having suffered so much fatigue.

According to the plans of John William von Hildebrand the Peter Kampf family was assigned house location 29 on Sauerland Lane in Hatzfeld/Landestreu. Next to Sauerland Lane in Hatzfeld there was also a Trier Lane, a Main Street, a Luxemburger Lane, every street having 36 home sites (35x5=280), therefore 280 houses [sic].

Additional residents of Hatzfeld in 1766 were the following families, in order by home site:

  1. Jois Peter Stuperich/Stupprich
  2. Johann Brückemann/Bruckmann
  3. Christian Giard, Gerhard/Keret
  4. Johann Huttemann/Hütmann
  5. Adam Holterhoff/Holterhof
  6. Peter Schragel/Schrag
  7. Xavery Gasterich/Xavier Gastrich
  8. Johann Luga/Lucke
  9. Dietrich Michler/Micheler
  10. Heinrich Blassmann/Blaßmann
  11. Paul Schmidt
  12. Heinrich Pokemüller/Bockmüller
  13. Johann Müller
  14. Anton Sauer
  15. Caspar Becker
  16. Caspar Kogl/Gokl
  17. Johann Henner/Heuner
  18. Johann Peter Brüll
  19. Peter Jung
  20. Georg Treiss/Treis
  21. Gertrud Blassmannin/Blaßmann
  22. Bernhard Alberscheid
  23. Johann Mittel/Blaßmann Heinrich
  24. Friedrich Schuldte/Schulte
  25. Johann Schulde/Wilhelm Schulte
  26. Ignatz Breitenhoff/Breithof
  27. Adolf Gertes/Herdes
  28. Johann Henecke
  29. Peter Kampf/Kamp/Gams
  30. Heinrich Hess/Hesser
  31. Idokus Eichhof/Jodok Eichhof
  32. Idokus Honawerth/Jodok Hanöver
  33. Heinrich Winter
  34. Wilhelm Schulda/Schulte
  35. Dietrich Schulda/Caspar D. Schuld
  36. Bernard Frantz/Franz

According to the plans of councilor John William von Hildebrand the houses were laid perpendicular to the street, with the living rooms on the street side, one or two bedrooms, a kitchen with stove and pantry, and the stable at the other end of the house. A covered entrance way or veranda extended from the living room to the kitchen, and a wall or fence surrounded the home site. Next to the entrance door and the door for the horse wagon was usually a family garden planted with vegetables and fruit trees.

The village streets were generally laid straight and wide, mostly with paved sidewalks. Horse wagons could travel in both directions.

Even a church was built in 1766 and supported the first parish. The original 39 meter high tower of the church was raised in 1911 to 53.5 meters. A school was also established in 1766. However, the lack of harmony between the strong-minded Pastor Plenkner and the Hatzfeld people continued. Therefore this pastor returned to the empire already in September 1767, and the new pastor Karl Brettenreich carried out the union of the 2 municipalities on September 14, 1768. The followers of Plenkner derided as "land vagrants" resigned their village name, and the double municipality of Hatzfeld-Landestreu from then on became the Great Municipality of Hatzfeld. Now in Hatzfeld there was also a Spengler, Lorraine, and Mainz Street next to Sauer, Main and Luxemburger Street.

Since Hatzfeld lay in the middle of the Banat heath, which at this time was partially swampy lowland, the first settlers had to work hard to drain the land and to create usable, arable land. Nevertheless the municipality experienced its first flood in 1770, which was followed by a fever epidemic, which claimed altogether 553 deaths in almost 2 years.

Nevertheless, after a few years the first harvest flourished, mostly green vegetables, hemp, and sugar beets. Several years later oats, wheat, and fruit and grapes, etc. were also planted. It is noteworthy that the Banat after a few decades became known as the "Breadbasket of Europe."

In 1778 the Banat was annexed to Hungary and, with other municipalities, Hatzfeld, which was then in Temes County, was annexed to Torontal County. For the 20th anniversary of its founding (1786) Hatzfeld was given the right by the highest authorities to hold a market, and the market emblem shows the church, a bird flying towards it, and 3 oversized ears of grain with the inscription "Sigellum privilegiati oppidi Hatzfeld" (Seal of the privileged town of Hatzfeld). And so Hatzfeld had the right to hold a weekly market, and since 1794 also yearly markets.

After the families of the first settlers grew more numerous and the real estate and arable land became more scarce, they began to found more new towns and villages in the vicinity of Hatzfeld. After a few years there were about 1000 villages that were founded by the Schwaben. The capital of the Banat was still Temeschburg/Temesvar (Timisoara).

We must not forget that the houses and arable lands of the first settlers of the Banat were at the disposal of Count Hatzfeld, and that the children and children's children of these settlers leased the land from the respective counts and barons and later had to earn or purchase them.

Hence in the year 1800 the municipality of Hatzfeld together with estate belonging to it was purchased by General Joseph Csekonics (1757-1824). Count Csekonics was very rich and possessed among others several castles and palaces in Budapest with 7000 Joch of fields. His Banater possession consisted of 33,000 Joch. On the southern rim of Hatzfeld the count had Castle Csito built in English style surrounded by a stylish park. An avenue led from the center of Hatzfeld to the castle.

Also forests with wild game were given much attention, and a ranger was responsible for the breeding of deer and pheasant.

The Hatzfelders and their families were required to cultivate the arable fields and properties of the dominion, to harvest in the Fall, and to pay their debts and interest on time. Through hard work and industry the Schwaben acquired more and more land, and the villages and towns grew, and in time the inhabitants became more well-to-do. They celebrated all of the feasts, such as May Day, Church Fair (Kirchweih), St. Nicholas Day, and all the other Christian holidays, just like they did once in Germany. Choral societies, theater groups, music bands, dance groups, etc. were founded and strongly supported by the inhabitants of the church and school in every area.

Likewise, they were aware of their origin and culture and spoke and married exclusively German. And if anyone did not find the right marriage partner in their own village, they just married someone from a neighboring community.

So it is especially interesting to find that members of the Kampf family were found before World War II in the following areas in the vicinity of Hatzfeld: Johannisfeld, Gross Jetscha, Great Saint Nicholas, Komlosch, Kleinsiedel, Baratzhausen, New Hatzfeld/Tschesteleck, Lenauheim, Elben, Drolshagen, Freienohl, Saalhausen, Altenhof, etc.

Map of the Upper Banat

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The Founding and Settlement of Deutsch Zerne

Already in the seventeenth century there stood in the vicinity of today's Zerne a settlement named Olesch or Olasch, which was destroyed by the Turks. Later, in 1753, 68 Serbs came along with a few Romanian families as settlers to the general vicinity of Deutsch Saint Michael in the present-day Romanian Banat near the Count Csekonics estate called Menes. They settled on a flood lock rising out of the surrounding flood plain. Later the settlement was moved to the place where the Serb church stands today. Since the ground and the earth on these higher lying lands was black, they named the town Crnja (Zerne). In 1775 the Serb church was built there.

Deutsch Zerne was founded about 6 miles southwest of Hatzfeld by Josef Csekonics. Before the colonization there were already some German families (55 houses) west of the Serb village. The first settlers came from Hatzfeld, but it can be assumed that many Hungarians were also in the vicinity. At any rate in 1800 there were already 218 houses and 113 sessions [Ed. note: a land measure of 35 to 47 acres, depending on the source] of community land for farming, grazing, gardening, etc. Even a school was opened immediately after the colonization of Zerne.

So already in 1800 over 14,000 joch of high-grade property belonged to the community of Deutsch Zerne. For the purpose of easier management farmhouses were built. There the civil servants, employees, craftsmen and other servants lived and managed and worked the property. On Zerne's territory were the following farms: Julia-Major, Sziget-Major, Endre-Major, Szollos-Major, Konstancia-Major, Little Konstancia Major, Little Rokus Major, Leona Major, Sandor Major, Little Julia Major, Margithaza and Facanyos. The individual farmhouses were joined together with wide streets and acacia trees were planted on both sides. The whole property was crisscrossed with ditches, which led into streams, and thus prevented the flooding of the fields. The Csekonics farms were model businesses, which were often inspected and imitated by foreign visitors.

However, the religious care of Zerne and the farms was still directed from Hatzfeld. So every Sunday and holiday they went to the Hatzfeld church. In a short time a prayer house was built where they could hold religious services. Around 1808 Count Joseph of Csekonics decided to build a church in Zerne. The count provided the building materials and the craftsmen, and the people provided the manual and team labor. In September 1808 Zerne received its first pastor and on October 18th the church was consecrated in honor of St. Joseph by Bishop Ladislaus Koszenhy of Remede.

Count Csekonics gave the Zerne residents another 176 joch of fields: the community obtained 4 Joch on the western rim of Zerne for the churchyard, and the pastor, the school, the butcher's stall, and the tavern received another 4 joch. The pastor received a yearly stipend, and the maintenance of the church over the years was undertaken by the counts. The pastor also received smaller allotments from the community to pay the sexton and the organists.

For the health care of the employees of the farms and the community the count brought a doctor to Zerne. He also received a yearly assistant, and besides that, a carriage with a coachman was placed at his disposal free of charge. Not only was the count ("the master") always at their disposal with advice, action and money but also to alleviate problems.

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Genealogical References

In 1930 the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) began to sponsor genealogy and to transfer the data to microfilm. Today the LDS has the largest collection of microfilm/microfiche in the world.

The closest information on family history and genealogy can be found through computer searches at the Family History Centers (FHC) in your area. In the USA the telephone number is 1-801-240-2331.

If you want to find Hatzfeld or Deutsch Zerne it helps to spell them correctly. You will find Hatzfeld under "Jimbolia" in Hungary or Romania; Zerne is found only as "Deutsch Tschernja" under Hungary. Historical dates are recorded for births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths.


Geographical Data:


Zerne House Numbers:

86 Peter Stein, Johann Stein
92 Matthias Kampf, Peter Kampf
153 Josef Frauenhoffer
242 Peter Kampf
243 Josef Kampf
250 Friedrich Kampf
263 Nikolaus Tabar, Jr., Nikolaus Tabar, Sr.


Historical Population Statistics:


Genealogical Data/Records:

4720 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA (215) 329-3692

721 Paxon Hollow Road, Broomall, PA (610) 356-8507

Christenings: 1677-1788 - Film Nr. 0858377

1788-1839 - Film Nr. 0858378

Marriage/Death: 1677-1861 - Film Nr. 0858379

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The Kampf Family Tree