The Descendants of Johann Conrad Kilts
Emigrant to America
Genealogy of the Kilts Family

The KILTS site is based on the Kilts publication by Herman W. Witthoft, Sr. Excerpts from the book will be used; contact Mr. Witthoft for purchasing arrangements.
German Revisited, 1993, Martha Witthoft Kopra

In May, 1993, my husband and I visited the Kilz family in Henau for the second time. This time, we called Hilda Kilz(1) several days in advance and arranged a time for our visit. Hilda greeted us warmly and invited us into the living room. Seven family members were there: Hilda and Hermann Kilz; their son Hermann, Jr., his wife, Kerstin, and their daughter, Sabrina; Hilda's cousin, Rudolph Bauer, and his grandson, Thorsten Müller. We were disappointed that Hugo Beuscher, Hilda's brother-in-law with whom I had corresponded, could not be there; he was in the Black Forest on a holiday. Hugo and his wife, Else, live in Seesbach about five miles from Henau.

Kerstin and Thorsten both speak English, so communication was much easier than during our last visit! We talked for several hours and then enjoyed coffee and refreshments together in the kitchen. The Kilz familly lives in a large house that Hermann, Sr., built in 1963. Hilda was born in a house across the street; it was torn down some years ago. Hilda and Hermann, Sr., occupy the ground floor; Hermann, Jr., Kerstin, and Sabrina have a contemporary spacious apartment on the second floor. The family remodeled the third floor in the same contemporary style for Kerstin's parents when they visit from Lötzbeuren (in the Mosel River valley).

Hilda and Hermann, Sr., also have two daughters, Trüde and Irene. Their daughters are both married, and each has two children.

Herman, Jr., is a Chief Master Sergeant in the German Air Force and is currently stationed in Pferdsfeld, about 10 miles from Henau. He will be transferred to a base farther from home in 1994 and will commute from Henau. He maintains power equipment and said there is a possibility he will spend the summer of 1994 in Texas, training at a US military base! Kerstin works half time as a secretary in the town of Simmern. Their daughter, Sabrina, is five years old.

Hermann, Sr., is a farmer and shoemaker. Rudolph Bauer and Hugo Beuscher are farmers. Thorsten Müller attends the police academy. Hugo was a Russian POW in Yugoslavia from 1944-48. Rudolph's brother, Alfred Bauer, was killed in Russia during World War II.

For the family, Hermann, Jr., gave us a copy of Walter Glöckner's history of the town of Henau, Henau: Geschichte eines Hunsrückdorfes, published in 1987. Hermann, Jr., has been mayor of Henau since 1983, and his picture and comments are included in the introduction. (See following pages, xerox pages from the book.) Hilda's father, Philipp Bauer, was mayor of Henau from 1924-1937; her uncle, Rudolf Bauer, was mayor from 1937-1945. Their pictures are also included in the book. Hermann, Jr., pointed out several other pictures of family members. Of particular interest, listed on pages 39 and 41 are the names of men in Henau in 1743 who made payments to the castle in Gemünden. Inclluded are the names Johan Thiel Kültz and Adam Kültz, presumably brothers of our ancestor, Conrad Kültz. Also listed is Adam Kültz der jünger - Conrad's nephew? (See following pages.)

There is still a link missing between the Kilz family in Henau and our ancestor. The earliest record the Henau family has is Peter Kilz, born in 1784. In a letter to me, Hugo Beuscher commented that Kültz was later written as Kilz in Henau. He wrote:

In the case of the brothers of your ancestor, Herr Glöckner mentions Johann Diehl and Johann Adam for 1743 in his chronicle, both of whom lived in Henau. Thus, there remains only a stretch of 50 years to clarify, hence two generations, up to Peter Kilz who was born in Henau in 1784.

We encouraged the family to search the records in Koblenz because the Kellenbach church records were moved to Koblenz.

While in the Soonwald (Soon Forest) of the Hunsrück mountains, we stayed again at the Gemünder Hof in Gemünden, a few miles from Henau. The town of Gemünden is the tourist center for the area and has several shops, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, and guesthouses. A very nice resort hotel, the Waldhotel Koppenstein, is within walking distance of Gemünden. The area is very rural and isolated, untouched by the destruction of World War II. The only tourists we met were Germans enjoying the rural scenic countryside. The scenery reminded us of the Berkshires in Massachusetts and the hill country of Central Texas.

An excerpt from a pamphlet about the area notes:

According to the experts, about 850 million years ago the "Soonwald" was covered with water similar to the North Sea. "Soon" may come from two sources. One is from a Celtic word for "old" and the other an old high German word "sone" meaning pigherd. In former centuries, the Soonwald was an important meadow for grazing livestock, including cattle and pigs.

There are two castles in the area, Koppenstein and Gemünden. Koppenstein castle was built by the Dukes of Sponheim, close to the prehistoric walls, as a way of securing the route between the Mosel and Nahe Rivers...The castle of Gemünden, above the town, was also built by the Dukes of Sponheim, probably as a replacement after they lost the use of the Koppenstein castle in 1155.

We spent a pleasant morning in the Hunsrücks traveling the backroads. We stopped in Königsau at a pottery factory and store. We traveled again through Kellenbach (where our ancestors' church is located) and Schwarzerden (where Conrad Kültz' wife, Susanna Margaretha Moor, was from). We also wandered through villages mentioned on one of our guide books that described the 15-hour film, Heimat, filmed by Edgar Reitz in 1985-86. Reitz was born in the Hunsrück town of Morbach, and the film is based on his own memories and experiences. It describes the saga of the Simon family from 1919 to 1982. Reitz filmed the series entirely on location and used several Husrück villages to form the town protrayed in the series. (A friend informed us that this series played on public television several years ago.)

During our three weeks in Germany, we visited our daughter-in-law in Bruchköbel (near Frankfurt) and my husband's brother in Ludwigshafen, toured Berchtesgaden, Torhenburg, Regensburg, Wartburg Castle, Wittenberg, Quedlinburg, and visited my Witthoft cousins in the Lüneburger Heide, near Hamburg. It was a wonderful experience to revisit Germany and our Kilts cousins!

1. 1Hilda's maiden name is Bauer. She is descended from the Henau Kilz family. Her husband, Herman Kilz, is no relation and is not from the town of Henau.

Table of Contents, Kilts

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