Darmstadter Strasse 99
D 64846 Gross-Zimmern
Telephone # 011-49-6071-970721 or 48119
Telefax # 011-49-6071-970777
Dear fellow Reitzels, Reitzells, Rightsels, Rightsells, Wrightsels, Wrightsells, Ritzels, Ritzells and Reutzels.
Hi… my name is Georgi Reitzel. I’m a civil engineer, sixty-five years old and I live with my wife and three children in the southern region of Germany, not very far from Frankfurt, in the quiet little town of Gross-Zimmern.
I am writing this letter to you because of my curiosity about the history and the origin of the Reitzel family. It’s just a hobby and I get much pleasure from it. To my great amazement I have discovered that there are hundreds upon hundreds of Reitzels… including all of the above spellings… living in both the United States and Canada. And you are one of those many hundreds.
And in order for you to get this letter I had to send out hundreds of letters like this one all over the US and Canada. Fortunately, I have a brother in law, Wilfried Hildebrandt, who lives in Michigan. He was kind enough to undertake the mailing for me from that state. As you may have guessed by now, I wonder if you could help me with my Reitzel family research. And if you are able to send me Reitzel related information I’ll report back to you and share my information with you. There will be no charge for that, as it will be my way of saying “thanks” to you.
Way back when I was a kid in school I remember studying famous people, their lives and their heritage. In doing so I was always amazed how their talents and traits always managed to get passed on to and trickled down to those people of the family that succeeded them. And that is still true today. You and I, too, still help shape the lives of those who follow us.
I began my Reitzel family research some twelve years ago, and I must tell you that it has given me a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction. At times I feel as if I’m the author of “Roots”. I have observed that the family is still the most important building block of society… the cement, if you will, that holds the world together. You and I are all important links in that long chain of human events. As for the Reitzel family, I’m simply trying to connect that family’s interconnecting links.
Let me briefly share with you some of the things that I have been able to dig up about the Reitzels.
It appears that the Reitzels had their origin in Germany. The name goes back hundreds of years. My own family originally belonged to the so-called Habitzheimer tribe. And it’s certainly possible, that you, too, could have originated there. This particular Habitzheimer tribe dates back to around 1620 and perhaps even beyond. I say beyond because of bits and pieces of information I have that seem to support that assumption.
I’m still in the process of trying to correlate these bits and pieces. The problem is that many church records were destroyed during the 30-years War which raged in Europe between the years of 1618 and 1648. By church records I mean things like birth, marriage or death records. Back during those early years of human life, these records were maintained by the church and not by the state.
Then there is the problem of spelling. When I began this letter you noticed that I listed nine Reitzel spellings. That they all point to one common ancestral spelling seems to be obvious. Seems like we all had one common forefather.
We do know that language is an ever-changing thing. When priests or pastors of the early Christian churches had to record the names of people, they often went by how people pronounced or spoke a name. Thus these clerks wrote things down the way they heard it, or, as some people say, they wrote it phonetically.
A famous case of Americanizing a name happened when the ancestors of the well known newscaster (now retired) Walter Cronkite arrived in America. Would you believe that their German name was actually Krankheit? Not really a very romantic name when you consider that Krankeit means “illness” in the German language. Thus, KrankHeit totally disappeared in Cronkite. It’s entirely possible that the Krankheit people themselves decided to change the spelling of their name.
According to my present state of research there are five forefathers of the German Reitzels:
1.)Martin Reitzel, Protestant, born 1593, died August 6, 1640. Lived in Kunzelsau.
2.)Johannes Reitzel, Protestant, born 1620, died May 4, 1682. Lived in Habitzheim now called Otzberg.
3.)Christoph Friedrich Reitzel, Protestant, born March 21,1700, died Dec. 14,1779. Lived in Eichstetten.
4.)Johann Ludwig Reitzel, Protestant, born 1701, died March 23, 1755. Lived in Denzlingen.
5.)Johann Raizel, Catholic, born Sept. 19, 1697, died Nove. 17, 1746 From Kirchhausen now Heilbronn.
At present I’m still in the process of establishing the links and the family connections between the above listed Reitzel members. Insofar as th eearliest recorded American Reitzel is concerned, there is or was a certain Adam Reitzel, who was Protestant, born in Germany in 1751, and who died in America on July 18, 1792, in the town of Liberty, in the state of North Carolina. I have yet to find out where in Germany Adam Reitzel came from. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you had that information?
My genealogical detective work has also uncovered the fact that the Reitzels also lived in countries other than Germany. Reitzels were also known, for example, to have lived in Alsace-Lorrain, France. Alsace-Lorrain used to be a German possession. The following is a list of dates and places in Alsace-Lorrain:
1) Meistratzheim, 1619, Catholic. 2) Strassburg, 1614, Protestant. 3) Engenthal, about 1700, Protestant. 4) Dachsburg, (Daba), about 1700 Protestant.
I discovered already that a certain Reitzel from Canada, had a direct link to a Reitzel from the above town of Meistratzheim.
It might interest you to know that I have put all of my collected Reitzel data on computer via the so-called AHNDATA software program. This ingeneous software program enables me to print out family trees for every Reitzel that is in that program.
To date I have collected 775 US Reitzels, 109 US Reitzells and 153 US Reutzels and they are all in my computer.
During the years 1985, 1987 and 1993 I wrote letters to approximately 200 Reitzels living in the US and Canada. And now that I have been able to expand my Reitzel database, thanks to what is known as CDROM Phone Discs, I am now planning to solicit even more information.
Here are some of the things I would like to ask you to send me if you possibly can:
1.)Do you have a family tree?
2.)Do you have names and dates and places written in family Bibles?
3.)Do you have any information about where your ancestors came from?
4.)Do you have any photographs, showing: people, buildings, signs with the name Reitzel written on them?
If you do have photographs – could you please have them copied and then write on the back any information that would be helpful.
Don’t worry if the information you have is only partial. Anything and everything will help me in solving the “Reitzel puzzle”.
And now comes the best part. After I have received from you what I consider is sufficient information about your Reitzel family, I will print out on my computer your family tree and will then send it to your address provided I am able to locate your ancestor within the collected data. I promise! And it will not cost you a cent.
Looking very much forward to your response.