German Ancestry

There were many Pontius immigrants that came in later years from the five identified German and French Pontius lines. Due to the research of many people we have been able to locate much of our German ancestry. The information that I am including here is copied from the book Eine Chronik der Pontius-Familien. published by Rudi Pontius of Germany. At the bottom of the page is a short description of each of the five lines and a link to more information about the line.

Rudi Pontius

Eine Chronik der Pontius-Familien.

It is in the nature of people to explore the past in order to learn how previous generations lived and survived and where they came from. In our time, more and more people are trying to find their family roots and to trace their ancestors’ paths to the countries and places that were to become home to following generations.

The results of many years of world wide genealogical research, access to a variety of data sources, and the use of the latest computer technology give genealogists excellent conditions for success in their work. These favourable conditions also inspired some members of the Pontius clan, who predominantly come from Saarland, Rhineland-Pfalz and Alsace to trace the paths of their ancestors into the past. The investigation was triggered by the so-called American cousins, whose forefathers emigrated to America more than 250 years ago in search of better living conditions.

It was in the early 1980’s when a group of American tourists on a European trip stopped in Berg Langenbach in Pfalz in order to search for traces of their Pontius forefathers. With the help of telephone books they had been able to find more than 100 Pontius families and invited them to a big family reunion in Berg Langenbach. Here, on a Sunday they gathered in a happy and relaxed meeting, with food, drinks and music in a beautiful country pub.

Language barriers were easily overcome and new family relationships were tied. Some of the German Pontius members were quite surprised to find that the American relatives knew much more about their German forefathers than the Germans that lived here. This inspired some of the people at the gathering to take on this interesting hobby. This day thus became the birthday for the genealogical research of some German Pontius family members.

Besides myself, the people that engaged in these investigations were in particular Günter and Hildegard Pontius (Schmelz-Limbach), Reinhard Pontius, (Wolfersweiler), Johannes Pontius (Schmelz-Hüttersdorf), Hermann Pontius (Schmelz), Lothar Pontius (St. Ingbert), Harald Pontius (Friedrichsthal) and Brigitte Sauer (Eppelborn). Thanks to all of them for their commitment. In addition, many helpers contributed with good ideas and other types of work to the success of this chronicle.

In particular, I would like to thank my daughter Anne Pontius-Heitschmidt, my son Martin Pontius and my grandson Pascal Heitschmidt for their help in proof-reading the text. In order to make parts of the chronicle accessible to our american cousins, they had to be translated into the english language. This translation was done by my niece, Dr. Barbara Höling, and her husband, Dr. Peter Siegel. I would like to thank them for their help. French texts that became part of the chronicle have been translated by my sister, Marie-Luise Pontius-who was also helpful in proof-reading. I would like to thank her as well.

A special thanks goes to Herrn Elmar Schmitt, Schmelz, who provided me with the first records about Pontius families in the area of Limbach and Gresaubach and helped me getting access to the necessary books at the city recording office (Standesamt) in Schmelz.

The family of Roger Jules Pontius together with Herrn Charles Berger of Beblenheim in Alsace also made an important contribution to this chronicle. They provided us with all data and several pictures of their line of descendence as well as with a very informative chronicle of their home village Beblenheim. I would like to thank them very much. Herr Hans Herrmann, Büschfeld, who owns a very large collection of old data, has to be thanked for getting us acquainted with many of our forefathers.

A thank you also goes to the local parishes for allowing us to look into their church record books and in particular to the archives of the diocese Trier that made it possible for me to search the church record books in many villages where Pontius families lived.

I also would like to thank the genealogical research office of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in Saarbruecken for allowing access to their vast database.

A special thanks to my dear wife Mathilde for her understanding and patience when I had to leave her often for many hours during the day in order to work on this chronicle.

Last but not least, I would like to mention my gratitude to the American cousins. They provided important help for our genealogical work with their written material and other information.

I would like to thank all Pontius family members that provided data and pictures. The many beautiful pictures and personal data they searched for and collected are essential for the value and the look of this chronicle. In this sense, this chronicle is truely the product of a common family effort.

We hope that with this chronicle, many Pontius families will find a guide to their forefather whom they might have been seeking for a long time.
Rudi Pontius
January 2004

Pontius – Genealogy
Since the family name Pontius is not found very often, one might assume a – however distant – family relationship between the bearers of this name. These assumed family relationships have however been unconfirmed so far. Although research in different regions of Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland and Alsace (east France), which go back in part to the time around 1560-70, revealed a total of five Pontius ancestral lines with up to 13 generations, no common ancestral parents could be found. Common features concerning first names and religion could be found for two lines but in no case was it possible to conclude the existence of a connection between the different lines.

Besides the five lines some single families and smaller family groups were found that could not be attributed to any of the lines. These individuals are not included in the chronicle.

Still the thought remains that somewhere at some point in time there was a common ancestor for all Pontius families in southwest Germany or Alsace. When researching the German telephone book countrywide one can find a total of 143 records of which 53 are in Saarland, 48 in Rheinland-Pfalz and 43 in the remaining Germany. Of the latter ones, some can be shown to be descendants of the people of Saarland or Rheinland-Pfalz.

The majority of the German Pontius families seem to live at this time in the area of Saarland. However, their ancestral lines have their beginning without exception in Rheinland-Pfalz. This can be explained by the industrialization of the area of Saarland, which caused a strong wave of emigration in the 18th and 19th century. During this period of time, many people from the agricultural area of Western Pfalz and Hunsrueck, from the Mosel River and from the Eifel came into Saarland. Among them were several sons of Pontius families who moved from the Rheinland-Pfalz area into Saarland and founded their families here.

In this chronicle, the ancestral lines 1 to 5 are represented both in the order of the individual generations and in graphical display. A total of 2,230 individuals are recorded, 938 of them bear the birth name Pontius. The other individuals are either spouses or children born into families where the mother or maternal ancestors bear the name Pontius.

For more information on each line click on the name. The pages that follow are a continuation of Rudi’s work. This includes the first 13 pages with the short descriptions of each line.

1 – Niclas, of Eborn, Germany, from whom appears to have come the Johannes, Nicholas lines in America

2 – Franz, of Hoppstadten, Germany, which is near Eborn; source of the Jakob Pontius family of Erie Co, NY

3 – Matthias, who moved around the area of Hunsruck and was a shepherd;

4 – Matthias, who sometimes had surname Pontzin, from Bettenfeld, Germany, from whom came the Nicholas Pontius line of Todd County, Minnesota

5 – Velten, of Ostheim, which was in the Alsace area.