Ancestral Line 3 – Matthias Pontius

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 published by Rudi Pontius of Germany.

Ancestral Line Three – Matthias Pontius (Andreas and Peter line)

The founder of the ancestral line three, Matthias Pontius (around 1680) apparently did not have a permanent residence. Together with his wife Maria Apollonia, he can be found in different church and family records of the area of Hunsrück between Enkirch, Raversbeuren, Hirschfeld, Longkamp, and Bischofsdhron, especially in connection with the baptism of children. He was supposedly a shepherd. In the catholic family book of Hirschfeld by Josef Schmieden, Matthias Pontius is mentioned as not belonging to the village.

Since neither ancestors nor siblings of Matthias could be found, it seems to be a sensible assumption that he was an “immigrant” to the area of Hunsrück. It could not be determined where Matthias Pontius came from, so we are left to our speculations. It cannot be excluded that he made his way from the Wittlicher Land to the area of Hirschfeld. His catholic faith as well as his first name Matthias, which is typical for the area of Trier, support this assumption rather then his immigration from the mainly protestant area of Birkenfeld. The assumption is further supported by the existence of another ancestral line from the area of Wittlich, whose families are predominantly catholic and whose male members are frequently named Matthias. No further details about Matthias are known with certainty. Supposedly, he stayed in the area around Hirchfield. It could not be determined when he died.

The records about his wife are sparse as well. In most church records, her first name is given as Maria Apollonia. In only one record dated October 4th, 1718, in the church family book “The Inhabitants Before 1798 of the Catholic Parish Longkamp St. Andreas Including the Affiliation Kommen” by Hans-Peter Bungert, she is mentioned with her husband, “Bontzius” Mathias, as the name Abelheim Maria. This record could be interpreted as Maria Apollonia Heim, since for the first name Apollonia, the shorthand “Abel” was commonly used. The recording of the names as Bontzius and Abelheim are probably simply different spelling variations, which can be observed frequently.

According to available records, Matthias Pontius and Maria Apollonia had four sons and two daughters. The sons Jakob and Johannes Carolus are known to have founded families of their own later.

Son Jakob, whose birth records could not be found, married Margarethe Spang on May 5, 1737, in Longkamp. According to the available church records, son Johann (March 7,1743) and the daughters Margarethe and Anna were born into the family, who lived in Longkamp. Son Johann married Anna Maria Schettgen on September 25, 1768, in Longkamp. The two had five daughters and one son, who was born on May 13th, 1769, in Longkamp, and was baptized with the name Johann. No descendents of his are known. No further records are found in the church and family books about Matthias and Maria Apollonia’s sons Johannes Adam (February 14, 1714) and Johann (April 10, 1718).

According to a record in the church book of the catholic parish of Hirschfeld, Matthias Pontius brought his 4th son, Johannes Carolus, there to be baptized on October 4, 1722. Johannes Carolus Pontius later became after Matthias Pontius the next member of line 3, which led into Saarland. The village of his baptism, Hirschfeld – his place of birth is not mentioned – is therefore considered the point of origin of this ancestral line.

It seems certain that Johannes Carolus Pontius grew up in the area of Hirschfeld. Later, he was also mentioned as a shepherd in the nearby villages Pilmeroth and Götzenroth. On October 15, 1743, he married Anna Elisabeth Eiserloh, daughter of Johann Matthias Eiserloh, in Hirschfeld. She was born around 1723-1725 in Rhaunen and died on January 25, 1763 in Gonzerath, where the family lived at that time and Johannes Carolus Pontius – after his time as a shepherd – worked as a barrel maker.

According to the available records, Johannes Carolus Pontius and his wife Anna Elisabeth had eight children, five boys and three girls. According to the records of the archive of the diocese of Trier (letter from October 22nd, 1991), the first five children were born in Götzenroth and the last three in Gonzerath.

The oldest son Johann Jakob died early at the age of 16. No further details are known about the life of the youngest son, Johannes, who was born October 5, 1760, and was two years and four month old when his mother, Anna Elisabeth, died. The three sons Matthias Nikolaus, Johannes Andreas and Peter Pontius later left their home in Hunsrueck in search of a new life in the area of what is today Saarland. They were followed by two of their sisters, Elisabeth Margaretha and Susanne Pontius. Elisabeth Margaretha married Johann Minninger of Mitlosheim. In her first marriage, Susanne married Nikolaus Bambach of Bettingen, who died in 1795 in Gresaubach. Nineteen years later in her second marriage, she wed Johannes Quinten of Bettingen-Aussen.

The path of Matthias Nikolaus Pontius (3rd generation) leads to Menningen, a village between Merzig and Beckingen (Saarland). On January 20, 1772, Matthias married Gertrud Gindorf of the neighboring village Bietzen, daughter of Mathias Gindorf and Anna Maria Ludwig. Seven children were born into the family, four boys and three girls. No marriages or descendents of them are known.

Matthias Nikolaus Pontius is mentioned as a witness in the marriage record of his brother Johann Andreas Pontius and Margaretha Rau.

Johannes Andreas Pontius (3rd generation) came from Gonzerath to Gresaubach. His profession was brick layer. It is not known if he was able to work in his profession in Gresaubach, or if he had to make his living as a day worker in the area or as a coal maker in the surrounding forests like many of the newcomers. It is however confirmed that on January 31, 1775, Johann Andreas married Margaretha Rau of Gresaubach. Margaretha was the daughter of Peter Rau and Eva Maur. Margaretha died in 1814 in Gresaubach, while Johann Andreas lived until 1837 to the age of 86. Nothing is known about a second marriage of Johann Andreas. It is likely that he lived as a widower in the family of his daughter Catharina in Nunkirchen or in that of his grandPONTIUS- Familien 7 son Peter Kiefer, who was a miller in Losheim. According to the death certificate, the grandson Peter Kiefer reported the death of his grandfather at city hall in Losheim.

Johann Andreas Pontius and his wife Margaretha Rau had 8 children, 5 boys and 3 girls. The sons Peter, Nikolaus, Jacob and Caspar died in early childhood, so of the boys, only Matthias, who was born July 29, 1787, reached adulthood. Matthias founded a family with Susanna Klein. With their descendents, they continued the Johann Andreas branch of the ancestral line 3.

The three daughters of Johann Andreas grew up to found families. Daughter Susanna married Johannes Altmayer in Gresaubach, where she died in 1842 at the age of 64. Eva was married in first marriage to the miller Jacob Kuntz (Konz) and in second marriage to Johann JOHANN. Daughter Catharina also married a miller by the name of Franz Kiefer. After the deaths of their husbands, Eva and Catharina emigrated at different times to North America together with some of their children. According to the available records, more than 20 persons of the two families embarked on the journey across the Atlantic.

The Johann Andreas Branch, continued by Matthias Pontius (1787 – 4th generation),
branches out further by his sons Matthias (June15, 1824 – 5th generation) and Peter (October 20, 1825 – 5th generation). While the descendents of Matthias Pontius (1824) had their home mainly in Gresaubach, Peter Pontius (1825) can be found after his wedding with his family in Bettingen. His later descendents lived in Bettingen as well as in Hüttersdorf and Aussen. Male descendents of his were Peter (1849), Johann (1850), Nikolaus (1858), and Matthias (1868).

Peter Pontius (3rd generation) was the third son of Johannes Carolus Pontius, who came from his birth place Gonzerath in what is today Saarland. It is not known whether he came together with his brother Johannes Andreas, or whether he set out later. Neither do we know how he first lived in his new homeland. His profession is given both as brick layer and as day worker. His name is first mentioned in a record about his marriage to Gertrud Jost in 1776 in Limbach. He lived in Limbach with his family of 10 children, six of them sons. They inhabited a house on Kirchenstraße. It is still known today as the Pontius-House, although today’s inhabitants – still his descendents – no longer bear the name Pontius.

Of the 10 children of the family of Peter Pontius and Gertrud Jost, six died as toddlers or juveniles. Only the sons Joseph (1781 – 4th generation) and Johannes (1786 – 4th generation) and daughter Elisabeth (1791 – 4th generation) later founded families of their own. It should be noted that Johannes (1786 – 4th generation) died only six days after the birth of his only child, Johannes Joseph, at the age of 31. No further details are known about the life of the child Johannes Joseph.

Daughter Agnes Elisabeth married Jakob Brachmann in her second marriage. They had six children together. No records can be found about Agnes’ first marriage.

Descendents of Agnes Elisabeth Pontius-Brachmann (2nd marriage) are among others:
Anna Maria Brachmann-Blug (1881 – 7th generation)
Nikolaus Blug (1909 – 8th generation)
Antonia Blug-Backes (1936 – 9th generation). Antonia lives with her family in the Pontius- House on Kirchenstraße in Schmelz-Limbach.

The Pontius Ancestral line 3 of the Peter Branch was continued probably only by Joseph Pontius (1781 – 4th generation), who married in 1802 Maria Redel (Rödel) in Limbach. They had four daughters and the sons Peter Joseph and Mathias. Since son Mathias died early, only Peter Joseph was left to carry on the family name.

Peter Joseph Pontius (5th generation), born in 1806 in Limbach, married Katharina Müller in 1833 in Nunkirchen. Peter Joseph was a brick layer and glass maker according to the records. After his wedding, he moved from Limbach to Nunkirchen, respectively Überlosheim. That is where supposedly the six children of the family were born, five sons and daughter Catharina, who died at the early age of three. The sons Matthias and Franz died at the ages of nine and one year respectively.

The following children grew up to found families:
Joseph Pontius (December 13,1833 – 6th generation), married in his first marriage Elisabeth Klein and lived in Büschfeld. In his second marriage he married Susanne Schütz of Rappweiler. The family then lived in Überlosheim.

Johann Matthias Pontius (August 23, 1844 – 6th generation) married Gertrud Schillo in his first marriage, Maria Catharina Thewes in his second marriage, and Elisabeth Thewes in his third marriage. Johann Matthias Pontius lived from his first wedding to his death in Büschfeld. Direct descendents of Johann Matthias can be found in Saarland as well as in other areas of Germany.

Peter Pontius (August 09, 1847 – 6th generation). He was married to Katharina Rulof of Wiesbach in 1873 and lived in Uchtelfangen and Bildstock. In 1879 he moved to Überlosheim. Ten children of his are known, descendents of them have not been found.