Alexander Kisseberth (Kuschwert)




                                    In a small village located in theOdenwald” area of Hessen, Germany there lays a quaint but very picturesque church called the Evangelische Pfarramt Kirch-Brombach (The Lutheran Church of Kirch-Brombach). This little church has been in existence since 1487 and is still in use today.  Why is this little church significant? Because our direct ancestor Alexander Kisseberth (Küschwert) was appointed parish minister there in 1587.

            A short history of this village and its church may help the reader to understand our Kisseberth connection here. 


   The town of Kirch-Brombach forms the center of an area known as “Brombachtal,” a collection of more than a dozen small villages in the rolling countryside of the Odenwald near the larger town of Bad Konig. The village is mentioned since the 11th century. The oldest name form was Brambuch, also Brambach and Branbach. A portion of the word, “Brom” or “Bram” signifies “blackberry.” As mentioned above Kirch-Brombach was one of 14 villages comprising a “Zent.” A Zent was an administrative district (originally meant a group of 100 men). The Brombach Zent comprised all the villages of the Kirchspiel (parish or pastorate). Kirch-Brombach was the main or center of this group of towns. At the time of the Reformation our village played a very important part in the Earldom of Erbach and Dominion of Breuberg governed by the mediatized prince

            The most impressive feature of the town of Kirch-Brombach today is the church. The church has its beginnings in 1463, when the tower was built. The other parts of the church were reconstructed in 1714-15. People from many neighboring towns use the church today as they did four to five hundred years ago.

            After reviewing a little background on both the village and church of Kirch-Brombach, we come to our ancestor Alexander Kisseberth. Alexander Küschwert was born on Christmas day 1561 in the town of Wertheim am Main. His father, Georg (Jorg) Kuschwert was the innkeeper at “Zum Strauß” in Wertheim.

            In a 1909 book by Georg Erler titled “Die Iungere Matrikel der Universitat Leipzig 1559-1809”, it lists Alexander Küschwert as being a student in the winter term of 1579. According to the very old records of the choir of the church in Wertheim, Alexander received, via the choir administrator and on the count's orders, a semiannual stipend from 1579 until 1586 for attending and possible teaching at the University of Leipzig. This amount was paid to his father, Georg.  The receipts all begin with the words…”I, Georg Kueschwerdt…” Because it was done in quite excellent handwriting, one may assume that these receipts were done by one of his sons, namely Alexander himself.

            At the command of Count von Löwenstein, Alexander was recalled from the University on June 9, 1587. On the recommendation of his highest official (then called Befehlshaber), Dr. Johann Coch at Dreuz, Count Löwenstein of Wertheim appointed him pastor of the Kirch Brombach church. The instructions given by Dr. Coch were, “Once (Alexander Kueschwerdt) has been examined and once you have heard a sample sermon and you have found all to be satisfactory, you may ordain him as written.”  He was to continue ministering in the community for the next twenty-five years.

            He was married to Ottilia (her last name was not known). They were the parents of two boys Hans Georg and Leonhard. The oldest was later to become an owner of some houses in the area as documents list his name in Latin as Johann Georius Kisebartus. The youngest son of Alexander and Ottilia Kisseberth was the well-known criminal magistrate at Castle Breuberg, Leonhard Kisseberth.

            Alexander Kisseberth died in Kirch-Brombach in 1619 at 58 years of age. It is said that he is buried on the grounds of the church.

It is with this specific ancestor, Alexander that our name changes to the Kisseberth spelling. He was born Alexander Küschwert in 1561 and died as Alexander Kisseberth in 1619. This spelling was not immediate but occurred over a span of years. Other spellings of the name during this time were: Kueschwert, Khueschwerdt, Kuiswirth, Kisebert, and Kisibert.

            My immediate family (myself, my wife Pam, my two sons Daniel and Andrew) and my father Foster B. Kisabeth visited this beautiful area in the summer of 1989. A small but historical event took place on a Sunday morning in 1989. In this quaint old Evangelical church at Kirch Brombach, the 8th, 9th and even 10th great grandsons of Alexander (Kueschwert) Kisseberth attended services.

            Since 1989, other family members to visit the church have been Gordon and Michele Kisabeth and Nancy (Kisseberth) Cole.

            If you are visiting Germany, in particular the Odenwald area of Hessen, please visit the small village of Kirch-Brombach. It is in this quaint, old church where our ancestor Alexander (Kueschwert) Kisseberth held his services over 400 years ago.



Kirchenbucher Evangel. Pfarramt Kirch-Brombach

Kirchenbucher Evangel. Pfarramt Sandbach

Kirchenbucher Evangel. Pfarramt Höchst

“Merck sche Familien-Zeitschrift” XV, 147

Wilhelm Diehl “Hassia Sacra” IV, 27

“Hessische Familienkunde” 4,618

Mitteilungen der Hessischen Familiengeschichtl.

Vereinigung 4,110; 4,444

Alfred Schafer “Die Familie Schafer-Mertz”. (1977)

Hermann Ling, Darmstadt

Johann Phil.Wilhelm Luck: “Versuch einer Reformation und Kirchen-Geschichte der Grafschaft Erbach und Herrschaft Breuberg” Frankfurt 1772


Written December 2000 by Gerald L. Kisabeth

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