a small village located in the “Odenwald” 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
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.
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.
Evangel. Pfarramt Kirch-Brombach
Evangel. Pfarramt Sandbach
Evangel. Pfarramt Höchst
sche Familien-Zeitschrift” XV, 147
Diehl “Hassia Sacra” IV, 27
der Hessischen Familiengeschichtl.
Schafer “Die Familie Schafer-Mertz”. (1977)
Phil.Wilhelm Luck: “Versuch einer Reformation und Kirchen-Geschichte der
Grafschaft Erbach und Herrschaft Breuberg” Frankfurt 1772
December 2000 by Gerald L. Kisabeth