The spelling of Kisabeth has had some strange variations in its history before finally settling on the current form sometime in the late 19th century.
It is accepted that the Kisabeth spelling started with our immigrant ancestor Johann Philipp Kisseberth. This is true but to pinpoint an exact date is troubling. Here is a very brief historical sketch of Philipp:
Johann Philipp Kisseberth as he was known in his small German farming village of Nieder Kinzig in the lovely Odenwald area of southern Hessen was born January 14, 1815. His parents were Georg Friedrich and Maria Catharina (Schimpf) Kisseberth. He was the fourth son of six children.
Philipp was only 27 years old when he arrived in Seneca County, Ohio in 1842. August 30, 1842 was the official marriage of Philipp and Eva Elisabetha Daum. This is when the spelling confusion starts. On the marriage record is shows Philipp Kissabeth and Elizabeth Dowmann (should be Elizabeth Daum) while on Philip's citizenship paper of 1856 the signature indicated Kisseberth but the name is printed Kisabeth. Throughout Philip Kisabeth Sr.'s life his name has been spelled the following ways;
Kisseberth, Kisabet, Kisabard (1860 census), Kissabeth (1860 census), and finally Kisabeth.
Actually the spelling Kisabet seems to have been used the most in Philip's lifetime. On his last will in 1892 some of the children were referred to as Kisabet. Also on my great grandfather William Kisabeth's birth and baptismal document the name was spelled Kisabet. This was in 1858.
The Kisseberth name has been in use since our ancestor Alexander Küschwert used it in the late 1500's. Once in America it was sometimes pronounced as Kisabeth. Some of the children of Georg Kisseberth, our first immigrant in 1832, used the spelling Kissabeth.
Today, Kisabeth is used by all the descendants of Johann Philipp Kisseberth (Philip Kisabeth Sr.) with one notable exception being the descendants of Frederick Kisseberth (1879-1942), grandson of Philip's brother George. He was called Fred Kisabeth throughout his adult life and his descendants still use this spelling today.
Our original name in German, Kisseberth, is pronounced as kiss-a-bart or kiss-a-bird or kiss-a-beart. Also I am told that the “r” is soft and petit instead of being hard and rolled, almost silent. In German there is no “th” pronounced the English way. The “h” could be left out to pronounce it. This all could very well explain why the spelling Kisseberth was changed to Kisabeth.
The Kisabeth name in America is alive and doing well. Next to the Küspert and Kispert spellings it ranks third in total numbers thanks to a large part on Philip Kisabeth's 53 grandchildren keeping the name going.
written April 2001 by Gerald Kisabeth