March 2004 Information

 Hello again family members. Sorry we skipped our information page the last few months but we’re back now.


Some news to report:

 1.    Our 90 yr. old cousin Edward Kisabeth had hip surgery and is recovering nicely reports his daughter Kathryn Kisabeth.

2.    Our dear father Foster B. Kisabeth ( 95 yrs. Old in May 2004) is still collecting stamps although his eyesight is poor. Fos has collected stamps for over 80 years. He is now living in Lutheran Heritage Center in Livonia, Michigan and loves it there. Each Wednesday the family (Joan, Erin, Barbara and Pam with subs Kerry, Bryan, Ken and Charlie) play Euchre with Fos. He loves it but says the girls “yak” too much!!!

3.    Robert McClellan Kisabeth Sr. is trying to complete his autobiography. Robert lives on Kiawah Is., SC and has had an incredible life especially his WWII exploits.

4.    Wayne Kispert of Orlando Florida has just ordered our History Book & will attempt to attend our 14th Annual Reunion on August 7, 2004. Wayne has some very interesting family heirlooms to share with us at the reunion.

5.    Received a few nice emails from our German cousins, Michael Joe Küspert of Berlin & Holger Küspert of Colberg. I also received a very nice Holiday card from cousin Wolf Christian Küspert of GELO in Weißenstadt in Bavaria.

6.    I am working on putting a booklet on our WWI Bavarian pilot, Otto Kissenberth. Over the last few years I have assembled quite a collection of pictures & articles on Otto.

7.    ATTENTION – Many of you have received an advertisement from a group in Denver, Colorado promoting a book called “The 2004 International Kisabeth Family Yearbook.”  This is just an Internet generalized scam and does not list specific genealogy on our family. They list telephone numbers of the surname and a few general information items. Nothing on research. So BEWARE!!!!

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Kisabeth Switzerland Connection



There is a notable Swiss connection in the ancestry of our specific Kisabeth Family of Mark Township, Defiance County, Ohio. Let me explain:

Yoder-Switzerland connection.

1. My grandfather, William Earl Kisabeth and my grandmother Carrie May McClellan were married in 1909. Her grandmother was Charity Yoder. All American Yoder’s whose ancestry is known or suspected trace their linage to the Joder clan in the canton of Bern in Switzerland.

Good-Switzerland connection.        

2 .Our Rosa Belle Balser’s (1865-1937), wife of William Kisabeth (1858-1932) grandfather was a Joseph Good. The Pennsylvania Good surname was spelled Gutt/Guth in Switzerland.

Schantz-Switzerland connection.

3. Our Kisabeth ancestor Johann Philipp Kisseberth (Philip Kisabeth Sr.) married Eva Elisabetha Daum, daughter of  Johann Nicolaus & Anna Maria König of Ober-Kinzig, Germany.  Johann Shantz, a Swiss Mennonite family name, is mentioned among the Anabaptists as early as 1541 in the canton of Bern, Switzerland.  In 1567 a Hans Tschantz of Kiesen, canton of Bern, was imprisoned for his faith.

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All American Yoders whose ancestry is known or suspected trace their lineage to the Joder clan in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. They are a very old family, apparently of Germanic-Swiss stock, yet the name comes from St. Theodore (Theodorus, Theodulus) a missionary monk who in the fourth century crossed the Alps from Italy to bring the gospel to the Valais country in southern Switzerland." (Yoder Newsletter, Vol.1, No.1 - May 1983)

Our Yoder ancestors came from the area that is now known as Switzerland. People of Celtic origin were living in the area by the year 500 B.C. These people were called Celts because of the language they spoke, rather than because of the race to which they belonged. The ancient Celts were known for their wit, their love of liberty, and their bravery in battle. The Celts in Europe developed a Gaulish language (a very early form of German). They spread across northern Europe as far west as England and Ireland, but were gradually absorbed by other races or were killed by the Romans and by barbarians who rose to power in Europe. In the year 58 B.C. the Roman armies, lead by Julius Caesar, moved into what is now called Switzerland and took control of the area. They named this Roman province Helvetia and controlled the area until about the year 400 A.D., when two Germanic tribes, the Alemannians and the Burgundians, settled there. The Franks, another Germanic people, defeated these tribes by the early 500's. We can speculate that our ancestors developed from this mix of peoples and that somewhere in this genealogical mixing bowl our "Yoder ancestor" struggled to raise his family and defend his home.

A missionary monk, in the fourth century, crossed the Alps from Italy to bring the gospel to the Valais country of southern Switzerland. His name was Theodore (later St. Theodore). He did establish a church in the area, and sometime later, as surnames became needed, a clan of people in the Canton of Bern adopted a shortened form of the name Theodore - Joder - as their surname.

The name YODER traces back to St.. Theodore, the first bishop of Octodorus in the Martigny-Valais district of southern Switzerland. Swiss scholars maintain that the name St. Theodulus of mediaeval times, as well as the French Theodule, are but variants from the original Theodorus. Dr. Eugen Gruber of Switzerland stated that in earlier times the accent was on the third to last syllable and the interchange of the l and r was frequently made. This change in accent is the only linguistic shift in the derivation of the name, according to Dr. John Howard Yoder, distinguished theologian of Elkhart, Indiana, and he explained step by step how the evolution from Theodorus to Joder had become a matter of simple normal effect in pronunciation. It may be a surprise to those Yoders who thought their name came from a clan of yodellers in the Alps to discover that the fact is stranger than the fiction, but the Swiss leave no doubt as to the derivation of the name

The name "Yoder" has many spelling variations. In Europe it is usually spelled "Joder". In the German language the letter "J" is pronounced like the English "Y". Other spellings: Jotter, Yotter, Yothers, and YODER.

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The surname Gutt/Guth/Good is an old Swiss name which can be traced back to the 14th Century. The name has always been very prominent in the area of Sargans, in canton St. Gallen, eastern Switzerland, where it is still very common.

The name is pronounced by the Swiss with a long “o” sound. The correct Swiss pronunciation of the name sounds very much like the English word “goat” pronounced without the “o-u” diphthong glide which is characteristically English.

The name Guth has almost invariably been changed to Good.

Documents show one of the earliest Anabaptist leaders was an Andreas Gutt who was born circa 1530 at Lunnern, Otterbach, Switzerland.

Our earliest known ancestor was Isaac Good believed to be the father of our Joseph Good (1799-1860) in Hempfield  township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Both father and son appeared on the 1830 Federal Census of Pennsylvania.

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In March, 2004,  I  received an email from a Rob Schantz in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. It seems he came across our web site and wanted to contact us. Rob’s  Schantz ancestors hail from the same little farming community in Germany as our Kisseberth/Kisabeth ancestors.

This specific Schantz family history is traced back to the little republic of Switzerland. The first progenitor of whom there is positive knowledge, being Benedict Schantz, who was born in Canton Berne, Switzerland in 1643 and immigrated to the “Kinzig” area as a young man.

The Schantz name was widespread in the small communities of the area for the next three centuries and still is seen today. The Schantz family was area farmers and one family even operated the Schantz Mills in Middle-Kinzig (Mittel Kinzig).

Rob’s direct ancestor left the Middle-Kinzig community in the Odenwald area of Hessen, Germany back in the mid 1800s. The Schantz family relocated in Dayton, Ohio and founded the Schantz & Schwind Brewing Company (later called the Dayton Brewing Company).


In conclusion, our specific Kisabeth/Kisseberth paternal line is German (Bavarian) but we have three intersecting maternal branches with definite Swiss bloodlines.

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Gerald Kisabeth            March 2004


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