In the year 1883 Georg v. Hirschfeld published an essay over >>The relations of Luther and his wife, Katharina v. Bora, to the family v. Hirschfeld.<< 1 The description remains until today the most extensive attempt of a
systematic composition of members of the family v. Bora, it was however already 1900 criticized reservedly as with >>artificial rearrangements << working.2
Substantial contents of his publication can be described with the fact that v. Hirschfeld assigns about 60 members of the family v. Bora to eight different stirps, and tries to prove that Catharina v. Bora (D 10) must be born as daughter of a Hans v. Bora (D 5) and a Anna v. Haugwitz on a manor in Hirschfeld nearby Nossen.3 Simultaneous v. Hirschfeld develops a total genealogy, that includes all v. Bora he knows,
and goes back to the year 1071.
With the not always convincing assignment of the individual family members to the stirps v.Hirschfeld orients necessaryly also at the sequence of the owners of that manors, which was owned a short or a long time by the family v.Bora, e.g. at the owner sequence of the manor Deutschenbora. Deutschenbora belonged anyhow from approximately 1354 to at least 1423 to the family v.Bora. But v. Hirschfeld argues, it would have been owned by the family v. Mergenthal since 1476, yet he doesn't point out how the manor Deutschenbora was acquired by this family.
This fact and the visible chasm of about 50 years v.Hirschfeld bridges with, that he argues, the last owner of the family v.Bora, Hans v. Bora (B 7), would have assumed the name v.Mergenthal and would be identical to the later Saxonian chancellor and Landrentmeister [= highest tax inspector and administrator of the finances] Hans v. Mergenthal (+ 1480).4 At the same time with this in Hirschfeld another Hans v.Bora (D 4) was
established, the grandfather of the Catharina v. Bora. v.Hirschfeld attributes two substantial life data to him: In the year 1461 Hans v.Bora pilgrimaged to Jerusalem together with Duke Wilhelm, was received a knighthood and appears as a feoffed together with Brandis of the manor Löben in the district Schweidnitz.5 In the result the assignments and assumptions made by v.Hirschfeld lead to the fact that Hans v. Bora (B 7) is identical with Hans v. Mergenthal, the chancellor and Landrentmeister, and therefore was a cousin of the grandfather of Catharina v. Bora (D 10).6
Already of the authors7 publishing around 1900 this equating of the last v. Bora on Deutschenbora with the first v. Mergenthal was not accepted. They concerned more the question of the place of birth of the Catharina v. Bora8 At the latest since 1905 for it Lippendorf had become generally accepted as the most probable assumption. 1928 v.Hirschfeld was endowed with a devastating appraisel, it would be >>almost amusing<<, if he will prove in all seriousness that a stirp of the Bora has changed name and Coat of arms and since that time has assumed the name >von Mergenthal<.9 Afterwards the all-too specious construction of v.Hirschfeld was hardly still well-known up to the year 1999.10
In this year Wolfgang Liebehenschel published on the occasion of the 500. Birthday of the Catharina v. Bora >>a study and a narration concerning the origin of the Katharina v. Bora<<.11 Therein is taken up the genealogy of the v. Bora set up by v. Hirschfeld, but without as source would have indicated to him or would have
referred however to earlier criticism.12 That nice designed small book was accepted friendly and was promoted with the hint, therein would be >>developed and published the true genealogy of Catharina v.Bora<<.13 In the circle of the Lutherid Union, to which Liebehenschel belongs, his presentation is considered as trusted knowledge.14
Like v.Hirschfeld, Liebehenschel regards Catharina v. Bora as a grandchild daughter of the older Hans v.Bora (D 4) in Hirschfeld and daughter of his son Hans v. Bora (D 5) in Hirschfeld. While however v. Hirschfeld leaves the origin of the alleged mother Anna v. Haugwitz completely open, Liebehenschel presents her as an oldest daughter of the Jhan v. Haugwitz, knight to Hirschstein, and those wife Anna v. Schönberg.15 This was married in first marriage with the Hans v. Mergenthal, chancellor and Landrentmeister mentioned above. 16 Contrary to v. Hirschfeld, Liebehenschel leaves open those origin.17 In the meantime the chancellor Hans v. Mergenthal is not only regarded in the circle of the Lutherid Union as stepgrandfather of the Catharina v. Bora.18
Since end of 2005, at the latest, these constructions must be regarded however as disproved completely,19 simply because the Anna v. Haugwitz posed by Liebehenschel to the center of his contemplations isn't provable historically.20 Nevertheless it doesn't seem impossible that the speculations of v. Hirschfeld revived by Liebehenschel will be in the future a kind of legend in common knowledge.21:
In the year 2006 Karin Jäckel published a >>historical novel<< over the life of Catharina v. Bora, wherein not only >>the wife of the Reformator<< appears as acting person but also all persons from the families v.Mergenthal, v.Schönberg and v.Haugwitz mentioned by Liebehenschel.22 With the biography of Catharina v.Bora the authoress adhered generally to the content, that is regarded as secured knowledge. Also from the sequence of incidents the novel covered the proved sample of well-established statements.23
But the chasms of knowledge concerning ancestry and childhood of Catharina v.Bora are overlapped insofar by mixing of fiction and reality as the questionability of some details isn't cognizable hardly for the reader.24
Also as far as there are more chasms in the research results, for example to the ancestry of the chancellor and Landrentmeister Hans v.Mergenthal or the pilgram to Jerusalem of 1451, Hans v.Bora (D 4), that are bridged quite imaginatively.25
Problematic it is thereby particularly that fictitious documents are noted literally, what it made very difficult to the genealogical trained reader to differentiate between fiction and historical reality.26
continued in the right column above...
The childhood of the heroine is transfered in a castle or a manor Klietzen >>between Elbe and Saale<<, regarding its location it remains uncertain whether it would be to be thought of a >>manor to the Saale<<28, a castle on the left bank of the Bode river29 close to Nienburg or of Klietzen nearby Köthen. There is presented a Hans v. Bora as father of the small Catharina v.Bora, who is married with an Anna v.Haugwitz, who loves cordially Anna, but who has a problem: both are descended from >>the house v.Mergenthal<<.
Fortunately it does not result a siblings relationship or another impediment to marriage, because Hans v.Bora is the son of an older Hans v. Bora named v. Mergenthal, by profession chancellor and Landrentmeister to Klietzen, from his 1. marriage with Elisabeth v. Schleinitz.30 Anna v. Haugwitz is the daughter of Jhan v. Haugwitz on Hirschstein and the very Anna v. Schönberg, which first was married with Hans v.Mergenthal in his second marriage, chancellor and Landrentmeister >>alias Hans v. Bora<<, and which gave to her children the sobriquet > >from the house von Mergenthal<< .31
With this quite narrative manner the authoress succeeds in attributing >>to the wife of the Reformator<< everything that some persons delight, scilicet the descendance from a very old noble family, which became famous by the heroine, descendance from three other families of the ancient Saxon nobility, the Pflug,32 v. Schönberg33 and v. Haugwitz34, as well as a relationship with a politically important personality of history, a Saxon chancellor and Landrentmeister35.
However it imposes upon the research, that it is still quite unclear, why the historical Catharina v.Bora is presented, with being of such noble stock and relationship seriously attributed by Liebehenschel36, always as coming from modest conditions and probably actually came.
After all assumption Catharina v. Bora descended from a >>Meissnic=Saxon house <<,37 however from a stirp in the border area between duchy Saxonia and the realm of the landgraves of Thuringia. The influence of her presumed father Jhan v. Bora (F2) on Lippendorf, married with Katharina v. Haubitz38, and its presumed father Hans v. Bora on Sahla in the district Weißenfels39 might hardly have gone beyond the local low jurisdiction.
The 1883 certainly still unknown, probably even not aristocratic descendance of the Saxon chancellor and Landrentmeisters Hans v. Mergenthal were already presented 1983 convincingly.40
According to this presenting he is probably identically to a escort man from Torgau Johannes Stadtschreiber first 1451 arising, who is 1464 Saxon chancellor and is ennobeled 1465 as >>v. Mergenthal<<.41 He had property nearby Zwickau (Marienthal, probably already before 1464 acquired) and close to Torgau (manor Klitzschen, since 1479), but not nearby Nossen. Such property acquired first his son of the same name by his marriage.
After newer research the manor Deutschenbora was until about 1423 in the possession of the family v. Bora.42 1476 the brothers Friedrich und Hans v.Kannenberg were feoffed with Deutschenbora.43 Ursula the wife of Hans v.Kannenberg is 1471 the owner.44 1483 Deutschenbora together with the farm and village Hirschfeld was assigned to Ilse, wife of Jorgen v.Reinsberg .45 Probably about 1485 Hans v. Mergenthal, the son of the chancellor, acquires the extended property, however he was feoffed only 1491 with it46. After his death (about 1506) the manor Deutschenbora devolved until 1523 to his widow Anna v.Reinsberg and then until 1556 to the son Wolf v.Mergenthal.47
The statement of v. Hirschfeld >>Hans (B 7), the son of the Hans v. Bora (B 4) has acquired 1422-1423 Deutschenbora. ... This Hans and his cousin Kaspar von Bora (B 8), son of Heinrich (B 5) assume since 1476 the name Mergenthal48 and found the family v.Mergenthal<< is thus a cuckoo's egg: Without sufficient proof here v.Hirschfeld merges the chancellor and Landrentmeister Hans v. Mergenthal and the brother of his mother Caspar v. Mergenthal with the genealogy of the family v. Bora.
For the v. Bora research means this a further proof for the fact that the statements of v.Hirschfeld must be examined constantly for its validity, before to its can be referred seriously.
Completely obviously v. deer field designed genealogische relations also in places, where it was actually not necessary: Completely obviously v. Hirschfeld designed genealogical relations also in places, where it was actually not necessary: The simple statement that the brothers Hans (B 4) and Heinrich (B 5) v. Bora left about 1423 the ancestral place Deutschenbora and made their home in Neukirchen, there probably they died childless, would have avoided some miscontructions.49
Thus kinsmanlike or without even economic relations between Catharina v. Bora and the family v. Mergenthal is not provable by the present state of research.
Because of the substantial differences in the respective regional and social enviroment you can hope hardly seriously to find such relations in future.50
the notes you find here...
Small commentary by Wolfgang Appell:
The Lutherid Union has made v.Hirschfeld's "results of his research" to its official genealogy by Mr. Liebehenschel. I commit the appraisement about it to the appreciated reader.
Published was this essay in "Familienkunde in Mitteldeutschland", Heft 3, Juli - September 2006, FFM 47. Jg.