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The earliest known Knauss record is the marriage of Michael Knaus to Elisabeth Franck. I am showing them with the following conjectured children, who are all about the right age to be their descendants:
1--Michael KNAUS, m. 11-1-1515 Heumaden sp--Elisabeth FRANCK 2--?Michel KNAUSS: had children in Fellbach sp(1)?--Anna 2--?Hanss KNAUSS: had children in Fellbach sp--Kattarina 2--?Claus KNAUSS: had children in Fellbach sp--Barbara 2--?Thoma KNAUSS, m. 9-3-1565 Feuerbach: had children in Feuerbach sp--Barbara RAPP 2--?Hans KNAUS: had children in Kleinheppach sp--Barbara OSTERTAG
Was Michael possibly the first with the Knauss name? As far as can be determined, all people with the last name of Knaus or some variation thereof are related. Other early records of any Knaus are from the mid-1500s from Wurttemberg, Germany, in the area east and northeast of Stuttgart, where records from the 1550s and 1560s are known from three communities: Fellbach, Backnang, and Schwaebisch Hall.
Nobody knows for certain what the origin of the Knaus name is, but it would appear that it came into being around 1500, judging from its earliest appearances. The meaning of the name is unclear, but appears to derive from an old word for a hard blow or hit. Other possibilities are a "haughty" or bold person, or a heel of a loaf of bread. One other report of dubious provenance was that it meant a short beard. The names "Krauss" and "Knowles" are known to NOT be related names.
Are all Knausses the same family? That's unknown, but the geographical distribution implies some connection. It could be that the name Knauss, which certainly appeared fairly early as surnames go, was applied to diverse people. The problem with this concept is that we would then reasonably expect to have some account surviving of how the name was applied. Especially if the name were applied systematically across a region, it would be expected to be part of historical lore. But there are no such accounts I know of of the Knauss name. I believe it more likely that it was a name of unique origin, and that all Knauss surnames are descended from the same original.
Today, known spellings include:
It's also been speculated that Naus, Nauss, Nous and Nouse are derivations, but so far there's been no proof.
The KnaussLetter is an occasional e-mail publication on the Knauss family. Independent contributions are welcome. To receive it, just send me an email.
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