The Knaussletter

Summer, 2001

The Knauss Descendancy

The Knauss descendancy is at my website: It is the most complete yet, with quite a bit of recent work being done. Instead of a straight descendancy, it is being gradually reworked into hypertexted family groups. That means that instead of straight text, each family group is listed with parents and children; the parents' names are links back to their parents, while the children's names link forward to their own families. It's far from done, but bear with me while I work on it.

The New Jersey Knauss Brothers

Two brothers are known to have established families in northern New Jersey: Jacob Knauss and John George "Honiery" Knauss.

From David Kanouse,

According to the History of Outagamie County, Wisconsin (1912), Jacob Kanouse, progenitor of the Morris County Kanouse family, was born 12 August 1733 in Wurttemberg in the German Palatinate. He died in Rockaway Valley, Morris County, New Jersey on 14 September 1821, "aged 88 years and 26 days," which implies a later birth date in the same month. Jacob is said to have come to America with his brother John George ("Honiery") about 1750. An early family tradition, documented by Judge John L. Kanouse in Munsell's History of Morris County, New Jersey, is that Jacob and Honiery were accompanied by an older half-brother who, upon their arrival in New York, went ashore first with the common purse and failed to return, leaving them unable to pay for the passage. The ship's captain sold them into service for a number of years. After serving his time, Jacob settled by 1766 in the Rockaway Valley, near the present town of Boonton, New Jersey. He purchased land in 1768 and built a large frame house at Powerville, in what is now Boonton Township, that has remained in the hands of his direct descendants for over 230 years. (I had the privilege of seeing it a few years ago.) "Jacob Knowse" appears in a list of Morris County ratables living in Pequannock Township in May 1778, when he was assessed for 100 acres of land and 15 horses and/or cattle. In November 1795, Jacob and his son, Jacob Jr., signed the statement of incorporation of the Reformed Dutch Church at Lower Montville.

Jacob's brother John George ("Honiery") settled at Newfoundland, Bergen County, New Jersey, not far from where Jacob lived. I am fairly certain that he is the Johan Georg Knauss whose baptism was recorded at the Evangelische Kirche Dornhan in Wurttemberg 2 April 1736. The church record says that he and his brother Jacob went to "Pennsylvania," which could be a broad reference to "America." Or the brothers may have set out for Pennsylvania and ended up in New Jersey instead. John George died at Newfoundland, Pompton Township, Bergen County, New Jersey 7 December 1810. He had a son, Jacob, born 10 June 1762, from whom I am descended. Quite a few of the Kanouses in the area of Newark and East Orange during the late 1800s are descendants of this Jacob. Another son, John Kanouse, born about 1765, removed to Manchester, Ontario County, New York, where he had a very large family. Those are the only two children I'm aware of, though I suspect there may have been daughters.

I hope to have this descendancy posted at my web site in the near future. If anyone knows anything about the identity of the third brother, please let me know.

About Conrad Knauss, Son of Gottfried

One of the relative dead ends in the 1930 Knauss genealogy was Conrad Knauss, son of Gottfried. His section in the genealogy reads:

16. Conrad Knauss lived in Whitehall Township, Lehigh Co., Pa., at the time of the United States Census of 1790 and is reported with a family of one male over 16 years of age, two males under 16 years and two females. He enlisted during the Revolutionary War in 1776 as a private in Capt. Henry Hagenbuch's Company of Associators in Northampton County, which formed a part of the Flying Camp of 10,000 men (Pa. Arch., ser. 5, vol. 8, pp. 99 and 532). Issue:

  1. Christian, b. about 1788. [Christian has his own section under number 38].
  2. son.
  3. daughter.

The section for Christian, then, reads:

38. Christian Knauss was born in Lehigh, Co., Pa. Tradition states that, upon the death of his father, the widow married George Oberdorff and moved to Northumberland Co., Pa. With the family about 1785-1789, when Christian was only four years old. At the the age of 22 he married Catharine Straw of Adamsburg, Snyder Co., Pa. About 1828 he moved to Susquehanna Gap, Juniata Co., Pa., where he lived the remainder of his life. He died in 1852, aged about 65 years, and is buried in Barners Cemetery, near Liverpool, Pa. His wife survived him three years. Issue:

  1. Elizabeth, mar. Philip Peter; res. Bucks Co., Pa.
  2. David lived in Bucks Co., Pa. His second wife was Magdalena, widow of his brother Herman.
  3. Daniel, b. 9 Mch. 1812. [Daniel has his own section under number 84].
  4. Sarah, mar. Abraham Wilt.
  5. Magdalena, mar. Henry Leiter, a Mennonite preacher.
  6. Herman. [Herman has his own section under number 85].
  7. Samuel; unmar.; buried in Barners Cemetery, Perry Co., Pa.
  8. Margaret, mar. Joseph Kain.
  9. Catharine, mar. Henry Zellers; res. Juniata Co., Pa.

As may be seen, there's a conflict in dates here between the two. There is then another group, the family Abraham Knouse, son of John C. Knouse, which file was found in the Snyder County, Pennsylvania, Historical Society and sent to me by Ron Knouse,

Descendants of John C. Knouse

Generation No. 1

1. JOHN C.1 KNOUSE was born Bef. 1755, and died Bef. Feb 1834. He married MARY CATHERINE ?----. She was born 25 Mar 1752, and died 07 Feb 1834 in Union County (now Snyder Co.).

Child of JOHN KNOUSE and MARY ?---- is:

2. i. ABRAHAM2 KNOUSE, b. 18 Jan 1776; d. 26 Nov 1833, Penn Twp. Snyder Co..

Generation No. 2

2. ABRAHAM2 KNOUSE (JOHN C.1) was born 18 Jan 1776, and died 26 Nov 1833 in Penn Twp. Snyder Co.. He married HANNAH RITTER, daughter of PHILLIP RITTER. She was born Unknown, and died Unknown.


This file continues to list descendants, which aren't included here, but are at the descendancy site.

Considering the Pennsylvania location and the early date of John C. Knouse's birth, he almost certainly must be a grandson of Ludwig Knauss, and the potential candidates are few. The only two candidates that are real possibilities are two sons of Gottfried Knauss, eldest son and eldest child of Ludwig: Conrad and John. John is listed as a child of Gottfried with NO further information. There is no known information about him, period, beyond the listing in the 1930 genealogy. However, there is the further listing on Conrad, as shown above. A reasonable assumption is that John either died young, or that, considering other information, he didn't really exist.

To understand the problem and its possible solution, it's necessary to understand the German naming conventions of the 1700s. Children were commonly given two or more names; Ludwig's christening name was Johann Ludwig Knauss. However, it was normally the MIDDLE name that was the familiarly-used name, while the first name was an honorific. This is why Johann Sebastian Bach had multiple sons with the first name of Johann or Johannes, and why Ludwig did also--and had multiple daughters with the first name of Anna. For a child to be given more than one name during this period, it's virtually certain that the middle name was the commonly-used one, even for German families in the U.S. Remember that these families, including the Knauss family, were in fairly isolated communities that tended to be still fairly homogeneously German, and tended to continue German conventions.

Therefore, a boy named John C. Knouse at this time almost certainly would have been known by the "C.", whatever it stood for--and the reasonable assumption here is that it was Conrad. Later generations, not understanding these naming conventions, might easily have misunderstood the proper use of a name, which is why the file gives the name "John C. Knouse" and not "John Conrad Knouse" or "Johann Conrad Knouse." Incidentally, the name change from Knauss to Knouse was extremely common, happening all over the place in various branches of the family, and so is simply not a part of this issue. Thus, it is assumed that Abraham was the missing son of Conrad. Everything fits.

The missing daughter was apparently this record:

Birth Index: Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1680-1800
Knauss, Anna Margaret Child's Birth/Baptism Date : 2 May 1773
Location : Ziegel Lutheran Church, Weissenberg Township
County : Lehigh
State : Pennsylvania
Father : Conrath Knauss
Mother : Mrs. Catharine Knauss

End of document