Johann Gottfried Biedermann

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Johann Gottfried Biedermann (born August 19, 1705 in Plauen , Vogtland , † July 11, 1766 in Untersteinach ) was a genealogist for the Franconian region .

Professional career as a theologian

The saddler's son Johann Gottfried Biedermann enrolled at the University of Leipzig in 1727 and studied theology there . He finished his master's degree , was ordained in Bayreuth in 1736 and went to Kitzingen in July of the same year .

The publication Spiritual Talks of the Dead already during his student days was viewed in 1739 as an attack on the Catholics. He was dismissed by the patron saint Friedrich Karl von Schönborn-Buchheim , the bishop of Würzburg . As a private citizen, he settled in Markt Einersheim in July 1739 . His wife, the daughter of the law firm Anna Maria Klein, whom he married in 1738, also came from there. In addition to children who died at a young age, he had two offspring who reached adulthood.

In 1742 he got a job at the Aufseß parish , the patron saint was the von Aufseß family . He changed as pastor in 1748 or 1749 to the parish of Untersteinach near Kulmbach .

Genealogical work

The Legacy of Johann Gottfried Biedermann is an extensive genealogical reference work in several volumes. It is considered a standard work. The volumes contain drawn family trees of the families mentioned, often over several pages, divided according to the various lines. The strength of this collection is the treatment of numerous lower aristocratic families, about which otherwise little literature is available, whereby the family trees offer approaches for more recent research. The works appeared between 1745 and 1752. Small editions have been reprinted up to the present day and are part of larger libraries.

Biedermann was mainly an editor. This can be seen from the respective titles of his publications, for the canton of Steigerwald the title reads in detail:

Gender register - The Reichs = Freyunmittelbaren - Ritterschabric Landes zu Francken, - Praiseworthy places - Steigerwald - Which - From the most proven documents, purchase = fiefdom = and - Heyraths = letters, collected grave inscriptions - and obtained exact - messages - described from the inside - Gräflich = Freyherrlich = and noble houses - in - present order and properly put together - by Johann Gottfried Biedermann.


The work received criticism mainly because of the selection of its sources and their inadequate references in the text. However, this corresponded to the research approach of the time. Since Biedermann received some of his information from the family members who were still alive, a sufficient distinction was not made between tradition and scientific support. Narrative exaggerations and partisan representations to prove claims cannot be ruled out. In the early days of the sexes, the work is particularly flawed. Often people from partly fictional tournaments are listed, whose tournament lists were created afterwards in order to be able to prove a supposedly long family tree. The purely graphic representation of the family trees, which pretends to be complete, and that it was not necessarily customary to work with omissions or footnotes in the absence of sources, certainly also contributed to the inaccuracy. Individual statements for detailed references can hardly be found.

The renowned local researcher Lambart Graf Oberndorff wrote in 1931 in the journal St. Michael zu Biedermann's remarks about the von Schlammersdorf family in the volume about the knightly canton of Gebürg:

“Biedermann fantasized incredibly, especially with the Schlammersdorfer. Usually without dates, often with wrong ones! He doesn't know a single one of the documented Schlammersdorfer from the 14th century! [...] By the end of 1400, almost all wives should have been invented, as was the majority of panel 211, unless they are spiritual persons. "

- Lambart Graf Oberndorff, St. Michael

Structure of the volumes

Title page of the genealogical register of the knightly canton Altmühl from 1748

The volumes contain:


  • Knightly parish book of Franconia . Page 24, no.173a. Published as a single work as Volume 58 of the series From the Church History of Bavaria , Degener, Neustadt / Aisch 1979.
  • Johann Gottfried Biedermann: Gender = register of the empire - Frey - immediate knighthood of the Landes zu Francken praiseworthy place = Gebürg ... , Bamberg 1747.
  • Johann Gottfried Biedermann: Gender = register of the Reichs Frey immediate knight creates land to Francken praiseworthy place Ottenwald… , Kulmbach 1751.
  • Johann Gottfried Biedermann: genealogical register of the Reichsfrey immediate knighthood of the Landes zu Franken Praiseworthy place on the Altmühl… , Bayreuth 1748.
  • Johann Gottfried Biedermann: genealogical register of the Reichsfrey immediate knighthood of the Landes zu Franconia praiseworthy localities Rhön and Werra ... , Bayreuth 1749.
  • Johann Gottfried Biedermann: Gender register of the laudable knights in Voigtlande ... , Kulmbach 1752.


Web links

Wikisource: Johann Gottfried Biedermann  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. St. Michael magazine, 1931.