The origin and the way of the GELDREICH.

As you can see on the page " The Name ", it is likely that the name Geldreich, Geltrich / Gäldrich, Gelderich, Göldrich etc… came from Switzerland.  It is there that we found the first traces in 1103, but these can not necessarily be linked with those of Ravensburg in Germany. What we know of the Geltrich family is minimal, and unfortunately nothing else is mentioned on this franc named Geltrich and his clan, the supposed founder of this village.

After having thoroughly examined the citizens lists of Ravensburg, it is certain that our family roots are in that city. In several books, we could continually find the same texts like that example:

<< The Geldrich’s belonged during 15th and 16th centuries to the most honorable families of the federal city Ravensburg. Hainrich Gäldrich is presumably the son of the Friedrich Geldrich, list of the citizen 27.III.1350, (22 and 23), and is mentioned as a guarantor in 1350, 1361 and 1364. (A guarantor was a person who could vouch for someone’s good standing). Friedrich Geldrich is mentioned as the guarantor for the first time in 1326 in the citizens list, as well as 1335, 1347 and 1350.  Conrad Gäldrich, presumably his brother, in is listed in 1335, 1338 and 1350. Conrad becomes a citizen 7/11/1331, while allowing his father-in-law Distel, a part of the house. Distel is mentioned only in 1364, 13 times as guarantor in the citizens list >>. 

The former archivist of Ravensburg, Alfons Dreher, writes in his book, " Das Patriziat der Reichsstadt Ravensburg " on the pages 191, 192 and 193 following text:

Conrad became 1408 and Heinz 1410, probably brothers, citizens of  Ravensburg.  There were two other brothers named;  the abbot Johann von Rot (1407 - 1413), and Heinrich von Weingarten, who died in 1430. They were the sons of Friedrich, born in  Ravensburg in 1383. During the 15th century, at least three Konrads were named. Konrad I had as wife Margareta, daughter of Hans Hüpschli; their son, Konrad III, had Margareta Täschlerin. Konrad II born in 1441 was married to Anastasia Brandissin. He was a son of the deceased Heinz, born in 1410.

Of the three Konrads, Konrad III is the most remarkable. He was several times head of thecourthouse as well as mayor of the city. According to records of the Castle Sigmarshofen, it is Konrad who acquired it.  In the  16th. century, another two Konrads appear.  The oldest had as his wife an Ankenreute. Since 1473, there is a Hans who had as his wife Barbara Humpis von Schachen. Of the later named Gäldrich’s, there is a Jakob who was mayor of Ravensburg several times.

In 1494 we find a Friedrich Gelderich, a son of Konrad III and Margareta Täschlerin, as mayor in Vienna until 1496.  Hans Friedrich Gelderich of Ravensburg acquired the castle Wolfsberg near Ermatingen in Switzerland. in 1595.   Friedrich G. died 07/05/1610. The Wolfsberg Castle first passed to the deceased's wife, Margaretha Schulthaiss. In 1614, the son Johann inherited the estate of Friedrich Gelderich. Hans Wilhelm Gelderich von Sigmarshofen is listed on March 20, 1623 as owner of the castle. He was born on May 14, 1583 in Ravensburg as son of Hans Friedrich and Margaretha Schulthaiss. Hans Wilhelm is a very important member of the family for us, because he is the first Geldreich we found in France.

Hans Wilhelm was leader of the supreme Council of Montbéliard. He counselled of the Duke of Württemberg in 1608. In 1615, he was chief of the Guards in Montbéliard and was subsequently elected mayor of the city of Montbéliard on January 08, 1618. He also served as Bailiff. (a Bailiff was a Judge and administrator of a Judicial circumscription (manorial or royal).

The year 1618 was also the beginning of the 30 years war (1618 - 1648) that produced a lot of chaos within the family Geldreich. There was a struggle between Catholics and Protestants.  The Protestants opposed the Hapsburg (Austria) regime that sustained the Catholics, and the Catholics opposed the Princes of the Wurttemberg who sustained the Protestants.  The territorial arguments and the religious measurements opposed the Hapsburg and the Princes.

With this understanding, it is necessary to know that at the time Ravensburg was a city in Austria under Hapsburg domination. Montbéliard was therefore a Wurttemberg principality which was Protestant, and Strasbourg was a free city and Protestant.

Bye the way, A.Dreher mentions in one of the chapters of his book that in 1629 no Gäldrich was living in Ravensburg anymore. German Protestantism was threatened during the conflict. On March 06, 1629, the emperor proclaimed an edict of restitution. This meant all ecclesiastical goods were given to the Catholics. The Geldreich’s who were Protestant were forced to flee.

In the conflict, only Strasbourg took the liberty not to conform itself to this edict.

At this time the Geldreich’s were in the Castle Wolfsberg, in a free land.  They were not worried. We also found them in the region of Strasbourg. The Branch of Hans Wilhelm being in Montbéliard (principality of the Wurttemberg) was not concerned because they lived in a principality.

During this war, the Kings of France and Sweden intervened in this conflict in order to protect the Germanic liberties.  At the time of the Swedish  intervention (1630-1634) Strasbourg got engaged with Sweden in June 1632.  At the end of August 1632, General Gustave Horn is received as a friend in Strasbourg.

It is to specify that at that moment one of our ancestors may have been Swedish. It is written in a document of booklet 84, "Thurgauische Beiträge zur Vaterländischen Geschichte" chapter “Geschichte vom Schloß, Freisitz und Gut Wolfsberg" by Jakob Hugentobler that he died in Wollmatingen near Koblenz during a fight of the war (around 1633) under the orders of the General Horn. This Geldreich must be therefore in Strasbourg.
At the beginning of 1633, Gustave Horn leaves Alsace.

When observing a map we can find the Geldreich’s near Strasbourg, in Durbach, Oppenau, Haguenau, Weitbruch, these cities were managed by Strasbourg. We easily understand why during the period of this 30 years war we can suddenly find the family in the region of Strasbourg and then in the region of Haguenau.  Having to escape the Hapsbourg threat, they had to take refuge near protected cities. 


The treaty of Worms, signed October 22, 1634, between France and Sweden assured to the King of France all cities of Alsace as well as the use of the bridge in Strasbourg. Alsace is therefore under French protection (1634 - 1648) and France occupies the whole stretch of the Rhine River from Basel to Mainz. 

With the treaty of Westphalia of October 24, 1648 Alsace became French. Strasbourg and Mulhouse remained immune from this treaty. Only later will they become French as well as the city of Montbéliard.

The Squire Hans Wilhelm Gelderich von Sigmarshofen died on January 25, 1651 and was buried in the cathedral of Basel. His son Georg Leopold inherited the Wolfsberg Castle. Like his father, he was widely known in the region of Montbéliard. Descended from the first marriage of Hans Wilhelm with Elisabetha Freudenstein (August 01, 1618), in 1667 Georg Leopold purchased the village of Allenjoie at the southeast corner of Montbéliard. 

The city of Strasbourg was a free city of the empire until 1681 when it was annexed by Louis XIV.  The city of Montbéliard was a Principality of the Dukes of Wurttemberg with Allenjoie (that was managed by Montbéliard) until 1793.

The Geldreich’s preferred to remain faithful to Germany and to the Dukes of Wurttemberg. Living far from their city of origin (that means Alsace, Black Forest and Franche Comté) we can note that their goods were sold only after the conflict (war of 30 years) and during a quiet short time.
- The castle of Wolfsberg was sold in 1701.
- The house of Ravensburg in 1728.
- The castle of Sigmarshofen in 1735.
- The castle of Allenjoie in 1743.

Another branch got settled in Russia. Unfortunately we don't know too much on this Göldrich family because previously very strong laws didn't permit people to do any kind of genealogical research.  Such activity led immediately to the suspicion of spying.  We are in contact with a member of this family branch and we hope very soon to know more of them.


In the mid to late 19th century, the conquest of the new world in the United States of America also attracted some Geldreich’s. All branches that we know of and are in contact with originated either from the Oberkirch / Black Forest region or from Weitbruch in Alsace / France.
To finish this chapter, we have noticed that marriages led to family displacements.  Many Geldreich’s were left to live in the region of birth of their wife.  Of course we should not forget that due to the aforementioned wars, the modifications of territories, famine, epidemics, the search for work, a lot of families had to move.

Today, most of the European Geldreich families live in the French region of Haguenau, and in German region of Oberkirch in the Black Forest.
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