1. Johann Michael Christmann
        Anna Maria Margaretha Kratz
abt 1796
2. Valentin Johann Christmann
        Barbara ?
12/23/1756 Jettenbach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
3. Jacob Wilhelm Christmann
        Elizabeth Schaffner (m 1821)
9/21/1788 Torscha, Batschka, Hungary
5/23/1793 Berlenbach, Rhienland-Pfalz, Germany
1/27/1853 Freudental, Groszliebental, Russia
7/28/1860 Freudental, Groszliebental, Russia
4. Johann Heinrich Christmann
        Elisabetha Freuer (Freier)(m 1847)
3/23/1825 Freudental,Groszliebental, Russia
10/20/1827 Freudental, Groszliebental Russia
5. Heinrich Christmann
        Carolina Barbara Ziegler (m 1876)
6/21/1849 Freudental/Grossliebental, Russland
6. Johann Christman
        Katharina (Katy) Kessler (m 1913)
4/27/1892 Freudental/Odessa/Russland
7/11/1891 Russia
4/11/1962 Lemmon, SD, USA
7/16/1974 Lemmon, SD, USA
Children of Johann Michael Christmann
  • 1756, 12/23: Valentin Johann
  • 1760, 8/13: Michael Johann II
  • 1763, 1/23: Daniel Adam Johann
  • 1768, 4/4: Wilhelm Johann
  • 1770 abt: George Nikolaus
Children of Valentin Johann Christmann
  • 1788, 9/21: Jacob Wilhelm
  • 1794: Friedrich
  • 1795, 3/28: Andreas
Children of Jacob Wilhelm Christmann
  • 1823, 2/15: Susanna
  • 1825, 3/23: Johann Heinrich
  • 1828, 4/27: Barbara
Children of Johann Heinrich Christmann
  • Heinrich         •Catharina Elisabetha        •Susanna
  • Caroline          •Johann Jacob
  • Jacob              •Jacob II
  • Carl                •Christine
  • [3 others died as young children and 1 other as a baby.]
Children of Heinrich Christmann
  • 1877, 3/3: Elisabeth
  • 1881, 9/9: Karl
  • 1884, 1/6: Heinrich
  • 1885, 11/2: Wilhelm
  • 1892, 4/27: John        [3 others died as young children.]
Approximately 800 villages were founded in Hungary by German settlers from 1711 to 1750. These German settlers came from the regions known as Baden, Württemberg, Alsace, Lorraine, the Rhineland, Westphalia, Bavaria, and Swabia, as well as from other areas. Even though they came from various regions and spoke various dialects, the Hungarians called them Swabians, and the name came to be used in reference to all Germans who settled in the Danube valley.

Although there had been German emigration to Hungary prior to 1711, the expulsion of the Turks resulted in an organized settlement program sponsored by the Habsburgs. The Habsburgs had three aims: 1) fortify the land against invasion, 2) develop farm land, and 3) further the Roman Catholic religion in Eastern Europe. They offered Catholics of the southwest German states inducements such as free agricultural land, home sites, construction materials, livestock, and exemption from taxes for several years.

The colonization came to be known as "der Grosse Schwabenzug" or the "Great Swabian Trek." The majority of the migration took place in three phases which were named after their Habsburg sponsors:

  • The "Karolinische Ansiedlung," or Caroline colonization occurred from 1718 to 1737. Fifteen thousand German settlers from this colonization were killed in Turkish raids or died from bubonic plague. This migration was restricted to Roman Catholics.
  • The "Maria Theresianische Ansiedlung," or Maria Theresian colonization occurred from 1744-1772. Seventy five thousand German colonists rebuilt many of the settlements that were destroyed by the Turks. Again, this migration was restricted to Roman Catholics whose lives were filled with hard work.
  • The "Josephinische Ansiedlung," or Josephine colonization took place under Joseph II from 1782 to 1787. This phase consisted of approximately 60,000 new German settlers who increased the economic prosperity of the Hungarian farm land. This migration was open to Protestants as Emperor Josef II had granted freedom of religion in the Habsburg Empire by that time. The Christmanns, including my Great Great Great Great Grandpa Valentin Christmann, who was a Protestant, was in this group with destination Torscha, Batschka, Hungary. There is evidence below that the actual year of immigration was 1784.
Travel from Germany to Hungary was done with a covered wagon and horses, as pictured on the right, or by the Ulmer-Schachteln, as pictured on the left, a type of houseboat that brought people down the Danube.

Hungarian German Immigrants Waiting to be Assigned Property
After 1789, the government-sponsored colonization was discontinued, but some settlers continued to arrive in Hungary until 1829, after which only those with 500 Guilders cash were allowed to migrate. Torschau (Torza) (known , now, as Savino Selo, Serbia ), Batschka, Ungarn, Austria-Hungary, in a region including the middle of the Danube, came under Hapsburg ownership at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. At the time wide stretches of the land were swampy and almost devoid of people. The first years were very difficult for the settlers in all of the Batschka. There were countless setbacks in reclaiming the wastelands. To these were added major difficulties and catastrophes. The climate was new to the settlers. That was especially true of the heavy rains that had created all of the swamps and threatened to take over again. The dampness in the quickly constructed houses and the contaminated water that was available led to sickness, swamp fever and countless victims. Epidemics followed so that the survivors were homesick and felt betrayed.

Everyone Participated in the Harvest
Felix G. Game provides a sketch of the housing and the general standard of living of these German colonists:

"There is a striking uniformity in the way the households were arranged, which may have been dictated by necessity, or perhaps by custom - if not by a higher decree (it is reported that Empress Maria Theresia, who actively encouraged colonization, took a personal hand in designing a "typical farmhouse" as she saw it). The houses had white plaster exteriors, the wall facing the street was gable-shaped, following the roof-line. There were three rooms, a 'front room' at the end of the house closest to the street, a kitchen, and behind it the 'back room' where the entire family lived, grandparents, parents and children (the older boys often preferred to sleep in the stable). Behind the back room, the floor plan allowed for stairs going up into the attic, and a tool room. Walls were made of clay brick or a clay-straw mixture without insulation of any kind. The roof was covered with straw and reeds, and had an overhang which on the inside, the side of the court yard, protected a narrow corridor that occasionally had a row of support posts added.

From the narrow corridor three doors, all painted blue, led inside the house; one into the kitchen, one into the tool room, and the third to the steep attic stairs. The upper half of the kitchen door also served as a window, while the lower one kept out the fowl. A heavy support timber across the ceiling was the first thing noticed when entering the kitchen because it divided it into a cooking and an eating area. Above the cooking area arched the open chimney which served, without any further assistance from stove pipes, to catch the smoke from all open fires. An "open kitchen" in the truest sense of the word. Right under the chimney was the squat and square baking oven which could hold seven to nine loaves of bread each weighing ten pounds. To the right of the baking oven was the cooking stove which had been built from burnt brick and half of which provided heat to the all-important copper kettle, while the other half served as an open cooking area where earthen pots were suspended from a three-legged, iron contraption. On the other side of the baking oven stood a wooden bench holding water pails.

The 'front room' or 'clean room' was only used for important family events (births, marriages, deaths) and church holidays. A 'blind window' behind the entrance door provided a lockable alcove where bottles could be kept. Of the furnishings in both rooms, the comfortable, painted eating corner with its massive table deserves the most mention. The tamped-down dirt floor of the rooms and the kitchen was covered with a yellow loam mixture to prevent the formation of dust. All walls were whitewashed.

Inside the village (fundus intravillanus) each farmer owned land of about 3240 square meters (about 3/4 of an acre) which was occupied by the home, the barns and the garden. The barns for horses, cattle, and other animals, as well as the bee hives, were joined wall-to-wall with the home on one of its sides, while from the other side were strung out the root cellar, the pigsty, and the well. Behind these was a larger, more open area, the threshing floor, and finally the hay loft, which separated the buildings from the garden area. The garden held apple, pear and plum trees. Half of the remaining garden plot provided clover for the horses, while the other half provided the kitchen with vegetables, beans, potatoes, and cabbage from spring right into the fall.

All major acquisitions, such as kitchen utensils, tools and implements for working the fields (wagon, plow), or for storing the produce (sacks, tarpaulins, barrels) were always bought for several generations and amortized over 50 to 100 years. Because it was not customary to buy new things until absolutely necessary, the traditional equipment remained evident well into the 1930s."

Many of the German Hungarian immigrants became disillusioned with their new life and sought to find new homes. They usually went to places where relatives, friends or former neighbours had settled. Valentin Christmann with his family and other relatives left for southern Russia in 1807. The following documents provides some information on this and the migration from Germany:

The comments in Jacob Christmann's row are intriquing. Is the Michael Christmann that passed through Vienna in 1784 on his way to Torschau (Banot) the same Michael Christmann that heads up our Christmann branch? If so, then that establishes the Torshau immigration as in 1784, that Valentin's father was included and that he did some mining as well as farming. The inconsistency is that our John Michael would have just turned 60 years of age, assuming his birthdate is as established from other data, not the 49 that the Michael passing thru Vienna stated as his age. Stated ages and/or birthdates are not always accurate in this era, so this could very well have been our Michael.