History of Lomnitz

 

The migration of Germans from the Rhine area gives great credence to the origin of the Reimann surname as "Rheinmann", Man of the Rhein. There were many spelling variations of the Reimann surname in olden times, including Rheinmann, Reinmann, Reimmann, Rheimann, Rejman, Riemann, Rimann, Ryman, Raimann, Raymann, Reymann, Raymahn and Reymahn. Only two of these, Reimann and Reymann, appear prominently in Lomnitz. Almost all church records before 1702 use the Reimann spelling, all records from 1702 to 1805 spell the name Reymann, and all records after 1805 again use the modern day spelling Reimann. Luckily a number of families recorded baptisms on either side of the 1702 divide and the Reimann/Kambach family on either side of the 1805 divide, clearly showing that the different spellings were indeed of the same families. This is in contrast with Reimanns in other countries, where emigrants retained the spelling which ruled at the time of their departure and, particularly in America, founded large clans with the alternative spelling. In contrast with the church records, property records in Lomnitz tend to use the spelling Reimann almost exclusively.

 

Reimann is among the oldest family names in Lomnitz, and it is the fifth most numerous surname amongst the property ownership records which date back to 1650, surpassed only by the names Mende, Grimmig, Hornig and Teichmann. Although they were numerous, the Reimanns did not feature often as prominent citizens and were mostly described as Häusler (home owner) and Gärtner (small holding farmer). The earliest property ownership by a Reimann was recorded in 1678. By 1700 there were seven houses owned by Reimanns and this number was maintained more or less throughout the next 200 years. There was however very little continuous ownership of any one house and eventually 39 of the approximately 180 properties in the town had been owned by Reimanns at one stage or another.

 

Reimanns were also widely distributed elsewhere in Silesia. An 1863 commercial directory of the city of Breslau lists 70 Reimann families! In times of hardship some of these families moved on and established the surname back in Germany, in Russia and in the USA.

 

In common with most other Lomnitz families, the Reimanns had the unfortunate habit of repeatedly using the same Christian names for their children. Names like George, Friedrich and Christoff before 1750, Johann, Carl and Gottfried after 1750, and Maria, Anna and Rosina for girls throughout these years appear so often that it is very difficult to separate families.

 

A family line can be established using four main sources of information – a family Ahnenpass, newspapers, books showing property ownership, and church records. These sources are described in the Genealogical Sources section and together they yield a rich mosaic of all the Lomnitz Reimanns, which show many family lines with a high probability.