2019 / 3 / 13

Tracing the Straub family in Wiesensteig – new discoveries in the archives

The research in the Parish St Cyriacus and in the City Archives of the Straub Family’s hometown Wiesensteig and the following analysis of the collected data brought some interesting and new discoveries, which could be added to the family tree recently. The Austrian art historian Julia Strobl travelled to Baden-Württemberg in October 2018. Unlimited access to the archives was generously provided by the parish priest Ralf Baumgartner as well as by the Mayor Gebhard Tritschler, a special thanks also to the historian Helmut Poloczek, who supported the research on site.

The surname “Straub” can be traced in the parish archives back to the 17th century, but perhaps the family lived even earlier in Wiesensteig. At the end of the Thirty Years' War, in 1648 Swedish troops set fire and 124 houses and the church burned out completely, including the register of births, marriages and deaths. The carpenter and wood carver Johann Ulrich Straub (ca. 1645–1706), who married Anna Maria Buck in 1667, is the first documented ancestor of the family of sculptors. But we know of a Hans Straub, a barrel-maker, who died in 1680. His son Johannes married in ­­1666 and therefore must have belonged to the same generation as Johann Ulrich. A kinship is possible but cannot be proved due to the lack of archival sources before 1648.

Johann Ulrich Straub's sons Johann Georg (1674–1755) and Johannes (1681–1759) raised their families in Wiesensteig but only the descents of the younger brother, the male line after Johannes Straub stayed in their hometown for the following generations and worked there as carpenters and painters. As is known, the five grown-up sons of Johann Georg, who had 20 children from two marriages, left the small town Wiesensteig and successfully settled down as sculptors in Munich, Graz, Radkersburg, Maribor and Zagreb. Astonishingly, there were twin births twice. A genetic predisposition, that probably was passed on through the male line. Franz Anton Straub (1726–1774/76), who lived in Zagreb, originally had a twin sister, who died two months after her birth. One brother of the famous sculptors of the Straub family, Thomas (1722–1745), has been ignored so far. Thomas worked as a carpenter in his father’s workshop und died rather young of “hitziges Fieber”, which may refer to Typhoid fever. The entry in the death register lists him as “solutus scrinarius”, a unmarried carpenter. The last carpenter of the family with a workshop in Wiesensteig was Johann Ulrich‘s great-grandson Joseph Straub (1753–1825). Josephs’ son Johannes Nepomuk (1784–1837) carried on with his father’s craft, even a stay in Vienna during his journeyman years is documented. But later on he settled down in the nearby Deggingen, maybe due to a dispute in the family.

Julia Strobl