Das Mager-Buch

The Mager-Book: History of a Family over Four Centuries

Supplement to the "Mager Book" 1935

by Dr. Edwart Mager
Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1972
pp. 11-22

Family Chronicles

The family members' bios already given in the 1935 "Mager Book" are further condensed, and as far as possible updated, in the following section. The exact dates, spouses, children, etc., can be seen in the Family Tree Tables starting on page 73. All details of the families, as well as of job/profession, place of residence, and travels, are recorded in the "Mager-Blatt."

The Magers of the Wuerttemberg-Swabian Line

There are many explanations for the name 'Mager.' One can safely assume that it has nothing to do with the bodily adjective "thin" (translator's note - "mager" means "thin" in German) - in Swabian usage this is designated by the word "dürr." Interpreting it as a derivation of "Maiger" (Mäher = mower /reaper?) has as much going for it as its possible derivation from the medieval "Magiher" meaning "Great Lord."

In the Swabian area we find evidence of the name Mager as early as 1294 in the town of Burgau. Some members of the aristocratic Speth family took the name of Mager as a nickname, such as one "Conrad, later called Mager" of Seeburg (from 1323). In the earlier history of the Speths and their "Steinhart" branch, the name "Magones" occurs in probably the very same group which also exhibits the name "Mago" 1. Numerous documents in which the nickname occurs are known to us. In the church in Dettingen-unter-Teck a gravestone of someone named Volkmar "the man named Mager" (who died in 1462 ) bears the Speth family crest. The reputable middle-class family of Mager in Vaihingen-on-the-Enz, of which we are familiar with the family crest and several achievements, is first mentioned in 1382. From this group came the former Clara Mager, who was married to the Mayor of Stuttgart, Mayor Kühorn. She is immortalized in stone as one of a group of statues (from around 1525) depicting the crucifixion in front of St. Leonard Church in Stuttgart 2.

Clara Kühorn
Clara Kühorn (nee Mager), c. 1525

It is reasonable to suspect that Mager families in the area of the Baltic Sea (for example in Marienburg as early as 1409) and in Transylvania, and even possibly the Magers of Saxony in the area of Pulsnitz, are descendants of Swabians who migrated to the East. Indeed even in the Rhineland the name Mager is not uncommon. A more closely researched family of Magers was in residence in Nuremberg as early as the 14th century 3, and another in Passau, which is still thriving.  

In the Swabian region we find the name of Mager noticeably concentrated around Rottweil. In the town of Zimmern-by-Rottweil and a few surrounding villages there are many families with this name. In Rottweil itself the name appears starting in 1587, and as early as 1423 in Böhringen-by-Rottweil.

Soon thereafter, in 1440, Magers are also documented in Schömberg and around Balingen. There they branched into several groups, some of which still flourish today. Since Schömberg is only a few kilometers from Zepfenhan, it seems reasonable to presume a connection.

From the Schömberg Magers ("Kreuzwirt-Line") came Professor Engelbert Mager, the widely known drawing instructor. He lived in the town of Schwäbisch Gmünd. An etched portrait of him appears here, done by his student, Hugo Stadelmeier, who was a renowned graphic artist.

Engelbert Mager
Professor Engelbert Mager

An important representative of the Schömbergs was the legal scholar Martin Mager, born around 1565; He studied in Dillingen and Freiburg, then became legal representative for the Comburg Benedictine Abbey near Schwäbisch-Hall.  Finally he was called to the "Appointed Council" by Archduke Leopold V of Austria, Bishop of Passau. By an Imperial Decree dated September 13, 1620, he was elevated to the nobility as "Martin Mager of Schömberg." In 1926 the helmet symbol (part of the crest - see illustration page 14) that was bestowed on him at that time was chosen by the Imperial Council of Families to represent the Zepfenhan-Schömberg-Zimmerer Mager Clan. In 1929 it was entered in the Registry of Family Crests of the Berlin "Herald" as number 1523/29.

This crest shows, according to the description in the Imperial Nobility Archives, "A white Pegasus on a flaming field, or a red-winged horse flying through the clouds, on which rides a horseman holding a plain sword in his right hand, a crowned serpent wrapped around his left arm, and wearing a laurel wreath on his head. In 1926 the motto "Regam" meaning "May I Prevail" was chosen - not as an expression of power-seeking, but of self discipline (Translator's note: the German word "herrschen" meaning 'to prevail' also means 'to rule' or 'to reign' or 'to dominate').

In 1625 Martin Mager's life work, "On the Justification of Armed Protection and Defense" was published, with a reprinting in 1719. Nothing is known of his descendants (he had three sons), although the trace of one of them seems to lead to Belgium.

Mager Crest 1926 Holy Register 1580

New Mager Crest of 1926

Zepfenhan "Holy Register" from 1580

Text: Zepfenhan Holy Register. Our Bastian Grimm and Paul Mager, as Appointed Holy Custodians of the beloved and holy Saint Nicholas Church, took in and distributed money and fruit from the Friday after the feast of St. Udalric, 1577, until the Thursday after the feast of St. Philip and St. Jacob, 1580.

(Translator's note - In the typeset rendering of this entry that appears on page 15 of Mager Book '35, the years are given as "577" and "DLCCC" respectively. Looking at the original writing, the figure in the later year transcribed as "C" is actually the old German Script lower case "x." It therefore represents "DLXXX" or "580."  Also, it is safe to assume that it was customary to leave off the initial "1" when writing the year, just as we often leave off the initial "19" when writing years in the 20th century).

Not far from Schömberg, at the foot of the mountains, lies the village of Zepfenhan which, until 1806, belonged to the Rottenmünster Convent (Benedictine) near Rottweil. It is reasonable to conclude that the old name "z'Epfenhaim" (and similar variations), comes from one of the original settlers in the early Middle Ages named Eppo (var. Epfo, Eberhard). Paul Mager has proved to be the oldest of the Magers to be there. He appears in the church administrative records from 1576 to 1580, as well as other documents, as a sexton and a farmer. The family was probably relatively affluent; in the 17th century there were descendants of Paul Mager who were mayors.

Three lines of descendants came from Paul's great-grandson, Michael Mager (see Family Tree on page 75). The "Older" line is still in Zepfenhan. The "Younger" line died out in 1817. The "Middle" line gave rise to Andreas Mager (1777-1839), who became the forefather of 5 thriving branches with many descendants. Andreas was referred to as "Red Baker" because of the color of his hair. Andreas, who ran both a bakery and a brandy distillery, had seven daughters and four sons. Three of the daughters taught spinning.


Johann Georg Brunnenmayer

Johann Georg Brunnenmayer

the end of the 18th century, an improved technique for spinning, called "double-spinning," was introduced. This was made possible by concomitant construction of two-handed spinning wheels, which were more lucrative because they could produce twice as much yarn. The Mager girls moved to Bavaria because this type of spinning was apparently little known there. Sometimes they were accompanied by their father Andreas, who was referred to several times in official documents as a spinning teacher. The girls were possibly preceded by their brother Sebastian, who was an apprentice in lathe woodworking under Johann Thomas Brunnenmayer of Gunzenhausen (not far from Nuremberg). Their sister, Eva, also probably went there as a spinning instructor. In 1832 she married Brunnenmayer's son, Johann Georg, who later became quite affluent through the lumber trade.

We know for certain that the sisters, Brigitta, Magdalena, and Theresia Mager, gave courses in double-spinning in Bavaria. Magdalena started the reel in 1828 in Göggingen near Augsburg. Seventeen year old Theresia came to Munich in 1834, accompanied by her father. We discover Brigitta in Eichstätt in 1837 where, according to the public notices of the City Council, she gave lessons "in fine-spinning and double-spinning" 4. At the end of the course an exam was given; samples of the students' finished product were sent to the Regensburg Agricultural Society.

In any case, Brigitta was the first of the Mager family to settle in Eichstätt. From there she was able to go to Hemau (in Upper Palatinate), where she married Franz Xaver Bößl, surgeon and health spa owner. We will come back to him again later.

Of Andreas Mager's sons, the oldest, Ferdinand, was the heir of the property. He continued to live in his father's house, which is still standing in Zepfenhan. His difficult nature drove his children from the house; all four emigrated to America where we lose track of them.

Sebastian Mager, born in 1813, who, as noted, learned woodworking in Gunzenhausen, settled in Deißlingen in 1859, where he became the founder of an extensive branch of the family, which is still thriving today. His daughters, Thessalonia, Franziska, and Josefine, married. The line was carried on by his sons, Raimund and Hieronymus.

Raimund, born in 1842, was a woodworker like his father, from whom he also learned the art of barometer making (mercury barometers). They manufactured barometers, the scale for which was placed on a round clock face. The varying column of mercury moved the indicator by a simple lever mechanism (so-called "De Luc Barometer").

Raimund's son August emigrated to England in 1914, where he is lost. Of the daughters, Anna (Krezer), Mathilde (Zimmerly), Emilie (Bernhart), and Maria (Schneider) married. The woodworking and barometer making went to Raimund's son-in-law, August Schneider, and then to one of his sons.

Deißlingen Magers

Group of Deißlingen Family Branch members. From left, standing: Klara Mager (nee Schweizer), August Schneider, Irma Schneider, Hermann Schneider, Auguste Mager, Emil Mager, Albert Krezer, Anna Krezer (nee Mager), Friedrich Krezer. Sitting: August Schneider, Klara Mager, Julius Mager, Raymond Mager, Friedrich Krezer. Deißlingen, April 20, 1924.  

The descendants of Sebastian's second son, Hieronymus, are numerous. Nine living children flocked around him (see Family Tree Tables). In his family the trade of wood joiner was handed down; in that time in Deisßlingen predominantly wooden clock housings were made for the Junghans Company in Schramberg.

Sebastian's youngest son, Julius, held the office of verger in the Deißlingen church for over 56 years.

Hieronymus and Arnold Mager

Hieronymus and Arnold Mager

His first marriage produced the widely known deacon and pastor of the cathedral at Schwäbisch Gmünd, Msgr. Dr. Hermann Mager, who is spending his retirement in Horb-on-Neckar, advanced in age but still active! During the Hitler regime, he was considered "politically suspicious" and had some chicanery to endure. A French author, who was interned in Germany because of her work in the resistance, was able to escape during a transfer to a concentration camp, and he gave her refuge in his house. Later she included excellent drawings of him and the two sisters who took care of him, Emilie and Franziska (Fanny), in a book of hers 5.

His brother Rupert was killed in Flanders in 1914. Julius Mager's second marriage produced a pair of sisters. The older of the two, Auguste Würthner, enjoys many descendants. Her promising son Hans, however, died in a motorcycle accident at the age of nineteen.

The descendants of Raimund's brothers Hieronymus and Julius Mager make up a local group connected with their growing industry. They include several carriers of the name, so that the name will not soon fade out there. Remarkable is the advanced age various members of the Deißlingen Magers have reached, among them Raimund, Julius and his children Emilie and Hermann, also Emil, Arnold, Anna Krezer, and Maria Schneider.

The third son of the "Red Baker," was Cornelius (1814 - 1890), of whose eleven children no fewer than six emigrated to the United States. It was a time in which the economic and political conditions drove many "subjects" of Württemberg to emigrate. From the Zepfenhan branch of the Magers alone, fourteen sons and six daughters moved to America between 1854 and 1874. In addition to those are several families of another branch of the Magers with whom there is probably an unproven connection (descendants of an Anton Mager who died in 1763), so that the name in America is likely to be encountered frequently (in telephone books and address books, for instance).

Of the children of Cornelius who emigrated, one son and three daughters entered monasteries. Another son, Andreas (1847 - 1928), left behind two unmarried daughters.

On the other hand, the progeny of the youngest son, Valerius (Valer), are extensive. Valer, a shoemaker by trade, established his family in Newark, New Jersey, a city near New York. Of his eleven children one died young, and four remained unmarried. These included Joseph, known as Father Martin, who died at the age of 39. He belonged to the Benedictine Order, and worked as a high school teacher in Newark. One of the daughters, Josephine, keeps house for her unmarried brother Ferdinand in Maplewood, N.J.; the youngest sister, Gertrude Wolf, lives with her family in the neighboring house.

The family name is carried forward by the sons of Frank and Thomas. Also, the married daughters, Theresa Sieben, Mary Schirmer, Anna Zellner, and Gertrude Wolf, saw to producing offspring, such that Valerius lives on in 26 grandchildren and 95 great-grand- and great-great-grandchildren.

American Magers

From Left: Mary Schirmer (nee Mager), Frank Mager, Theresa Sieben (nee Mager), Ferdinand Mager, Theodore Wolf, Gertrude Wolf (nee Mager), Josephine Mager; Front: Louis Sieben, August H. Schirmer. Photo by Edwart Mager, Maplewood, N.J., March 21, 1953.  

In spite of the wars of 1914 and 1939 the American Mager family didn't entirely lose their sentiment for their German relatives. Indeed, Valer's youngest sisters were still living in Germany: Pauline (1860 -1940), for 46 years devoted housekeeper for the Glogger family in Augsburg; and Emilie (1864 - 1897), wife of the master saddler, Georg Hermann of Zepfenhan. Their son Josef (1892 - 1969) was in long and commendable service as Municipal Arbor Warden in Schörzingen (his son is co-owner of a small but growing screw factory). Three of the Eichstätt relatives have been able to visit the American cousins in New Jersey: Hermann (1926), Edwart (1953), and Albrecht (1962 and 1968). The group picture above was taken on one of these occasions.

We now come to discuss a branch of the family that wasn't mentioned in the Mager Book 1935: The Rottweil Branch. Its development and members first became known to us when one of its members, Maria Geiger (nee Mager), showed up at the family reunion in Deißlingen in 1956. She and her sister, Josefine Burgmer, who is very enthusiastic about the family, gave the archivist detailed information. This branch goes back to the shoemaker Emil Mager (1858 - 1906), who was a great-grandchild of "Red Baker" and lived in Rottweil and Wellendingen. His mother, Franziska Moser, was married in a civil ceremony in Switzerland, which was not recognized in Württemberg. Her children were therefore legally illegitimate and had to use her name, Mager. Three of her children emigrated to America at a young age. Their progeny are listed in as much detail as she knows in the Family Tree Tables (Hegelheimer family, among others). Two of Emil's daughters remained in Germany and were married; progeny of the second one, Maria Geiger, are living in Schwenningen-on-Neckar.

Likewise, the children of Franziska Mager-Moser include Johann Mager, born in 1867 in Fekkenhausen. His life, and in part that of his son Alfred (born in 1898), can be found in the Mager Book 1935.

After getting his military service behind him, Alfred's career track led this able and energetic salesman to Munich in 1952, where he became manager of an inner-city branch of the shoe company "Salamander." His father had worked for the same company in Kornwestheim. 
Johann Baptist Mager
Johann Baptist Mager sets out into the countryside from the Eagle Inn, the residence of his mentor in Furtwangen- Katzensteig. Drawing by Bruno Schley
He departed this life far too early, after a short retirement and after having been able to enjoy only one grandchild. His company honored him with a warm-hearted obituary (Süddeutsche Zeitung, Feb. 23, 1965), which closed with the words, "All who had the opportunity to work with this loveable human being will always remember him."

With his clever and devoted Rosel (Translator's note: this is equivalent to "Rosie") (nee Singer), Alfred Mager left one daughter, Irmgard; she is married to an engineer, Hans Karl Winter, who was recently employed by the Munich Insurance Company as a building damage consultant. In this capacity he left at the end of 1971 to work in Tokyo for a few years.

Now for the youngest of the "Red Baker's" sons, Johann Baptist (1818 - 1873). He was the incarnation of the old Black Forest clock maker who, hauling his clocks on a carrier on his back, wanders the countryside for a time, practicing his craft of selling and repairing clocks. Finally he followed the trail to Bavaria, which his "spinning" sisters had taken some years before. The area he then seems primarily to have practiced in was that of the old Frankish towns of Gunzenhausen (where his sister Eva was married), Weißenburg, and Eichstätt, and the Upper Palatinate town of Hemau and its surrounding countryside. From the year 1850 on, he advertised himself as the "Black Forest Clock Maker" at each of the fairs. Seven years earlier he had married Antoinette Bößl in Hemau, the daughter of spa owner and "surgeon" Franz Xaver Bößl, from his first marriage to Eleonore von Andrian. Since Bößl's third marriage in 1841 was to Johann Baptist Mager's sister Brigitta, Johann Baptist was both son-in-law and brother-in-law to Bößl.

As mentioned, Franz Xaver Bößl had taken to be his wife the district forest ranger's daughter, Antoinette von Andrian. How this marriage came to pass is described in Mager Book '35, page 33. Also found there is the Bößl family history. The ancestors of Antoinette are proven to go back on her father's side to a 14th century Patrician (primarily architects)
Francesco, Earl of Novelli
Francesco, Earl of Novelli, born 1656. Inscription on the painting: FRANCESCO DE NOVELLI LIB. BARO ET CONTE DEL S.R.I.  
 in the northern Italian town of Gondino. Her mother stems from the Novellis, a family of nobles in Friuli (translator's note: Friuli is a region of northeastern Italy between Venice and Slovenia). Further paternal ancestors lead through the Earl of Öttingen to the most significant European dynasty of the middle ages, all the way to Charlemagne and his ancestors (see page 65). The family trees of these ancestors have been worked out and published by the archivist of the Magers (translator's note: here the author is referring to himself), with the help of his nephew, Friedrich Mager of Munich, who was still in college at the time 6.

Now back to the "Black Forest Clock Maker"! After a temporary stay in Hemau, where his older son Franz Xaver Eduard was born in 1843, and a short stay at home in Zepfenhan, where he lived with his brother Cornel (in what was later to be known as the Sattler-Hermann-House), Johann Baptist settled in Eichstätt around 1850. This is where his younger son and namesake, who would become the founder of the Furtwangen branch of the family, came into the world (translator's note - here the author uses the German idiom "saw the light of the world" meaning "was born.").

The older Johann Baptist, redheaded like his father Andreas, was a singular man well known in his city. His sturdily built Black Forest varnish-faced clocks were to be found in numerous houses both in the city and in the country. Some of them still function today

Mager Clock

after over a hundred years, and are praised by their owners for their reliability. Together with his son and helper Eduard, he built an alarm clock (to be hung on the wall). It could be set to many wake-up times at the same time, and therefore was very popular with stationmasters. There were no telegraphs on the trains in those days, so the stationmaster was responsible for waking himself up each time a night train was coming through 7.

From 1862 on, the firm "Mager and Son" appears in the newspaper ads. However, the partnership of father and son suffered from a growing feud, such that Eduard settled in Neuburg-on-Danube in 1865, and soon thereafter in 

Clock Advertisement Eduard Mager

Noteworthy! J.B. Mager and Son announce that the business hasn't moved. Rather, that all manner of clocks are available at their residence (formerly the oat brewery). They are still especially attentive to giving their alarm clocks individual and secure construction. Old clocks will be accepted in exchange, and also repaired.

Eduard Mager  

Heidingsfeld near Würzburg. By the time he moved to Heidingsfeld he had already partnered with Cäcilia Freundorfer, his future wife, and she'd already given him four sons. Heidingsfeld was the residence of the family when Eduard was taking part in the war of 1870/71. He reconciled with his father, and in fact stood in for him at the business in Eichstätt during his final illness. The father died on February 4, 1873, his wife Antoinette having preceded him in death in 1867. Besides the thirty year old Eduard, who adeptly handled the subsequent legal processes 8, Johann Baptist left behind his nine year old son, Johann (Hans). Eduard, who already had 5 children, took his brother in, and had him learn the clock making trade.

1  Von Speth-Schulzburg, A., The Steinharts and the Speths of Steinhart. (Munich 1906, J. Lindauer)
  Decker, M., Wurttemberg Family Documentation Papers. Vol. 9, pg. 98 (1943) 
  Mager, Thea, Family Tree of the Mager Family of Nuremberg. German Book of Clans. Volume 80, Gorlitz 1934, C.A. Starke.  
4  "Eichtätt Intelligence Page" 1837, Numbers 23 and 24.
  Pagniez, Yvonne, They Will Resuscitate Amongst the Dead. Paris, 1950 - On Dr. H. Mager's many years of commendable work in Gmünd, 1936 - 1939. See also Catholic Bulletin of Schwäbisch Gmünd, July 1959.
6  Another descendant of Charlemagne's actually published a large part of these family trees as a book somewhat later (see page 65).
7  A clock like this (see picture) can be seen at the renowned Furtwangen Clock Museum.
8  Eichstätt District Court, probate documents of Johann Baptist Mager, 1874.

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