Johann Peter Gudelius - Johann Peter Gutelius

Johann Peter Gutelius - ancestor of the American Gutelius - is he of French or German origin?

1.   The Facts

(In normal characters: verified facts; in italics: "by tradition" without any record)

·       The American Gutelius trace their origin back to Johann Peter Gutelius

·       as son of Adam Frederick Gutelius, Frenchman and army surgeon in the French army

·       born in France in 1708, 

·       immigrated via Rotterdam on ship Nancy; qualified at Philadelphia. PA, on August 31st, 1750

·       as former physician to the Queen of France and banished from the country on account of marrying out of his station

·       married to Anna Maria Deitzler from Holland

·       died at Manheim, PA, on September 29th, 1773

·       buried in the Reformed Cemetery at Manheim, Lancaster County, PA.

·       The following facts confirm a German origin from the Nassau-Siegen area 

·       the name Gudelius was created on December 19th, 1586 during the matriculation of Wendel Gudel as Wendelinus Gudelius at the University of Heidelberg

·       Wendelinus Gudelius became chaplain at Herborn, Nassau-Orange in 1588

·       his descendants lived in the area Siegen - Dillenburg - Herborn, Nassau, a region with a strict Reformed belief

·       outside that region the name Gudelius was not found in any record, neither in other regions of Germany nor in France or other countries of Europe during the period from 1586 until 1723

·       Gudelius was a very rare surname in those times. There were only six families Gudelius during the period of the birth of Johann Peter Gudelius (1705 - 1715), verified in several census and parish records 

·       Adam Frederick Gutelius, he is supposed to be Johann Peter’s father,  is not mentioned in any record

·       Johann Peter Gudelius was born at Niederholzklau, Nassau-Siegen, during the period after May 1708 until 1711 as son of Christoph Gudelius, born at Dirlenbach about 1664, and of Elisabeth Magdalene Baum, born at Eisern about 1674. The exact date of birth is not possible to establish because of a gap in the parish records of Oberholzklau. But several census and registrations as sponsor in other parish records certainly confirm his origin and the period of his birth.

·       Johann Peter Gudelius is mentioned as sponsor of a child of Johann Wilhelm and Maria Wirths at Wuerden on September 30th, 1736; parish record of Freusburg.

·       Johann Henrich Gudelius, an illegitimate son of Johann Peter Gudelius, was born at Wuerden on September 6th, 1743. He became the ancestor of the "Main Branch of Wuerden"

·       Johann Gudelius, a second illegitimate son of Johann Peter Gudelius was born at Meiswinkel on May 5th, 1745 by another mother; he died two years later on July 1st, 1747

·       Johann Peter Gudelius is not mentioned in any record of the Nassau-Siegen area later than 1745

·       perhaps he emigrated to Holland in the period 1745 - 1750 because of the two illegitimate children and joined the French Army there, which invaded in Holland in 1747. It is possible, that he got his training as army surgeon there. 

·       he sailed from Rotterdam, Holland on ship Nancy. He qualified at Philadelphia , PA, August 31st 1750. He was accompanied by several persons, who could be clearly identified as emigrators of the Nassau-Siegen area just like him because of their names, places and dates of birth (e.g., Joh. Jacob Brumbach, Christian Giebeler, Johannes Jung, Tilman Creutz, Dilmanus Weissgerber – look in the NANCY shiplist; incidentally, this suggests that Johann Peter Gutelius left Nassau-Siegen with them and not from Holland

·       arriving at Philadelphia, Johann Peter Gudelius was registered as Gutelius.

·       Different spellings of Gudelius were not unusual; there are known Gutelis, Gutterlius, Kutelius, Kuttelius, Gudely, Gultelius and Gutelius

·       "d" und "t" were confused frequently; already in the 17th century members of the first Gudelius families of Herborn were written in some documents with “t”; or e.g., Johann Peter Gutelius signed with “t” arriving at Philadelphia look.

·        But he signed in the typical German characters and not in Roman characters a Frenchman would have used.

·        And the same Peter Gudelius, Rapho Township, Lancaster County, took the sacrament of Naturalisation on March 29th, 1761.

·         Peter Goodelius is mentioned as patentee in Lancanster County on June 6th, 1761.

·        Johann Peter Gudelius is mentioned as sponsor of Johann Peter Engel in the parish record of Manheim, PA on March 14th, 1772, look:

·       even in the last will (in English and German) of Johann Peter Gutelius from August 5th, 1773 the name Gudelius is always written with “d


·       the inscription on the tombstone of Johann Peter Gutelius is entirely written in the German language. 

·       Johann Peter Gutelius lived in Manheim, PA in surroundings that were strongly German and in particular were Reformed oriented.

·       His sons Frederick and Peter were mentioned in a document of 1790 as Gudelius.



·       the extensive study oft he literature about La Reine (Queen of France), Marie Leckzinska, proved only M. Helvetius until 1755 and in the following time M. Lassone as “medicin de La Reine”.

·       the French origin of the Gutelius was written down in the "History of the Gutelius Family" by William B. Gutelius in 1916, during WW I; it was not opportune in the USA to propagate a German origin in those times. 


2.   Assessment 

·      Gerhard Moisel, historian, keeper of the archives of the Evangelisches Kirchenamt in Siegen and the most experienced genealogist of this area as well as John Blankenbaker, Chadds Ford, PA, editor of the genealogical notes "Beyond Germanna", judge the American opinion of a French origin of the Gutelius as incredible, because of missing verified sources of a French origin whereas we have many clear facts of the origin of the name Gudelius and of Johann Peter Gudelius. They think, that Johann Peter Gutelius, ancestor of the American Gutelius is identical with Johann Peter Gudelius, ancestor of the "Main Branch ofWuerden". I agree to this judgment.


3. Recommendation

·         not to insist on the assumed French origin

·         to accept the German origin, to assign Johann Peter Gutelius to the "Lower Clan of Niederholzklau" and to confirm him as ancestor of the “Main Branch of Wuerden” as well as of the “American Main Branch”.


Jost Gudelius