Family History


Jost Gudelius , Jachenau  2002

English Version of  the Third Edition

Revised and Expanded   from First Edition of 1997

Copyright © 2002   by Jost Gudelius

Haus am Raut, D-83676 Jachenau

Tel 0049-08043-333 , Fax 0049-08043-91 99 82

e-mail: jost at  

Saturday, 05 January 2013


All rights reserved. No part of this publiccation may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.



In the early 1930’s my uncle, Dr. Georg Gudelius (1905-1997), started researching the lines of descent of the Gudelius family. He found Wendelinus Gudelius, (1567)-1622, pastor at Breitscheid and Ballersbach in Hessen.

Based on his results, I found in 1988/89 in the tax-register of the chapel of Schweppenhausen at the Landeshauptarchiv Koblenz and in the "Weistum" ( a record of judgments) of the village (both from the 15th and 16th centuries) the Gudel family of vine growers as the origin of our line of descent.

This result encouraged me in the following years to get in contact to all Gudelius by five "Gudelius-Letters" and to try to close the most incomplete lines of the several Gudelius families back to Wendelinus Gudelius.

This approach was very successful with the assistance of nearly all members of the family except for a very few. I have to thank all the contacts within the Gudelius families. I would be very pleased to have more assistance in extending the history.

Special thanks are due to Gerhard Moisel from Heisberg for handing over the extensive results of his research of the Gudelius from Siegerland of the 18th and 19th centuries and Dr. Walter Kolb from Borkwalde for his successful research of Gudelius from East Prussia in the same period as well as Hermann J. Sartor from Sinn for composing the Haigerer Gudelius and John Blankenbaker from Chadds Ford, PA, USA for his friendly assistance during the translation to English. 



of the clan

Gudel / Guedel

from Schweppenhausen near Bingen on the river Rhine

Historical Summary

The Gudelius family descends from the old family Gudel of vine-growers and farmers from Schweppenhausen, a little vine growing village, about 10 km west of Bingen, in the Gulden Valley between Bad Kreuznach and Stromberg. (map)

"Sweppenhuzun" is first mentioned in 1125 in a document of Kaiser Heinrich V as property of the abbey St. Maximin in Trier[i][i]. Since the 14th century the village was a feudal tenure of the Wildgrafen and Pfalzgrafen in the possession of the Family von Ingelheim.

"peder gudel" and "jeccl gudel" (Jacob) are the first documentary mentioned names of members of the family Gudel. They are several times recorded in Gothic Italics (writing of that time) at 1400-1420[ii][ii] as land proprietors in Schweppenhausen in the tax-register[iii][iii] of the chapel. (Dokument)

Later entries in this tax-register name 

·          1467 "gudeln pede” as land proprietor, (Dokument)

·          1501 and 1502 "gudeln peder" as church warden,

·          1521 "guedellen peder" as church warden and (Dokument)

·          "guedellen henn" as village mayor and juror of  Spoenheim.

Guedellen Henn is only once more named in a later correction of the first document of 1400-1420, resolving a tax of Gudeln Jeccl.

Gudeln Wendelin is several times named as juror in the court and wisdom book of Schweppenhausen[iv][iv] during the period from 1558 till 1575.

Considering that for more than 150 to 170 years a Peter and a Wendl Gudel are named at the same place as land proprietors and in the same duty as elder and juror, we may assume to have five generations of the same family.

The name Gudel is not recorded or declared in the literature of German surnames. Josef Karlmann Brechenmacher[v][v] mentioned the similar sounding surname Gudelmann (-mann is in former times frequently used as nickname suffix, e. g. Karl > Karl(e)mann). As early examples Brechenmacher cites a Gudilmanus in 1260 and a Henlin Gudelman in 1356, where both were from Worms, not far from Schweppenhausen.

The author gives two possibilities of explanation: 

·          in Middle High German "giudel = boaster, spendthrift",

·          derived from female first name Gudel(a), which was formerly popular particularly in the western part of Germany.

For instance the poet Heinrich Heine used the first explanation with Gräfin Gudel von Gudelfeld in his poem Hoffart (haughtiness). 

Dr. Wilfried Seibicke of the Germanistischen Seminar of the University of Heidelberg takes the second explanation (fortunately) for the more probable. Gudel and Gudelman are in that way metronymes (as contrary to patronymes).

The female name Gudela (Gudula, Godela and similar) is derived from the German word "gut" (good), but more frequently from names composed with God(o)-, Got- ,"Gott" (e.g., Godolewa).

The name got an independent importance by the Saint Gudela of Brussels, Ste. Gudele (+ in 712), and was popular until modern times, even with the nobility[vi][vi]; see also Dutch Goede(l)[vii][vii].

As to the pronunciation, in those times and today also the first "u" in Gudel/Gudelius is pronounced long. This is proved by the extended "e" in "guedel" which was frequently used in times from 1521 till 1576.

The name Gudel is still found in the area of Borken and Raesfeld in Westphalia as well as in Kusel in the Palatinate, in Switzerland and in the 19th century in West Prussia. A connection with the Gudel of Schweppenhausen is improbable, because after 1576 the Gudel in Schweppenhausen are not mentioned again in any document.

In Siebmacher’s book of heraldry[viii][viii] we find the heraldic figure of Elisabeth Gudlin (Gudel), wife of Hans Georg Eßlinger from Zürich in 1681. It shows on a green three-topped hill a red heart with three white roses at green branches growing out of it, look:

Wendelin Gudel, the first one with the name Gudelius and later pastor, was born about 1567 (estimated) in Schweppenhausen as second son of Wendelin Guedel.

After Wendelin Guedel’s decease in 1575 his wife married in 1576 on Thursday after Kantate (May 20, 1576) Thomas Hairich of Warmstatt. Six children are mentioned in the marriage contract[ix][ix], Jacob, Wendell, Elsgen, Margreta, Maria and Hilgarte, "who are in part not of age".

It was specified that Thomas Hairich had had to pay the children 90 Gulden, the Gulden with 24 Albus. For security, among other things, was mentioned the large "Weingart in staigerbergk" (vineyard), which still today is among the best vine sites of  Schweppenhausen[x][x].

This money could have been the basis for Wendelin Gudel’s education. Whether he visited the school nearby in the town of Kreuznach, where in 1556 a grammar school was founded to provide[xi][xi] the Palatinate with theological trained Reformed personnel, could not be verified.

On December 19, 1586 he was matriculated at the University of Heidelberg as "Wendelinus Gudelius, Schweppenhusanus, famulus Dionysianus, gratis" [xii][xii] Look:

"Gudel" was simply latinized and in this way the name 


originated more than 420 years ago.

About half a year later, on seventh July anno 1587, Wendelinus Gudelius was proposed by Graf Emich XI the Younger of Leiningen and Dagsburg to the rector and dean of the fourth faculty of the University of Heidelberg for a scholarship of the foundation "Dioniss" of the Earl`s grandparents[xiii][xiii].

In the answer of the 4th of August 1587 (same source), the dean insisted according to the statute of the foundation on his right to elect and to install the supported students and he refused the presentation of Wendelinus Gudelius, though he was well disposed towards him and he his "wolfarth und befurderung in ander weg gern sehen möchte(n)"[xiv][xiv] (he wished him a well success). 

That probably was the reason for Wendelinus Gudelius to change the universities. In 1588 he was matriculated at the Hohe Schule” at Herborn as "Wendelinus Gudelius Schwettenhusanus"[xv][xv]. The writing of Schweppenhausen with "tt" is obviously a slip of the pen. Look:

Apparently at Herborn he became acquainted quickly with the inhabitants and in 1588 he married Margarete Will, daughter of a citizen and baker. In the same year he finished successfully his study in theology.

There were six children in his family: Matthias, born about 1590/92, Johann Henrich, born as second son in that period too, third son Georgius and the daughters Anna Elsbeth, Anna Catharina and Dorothea.

After finishing his studies, Wendelinus Gudelius was second chaplain at Herborn[xvi][xvi]. He served every week the villages surrounding Herborn - Hörbach, Hirschberg, Fleisbach, Guntersdorf and Beilstein - with a lecture and a catechisation (instruction).

Because of the low income at Herborn ("propter donorum paucitatem") he went in 1594 as pastor to Breitscheid.

There Wendelinus Gudelius in 1603 sat up a detailed list of the rights and the income of the parish of Breitscheid. This gives us today a deep insight into the agriculturally dependent way of life of those times. His cash income amounted total best 40 Gulden a year. As natural produce there were delivered yearly about 50 hundredweights (one hundredweight = 50 kg) of corn for bread and food as well as three cocks, two hens, half a goose and the firewood for the vicarage. Because the pastor’s family couldn´t live on this cash and produce, they had to engage in agricultural pursuits like all the other inhabitants of the village. To the parish belonged more than "34 Äcker (fields), 7 Wiesen (meadows) and 4 Gärten (gardens)". That was more ground than the farmers of Breitscheid had and probably more than the pastor’s family could really cultivate[xvii][xvii].

Nevertheless during his time as pastor in Breitscheid, Wendelinus Gudelius was forced to raise a loan from the parish. The reason for this loan must have been the high expenses for the education of the children. Matthias and Johann Henrich are mentioned 1602 and 1609 in the roll of the Hohe Schule (college) of Herborn. The loan amounted to 22 Gulden and it was not unusual in those times. But it is remarkable that the debt was not paid off even 120 years later. 

In 1595 Wendelinus Gudelius started in Breitscheid a parish register "darinnen die Eheleuth undt jungen Kinder so zu Breidtschiedt in der Kirchen getauft geworden, verzeichnet sein" (wherein  the married couples and young children, who were baptized in the church of Breitscheid, are recorded). The title-page contains beside the superscription the personal signature of "Wendelinum Gudelium Pastorem". Look:

In 1605 Wendelinus Gudelius left Breitscheid and on the24th November he took over the parish in Ballersbach, which he occupied till his decease. He took the register to Ballersbach which he started in Breitscheid and continued it there. It is still in Ballersbach in the archives of the parish.

At about 1619 his wife Margarete died. In his second marriage about 1620 - now already more than 50 years old - he married Elsbeth Wetz

Wendelinus Gudelius had a special liking for registers, records and lists. In that way in 1620 he sat up "Ein kurz Inventarium der fahrenden hab so semptliche kinder bekommen" (inventory of the objects destinated for his children), which also gives rich information of the household of the pastor’s family. There is listed a chest, "so ich vom Rein mitgebracht"( taken from the Rhine), presumably from his home.[xviii][xviii]

On Saturday, September 10, 1622 Wendelinus Gudelius died on the way from Ballersbach to the market in Herborn.

In the estate, which had to be divided between the children and the stepmother, are listed amongst other things a black cow, a black young cow, ten pigs, and fourteen sheep, which shows how deeply pastors were engaged in agricultural activities in those times[xix][xix].

During the Thirty Years' War, on April 23, 1639 his second wife Elsbeth was shot on the "Hüttenplatz" in Dillenburg by cavalrymen of Mansfeld[xx][xx].

The son Matthias lived first as chaplain in Haiger and later as pastor at Frohnhausen, Fleisbach and at last at Oberfischbach. His son Henrich is the ancestor of the Siegerländer Clan, and son Dietrich of the Haigerer Clan of the Gudelius. Both still exist in the male line.

Wendelinus` second son Johann Henrich is the ancestor of the Herborner Clan, which doesn`t exist in the male line, but which has many living descendants with other surnames.

The daughter Dorothea married at Frohnhausen the teacher Hans Wilhelm Schmidt; they had ten children.

No details have been found of son Georgius and the daughters Anna Elsbeth and Anna Catharina.

In the 17th century also a chemist-family Gaudelius lived in Herborn beside the Gudelius. Their origin is from Niederwildungen in Hessen-Waldeck, perhaps from the Polish nobility. The surmise of Gerhard Moisel of a connection to the Gudelius is rather improbable and may be excluded by the good quality of the sources.  

A Judelius-family of teachers, pastors and medical doctors lived in Erfurt and its surrounding from the 16. until  the 17. century . The first matriculation of the two brothers Samuel and David Judelius, sons of a shoemaker at Erfurt, was done at the Erfurt University in 1586, the same year as the matriculation of Wendelinus Gudelius in Heidelberg. Whether there is any connection is to be researched in future as well as Johannes Gudelius of Erfurt, who is matriculated there in 1609.   

The Gudelius normally are Protestant. Only the GUDELIUS 3 - Sauerländer Clan - are Roman Catholic. In former times the Gudelius lived mainly in the Fürstentum Nassau-Siegen between Oberholzklau and Herborn. That is today the area of Siegerland and Dill-Kreis (county), where even today the most Gudelius are living, (Map)

In the 18th century at least two Gudelius emigrated to Virginia and Pennsylvania. Descendants could first only be demonstrated for 1850 in Pennsylvania and Kentucky (census of 1850). But since March 31, 1999 I have a very good contact to the new found and quite numerous American Branch Gutelius, which obviously descends from Johann Peter Gudelius of Niederholzklau, who immigrated at Philadelphia on August 31st, 1750 . Argument shows the results of a half year discussion about the question of French or German origin of the American Gutelius. The amateur-genealogists (like myself) of the American Gutelius family agreed to the German origin.

Johann Peter’s wife, Anna Maria Deitzler, is said to be of Dutch origin. But I rather think she is like her husband of German origin, because there are several families Detzler, Ditzler, Dietzler, and Deitzler in Germany, but not any in the Netherlands.

Frederick Adam Gutelius, Johann Peter’s son, had with his wife Anna Catherine Bistel fifteen children, eleven sons and four daughters. They founded the American Gutelius-Clan. The Gudelius/Gutelius family was by this way enlarged by about 150 -200 people.

Adam Frederick Gutelius was a blacksmith by trade and then studied surveying. Here you may see a map draught by him on 2nd of May, 1809.

Nevin Pyle Gutelius, great-grandson of Johann Peter Gutelius, went at about 1900 to Lima in Peru. Some Gutelius families are still living there. But some descendants of Nevin Pyle returned to the USA (Cesar Humberto Gutelius Reyes), to Europe (Luis Suarez Gutelius in Madrid and his brother Edgardo in Stockholm, Sweden), and to Japan (Guillermo, Gladys, Karisol, Jonny, and Edith Gutelius Reyes) .[xxi][xxi]

In 1920 Elfriede Gudelius, born at Salchendorf bei Neunkirchen in 1908, emigrated with her mother to the USA and lived at Tacoma, Washington; she died in 1995.

Johann Philipp Gudelius, born on September 16th, 1770 in Alchen, emigrated in 1798 to Nieuwerkerk/Ijssel in Holland[xxii][xxii], where he got married and had seven children, who still have to be researched.

In autumn 1999 I found a Gutelius Family with four members in Sweden. Sven-Erik and Karin Gustafson got married in 1964. At this time they changed their very frequent surname to "Gutelius" by a proposal of the Swedish administration. There is now a quiet new branch of Gutelius without any connection to the original Gudelius or Gutelius.[xxiii][xxiii]

A large Gudelius-line developed in East Prussia as descendants of Conrad Gudelius (brother of Johann Peter Gudelius, above mentioned), who in 1723 emigrated from Niederholzklau. With the end of the World War II, these Gudelius moved to the west and are spread out in the area around Hamburg, to Saxon and one family to South Hessen.

Today there are about 100 families and 350 people with the name Gudelius or Gutelius. The about 60 married daughters of Gudelius/Gutelius with other surnames are still to be added. 

Until 1999 the Sauerländer Clan with nearly 50 Gudelius was the largest clan, which as "GUDELIUS 3" with Hermann Gudelius, born in 1852, started a new genealogical line of descent and which settled on the rivers Lenne, Ruhr, Rhein and Neckar.

After the "homecoming" of the American Branch with about 150 Gutelius (or more?) the cousins on the other side of the ocean are the genealogical largest complete group of our lines of descent. 

Dorothea Mavromara-Gudelius, married, and her daughter Anna Gudelius-Mavromara, are living in Athens in Greece. 

Gudelius descendants with other surnames live in Australia (Williams), in New Zealand (Curkovic) and in the USA (Yost).

The famous family Henkel (Persil) has Gudelius ancestors. The Henkel as well as the industrial family Cloos from Fleisbach near Sinn[xxiv][xxiv] have in their line of descent Anna Elisabeth Gudelius, christened September 1, 1658 at Herborn and great-granddaughter of Wendelinus Gudelius. Gerhard Moisel, historian and main genealogist of Siegerland, has in his family three lines of descent from the Gudelius family, what was very useful in composing the present dates. 

Our name Gudelius was used in literature in the booklet "Haus Gudelius" by Bertha Schmidt-Eller for demonstrating a well situated middle class family in Leipzig (assumed[xxv][xxv].

Family members with national importance are Professor Dr. Georg Gudelius (XVI g), editor and author of numerous articles in genealogical and theological newspapers, Colonel Alfred Gudelius (XVI h), Ritterkreuzträger in WW II, Heinz Gudelius (XVI a), well known entertainer in the fifties and the fiction writers Bärbel Gudelius (XV n 1.) and Dr. Claudia Gudelius (XVII h oo).

Public figures of the American Gutelius are Samuel Gutelius (1795-1866), a well known pastor of the Reformed Church, Joseph Gutelius (1842-1866), killed on the battlefield at Gettysburg in 1866 during the Civil War, and Frederick Passmore Gutelius, (1864-1935) chief engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railroad and later in the leading management of the Canadian Railroad. There are more famous members of the Gutelius-Family, who  have still to be researched and listed. 

The Gudelius are dispersed throughout Germany, from Pinneberg in the north to Jachenau in Upper Bavaria and from Bonn at the river Rhine to Frankenberg in Saxon aswell as the Gutelius reside in almost all parts of the United States, in Canada, in Peru, and- from there returned to Europe - in Spain and Sweden.
























[i][i] R. Seil, Schweppenhausen, ein Weindorf im Guldental, 1994, S. 29; hier verweist W. Vogt auf T. Giessmann, 1990.


[ii][ii] Von Dr. Mötsch, LHA Koblenz, auf Grund der Schrift zeitlich so eingeordnet.


[iii][iii] LHA Koblenz Abt 53 C 44 Nr. 11, S. 1

[iv][iv] LHA Koblenz Abt 53 C 44 Nr. 124 S. 28 bis 71

[v][v] Brechenmacher, Josef Karlmann, "Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Familiennamen", Bd.1, Limburg/Lahn 1956 ff., S. 607

[vi][vi] Ernst Wasserzieher, "Hans und Grete. 2500 Vornamen erklärt", Bonn 1979, S. 113

[vii][vii] "Spectrum voornamenboek", Utrecht 1992, S.166


[viii][viii] Siebmachers Wappenbuch, Bd. V.7. Bürgerliche Familien, Tafel 6, Nürnberg 1907

[ix][ix] siehe Anm. 4, S. 71-73.


[x][x] Transkription Hermann J. Sartor, Sinn.


[xi][xi] Albert Rosenkranz, Geschichte der Evangelischen Gemeinde Kreuznach, Kreuznach 1951.


[xii][xii] Toepke, Matrikel der Universität Heidelberg, Bd. 2, S. 131.

[xiii][xiii] Universitätsarchiv Heidelberg, UAH A-160/13, fol 200 r+v.

[xiv][xiv] Transkription Hermann J. Sartor.

[xv][xv] Zedler/Sommer, Die Matrikel der Hohen Schule und des Pädagogiums zu Herborn, S. 9.

[xvi][xvi] Steubing, Topographie der Stadt Herborn.

[xvii][xvii] Ernst Henn, Unser täglich Brot gib uns heute, Mitteil-Blatt des Herborner Geschichtsverein 1964.

[xviii][xviii] Stadtarchiv Herborn.

[xix][xix] Ebd.

[xx][xx] Becker, Schloß und Stadt Dillenburg, 1983

[xxi][xxi] Telefon-call with Luis Suarez Gutelius, Madrid, Spain on 04.12.1999

[xxii][xxii] Siegerländer Intelligenz-Blatt 1798, S. 568

[xxiii][xxiii] Telefon-call with Karin Gutelius, Skövde, Sweden on 13.11. 1999

[xxiv][xxiv] Hermann J. Sartor, Sinn

[xxv][xxv] Verlag der Francke-Buchhandlung GmbH, Marburg an der Lahn, ISBN 3-88224-278-2