FUERTSCH Family Page

I've been studying the FUERTSCH family and decided to post this page in hopes of drawing comments from others who might know more. It's a very hard family to trace, so I am seeking help.

The FUERTSCH (FÜRTSCH) family name probably originated in Bohemia, a former German-speaking province of Austria that now lies in the Czech Republic bordering Germany. See a history of Bohemia at the bottom of the page. I learned about it while researching for this page and found it interesting.

"My" FUERTSCH family

Anton FÜRTSCH and Barbara GRUNTLER lived in Weißensulz, Bohemia. Anton and Barbara had four sons who were born in Weissensulz and came to Chicago in the early 1870s. The FÜRTSCH family were weavers, farmers and builders. Barbara's family name was always GRUNDLER in Bohemia.

Weißensulz (Weissensulz, and formerly Weissenstein Sulz, Weißenstein Sulz) was a town located in the present-day Czech Republic, quite close to the German border, in the Cecin (Zetchen) district, between Tachau (Tachov) and Domazlice (Taus). It's known today by its other name Belá nad Radbuzou, population 1700. I think both names mean "on the white river," the Radbusa or Weissbach, Weißbach. The town is in an agricultural area. During the winter months the women there developed certain lace patterns and the town became known for its lace-making. The lace was known far and wide and was prized by royalty. Examples are still held in museums.
Here is a webpage about two American WWII soldiers who died in Belá nad Radbuzou. http://sumavanet.cz/mubela/user/IDBela_av.htm

George Fuertsch was born in Weissensulz on 30 Oct 1849. In Chicago he became a shipping clerk. He arrived in New York in 1867. On 8 Feb 1882 in Rogers Park he and his wife Elisabetha Meyer, who was born in Illinois on 1 August 1851, had a son George Fuertsch. George Junior was her 9th child, but we don't know about the other children yet. George lived in Jefferson Park. Other children may include Josephine (died 1887), Charles, Lawrence (probably married Gertrude Swanson), and Lizzie.

Andreas FUERTSCH was born May 21, 1853. He immigrated about 1869. He married Mary E. BRILL on Nov 17 1874 in Chicago. She was born in Apr 6 1855 in "Wabitz, Austria," which turns out to be a neighboring village to Weissensulz which was absorbed into the town of Heilige Kreuz ("Holy Cross") now known as Oujezd svatého Kříže. It was formerly the parish seat until the Catholic church was built in Weissensulz in 1785. Andreas died Aug 8 1939. Her mother Barbara BRILL aka BRÜLL (b Dec 8 1828- d June 18 1904) lived with them on the farm, which would be located at the northwest corner of Howard and Asbury (Western Ave) in Evanston in today's terms. In maps from the 1890s the landowner is shown as N BRILL, presumably Barbara's late husband, see plat below. Barbara and Mary immigrated around 1871. Andrew died June 2 1935. They are all buried in St Henry's. They had these children: 

  1. Mary Catherine FUERTSCH Aug 6 1876 married Frank Peterson from Frankfort Kansas, and they moved there.
  2. Mary FUERTSCH 1878 married John Ross?
  3. Catherine "Katie" FUERTSCH Jul 9 1880 married Peter BROD in 1902, died Sep 18 1963?
  4. Anna Barbara "Annie" FUERTSCH 1883 married John Peter Damien
  5. Lorenz FUERTSCH Jun 4 1886 continued farming and married later in life. He died Jul 12 1958 and is buried with his parents.
  6. Peter Jan 14 1893 married Lillian Welter on June 4 1917. They bought a house on Lunt Ave. Peter died Aug 21 1958.

Joseph FUERTSCH was born July 2 1856. Overstarting his age as 18, he arrived 13 Mar 1872 in NY on the Hammonia. He was a witness at Andreas' 1874 wedding. He does not appear in the census in June 1880. But he shows up soon afterward (FIERTSCH) in the 1880-1881 Evanston City Directory, living at the southwest corner of Chicago Ave and Mulford. He was a painter. On Nov 9 1880 Joseph (record says FIRTSCH) married Mary Didier (b1860) from a neighboring farm. Their daughter (my grandmother Katherine FUERTSCH) was born in Rogers Park, Chicago, on Nov 21 1881. But Joseph was suffering from "painters colic" (lead poisoning) so they took a trip back to Europe when Katherine was 3 months old (thus around Feb 1882.) Joseph died there or "on the boat." He left few traces. Then in Feb 1885 Mary married Ernst HUBRICH, who had newly emigrated from Kunzen, Silesia. He adopted Katherine, and he and Mary had several more kids. The HUBRICHs lived at 4130 N Moody in Chicago. Mary died Jan 16 1931. I have posted a HUBRICH family webpage.

Anton Fuertsch was born 27 Dec 1863 in Weissensulz and also lived in Chicago. He immigrated in 1874, and married Anna Hoffman (b 1860, died Nov 1950) They had a son Charles who married Emma. Anton died Dec 12 1929 in Chicago.

They also had two sisters.

The church books from Heilige Kreuz and Weissensulz have just become available in 2013, after being confined to the State Archives in Pilsen with access restricted. It's a huge job sorting through many books of records to find the thread of lineage, and analysis is underway. It goes back another century.

1890 map showing the 8-acre farm owned by Nicholas Brill, and subsequently by Andreas Fuertsch, in Evanston IL. The cross streets are Howard and Asbury. For more maps like this, see http://heckenbach.org/didier.html

Other FUERTSCH families

This page needs a lot of work. Here are the other loose ends I have uncovered. We don't know if these people came from Weissensulz or even Bohemia. Some apparently came from Bavaria. I'd be happy to hear if any of them have been researched, especially if they connect to any of the others:


  1. John and Mary FUERTSCH and family, of Kansas. John was born in Europe in 1852
  2. Francis FUERTSCH and his family living in Manhattan NY in 1880
  3. George and his wife Auguste FUERTSCH of Missouri in the 1880 census
  4. Charles (d 1923) and Anna (d1928) FUERTSCH of Wisconsin, married in 1904
  5. Harry and Kate FUERTSCH living in Cincinnati OH in 1910
  6. Andrew Joseph and Mary Agnes FUERTSCH who were living in Dallas in 1916
  7. John M FUERTSCH living in Pottstown PA in 1920
  8. Jacqueline FUERTSCH died in Connecticut in 1929
  9. Francis (d 1993) and Joseph (d 1975) FUERTSCH of Michigan. We now know they were both from the Kansas family.


  1. Maria Christina FUERTSCH born 1715 in Ludesch, Vorarlberg, Austria, married 1736 (Ludesch is still in Austria.)
  2. Franziska FUERTSCH born 1834 Raspenau, Friedland, Frydlant, Czechoslovakia, married 1855
  3. There are about 29 FUERTSCH records from Bavaria, available at familysearch.org
  4. There are a couple of families currently in Vienna, Austria.

Bohemia had in 1900 a population of 6,318,280, corresponding to 315 inhabitants per square mile. According to nationality, about 35% were Germans and 65% Czechs. The Czechs occupied the middle of the country now known as Czech Republic, as well as its south and southeast region, while the Germans were concentrated near its borders, especially in the north and west, and are also found all over the country in the large towns.

History of Bohemia

Bohemia is a region in today's Czech Republic, but formerly a kingdom and crownland of Austria, bounded on the west by Germany, south by Austria, north by Poland, and east by Moravia. It has an area of 20,060 sq. miles. It forms the borderland between the German and Slavonic worlds.

The Habsburgs of Austria won the rule of Bohemia in elections in 1526.They quickly abolished all rights of towns and nobles and became its hereditary rulers. They imposed German as the official language of Bohemia, and only Catholicism was tolerated although there were Jews about. Under their brilliant military leader Marie Therese, the Habsburg dynasty conquered and ruled various lands all over Europe at different times, from Sicily and Spain to the North Sea.

Any idea of independence for Bohemia was obviated when the Bohemian Diet approved administrative reform in 1749. It included the indivisibility of the Habsburg Empire and the centralization of rule, essentially merging the Royal Bohemian Chancellery with the Austrian Chancellery.

During the Revolution of 1848, many Czech nationalists called for autonomy for Bohemia, but these revolutionaries were defeated. The old Bohemian Diet, one of the last remnants of the independence, was dissolved, although the Czech language experienced a rebirth as nationalism developed among the Czechs.

In 1861, a new Bohemian Diet was elected. The renewal of the old Bohemian Crown (Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia) (Silesia is western Poland), became the official political agenda of both Czech liberal politicians and the majority of Bohemian aristocracy, while parties representing the German minority and a few aristocracy proclaimed their loyalty to the "Verfassungstreue," the centralized Constitution. From 1860 to 1866,  the Austrian wars with Prussia and Italy were both fought mainly on Bohemian soil and caused the ruin of many families. After Austria lost the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Hungarian politicians achieved a compromise ("Ausgleich") which created Austria-Hungary in 1867, ostensibly uniting the Austrian and Hungarian halves of the empire.

An attempt by the Czechs to create a tripartite monarchy (Austria-Hungary-Bohemia) failed in 1871.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the Czech national revivalist movement started a campaign for restoration of the kingdom's historic rights, and the imposition of the Czech language as the language of administration. Some small reforms were made but later rescinded.

However, the "state rights program" remained the official platform of most Czech political parties until 1918.

All this time, citizens of the Czech lands (Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia-Austria) (Böhmen, Mähren und Österreich-Schlesien) were still subjects of the Austrian monarchy. The term Sudetenland came into use for the German settlement area, comprising over 3 million German-speaking inhabitants.

After World War I brought the collapse of Austria-Hungary, Bohemia was the biggest and most populated remnant. It formed the core of the new country of Czechoslovakia, adding Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia) and Carpathian Ruthenia (part of Ukraine) into one state. Under its first president, Tomáš Masaryk, Czechoslovakia became a rich and liberal democratic republic.

Following the Munich Agreement (Münchener Abkommen) in 1938, the nation was split. This was the only time in Bohemian history that its territory was ever divided. Sudetenland, inhabited predominantly by ethnic Germans, was annexed to Nazi Germany. Slovakia seceded in March 1939, became the Slovak Republic, and allied itself with Hitler's coalition. The country was reconstituted after the war.

In 1945-46 almost the entire German minority of Czechoslovakia, about 2.7 million people, were expelled to Germany and Austria so that, today, only 1/2 of one percent of the population is German. Because of lingering resentment against the West, particularly Germany, and a favorable popular attitude towards the Soviet Union, which had liberated Czechoslovakia from German rule, the Communist Party won the majority in the 1946 elections. The economy grew rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s but stalled later.

The Party ruled the state from 1948 until the 1989 Velvet Revolution. On 1 January 1993, the country split peacefully into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO on March 12, 1999 and the European Union on May 1, 2004.

http://onwardtoourpast.com/czech is a gateway to Czech ancestry and Bohemian history.

Page created Feb 24 2008 by Jim Heckenbach
Updated September 8, 2013

I have various documents, but no pictures except two of Peter Fuertsch, and of headstones from St Henry's.
Please send comments, corrections, and complaints to heckenbach@ameritech.net

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