Monday, 2 April 2018

A road to Rome

I recently learned of a German book from 1707 called Die höchste Zierde Teutsch-Landes, Und Vortrefflichkeit des Teutschen Adels. The book, a genealogical compendium written by Frankfurt genealogist Johann Maximilian von Humbracht (1654-1714), is digitized in its entirety and can be read at the Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum.

This book is of interest to me because it mentions some of my distant ancestors who were knights in Germany in the Middle Ages. And it is of particular interest because it claims to trace one of my mother's family lines back, not only to medieval Germany, but to ancient Rome!

I guess this might be seen as an addition to our Italian heritage, which I wrote about in an earlier blog post.

Caius Marcellus

The connection goes via the family Cammerer von Worms, which descends from a certain Conrad who is mentioned in the year 969 as a knight. According to family tradition, this Conrad was a descendant of a certain Roman man named Caius Marcellus, whom Publius Quinctilius Varus (deceased 9 AD) appointed to a committee for the Roman occupation of the city of Worms after its rebuilding. Here is Humbracht's original German passage (referring to Cajo Marcello in the ablative case):

CONRAD (von Cajo Marcello, welchen Quintilius Varus, nach Wieder-Erbauung der Stadt Worms/zu einem Comite der Römischen Besatzung verordnet/herstammend)

The Roman capture of Worms took place in 14 BC, so the appointment of Caius Marcellus must have happened shortly after that.

The name Marcellus would indicate that Caius belonged to the Roman clan known as the gens Marcella. This clan seems in turn to have been descended from the famous gens Claudia of Sabine origin. The Sabines were an Italic tribe of the central Apennines, related to the Latins of Rome and speaking a language related to Latin. Appius, the founder of the gens Claudia, arrived in Rome in 505 BC, so even in Caius Marcellus' time, the family's Sabine origin was several centuries distant, and our Caius probably had ancestral links to a number of ethnic groups.

Caius Marcellus would have been born sometime around the mid-first century BC, at a time when Rome was the largest city in the world. He would likely have been a child when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, and he would have been a young man when Octavian became Emperor of Rome in 27 BC.

Unfortunately, Die höchste Zierde does not list the generations between Caius and his alleged descendant Conrad (who lived almost exactly one thousand years later). This means, of course, that the Roman descent should be regarded as an interesting curiosity and possibility, and not as proven fact. If Caius Marcellus settled in Worms and had children there, it does not seem unlikely that Conrad might have been a distant descendant. Proving it, however, is another matter entirely.

My line of descent from Conrad

Below is the line from Conrad to myself. Generations 1-10 are from Die höchste Zierde. Generations 11-20 are from online genealogies of German noble families (such as this and this and this). Generations 21-24 have been thoroughly researched by Norwegian genealogists (see for example here; for Eilert W. P. Ramm and his children, see here). Generations 25-32 have been thoroughly researched by myself using primary sources.

1. Conrad Cammerer von Worms, knight in 969, said to be descended from Caius Marcellus.
2. A younger son of Conrad.
3. Rugemar Cammerer von Worms, chamberlain of the bishop of Worms, knight.
4. Eckenbertus Cammerer von Worms.
5. Wolfram Cammerer von Worms.
6. Friedrich Cammerer von Worms, knight.
7. Wolfgang Cammerer von Worms, knight in 1200.
8. Rigeso Cammerer von Worms, 1237.
9. Peter Cammerer von Worms (deceased 1297)
10. Gisala Cammerer von Worms, married Simon Brömser von Rüdesheim, 1317
11. Adelheid Brömser von Rüdesheim (c. 1330-after 1388)
12. Oswald Groschlag von Drieburg (deceased after 1363)
13. Johanna Groschlag von Drieburg
14. Karl von Carben (d. c. 1448)
15. Emmerich von Carben (d. c. 1513)
16. Margarethe von Carben (d. c. 1528)
17. Helena von Dörnberg (d. 1544)
18. Reinhard Schenck zu Schweinsberg (1537-1584)
19. Reinhard Schenck zu Schweinsberg (1584-1638)
20. Anna Zeitlose Schenck zu Schweinsberg (1640-1696), moved from Germany to Norway.
21. Eilert Jørgen Christoff von Hadeln (1660-1714)
22. Anne Eilertsdatter von Hadeln (d. 1742)
23. Eilert Jørgen von Hadeln Ramm (1720-1793)
24. Eilert Waldemar Preben Ramm (1769-1837), signatory of the Norwegian Constitution at Eidsvoll, 1814.
25. Petronelle Prebensdatter (1794-1886), illegitimate child of Ramm.
26. Petrine Pedersdatter Prestgårdseie (1817-1887)
27. Johan Nilsen Hammeren (1854-1940), manager at Hammeren.
28. Hans Johansen Hammeren (1883-1970)
29. Arne Harry Hammeren (1919-1991)
30. My grandfather (living)
31. My mother (living)
32. Miriam Aurora (born 1990)

Excerpt from page 54-55 (family tree #13) of Die höchste Zierde. I have emphasized my line with red lines under the names of my ancestors (starting with Conrad and moving down to Heribertus' wife, then Rugemar, Eckenbertus, etc.). Gisala married Simon Brömser von Rüdesheim, and since their descendants are not part of the direct Cammerer male line, they are not included on this chart.

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