Jan 4, 2013

An Unknown Great-great-great-grandfather of Mozart

It has been known since the early 1970s that some of Mozart's ancestors hailed from Vienna. Mozart's grandparents on the mother's side, Wolfgang Nikolaus Pertl and Eva Rosina Barbara Altmann (widowed Puxbaum) got married on 22 November 1712 in St. Gilgen. Eva Rosina Altmann's first marriage to Ignaz Franz Leopold Puxbaum had taken place on 30 May 1702 in Stein an der Donau (Tom. 2/2, pag. 46):


The father of the bride is only identified in the marriage records of St Veit in Krems an der Donau, the  home parish of the groom, where in May 1702 the banns were published:

The entry concerning the publication of the banns in May 1702 for Ignaz Franz Puxbaum and Eva Rosina Altmann in Krems (Krems St. Veit, 2/6, pag. 330)

Eva Rosina Altmann's father (Mozart's great-grandfather) Dominik Altmann, Imperial sworn public notary and member of the inner council of the Imperial cities Krems and Stein ("Kaÿserlich geschwohrner Notarius Publicus. Wie auch beeder Kaÿserlichen Stätt Crembs und Stain des Innern Raths") was born in Vienna on 4 August 1636. His parents were the gardener ("Gartner auf der Landtstrass alhie") Jacob Altmann and his second wife Maria, née Oeller.

The baptism of Mozart's great-grandfather Dominik Altmann on 4 August 1636 at St. Stephen's Cathedral (A-Wd, Tom. 12, fol. 67r).

One of Dominik Altmann's godparents was the Viennese gardener Mathias Hundtspichler, who in 1633 had also served as one of the best men at Jacob Altmann's second wedding (Altmann's first wife Maria, née Eisenbirner had died in 1630):

The second wedding of Mozart's great-great-grandfather Jacob Altmann on 30 January 1633 at St. Stephen's (A-Wd, Tom. 14, pag. 327)

Mathias Hundtspichler, who was also the godfather of several of Jacob Altmann's children, was a member of a whole dynasty of house owners and gardeners by that name, who can be documented to have resided in the Viennese suburbs Landstraße and Erdberg between 1600 and 1800. In May 1767 one of Hundtspichler's descendants, the local judge and Kuchlgartner (kitchen gardener) Anton Hundtspichler assisted Angelo Soliman's future wife Magdalena Christian with the purchase of her house in the Viennese suburb Weißgärber. The gardener Jacob Altmann died shortly before 3 March 1639, on which day his will was published.

The envelope of Jacob Altmann's will, written on 4 November 1638. One of the seals is Mathias Hundtspichler's (A-Wsa, AZJ, Testament 3822/17. Jhdt.).

When Heinz Schöny did genealogical research on Mozart's Viennese ancestors more than 40 years ago he mostly dealt with Mozart's great-grandfather Dominik Altmann and his ten children. He identified Dominik's parents, but did not cover the preceding generation. This was probably caused by the scarcity of surviving biographical sources concerning citizens who lived in Vienna at the end of the 16th century. The surviving death records of the Vienna Magistrate only start in 1648 and the oldest Viennese baptismal records (which only cover relatively small areas of the city) only reach back to 1585, while burial records do not even go back into the 16th century. Progress of research can only be achieved with a time-consuming systematic search in all the surviving archival holdings, an enterprise that Schöny obviously was not in a position to carry out. In early 2012 I was able to add one male ancestor to Mozart's family tree by identifying Jacob Altmann's hitherto unknown father as Leonhard Altmann, "Bürger alhie zue wien auf der Lanndtstraß" ("citizen here in Vienna on the Landstraße"). Owing to the reduced number of sources his identity could only be verified by his will which was written on 22 August 1605 and published on 29 November of the same year. No document survives that provides information as to his age at the time of his death or the date of his marriage.

The envelope of the will of Mozart's great-great-great-grandfather Leonhard Altmann who died in November 1605 (A-Wsa, AZJ, Testament 520/17. Jhdt.).

Concerning the heritage of his only surviving son and his two stepdaughters Leonhard Altmann decreed the following:
Und alßdann verschaffe ich meinem Eheleiblichen Sohn, Jacoben Altman, So Ich bei jeziger meiner Ehelichen Hausfrauen Anngneß Im ehelichen standt erzeügt, füer sein Vätterlich Erbguett, In Bahren geltt ainhundert gulden Reinisch. Solche Ainhundert gulden soll mein Hausfrau, biß zue berüerts unnsers Sohnes Vogtbarkeit, ohne Ainichen Inntrese bei Iren Hannden behalten dennselben unnsern Sohn ohne entgelt solches Legats biß zu seinen Vogbahren Jaren od[er] daß ehr sein Nahrung selbst gewinnen mag, mit aller Menschlichen nottüerft versorgen und Christlich auferzihen, Im fall es sich aber nach dem willen gottes begäb, das mehrberüerter unnser Sohn Jacob, vor seiner Muetter, ungevogt mit Todt abgienng, So soll berüerts legadt der ainhundert gulden, auf mein Hausfrau freÿ ledig fallen, Und darvon solle sie meinen negsten befreünden, mehrers nit, dan füenf Pfundt, und Sechzig Pfening hinaus zuegeben schuldig sein, damit sollen sie meine befreünden alerdings hindan und abgefertigt sein. Item meinen Zwaÿen Stieftöchtern, Barbara und Maria, verschaffe Ich auß guetten freÿen willen ainer jeden absonnderlich Zwainzig Gulden Reinisch thuet sambentlich vierzig gulden, Solches legadt soll Ebenfals, mein Hausfrau ohne Intrese, biß zu jedweder Vogtbahrkeit bei Iren Hannden behalten, Und wen Unnder disen meinen Stieftöchtern aine vor der andern Ungevogt mit Todt abgiennge, so soll der Abgestorbnen Legadt, auf die überlebent under ihnnen fallen, gienngen sie aber Beede vor obgedachtem meinem Sohn Jacoben Altman, Ungevogt mit Todt ab, So soll solches legadt alleß und jedes, auf ihn oftgedachten meinen Sohn freÿ ledig fallen.
Furthermore I bequeath to my legitimate son Jacob Altman, whom I begot in marriage with my current wife Agnes, as paternal bequest one hundred Rhenish florins in cash. These one hundred florins should be held in trust by my wife without interest of her own until our aforesaid son reaches legal age. Without any compensation from this legacy she should also take care of our son and all his human needs and raise him in a Christian manner until he reaches majority or is capable of supporting himself. If however it should be God's will that our aforementioned son Jacob should die a minor before his mother, the aforesaid bequest should freely be passed to my wife. And from this she should be obliged to give to my closest friends five Pounds and sixty Pfennigs, but not more. Therewith my friends however should be satisfied. Likewise to each of my two stepdaughters Barbara and Maria out of good and free will I bequeath twenty Rhenish florins, forty florins in all. This bequest should also be held in trust by my wife without interest until both of them reach legal age. And if one of my stepdaughters should die a minor before the other, the bequest of the deceased should go to the surviving one. If however both of them should die under legal age before my aforementioned son Jacob Altman, all of the bequest should freely go to my aforesaid son.
 The opening page of Leonhard Altmann's will

One of the four witnesses to Leonhard Altmann's will was "der Ehrsambe und füerneme Matheß Hundtspüchler der Zeit Richter auf der Landstraß" ("the honorable and noble Mathias Hundtspüchler, current judge on the Landstraße"), who either was identical with Jacob Altmann's best friend, or, more likely (since a "Mathes Hundßpüller der jüngere[!]" from the Landstraße got married in 1608), the father of Mathias Hundtspichler, who was to play an important role in the life of the next generation of the Altmann family. Another one of Leonhard Altmann's witnesses was Georg Wagner, who was to serve as best man at Jacob Altmann's wedding in 1633. Mozart's great-great-great-grandfather Leonhard Altmann was buried in the old St. Nikolai cemetery on the Landstraße (which was disbanded in 1784).

St. Nikolai cemetery on the Landstraße (today the Rochusmarkt, Dr. Mesmer's house and part of his garden can be seen in the foreground)

This discovery was first reported in print in the Newsletter of the Mozart Society of America, Vol. XVI, No. 1 (27 January 2012). © All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece, not just because of the quality of the research (which is excellent), but also because it teaches us about the chronological limits of the Viennese archival records.

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