Surname Saturday: Mack and Puesecker in Gillersheim

Latitude/Width 51°37'48"N (51.63482°)
Longitude/Length 10°6'0"E (10.09507°)
Thanks to the extension of my family tree collaterally, I know that my 3rd great-grandmother Caroline Mack Geißler Billmann's family is from Gillersheim in Germany. I know that Caroline's family traveled to America with the Pusecker family. They settled in Franklin County, Ohio. Caroline's half-brother Heinrich Ludwig Mäck (who's American name was simply Henry Louis Mack) married Caroline Wilhelmine Pusecker. Caroline Pusecker Mack's brother Ludewich Puesecker had the key to the past. On his gravestone, the town of origin was listed as Gillersheim. So, my 3rd great-grandmother's sister-in-law's brother had the key that connected the two families to a specific town in Germany. (Before I forget, they left Germany in 1854. I discovered that there was a Census in 1852. I will definitely need to check into this).

My cousin David did a lot of digging and found a website where he could contact someone about church records in Gillersheim. I'll have to write more about that research later. He did a great job.

What I hope to do is understand Gillersheim a little better. First, I tried to figure out where Gillersheim is located. I found the geo code for the city. The current population of the town is 1,400 persons. That town size is pretty tiny for today's standards. My guess is that it wasn't ever really big in the past. Now this fact might help the research of my family stay focused. But learning the history of the town might be very difficult, even for a town founded 907 years ago (around 1105). I also learned present day Gillersheim is approximately 87 km (54.2 miles) from Hannover.

Route from Gillersheim (A) to Hannover (B)
Since the proximity to Hannover is so close, I could learn more about the history of Hannover and assume that much of it carried over to my relatives who lived in Gillersheim. I know that when they became citizens of the United States, they said they were of the Kingdom of Hannover. So, that supports my assumption to a degree.

I'll step back a bit. I was able to find a link to This website tells me about the current activities that happen in this small town. I found a BEAUTIFUL modern day photo of Gillersheim that is really breath taking. Take a look.

Gillersheim seen from the east, from the air (
Although this website was helpful in giving me a picture of this beautiful place, I'm still struggling to know more about the town's history. Specifically around the time of 1850. I suppose I'll have to go back to the Hannover history I mentioned before.

According to Wikipedia's entry for the Kingdom of Hannover, the kingdom was founded in 1814. That's 40 years before my 3rd great-grandmother Caroline departed the country with her family. Her father Heinrich Andreas Mack would have been 3 and her brother's father-in-law Karl Frederich Puesecker would have been 6. This time period was after the Napolean Wars. The Kingdom was part of the German Confederate and was part of an alliance with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1837. Both of these facts I know nothing about. I see more historical research in my future. The Kingdom was conquered by Prussia in 1866, but my immigrant family members would have been in America for 12 years. I wonder what family members may have been left behind.

The Lutheran church was the state church of the Kingdom of Hanover with the King the governor of the church. That explains why my Mack and Pusecker relatives were Lutheran in the United States of America. My 3rd great-grandmother married Joseph Geißler who was a Catholic. Apparently a HUGE no-no at the time. But, that would mean that Joseph was probably not from Hannover. Caroline must have met him some where along the time continum from when she left Gillersheim until she married Joseph in 1856. Did she meet him on the ship? I don't think so as Joseph's not on that ship's manifest. Did she meet him on the journey from Balitmore to Ohio? Did she met him once she arrived in Columbus? I really don't know but the mystery is VERY exciting.

In 1848, an organizational shift took place within the Lutheran church. Now a church board (made of parishioners) would work with each congregation's pastor. I wonder how Henirich Mack (now 37 and married to his second wife, my grandmother Caroline was 10) and Karl Puesecker (now 40 and married to his first wife) felt about this.

With all of this great information, I still want to know more about what was happening in Gillersheim, Hannover and Germany in the 1850s. Why would Heinrich and Karl take their family on a journey from Bremen to Baltimore and then from Baltimore to Columbus, Ohio? Sure there were pamphlets being distributed throughout Germany about the opportunities available in America. But was there something else that drove my German immigrants and their friends to leave the scenic Gillersheim for the unknown?

Again... more research awaits me in the future. But at least I've been able to encapsulate what I know at present.


  1. You might want to check this out:
    It's from the German version of wikipedia, an article about a castle nearby. I'm sure you can find a tool to translate it.

    1. That's a great page. Now... to find a translator tool.


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