Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Probable Ancestor: The Independent and Spirited Christoph Friedrich Cotta

Is he my ancestor? Well, I say probably because all the sources that list him as the father of my ancestor are secondary sources. I don't have any primary sources, yet, to back up the claim. (The microfilm that I am waiting for might have a primary source document connecting him to my ancestor.) I don't know much about him, except from the few secondary sources I have read. One of those secondary sources happens to be a family tree.

This family tree, though, only has a brief paragraph on him, and that paragraph is in German:

"Chr. Friedr. Cotta, Dr. Jr., geb. 1758 in Tuebingen (cross symbol) 1838 in Trippstadt, Pfalz; einst franzos. Praefekt von Strassurg, Bezirksrichter von Weissenberg u. Landau; getr. 1796 mit Sara Stamm, Weinhaendler's Tochter, geb. 1771 in Strassburg, (cross symbol) 180? in Weissenburg."

According to this paragraph, Christoph Friedrich was born in 1758 in Tuebingen, Germany, and that he died in Trippstadt, Palatinate, Germany. It also states that he held the public offices of Perfect in Strasbourg, France and judge of the district court in Weissenberg and Landau, Germany, and that he married Sara Stamm in 1796. The family tree also lists his children as Emil and Amelie Cotta, and that Amelie married Adolph Kees. (Amelie and Adolph Kees are my ancestors according to not only the family tree but also the marriage record of their daughter, Emilia.)

Of course that paragraph does not tell me much about him. From another secondary source that I, it appears that he was a revolutionary in the area of present-day Germany during the French Revolution. Although I don't know yet what his exact role was, it appears that he was a part of the leadership of the Mainz Republic. (I'll have to do some more research about the Mainz Republic, and I'll probably post another article on the French Revolution.) The Mainz Republic, though, did not last very long, and Christoph apparently fled to Strasbourg. I don't know much more about what he did during the French Revolution, and I'll have to do more research. Of course, I consider him to be an independent spirit because of his ideological beliefs and the role he played in the French Revolution, even if it turns out to be a minor role.

  1. Cotta Family Tree, printed ca. 1930s-1940s (according to family tradition. Family tradition also claims that only five copies were made.)

  2. Haas, Heinrich. Geminde Trippstadt: Ihre Buerger von 1666 bis 1890.
  3. "Marriage record of Friedrich Klippel and Emilia Catherina Charlotta." Heiraten 1840-1875. Zivilstandregister, 1803-1957, (Trippstadt, Germany). FHL Film INTL 489217.
  4. Wangermann, Ernest. The English Historical Review. (April 1991) 106:419. 404-406. JSTOR.

1 comment:

Silvana said...

Dear Jessica,
I am a descendant of Adolph Kees and Amelie Cotta too. One of their sons, Adolph Friedrich Kees born Aug 23 1830 in Trippstadt, came to Argentina in 1856. I am very interested on your work. You can take a look on my family tree in Mi e-mail address is

Silvana Geuna
Buenos Aires, Argentina