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"Gottschalk" as a name in German

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Bob Godshall

Apr 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/26/96

To: Frank O'Donnell

Hi, Frank. It's always nice to find a new cousin!
( I've included my ancestral line at the end of this post.)

You asked about the meaning of the name Gottschalk and
found that it means "God" + "joker." Actually, you are pretty
close. I found a book by an Abraham Godschalk, a descendant
of the Rev. Jacob, published in 1912. His son Abram referred
to the same thing in the preface to the book. He said that
the original spelling in German was GOTTSCHALL but to avoid
religious persecutions in Germany, they moved to the Netherlands.
In Holland, rather then translating the actual letters of the
name as would have been proper, the name was transformed to
GAETSCHALK to conform to way it supposedly sounded in Dutch.
Later, by invitation from William Penn, they immigrated to
PA where the Americanized form of the name for many of the
descendants became GODSHALK. Abram, in the preface, was pleading
with the younger generations to go back to the original spelling
GOTTSCHALL or the Americanized GODSHALL. His reasoning was the
same that you mentioned. The original form GOTTSHALL means
"God's echo" but the transformed GOTTSHALK or GODSHALK means
"God's rascal", or perhaps "joker" as you found.

In case you're interested, I'm also including some info on the
Rev Jacob family:

Rev. Jacob Gottschalk, the common ancestor of probably most of the
Gottshall families in America, was born about 1670 in Gog (Goch),
located on a small stream (the Niers) in the community of Cleeves,
near the border of Holland in the Rhine Valley. He came to America,
some historians say in 1699, and settled in Germantown in 1702.
Jacob was the first Mennonite bishop in America. He moved to
Towamencien Twp. in PA about 1714. He was married to Aeltien
HERMANS who apparently died prior to 1760. Jacob died in 1763
at 97 years. They had three sons and two daughters. Herman was
the only child still living at the time of Jacob's will in 1760:

Rev. Jacob Gottschalk/Aeltien HERMANS had 5 children:
**Gottshall GOTTSHALL -b.1693 (married Eva CUSTER)
??John -d.1759 (married Helena -----)
??Herman (----?)
??Anna (married Peter CUSTER)
??Magdalena -d.bef 1763 (married William NASH)

**Gottshall GOTTSHALL/Eva CUSTER had 14 children:
??Jacob -d.1798 (m. Helena ----)
**William -d.1781 (m.Gertrude HUNSICKER)
??Syken (m. Goshen SCHRAWGER)
??Mary (m. John JOHNSON)
??Catharine (died unmarried)
??Margaret (m. Henry CASSEL)
??Garret (m. Edia BOHRS)
??Jane (died unmarried)
??Magdalena (m. John HENDRICKS)
??Gertrude (m. Matthias HENDRICKS)
**John (m. Hannah -----?)
??Ann (m. Melchior YODER)
??Eva (m. Jacob SWARTZ)
??Peter (was a minor when his father died)

**William GOTTSHALL-d.1781/Gertrude HUNSICKER had 6 children:
??Garret (m. Hester ZIEGLER)
**Gottshall -b.1753 (m. Elizabeth ZIEGLER)

**Gottshall/Elizabeth ZIEGLER had 2 sons: (+1 dau died young)

**Dillman -b.1787 (m. Hannah UMSTEAD) They had 9 children:
( I have only a small amount of info on these families)

**William -b. 1784 (m.Magdalena HUNSBERGER)
13 children:
(I have a book on the descendents of these families
through 1924)
Here is my line:

/Henry Kratz GOTTSHALL
/ \Margaret H KRATZ
/William Clemens GOTTSHALL
/ \ /Garret CLEMENS
/ \Anna Nice CLEMENS
/ \Elizabeth NICE
/Harvey Heckler GODSHALL
/ \ /Abraham F. HECHLER
/ \ /Jacob S. HECKLER
/ \ / \Sarah SHIETEL
/ \Amanda Mininger HECKLER
/ \ /??
/ \Sarah J. MININGER
/ \??
Russell Long GODSHALL
(my father) /Jacob LONG
\ /Enos LONG
\ / \Elizabeth YOUNG
\ /Franklin Souder LONG
\ / \ /Abraham S. SOUDER
\ / \Leah Lovina SOUDER
\ / \Margarita
\Bertha Nase LONG
\ /??
\ /David Nace NASE
\ / \??
\Sevilla Cressman NASE
\ /Israel CRESSMAN
\Ellamanda CRESSMAN
\Elizabeth LOH (LOW)

* William Hunsberger Gottshall (1812-1906)
William Ziegler Gottshall (1784-1875)
Gottschall H. Gottschall (1753-1824)
William Gottschall (1722-1781)
Gottschalk Gottschalk (1693-1748)
Jacob Gottschalk (1666-1763-Gog/Goch,Duchy of Cleeves)
Gottschalk Thones(b.abt 1625-Heckenhof,Munchen,Gladsbach)
Thones Comes (b. abt. 1596)
Gottschalk Comis (b. abt. 1565)
Thonis Comes (b. abt. 1535)
Gottschalk Comes (b. abt. 1510)

If you send me some of your Godshall family names I may be able to
help find your connection.

-Bob Godshall
220 23439 <> article
Newsgroups: soc.genealogy.german
From: (Frank O'Donnell)
Subject: "Gottschalk" as a name in German
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Les Amis de l'Accordeon
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 1996 05:15:55 GMT
Lines: 18

I recently found that one of my family lines goes back to
a Rev. Jacob Godshalk, who was an early Mennonite bishop
in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. The line continues
back generations past that to a Gottschalk Comes, who
was born about 1510 in Muenchen Gladbach-Venn, Germany.

It would appear from my bilingual dictionary that "Gottschalk"
would translate more or less to "God" + "joker." Is this
really a name that someone (particularly a Mennonite minister)
would have? Could perhaps one of the native German speakers
in the newsgroup help me a little with the idiom of what a
name like Gottschalk would mean or suggest?

Thanks much,

Frank O'Donnell
Los Angeles, CA

| 0 |
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|0| |0| |0| ===================================
| |-|-|-| | | SHHH! Be vewy, vewy quiet... |
| | | | | | | I'm hunting forebears. E. Fudd |
|0| |0| |0| | Bob Godshall |
| |-|-|-| | | |
Some mornings it's just not worth gnawing through the straps.

Frank O'Donnell

Apr 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/26/96

Norman H. West

Apr 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/27/96

In article <>, Ernest Thode <aa...@SEORF.OHIOU.EDU> says:
>GOTTSCHALK, rather than meaning God's joker, means more like "God's servant."
>It was a given name, Gottschalk.
Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) was an American composer and pianist
contemporary with Chopin. He was born in New Orleans of a London-born,
German-educated Jew and a Spanish/French mother.


Apr 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/28/96

Quoting nwest from a message in soc.genealogy.german
>Subject: Re: "Gottschalk" as a name in German

>>GOTTSCHALK, rather than meaning God's joker, means more like "God's
>servant." >It was a given name, Gottschalk.
>Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) was an American composer and pianist
>contemporary with Chopin. He was born in New Orleans of a London-born,
>German-educated Jew and a Spanish/French mother.

My great great grandfather married an Engel? Gottshalk, geb.1800 in
S"udhorsten, Schaumburg-Lippe, about the year 1839.

Peter Buwen

May 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/1/96

Frank O'Donnell wrote:

> It would appear from my bilingual dictionary that "Gottschalk"
> would translate more or less to "God" + "joker." Is this

IMHO the name Gottschalk means something like God´s rogue or God´s wag.
It might have something to do with the profession of the court jesters.
I hope I could help you in some way!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~PETER BUWEN~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

E-mail: mailto://
-You can't free a fish from water. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition Nr. 217)

Phil Andrew

Jul 23, 2023, 10:58:05 PM7/23/23
Hey all! I'm sorry to revive this 27 year old conversation, but what do you all think about the claim that Gottshalk Comes, who was the earliest Godshall/Gottshalk ancestor, was the son of John II Duke of Cleves? I saw the claim in a few online genealogies and it supposedly comes from an article in issue 23 of the Mennonite Quarterly (dating to 1949) about the ancestry of Bishop Jakob Gottshalk. As one Godshall/Gottshalk to another, I would be very interested to see if anyone else has seen this claim or the article in question.
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