Ein Dach über dem Kopf (Dr. Walter Reicher)

Notes on the genealogy of composer Joseph Haydn (Dr.Fritz Königshofer)

Kostbare Blätter (Dr. Walter Reicher)

Haydn ein Europäer? (Dr. Walter Reicher)

Notes on the genealogy of composer Joseph Haydn (Dr.Fritz Königshofer)

(Franz) Joseph Haydn, born March 31, 1732 in Rohrau, Lower Austria, ranks as one of the most important composers of all, the first of the so-called Vienna classics, sometimes named the "Father of the Symphony," whose innovations and rich and varied oevre laid the ground for Mozart and Beethoven. From 1761-90, and again since 1795, he directed the orchestra of Prince Eszterházy, first in Eisenstadt, then at the palace of Eszterháza near Fertõd, and eventually in Vienna. Successful stays in London in 1791/92 and 1794/95 established his fame. As his greatest achievement, Haydn refined the construction and interaction of motifs for symphonies and sonatas, a development which opened these forms to the large themes and structures that followed. He wrote the old imperial hymn of Austria which later became the national anthem of Germany ("Deutschlandlied"), and which formed the material for his masterpiece "Emperors Quartet." Haydn died on May 31, 1809 in Vienna.

The material for this article comes to a small part from the book by Karl Geiringer, "Joseph Haydn: Der schöpferische Werdegang eines Meisters der Klassik" [The creative career of a master of the classic era], published by Goldmann, Munich, in 1986. Most of the material, however, was drawn from the two-volume set by Ernst Fritz Schmid, "Joseph Haydn: Ein Buch von Vorfahren und Heimat des Meisters" [A book about the master's ancestors and his homeland], published 1934 by Bärenreiter in Kassel. Schmids detailed genealogical research appears to be cited in most books on Haydn. One of the book's chapters deals with the meaning of the name Haydn, its spelling variations, and the geographical spread of the name. Apparently, names like Haydn, Hayden, Haiden, Heiden and perhaps also Haider or Heider, refer to the old German word Heide which means "pagan." However, the word might also refer to "Heidn" in the meaning of buckwheat ("flour of the pagans"). Another closely connected term is "Heide" in the sense of the commonly used leas and forests of a community (the "Allmende" or "Hutweide"). Apparently, the old German term Heide (for pagan) might actually have the origin in something like "forest inhabitant."

Ancestors of Haydn

The birthplace of Haydn, Rohrau in Lower Austria, lies straight at the border to Burgenland, not far south of the river Danube. For much of the 2nd millenium (till 1920), this had been the historic border between Austria and Hungary. It turns out that Kaspar Haydn, the greatgrandfather of Joseph, had hailed >from Tadten in Burgenland's Lake Corner, Hungarian name Tétény or later Mosontétény. A number of Burgenland Bunch members have ancestors in Tadten or environs. They may well be blood-relations of the composer!

Kaspar Haydn moved from Tadten to Hainburg in Lower Austria where he was a cartwright (carriage builder). He and his wife lost their lives in 1683 when the Turks took the town on their way to the siege of Vienna, and burned it down. Their property went to their 23 years old son Thomas Haydn (Joseph Haydn's grandfather), also a cartwright, who later became a (free) citizen of Hainburg. Thomas Haydn died in 1701.

Joseph Haydn's father, Mathias Haydn, was born on January 31, 1699 in Hainburg. There were six brothers altogether, with the oldest 12 years old, and Mathias only 2, when their father died. Mathias also learned the craft of a cartwright, became a journeyman in 1717, and traveled as far as Frankfurt am Main. Eventually, he settled in Rohrau where in 1728 he married Maria Koller, served as the town judge (corresponding to mayor) from 1741-61, and was known for playing the harp without the ability to read notes. After the death of Maria nee Koller in 1754, Mathias Haydn remarried Maria Anna Seder.

As to the mother's side of Joseph Haydn's ancestry, his grandfather Lorenz Koller, born in Pachfurth (a border village between Rohrau and Bruck an der Leitha), was a farmer in Rohrau. He and his family lost all their belongings when Hungarian rebels raided Rohrau in 1704, and again in 1706, during the so-called Kurucz uprising. Lorenz became town judge of Rohrau in 1713 and died in 1718. Joseph Haydn's mother Maria Koller was born on November 10, 1707 in Rohrau. She was only 11 when her father died. She entered the service of the overlords of Rohrau, the counts Harrach, as a cook.

Therefore, one can conclude that the ancestors of Joseph Haydn were all ethnic German craftsmen or farmers from the Austro-Hungarian border region, with the Haydn line itself originating from today's Lake Corner of the Burgenland. Haydn's parents had achieved a certain local status, which is what perhaps enabled them to place the gifted child in a boychoir in Vienna from 1740. Nevertheless, the young Joseph Haydn received only haphazard formal instruction in music (which he financed himself by doing whatever paid work he could obtain), but mostly had to educate himself.

Joseph Haydn and his brothers and sisters

(Franz) Joseph Haydn was married with Maria nee Keller who hailed from Chlumetz in Bohemia. However, the marriage remained childless. Schmid writes that stories always abounded bout "illegitimate" children of Joseph Haydn (as well as illegitimate children of Haydn's father), and calls this an area "to be researched further" (at the time of Schmid's book). Haydn himself is cited as using his wife's inability to conceive as "justification" for his extra-marital adventures. In any case, the most persistently rumored natural son of Joseph Haydn was Alois Anton Nikolaus (also called Antonio) Polzelli, born April 22, 1783 in Süttör, the site of the Eszterháza Palace, as son of Haydn's mistress Aloisia Polzelli and, officially, her husband Anton Polzelli. The daughters of Antonio apparently were convinced that their real grandfather was the composer. In the 1870s, one of these daughters, Emilie, lived in relative poverty in Budapest as the wife of a Mr. Wölföl (or Wölfl, Wölfel).

Two brothers of Joseph Haydn survived to adulthood. One of them, (Johann) Michael Haydn, born 1737 in Rohrau, became a well-known composer in his own right, lived and died (1806) in Salzburg, and was married with Marie Magdalena nee Lipp. Only one child sprang from this marriage, but it died as a baby. The other brother, Johann Haydn, born 1743 in Rohrau, never married (and is not known to have had any progeny). He was a singer in the Eszterházi orchestra, and died 1805 in Eisenstadt.

Three sisters of Joseph survived to adulthood. The first of these was Anna Maria Franziska, born 1730 in Rohrau, died 1781 in Fertõszentmiklós (Sopron county, near Kapuvár). She was first (1750) married in Rohrau with Johann Vieltzwieser (Filzwieser), a widower, and secondly (1771) in Fertõszentmiklós with Jakob Traumbauer. The only known further descendents were from daughter Anna Maria Vieltzwieser, born 1751, who married Johann Michael Wimmer, an innkeeper in Fertõszentmiklós. One child of that marriage, Josepha Anna Wimmer, born 1778, was married with Joseph Apeller, a physician practicing madicine in Kapuvár. Therefore, any descendents possibly living today after Anna Maria Franziska Haydn, sister of the composer, might well only be via the line Joseph Apeller of Kapuvár and his wife Josepha Anna nee Wimmer.

The second sister was Anna Maria Haydn, born 1739 in Rohrau, where she died in 1802. Anna Maria married 1757 in first marriage Johann Philipp Fröhlich, son of Lorenz and Gertrud Fröhlich of Rohrau, a blacksmith, and in second marriage 1777 Ignaz Raffler, son of Jakob and Maria Raffler, a blacksmith in Schönabrunn (which was also a border village near Rohrau, in the other direction than Pachfurth). There were numerous descendents >from Anna Maria, probably mostly or all from the first marriage (Fröhlich). These are the family names and locations from about 1780 onwards which might indicate possible descendents of Anna Maria nee Haydn:

Beaver Falls (USA): Simek //
Bela Crkva (Weisskirchen in Banat): Simek //
Berlin (Germany): Maax //
Bremen (Germany): Lappenberg, Lohmann //
Cattaro: Simek //
Fischamend (Lower Austria): Fröhlich //
Gerhaus (near Rohrau): Hammer //
Haslau an der Donau: Mosberger
Höflein (in Lower Austria, near Rohrau, not the one in Burgenland): Gogoditsch, Müllner, Schoderitz //
Huchling (near Bremen): Trost //
Naarn (Upper Austria): Kleinsasser //
Olsnitz (Murska Sobota, Slovenia): Höcher //
Petronell (near Rohrau): Dietrich //
Pressburg (Bratislava): Höcher //
Reutlingen (Germany): Herrmann //
Rintelen an der Weser (Germany): Sixel //
Rio de Janeiro: Sixel //
Rohrau: Böheim, Fröhlich, Höcher, Mosberger //
Scharndorf (near Rohrau): Müllner //
Süttör: Moser, Schilldorfer, Wisauer //
Széplak and Sopron: Luegmayer //
Trebinje (Hercegovina): Simek //
Vienna: Becher, Buhl, Dobrodinsky, Fröhlich, Gogoditsch, Herndlhofer, Höcher, Kehrer, Petrina //

The third surviving sister of the composer was Anna Katharina Haydn, born 1741 in Rohrau. She was married with Christoph Näher, son of Johann Martin and Klara Näher, rifle maker in Munderkingen an der Donau (near Ulm, Germany). Christoph Näher had found a job as rifle maker for the Harrach family in Rohrau. The couple had a son, Leopold Näher, born 1764 in Rohrau, but nothing seems to be known about his fate.

From the second marriage of father Mathias Haydn with Maria Anna nee Seder, no childen survived to adulthood.

Siblings of Joseph Haydn's father Mathias Haydn

Joseph Gregor Haydn, born 1689 in Hainburg (died around 1739), was likely a cartwright in Ungarisch Altenburg (Magyaróvár, Moson county). In first marriage, he was married with Anna nee Drobarth from Magyaróvár, and in second marriage with Theresia nee Vogt from Hainburg. There were several offspring from these marriages (Andreas, Joseph, Mathias, Anna Maria) who might have produced further descendents.

Johann Haydn was born 1696 in Hainburg. He settled in Rankenmarkt, Upper Austria, where he first married Maria Sunzinger, and in second marriage Maria Rosa Sayller. There were several children, all born in Frankenmarkt. Johann Haydn died in Frankenmarkt in 1751.

Anton Haydn was born 1701 in Hainburg. In 1728 in Petronell, he married Magdalena, a widow. Anton first operated the Wirtshaus zu den Sieben Brunnen (Inn to the Seven Springs) in Petronell, and then became a city-guardsman in Pressburg. Child Michael was born 1729 in Petronell, while children Franz Xaver (1741) and Maria Anna (1743) were born in Pressburg. According to Schmid's book, nothing was known about further descendents.

Mathias Haydn also had stepsiblings from the second marriage of his mother with Mathias Seefranz. These lines will be discussed later.

The families of Joseph Haydn's paternal grandfather and greatgrandfather

Grandfather Thomas Haydn was born in about 1657 in Hainburg, where he died in 1701. In 1687 in Hainburg, Thomas married Katharina Blainninger (born 1671, died 1739). After the death of her husband, Katharina nee Blainninger married Mathias Seefranz (born in Bruck an der Leitha).

Little appears to be known about the siblings of Thomas. One brother, ohannes, born 1668, became a Turkish prisoner of war, and nothing was heard of him anymore. A sister Magdalene, born after 1668, probably married someone by the name Damm, but nothing was known to Schmid regarding any descendents.

About greatgrandfather Kaspar Haydn, Schmid only mentions that he was born in Tadten, and married in Hainburg. His wife was Elisabeth nee Schalck, daughter of Adam and Margarethe Schalck of Hainburg.

Half-siblings of Mathias Haydn

After the death of Thomas Haydn, his widow Katharina nee Blainninger married Mathias Seefranz. Mathias had been born in Bruck an der Leitha, as the son of Adam Seefranz and Maria nee Griessler. While the latter was from Bruck an der Leitha, Adam Seefranz apparently hailed "from Styria."

According to Schmid, the following is known about the children from the marriage of Mathias Seefranz with Katharina Haydn nee Blainninger (i.e., the half-siblings of Mathias Haydn). There was a son Johann Jakob Seefranz, born 1703 in Hainburg whose fate is unknown. Another son, Johann Adam Seefranz, was born 1708 in Hainburg, married Barbara Hütting in 1738 in Neusiedl am See, and was a cartwright there. The couple had at least one daughter, Katharina Seefranz, born 1742 in Neusiedl am See. Johann Adam died there in the same year.

There was also a daughter of Mathias and Katharina Seefranz, namely Julianna Rosina Seefranz, born 1711 in Hainburg where she died in 1760. In Hainburg in 1733, Julianna Rosina married the school rector and choir-regent Johann Mathias Franck (whose parents were from Ketzelsdorf in northeastern Lower Austria). They had sons who stayed in Hainburg (Seefranz line), a daughter who was a married Neumann, and another daughter who married the school-rector of Hainburg, Philipp Schimpel. Children of the latter couple lived in Hainburg and Göding [location of the latter is unclear]. Other names further down the line of descendents from Julianna Rosina Franck nee Seefranz are Nussdorfer and Heininger.

Siblings of Joseph Haydn's mother, Anna Maria nee Koller

Mathias Koller, a brother of Haydn's mother, was born 1710 in Rohrau, and died 1742 in Gerhaus (a village close to Rohrau). He was married with Maria Katharina Ailffinger. There were descendents of this couple in Gerhaus.

Theresia Koller, a sister of Haydn's mother, was born 1712 in Rohrau. She was first married with Johann Georg Graf, of Rohrau, then with Mathias Anton Madl from Bruck an der Leitha. There were children from both marriages who are believed to have grown up in Bruck an der Leitha. Schmid's book does not know the place and death of Theresia.

Another brother of Haydn's mother was Johann Kaspar Koller, born 1714 in Rohrau who died 1741 in Pachfurth. In 1741 he married Katharina Franziska Walpurga Kaintz of Pachfurth. Of their children, Franz Koller, born 1742, married Christina and was a blacksmith in Göttlesbrunn (near Bruck an der Leitha); another child, Anna Katharina Koller, born 1746, married Andreas Köttbaum, an innkeeper in Schiltern (now Jánosiková near Pressburg in Slovakia); and yet another child, Maria Theresia Koller, born 1750, first married Georg Stainer, then Anton Nestmayer, the latter a harness-maker master in Eisenstadt.

The family of Lorenz Koller, Haydn's maternal grandfather

Lorenz Koller was born 1675 in Rohrau, where he died in 1718. He was the son of Philipp Koller, and the grandson of Nikolaus Koller, both from Pachfurth. Lorenz Koller was married with Susanna nee Siebel, see further below.

Lorenz Koller had a sister Maria, born 1673, who married Thomas Winkler, an innkeeper and village judge in Pachfurth. Another sister of Lorenz, Barbara, born 1677, was married with Anton Schäffer, a farmer in Pachfurth.

The family of Susanna Siebel, Haydn's maternal grandmother

The maternal grandmother of the composer was Susanna Siebel, born 1685 in Rohrau, where she died in 1756 (two years after the death of her daughter Anna Maria, Haydn's mother). The parents of Susanna Siebel were Martin Siebel, a flour miller master from Prellenkirchen (near Rohrau to the east) where he died in 1710, and his first wife Barbara. The name of the second wife was Maria Schäffer of Pachfurth.

Susanna Koller nee Siebel had a full sister from the first marriage of her father, with name Apollonia. Nothing seems to be known about her. Half-siblings of Susanna from the second marriage of Martin Siebel were Johann Georg Siebel, born 1699 in Prellenkirchen, about whom nothing is known; and Anna Theresa Siebel, born 1702 in Prellenkirchen, who married Johann Roschmann. There was at least one son, Johann Roschmann jun., born 1724 in Prellenkirchen.


As can be seen, the direct genealogical links from Joseph Haydn to the Burgenland are through (i) his greatgrandfather Kaspar who had been born in Tadten, (ii) one Seefranz branch who moved to Neusiedl am See, and (iii) the Stainer and Nestmayer line in Eisenstadt. However, numerous other branches lived in nearby areas of Lower Austria and Hungary (today's Gyõr-Moson-Sopron county).

In the genealogy of Haydn one cannot fail but note how uneven the descendents of a family can be distributed. Many genealogical researchers make similar experiences with the (forward) trees of their families. In Haydn's case, it looks as if his ancestry culminated in producing him, the genius, and his also highly talented brother Michael, while the "family effort" almost ended there, were it not for the numerous and broad assembly of descendents from just one sister, Anna Maria.

The next article in this freely sequenced series will be about the genealogy of Ferencz (Franz) Liszt who was born 1811 in Raiding, Burgenland.

Joseph Haydn,1770

Autor: Dr. Fritz Königshofer