How the Stabbert Family Name came to Prussia

This is the text of a letter from Max Stabbert

In my early years, the question has been raised from time to time, "where did my ancestors come from?" Local records in East Prussia told us the Stabbert family settled down in Kallweningken, Kreis, Labiau some 200 years ago. That gave us a partial answer. However the preceding time had never been researched.

Then before World War II, I found an ad in the Provincial newspaper by a Lady Fraeulein Von Stabbert in the Southern part of East Prussia. She was looking for an employee to hire. It made our family wonder who she might be. World War II broke out when we tried to make contact with this lady.

I was called into the airforce (Luftwaffe). Soon after hearing my name, a fellow soldier approached me asking if I was related to his lord (boss) Fraeulein Von Stabbert. He was employed as a manager at her large estate called manor Rittergut. At that time, my answer was "no". However I was pondering about that question. The war and the following years did not allow time for family research.

When I entered the United Stated and visited distant Stabbert relatives in Washington, questions about genealogy and origin of the Stabbert family became top priority. After years of searching and writing forth and back, together with my lovely wife Ursula, we compiled a family tree for the Stabbert clan.

Furthermore, I remembered the teaching of history in my school years, my favored subject. Our teacher emphasized the major and minor crusades in the Middle Age, when international Christian crusaders tried to free Jerusalem and Palestine, from the Moslems. According to the Encyclopedia, there were 8 Crusades made to the Holy Land, some were successful, some great failures.

Motivated by these great endeavors, another order of crusaders was formed in 1190-91, however restricted to German nobles only. Their initial goal was also to go to the Holy Land, but they changed directions and went NorthEast to convert the heathen to Christianity in Prussia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia on the Baltic Sea.

They got recognized by the Pope in 1199, and had also religious and military power. They got the name "Teutonic Knights". According to history records, they started conquering Prussia in 1229. Prussia was overthrown in 50 years. During that time, the Teutonic Knights (in German called: "Ritter-Orden"), started building towns, castles, fortresses and churches all over the land. The castle in our home county of Labiau was build in 1258 (see front- page) In the Following 50 years, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were also conquered and established by the Teutonic Knights. However after the establishment, wars were raging between the Poles, Russians, Swedes, and Knights on and off for the next 200 years. Final result: the Poles, Russians and Swedes took in Latvia and Estonia. Lithuania stayed more or less independent and Prussia remained in the hands of the Teutonic Knights. In 1525, the Grand Master of Hohenzollern changed from Catholicism to Protestantism and also changed the Order from a religious to a civil organization. In 1618 the Teutonic Knight’s territory passed to the Hohenzollern. At this time, the name Prussia was extended to all provinces of Hohenzollern and the original name Prussia (or Old Prussia) was changed to East Prussia.

After the long struggle, the efforts the Knights had to be rewarded. Since they had conquered and established all the land, the individual knights because owners of big farms, manors and since they were all nobles, they carried the title “Von”.

The manor of the Stabbert Knight was still located in Stolpe near Allenstein, East Prussia in 1945.

This territory or better more than half of East Prussia was annexed to Poland after World War II.

Historical books and research have revealed that the Teutonic Knight Von Stabbert brought the Stabbert family name to East Prussia.