Sponseller Family Genealogy Collection

Our Name

How was the name originally spelled?

Spannsailer, Spanseiler, Sponseiler, Sponselier, Sponcelar . . . ?

Some believe Sponseller is be the Americanized form of the German Spannseiler, an occupational name for a rope maker or a farmer who was hired out as a carter or teamster (of horses).

Venessa Stern's research shows:

Hans Philip SPANNSEILER was born about 1676, in Kirnbach, Baden?, died 19 Apr 1752, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, buried 20 Apr 1752, in Old Trinity Lutheran Church, Lancaster, PA.  He married Anna Barbara MAST 18 Aug 1711, in Kirchardt Reformed.

Cooper at Kirnbach near Sinsheim (southeast of Heidelberg); immigrated 1732 to near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Hans and Anna Barbara came to America September 25, 1732, aboard the ship Loyal Judith, from Rotterdam through the port of Philadelphia. Fever and flu plagued them during their trip and only 105 landed. Bad conditions of water taken in casks containing white wine caused illness and death. The greater part of their goods was lost. They resided in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and attended TrinityLutheran Church.

Information from the Palatines to America Immigrant File says they were French Huguenots from Lorraine - an old province in the N.E. of France that, since the Treaty of Peace at Frankfurt in 1871, again became attached to Germany. In ancient times, this name applied to the countries of Germany and the Netherlands, N.W. of the Rhine.

Their children settled around Southeast and South Central Pennsylvania and Maryland and the children's

offspring migrated to Ohio (around 1800), Indiana, Michigan and other points west. Some of the information came from "The Trail of Huguenots", p. 277 and from "The History of the Pennsylvania German Pioneers" by Strassburger and Hinke, vol. 1, p. 88. also p. 594-vol. 1 more information.

This is written in the records of Trinity Lutheran Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania: "Philipp Spanseiler died April 19, 1752, after living in matrimony with his wife Barbara 41 years and producing with her 6 children, of whom 3 are living and 3 are dead. Buried the 20th, aged 76 years."

Paul Sponseller, Fredericksburg, Virginia, provided this information:

". . . back in the 90’s, I communicated with a man, I can’'t remember his name, that said he translated the microfilms of the LDS documents from German into English, including Hans Philip’s wedding, and he said the spelling was Sponseiler on that document with an umlat over the ‘o’. The marriage and births of at least three of his children were recorded in churches, some in different towns, all within 30 miles of Stuttgart, Germany. That convinced me that the most nearly correct spelling is Spönseiler."

I have the baptismal records of my Sponseller Family from the Good Hope Luthern Church, North Lima, OH. The spelling there, also translated from the German records, is Spönseiler.

What's your opinion?


Are we German, or French, or . . . Austrian?

Growing up I was always told that my Sponseller roots originated in Germany. Dad said his grandparents talked Dutch-German. We knew that the family had been in the Alsace Lorraine Province on the Germany-France border.

A while back Paul Sponseller emailed me that he has come to believe the family roots were Austrian, not German. The area Hans Philip emigrated from was under control of the Austrian Empire after their defeat of the French in 1525 and remained so until reclaimed by Napoleon almost 300 years later.

Paul's research into modern phone records shows there are few Spönseiler's in Germany (3), but many in Austria. I found an Austrian Phone Directory online and a search for Sponseiler finds 66 current listings.

One of my company's suppliers is a German chemical firm. Their salesman I work with lives in Austria. Last week he told me his neighbor's last name is Spönseiler (he pronounces it Spoon-zeiler).

More to come . . . stay tuned!