Stieglitz (surname)

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Stieglitz is a surname originating in Germany. Stieglitz being German for goldfinch, it is considered to have been an ornamental eke-name originally applied to a prominent family, noticeable in appearance for particularly (golden or strawberry) blonde-coloured hair, of Ashkenazi Jews residing within what is now central Germany, from whom Ludwig von Stieglitz was raised to the Russian nobility, and of Protestant Leipzig patricians of German nobility. With the consolidation and expansion eastwards of the German Empire, the name spread. The original German name has also shifted orthographically to Stiglitz and beyond; later, Stieglitz was also transcribed to Sztyglic in Polish and Штиглиц in Russian.

Stieglitzens Hof in 1890
Anton Graff (1736–1813), the Family of Wilhelm Ludwig von Stieglitz, 1782
Coat of arms of the German Barons von Stieglitz, with goldfinch
Coat of arms of the Baltic Russian Barons von Stieglitz, with goldfinch

Stieglitz family[edit]

By the mid-18th century, two strands of the Stieglitz family were apparent as having emerged. Bartholomew Stieglitz, Mayor of Pilsen, Bohemia, was knighted in 1583 by Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor as Stieglitz von Čenkov; his son Kaspar and grandson Melchior Stieglitz fled to Saxony during the Thirty Years' War, where the family has since been established. In 1765, this patent of nobility was recognised by the Leipzig Council, and his great-grandson Christian Ludwig Stieglitz (1677–1758) (de), long-time Mayor of Leipzig, was posthumously ennobled, he and his descendants occupying the Stieglitzens Hof (de) in the central market square of Leipzig, forming a prominent political and legal dynasty of patricians. Sophie Charlotte von Stieglitz (1776–1839), the daughter of his son Wilhelm Ludwig von Stieglitz, an electoral Major of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg who was granted Mannichswalde (de), in 1799 married Dresden City Governor Adolph Heinrich von Gablenz (de) and was mother of Austrian general Ludwig Karl Wilhelm von Gablenz (de). Mannichswalde was inherited by Thuisko von Stieglitz (1808–1881), the Royal Saxon Lieutenant General and Chief of the General Staff; his son Georg von Stieglitz (1848–1912) was a Saxon Lieutenant General, while his son Robert von Stieglitz (1865–1933) was a diplomat and the last Saxon envoy to the South German courts. The family also possessed Castle Langburkersdorf in Neustadt in Sachsen and Friedenthal in Hildburghausen.[1]

Meanwhile, in 1725, 160 miles to the West in Bad Arolsen in the State of Waldeck, central Germany, Levi Stieglitz is recorded as arriving from nearby Bad Laasphe with his daughter, his two sons Hirsch Bernhard and Lazarus Stieglitz following in 1760. The family was granted Schutzjude status by Friedrich Karl August, with Hirsch Bernhard, his youngest son Jacob Friedrich, and Lazarus Stieglitz all serving as influential Court Jews (merchant bankers) to the Waldeckian Prince.[2] Johann Stieglitz, eldest son of Lazarus Stieglitz, was sent to attend school in Gotha and studied philosophy in Berlin, later pursuing medicine at the University of Göttingen and practising as a physician in Hannover from 1789.[3] Studying together in Göttingen, he became an erstwhile friend of Wilhelm von Humboldt, even saving him from drowning in the Leine.[4]


Nikolai (1770–1820) and Boris Bernhard Stieglitz (1774–1846), also sons of Lazarus Stieglitz, both emigrated to Kherson, Ukraine, to expand the family merchant business, becoming Imperial Russian Privy Councillors, the latter going on to become a successful merchant in Poltava, while the former eventually progressed to work in the Ministry of Finance in Saint Petersburg. Lazarus Stieglitz's youngest son Ludwig Stieglitz similarly moved as a young man to Russia as a representative of the family business, becoming an entrepreneur and banker of great capacity and influence, eventually appointed by Tsars Alexander I and Nicholas I to be court banker, investing in the construction of a steamship line between Lübeck and Saint Petersburg. The family received the hereditary Russian nobility, with Ludwig's son Alexander von Stieglitz inheriting the running of the Stieglitz & Company bank, which he liquidated in 1863, becoming the first President of the State Bank of the Russian Empire. Many of the Stieglitz were elevated to the peerage, styling themselves as Barons von Stieglitz, and electing to adopt a goldfinch (rousant) for their heraldic crest; in 1846 Christian Ludwig Stieglitz (1803–1854) (de) was similarly elected Baron by the King of Saxony, and the family expanded throughout central Europe.[5] His youngest son Heinrich Ludwig von Stieglitz (1762–1824) emigrated from Pilsen to County Armagh, Ireland; Heinrich's family, including Robert William von Stieglitz (de), later emigrated to Van Diemen's Land and Victoria in Australia in the 1830s to establish sheep runs on land grants and are considered early pioneers of Australia, establishing the (ironically misspelled) town of Steiglitz, Victoria.[6] At the same time Hirsch Bernard's eldest son Joseph Stieglitz emigrated to establish his company Mark & Sterlitz in New York City. Many family members, however, emigrated to Britain and America in the latter half of the 19th century and during the 20th century to escape the pogroms. Nevertheless, despite the family's extent throughout the German Empire by the 1850s, they were still concentrated in central Germany; Edward Stieglitz (1833–1909), father of Alfred Stieglitz and Julius Stieglitz, for instance emigrated to Hoboken, New Jersey, from Stadtlengsfeld, only 75 miles south-east of Bad Arolsen.[7]

Notable family members by birth year[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas Morgenroth (9 July 2009). "Sachsen: Das letzte Heiligtum von Schloss Langburkersdorf (Saxony: The Last Sanctuary of Castle Langburkersdorf)". Sächsische Zeitung. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  2. ^ Stieglitz, Olga (2003). Die Stieglitz aus Arolsen (the Stieglitz from Arolsen). Museum Stadt Arolsen. ISBN 3930930102.
  3. ^ Böttcher, Dirk. Stieglitz, Johannes (Israel). Hannoversches Biographisches Lexikon.
  4. ^ Wilhelm und Caroline von Humboldt in ihren Briefen (William and Caroline von Humboldt in their Letters), Briefe aus der Brautzeit (Letters from the Bride) 1787-1791. Osnabrück: Zeller. 1968.
  5. ^ Hefner, Otto Titan (1866). Stammbuch des blühenden und abgestorbenen Adels in Deutschland (The Genealogy of the Rise and Fall of Nobility in Germany. Regensburg.
  6. ^ "Frederick Lewis von Stieglitz". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Bad Arolsen". Alemannia Judaica, Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Erforschung der Geschichte der Juden im süddeutschen und angrenzenden Raum (International Association for the Study of the History of Jews in southern Germany). Retrieved 1 May 2015.