The history of the family Blankenstein was written by descendant Dr. Felix Blankenstein from intensive research of Werner Blankenstein (1894-1945). Werner's comprehensive family archive was taken away from a Silesian village of Krossen (today in Poland). Bits and pieces remained of his elaborate correspondence with churches and archives and authorities, and Felix was able to reconstruct a great deal. Werner Blankenstein was a senior achive official and had access to various documents even during the Second World War. A considerable part of those documents (e.g. the entire archive of the town of Zerbst, county Saxony-Anhalt) got burned in the war, which makes the copies saved by Werner even more valuable.
"County Anhalt between Magdeburg and Halle got its name after the fortress on Hausberg in the Hartz. After being destroyed in a fire, the fortress was rebuilt entirely without wood. Hence the name: 'Ohn Holtz (without wood) - Ohnholt - Anhalt'. In the middle ages this territory belonged to the Ascsanians and it was from there that Albrecht the Bear germanised and colonised Mark Brandenburg. From 1603 heritage and reunification resulted in four principalities: Anhalt-Bernburg (with Anhalt parts of Harz), Anhalt-Cothen, Anhalt-Dessau and to the North of the Elbe Anhalt-Zerbst.
"During the 30-year war all four regions were represented y one elected senior representative. After three family lines died out, in 1863 the whole Anhalt was reunited as a Duchy and became an integral part of the German Kaiserreiches. At the time of the Weiman Republic, from 1919 this region was called 'Friestaat Anhalt' (Free County Anhalt). Following the disintegration of Prussia after the Second World War, it was united with the nearby Prussian Province of Saxony into the federal state 'Saxony-Anhalt'.
"The existing church chronicles started registering births only from 1672, deaths from 1691, and weddings from 1675."
According to 1661 register which was in the Zerbst Archive until 1945, our earliest predecessor, ANDREAS BLANCKENSTEIN, first appeared in year 1652 in Anhalt. "With his wife GERTRAUD LAUTSCHKEN and four little sons, the youngest must have been less than a year old, he took over an estate from a certain Heinrich Rule ('without asking for permission of the principality of Nienburg'). The land was left abandoned after the 30-year war and the extinction of the family Rule like many other estates in the region at the tim. In exchange for the punctual annual payment of 1 Thaler (a large silver coin of varying value; thaler - daler - dollar) and 3 Groschen (approximately one-thirtieth of a thaler) tax as well as 1 Thaler and 12 Groschen interest on the land he was allowed to keep it.
"Unfortunately we do not know where this BLANCKEN tribe came from. We assume that the four sons were born between 1640 and 1651:Kilian, Hans, Christian, and our progenitor Martin. The first church register entry, however, refers to the eldest son: on the 29th of January 1665 was 'Killian, ANDRES BLANCKENSTEIN's son Godfather of Peter Korn. The following contains all the available data on the sons Kilian, Hans, and Christian." The information on Martin is in a separate file.
"Kilian - In May 1665 bought about 9 acres of land in Dorsa, a village 6km South of Gerbitz. The land belonged to a widow and it cost him 10 Thalers cash and 2 Thaler annual rent to the widow. The same year (October, 17th 1655) he married Anna Ludwig from a family in the same village. On February 13th 1675 he sold his estate and on the same day bought a bigger on in Pobzig - the contracts were signed in Nienburg and were kept there until at least 1945. He sold the original estate for 140 Thaler and bought the new one for 80! Nevertheless, the costs were much higher: half of his horses for the municippality of Nienburg, 4 Thaler and 12 Groschen tax and 9 Thaler interest on the land. Kilian had at least four daughters and one son: Elizabeth 9.5.1676, Magdalena 27.5.1678, Catharina 16.10.1679, Christina 27.2.1681, and Georg (I) 17.10.1684.
"HANS - The second eldest son inherited his father's estate. On October 30th 1671 the couple signed a contract with the three sons which regulated the compensation for the other two as well. Shortly afterwards the estate exchanged hands and on February 13th, 1672, Hans married Maria Jahn, daughter of the late school master Melchior Jahn from Rieden. ... They probably had four children: the eldest son called Hans as well, got in the meanwhile enlarged estate in 1703. The second son Peter was born on February 2nd 1676, Eleonora Susanne on February 24th 1691 and Andreas martin on January 13th 1699. A coincidence revealed us the date of death of Hans Blanckenstein: he died in the village of Schwarz, near the gated of Calbe where he was visiting his daughte Eleanora's family on February 3rd, 1719.
"Christian - Married Elisabeth Molweyde from the neighboring town of Nienburg. He must have settled down there as a farmer since he borrowed 40 tahlers for the period of 3 years; the money which he partly used to buy more land. After his death in 1710 he left a widow and one married daughter.
"ANDREAS' wife GERTRAUD died in Gerbitz on 22nd of August 1674. Four years later, on 29th of December 1678 she was followed by our first known Blankenstein predecessor ANDREAS."