The Nendel family in Franconia

Not much is known about the Nendel family in Franconia. Eye-catching is the fact that 39 % of all Nendels listed in the telephone book live in the area between Bamberg and Nuremberg. Because of the very local distribution this cluster is considered to belong to one family group. About 40 kilometers further east a number of Nendel families appeared in the 15th century. There, the surname appears only in the franconian version "Nentel". In the upper franconian language /d/ and /t/ are often pronounced similarly, so the surname Nentel has to be considered as a form of Nendel.
In Trebgast, today as St. Johannis part of Bayreuth, the name appeared first in 1398 when Heinrich Nentel was a civil servant for the lordship.1 Heinrich Nentel bought a farm in Trebgast auf dem Hofe from Heinrich Eberhart and was enfeoffed with this property on 10 april 1398.2 He also owned a farm with 25 ha field and 4 ha meadows in Laineck, which he sold before 10 august 1419.3 The proceeds he used to buy half of the tithe of Trebgast auf dem Hofe from Hans Hacker of Benk in the same year. In 1421/24 he sat in Trebgast on a small farm with 5 ha fields and 1 ha meadows. Additionally, he had a house and a low-tax farm (another 5 ha fields and 1 ha meadows) in the village as a free man's feoff. Already his farm in Laineck had been free of any money-based taxes. Heinrich Nentel rose to be a civil servant in this time and thus was in charge of executive duties in the name of the lordship. He was payed with proportions of oats that he was regularily given from different fiefs.3

Around 1421 further Nentels appeared in the Bayreuth region. Cuntz and Fridel Nentel took over small farms in Ramsental1 and Hans Nentel was enfeoffed with a farm in Mistelbach. In 1446 Hermann Nentel was taverner in Bayreuth, as we learn from invoices of the construction of the church Maria Magdalena.4 In the vicinity of Bayreuth, Nendels and Nentels were recorded in Berneck, Bindlach, Euben, Geyersnest, Mistelgau, Mistelbach and Trebgast towards the end of the 15th century. One century later they appeared also in Weidenberg, Mistelbach, Aichen, Höflas, and again in Laineck. In Trebgast people worked on "Nendel's farm" (presumably owned by the family for over 200 years then) and four Nendel or Nentel families were known in the village.
Northeast of Bayreuth, in Nentmannsreuth, the baptism of Hans Nendel's five daughters was written down between 1593 and 1598 on the first pages of the Benk church book. With this the paternal line ceases in Nentmannsreuth. Since the village name was highly probable derived from an early form of the name Nendel, the existence of a Nendel family in Nenntmannsreuth is particulary remarkable. However, in the tax list of the princedom Brandenburg-Ansbach-Kulmbach of 1497 no Nentel or Nendel was recorded in one of the seven farms of Nentmannsreuth. However, the appearance of so many Nentel family members in the vicinity of this village can not be arbitrary.
In the time before the 17th century direct genealogical relations can only be assumed. If in 1497 Conntz Nentel and his wife and in 1498 Hans Nentel appear in the tax lists of the princedom Brandenburg-Ansbach-Kulmbach as being resident in Trebgast, they are presumably grandchildren or great grandchildren of Heinrich Nentel. Those indirect pedigrees can also presented for the today deserted village of Geyersnest (Heintz, mentioned in 1451 and assumed by Pöhlmann to be a son of Heinrich Nentel, and Hans, mentioned in 1498) and, further branched, also in other places. In general, a steady spreading of the family can be observed in the Bayreuth region, although lesser sources towards the past may also produce this effect. The Nendels in Franconia will be the objective of future research. Two questions need to be answered: (i) is the Nendel family cluster of today related to the Nendel families that were recorded in the area since the 14th century and (ii) is there a connection between the Nendel family and the more than thousand-year-old town of Nendelin Uraha near Bamberg?


1 PÖHLMANN, Th. (1998): Die älteste Beschreibung des Amtes Bayreuth - Das Landbuch A von 1398, Rabenstein Verlag, Bayreuth.
2 MEYER, Ch. (1895/96): Das Lehenbuch des Burggrafen Johann III. von Nürnberg. Quellen zur alten Geschichte des Fürstentums Baireuth, Bayreuth.
3 PÖHLMANN, Th. (1992): Das Amt Bayreuth im frühen 15. Jahrhundert - Das Landbuch B von 1421/24, Rabenstein Verlag, Bayreuth.
4 LANGE, E. (1967): Personenregister zum Lehenbuch von 1421 und zu den Rechnungen der Stadtkirche in Bayreuth (1435 - 1467). Archiv für Geschichte von Oberfranken.