Oorspronklike Familiewapen THE ORIGIN OF THE WINTERBACH CLAN

The following saying dates from 1759 and was found on a wooden beam above the dining room in the original Winterbach residence, today the Hotel Eisenhut in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany:

Original text:
Gut Wein hat einst undt gastlich Dach
Das erbar Haus der Winterbach
Gott walt, dass meine Gasterey
Stets erbar, frumb undt freundlich sey: 1759
Rough translation:
Good wine is found under the roof
of the house of Winterbach.
May God give that my hospitality
will always be impeccable and friendly.

Meaning of the symbols on the original von Winterbach family crest

(The crest is mounted above the front entrance of the original Winterbach residence in Rothenburg o.d. Tauber.)

Justice and military honour
Swiftness and protection
A person with qualities of leadership
Royal or seigniorial authority
Strength, protection, invulnerability
Represents the defender
One who has been honoured by the sovereign;
hope of greater glory
Represents the river Tauber which flows past „Rothenburg ob der Tauber”
The blue (azure) background depicts truth and loyalty
 Information found at:


Johannes David Wilhelm von Winterbach wrote a book in 1827 about the history of the German town of Rothenburg an der Tauber (today Rothenburg ob der Tauber).

History of Rothenburg a.d. Tauber

According to the notes added to the bottom of pages 192 to 195 of Part II of this book, the history is more or less as follows:

The knights Johann and Konrad von Schauenburg, called Winterbach, attacked bishop Berthold of Strasbourg in 1331, but they were beaten and expelled and their castles were raided. Only the town Winterbach in the district of Würtemberg was left intact for their cousins, who also kept the Schauenburg castle.

Johann en Konrad

The revered Johann fled to Franke (a district in the south of Germany)  and lived there under the name Johann Werner with his sons. These nobles had to learn the hard way that an unforgiving world became their reward. Their rich forebears have made substantial contributions to the founding of the Church in Strasbourg according to the annals written by the pope, e.g. on February 4th, 1220 the founder of the Holy Monastery was named as "The Imperial Knight Welf and his housewife, von Schauenburg, called Winterbach."

Jörg von Schauenburg was in 1221 also the first canonical of this monastery and in 1300 Rüdiger von Schauenburg, called Winterbach, and in 1380 Berchtold v. Schauenburg, called Winterbach, were named "Präpositus".

Wendel Werner

The name Werner was used until 1594 when the blood lines of the Winterbach and Schauenburg castles came to an end with Hans Reichard von Schauenburg, called Winterbach, and these castles then became the properties of the surviving occupants.

Wendel Werner, grandchild of Johann, became the Rothenburg Commissioner of Land for Oberstetten in 1494. According to the Emperor's Diploma for Crests and Nobleman the title "von Winterbach und Schauenburg" had to be used, as was also inscribed in the King's Table of Nobles of 1815.

Concerning the Schauenburg Castle: it is now only a ruin north-east of the town of Oberkirch in Germany, about 25 km east of the river Rhine at Strasbourg.

Map of Schauenburg-area

The original Winterbach castle does not exist anymore and its exact location is not known. It was possibly in the vicinity of Schauenburg and a study of the area revealed the following:

A few kilometers south-west of Schauenburg is the town of Oberkirch and east of this town is a creek called Winterbach (a creek is a Bach in German). From the town a street with the name of "Winterbacher Weg" runs towards the creek. Two other streets, named Vorder-Winterbach and Hinter-Winterbach may have formed the front and back sides of the Winterbach castle.


From various sources it follows that the first Winterbachs left the Schauenburg area during 1331. Some of them ended up in Rothenburg ob der Tauber and some achieved esteemed occupations like mayors and senators. Some even went to Jena to study and Johann (1528-1600), the son of Johann Werner, called Winterbach, achieved his BA degree in Philosophy in Wittenberg from Philippus Melanchthon (colleague and friend of Martin Luther) in 1548. These Winterbachs were given the noble name of "von Winterbach und Schauenburg", from which the und Schauenburg eventually disappeared.

The other cousins who were not part of this noble group could not be called "von Winterbach" (only Winterbach). As such there were two family crests: one for the noble "von" Winterbach and one for the "common" Winterbach, as seen below:

von Winterbach wapen   Winterbach wapen
von Winterbach crest
In later years the background changed to royal blue.
  Winterbach crest

The city of Rothenburg had to capitulate to the Emperor during 1552 which caused all nobles to loose their rights, including the loss of the "von" in front of Winterbach.

The Winterbachs eventually left Rothenburg and the next person that I could trace was when Johan Carel Winterbach [ind00001] arrived on February 13th, 1757 in Cape Town, South Africa on the ship "Overschie". He was born on March 11, 1734 in the German city of Cleves (German: Kleve, Dutch: Kleef).

Note: One sometimes sees the name "Winterbach von Kleef" in archives or old writings, but it merely means "Winterbach that came from Cleves".

He served in the Cape Garrison as a soldier, but gained his citizenship in 1760 and changed his vocation to that of a tailor. He bought a farm named "Weltevreden" below Wynberg and married Maria Wendel. Their baby girl Dina Johanna was born in 1769, but the mother unfortunately died during childbirth.

In 1778 he applied for a piece of built-up land (about 103 hectares bordering his farm) and married Maria Magdalena Huijsamer on 12 July 1778. They later moved to the town of Tulbagh, where they had three daughters and a son, Johannes Carel.

As a retired Senior Lieutenant in the "Invalides" and the whole citizen force, he applied for the rank of captain in 1788 in the place of the retired Meyer. He mentioned that he had completed almost 30 years as a citizen in the Reserve Force, that he was getting older and that he should be relieved of his duties with the rank of captain so that he could retire with a bigger pension.

His son Johannes Carel [ind00003] had five daughters and five sons. One of the sons, Dirk Jacobus Winterbach [ind00010] had four daughters (two were twins) and eight sons (including another set of twins). Six of these sons:

relocated from the Tulbagh area to the Transvaal during 1888 and settled in the Lydenburg and Barberton districts. Their descendants, among them Maria Catharina Magdalena (Marie) Winterbach [ind01479], were known as the "Transvaal" Winterbachs, while the descendants of the two brothers who stayed behind in the Tulbagh area, namely

among them Gabriël Sarel Jacobus (Gawie) [ind00213], were called the "Cape" Winterbachs. Gawie and Marie got married on 13 May 1947 and thus the two "groups" of Winterbachs were united again.

Today the Winterbachs are spread all over South Africa and even the world, but I havenĀ“t been able to trace a living Winterbach in Germany yet (please let me know if you know of one).
They occupy many professions and occupations like farmers, architects, doctors, engineers, preachers, software/computer/IT specialists, salesmen, artists, managers, accountants and many more.

Always be proud of your name and honour the Winterbach surname!