Bach FAQ 80


Is the "Ursprung" of Johann Sebastian Bach a Family Tree?


The "Ursprung" is actually the "Ursprung der musicalisch-Bachischen Familie", which is "The Origin of the Bach Family of Musicians". It is a catalog of fifty-three male family members, the far most of them musicians. Johann Sebastian Bach himself created that list in the year 1735, in the age of fifty years. Of course he did it in handwriting, what else?! However, what is still preserved today as a handwritten document is a copy from the original by Bach's granddaughter.


The "Ursprung" seems to be a family tree. However, it's not. Best case is it's an extraordinary and irreplaceable basis for genealogists in the matter of Bach.


Why is it no family tree? Because it's just about the male musicians. Please note, it's not about all musicians of the family, just about the men among the musicians. Female musicians are missing. Plus, not all of those 53 men are musicians. Actually, women are missing at all. Even if they made their living with music. Bach's children are missing in a big fraction as well. And the easier Bach could have gotten dates of births of some close relatives, the more they are missing in the catalog.


That is why the "Ursprung" is unbelievable priceless. However, it's no family tree. Not at all.




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