Knopf Ancestors

Lillian Pohle Culhane’s parents were Marie Knopf Augustin and William Beiswenger. Marie Knopf Augustin’s parents were both born in Neubäuhütten, Wassersuppen, Bohemia, a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time in the late 19th century. Her father, Franz Knopf, immigrated to New York City at the age of 18 after being sponsored by his two brothers already living in New York. Aboard the SS Southwark from Antwerp, Belgium he arrived at Ellis Island in 1901, where his ethnicity was listed as “Bohemian.” Franz sponsored his wife, Marie Francesca Bartok, to immigrate to New York City in 1904 from Wassersuppen. According to Lillian, Marie Francesca Bartok was of German and Czech descent. They were married and lived in Yorkville, Manhattan upon arrival.

Knopf family, 1955
L to R: Frank, Lillian, Franz, Curt, Martha, Marie Augustin, Marie, Ellen

Neubäuhütten is a rural village in the municipality of Wassersuppen (“Nemanice” in English) of present-day western Czech Republic, very close to the German border. Research on these villages can be found here. The Knopf family were all German-speaking, and Lillian’s first language as a young girl in Ridgewood, Queens was German.

John Beiswenger and Carolyn Graf, Lillian’s grandparents on her father’s side, immigrated to New York City from near Stuttgart, Germany. They came through Ellis Island in 1898 from Bremen, Germany, and are believed to have met on the ship, the SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.

The Knopf family lived at 620 Bleecker Street in Ridgewood before moving to the 581 Onderdonk Avenue house. The Onderdonk house was owned by the family and lived in for the next three generations.

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Read more about the family of Charles “Carl” Knopf, one of Marie Knopf Augustin’s cousins, here.