Locations that are connected to the Bonitz surname
City of Zwönitz, Stollberg county, ZIP 08297, Population: 12.175
Please see the official Zwönitz Homepage for details about the city. (Sorry, currently only available in German).
Today's location of Zwönitz was inhabited already around 1160. The settlement's name was derived from the Slavic name for the brook that ran through the region (Zvonica = tuneful brook).
About 1252, Zwönitz was assigned to the monastery of Grünhain. In 1460 the city charter was awarded to Zwönitz. The city's coat of arms and seal were given to Zwönitz in 1475 by abbot Johannes Funke.
The city was burnt in 1525. Also during the Thirty Years War (1618 to 1648) Zwönitz was suffering from looting, hunger and the plague.
In 1687, a big fire destroyed 148 buildings. Zwönitz's economy included mining, tannery, production of wood, paper and textiles, as well as trading.
Today, Zwönitz includes the formerly independent villages Kühnhaide and Niederzwönitz. In close proximity you can find Lenkersdorf, Dittersdorf, Affalter, Lößnitz, Aue, and Grünhain. Already in 1610 there is evidence of at least 10 different Bonitz families in these parishes, but it is hard to prove any connection, so far.
During the recent years there was a considerable amount of research done in Zwönitz, including a transcribtion of original church records into a modern, computer-based file format. Works for this collection is supported by the local mayor, and it is of high value to any history researcher.
View of Zwönitz in 1721:
Pulspforde township, Anhalt-Zerbst county, ZIP 39264
The village of Bonitz was first mentioned in 1331 and 1363 as Bonitz, in 1341 as Bonytz.
In 1331 a Petrus Bonitz, capellanus of the Zerbst monastery, appears as witness for a legal document.
In 1341 the village is mentioned for the first time: The sovereigns Albrecht II and Waldemar II dedicate contributions from Bonitz to the altar of the holy Livinius in the Nikolai church of Zerbst.
The church was rebuilt in 1882.
Bönitz, Wahrenbrück township, Elbe-Elster county, ZIP 04924, Population: 287
An Internet Page of the city of Wahrenbrück gives the following information:
"Bönitz is located westerly of Wahrenbrück town, on road B 183.
It is surrounded by fields, meadows, and small strips of pine forest. Settlements in close proximity include Uebigau Koßdorf and Mühlberg.
Bönitz covers an area of 8.15 square km (3.1 square miles), and has a population of 287.
In 1202 Bönitz was first mentioned, using the spelling "Boynitz". During the 13th century the settlement was subject to frequent property trades between secular governors and the monasteries Mühlberg and Dobrilugk.
During the Thirty Years War (1618 to 1648) Bönitz was ravaged by many fires and several outbreaks of the plague.
The church was built in 1545 and is still the center of the village. The church is protected by law as historic building.
During world war II Bönitz was suffering losses in buildings and residents. After the war, the people started repairing the damages and rebuilding their village. They errected a fire station, and a new school (1969), which is now also used for pre-school and kindergarten.
Since the 1600s there is a traditional festival for all families and residents, called "Lobetanz" (praise and dance). This tradition is continued even today, and the festival is usually held every first weekend in July."
City of Bad Langensalza, Unstrut-Hainich county, ZIP 99947, Population: 20.000
Here is two links to hompages of the City of Bad Langensalza:
Langensalza's name is derived from the little river Salza (oldest form: "Salzaha"). The settlement was first mentioned in 932. In 1212 Langensalza was granted "town privilleges" by Emperor Otto IV. By 1282 the surrounding city walls were finished.
In 1346 the town was destroyed almost entirely.
As a result of the 30 year war 1618 - 1648, as well as numerous epidemics (plague, typhus), the population decreased by half.
In february 1711 a large fire destroyed the north-western parts of the town, burning more than 100 homes, as well as the town hall.
In 1811 a sulfurous spring was discovered, founding the tradition of therapeutic baths and transforming Langensalza into a health resort. Since 1996 it also offers brine and mineral springs.
Bonitz families lived in Langensalza during two different periods:
The lutheran pastor Karl Friedrich Bonitz (born 1775 in Zwönitz/Saxony) moved to Langensalza about 1801. In 1803 he married the mayor's daughter Marie Sophie Schmalkalden, and in 1808 he was promoted to the position of a superintendent. The university of Leipzig awarded him the doctoral degree in the field of theology in 1817.
Bonitz was also honored in Langensalza for his achievements in building and structuring the local schools. He opened and maintained several primary schools, as well as a pre-school and a special latin school.
Superintendent Karl Friedrich Bonitz died in Langensalza in 1835. He had 5 daughters and two sons, one of them being the famous philologist and school reformer in Vienna and Berlin, Hermann Bonitz, who was born in 1814.
As the first son, Karl, disappeared abroad without a trace, the family name Bonitz vanished from Langensalza, when Marie Schmalkalden died in 1844.
About 1882 another Bonitz family moved from Zwönitz to Langensalza. This time it was Karl Maximilian Bonitz (born 1858), a weaver and merchant. He graduated from the Glauchau weaving school, where he also met his wife Klara Tröger.
Karl Max Bonitz was an active member of the local gymnastics society for more than 50 years. He was vice president and treasurer, and in 1910 he was declared honorary member of the "Turngemeinde Langensalza".
Karl Max had three children, including the Langensalza teacher Karl Bonitz (1894-1968).
None of Karl Maximilian's 7 grandchildren stayed in Langensalza, and so the name disappeared again from the city.
Exhaustive material including photographs of members of both Bonitz families can be found in the Langensalza historical archives.
Zellerfeld (Lower Saxony)
City of Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Goslar county, ZIP 38678, Population: abt. 16.000
Extract from the official Clausthal-Zellerfeld Homepage:
"The mining city of Clausthal-Zellerfeld is the centre of the upper Harz region. Today's city was founded in 1924 by merging the two mining communities Clausthal and Zellerfeld.
The label "Mining city" refers back to the foundation of the cities by the respective sovereigns. This special status gave exceptional rights to these medieval mining cities. The inhabitants were granted the right to appoint their own judges, as well as the city council. They were allowed to hold their own markets, and to assign the rights of fishery, or forestry.
Zellerfeld received this special status in 1532, Clausthal in 1554. Nowadays this status has mere historical meaning."
For centuries, Zellerfeld was a centre of the mining industry in the Harz mountains. This is also represented in the professions of our Bonitz ancestors, given in the old records: miner, mining master, collier...
But since 1930 there is no mining activity in Clausthal-Zellerfeld any more.
Today, Clausthal-Zellerfeld is dominated by its university and administration. It is also well known as health resort and winter sports location.
Ponitz, Altenburger Land county, ZIP 04639, population: 1.900
Ponitz is located in the south-eastern part of the Altenburger Land region, at a small stream called "Pleiße". It directly adjoins Saxony state.
Originally, the community was founded by Slavic settlers, which explains the old spelling "Ponicz".
In 1245 the castle of Ponitz is mentioned in a historic document. The castle's owner "Fridericus de Ponicz" was given as a wittnes of a property transfer. A church and fortifications for defense are mentioned in 1349. The mideaval castle, built in the center of a lake, was replaced by a Renaissance style building in 1574, which still can be visited today.
The most renowned owner of Ponitz castle was Wolfgang Conrad of Thumbshirn. He was a diplomat who was very active in the negotiations to end the 30 years' war, and he finally co-signed the peace treaty in 1648. In memory of this event, in 1650 a linden tree of peace ("Friedenslinde") was planted just outside of Ponitz.
Today, Ponitz is well known beyond the region due to its church organ, that was built from 1734 to 1737 by the famous organ builder Johann Gottfried Silbermann. It was Silbermann's 40th organ, and even today, many friends of his art or lovers of organ music come to Ponitz regularly.
Ponitz belonged to the principality of Sachsen-Altenburg until 1920. Today, it contains the villages Grünberg, Zschöpel, Merlach and Guteborn. In 2004 Ponitz celebtrated its 750th anniversary.
The Ponitz coat of arms shows the linden tree in honor of Thumbshirn, and three organ pipes, representing the Silbermann church organ.
Recently, the connection of the Bonitz family name to the village called Ponitz seems to become more and more evident.
Horst Naumann and H. Grünert both claim in their books about family names, that Bonitz is an origin name to the Ponitz village. The earliest mention dates back to 1272 as "de Bonizc".
Znaim county, Czech Republic, population: 280
Bonitz (Czech: Bohunice) is located north-east of Znaim (Znojmo), next to the village Proßmeritz.
The settlement is mentioned first in 1349 in a latin document that refers to the village as >Pohnicz<. In 1623 Bonitz was confiscated by William of Roupova.
Almost deserted during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), it was re-populated in the following centuries and belonged to various sovereigns.
Since 1900, Bonitz was virtually merged with the neighbouring village Proßmeritz, but still independent until 1938. 1939 to 1945 the settlement was annexed to Proßmeritz. As a result of World War II, all German inhabitants were ousted in 1945. The village was renamed to Bohunice and was independet, only to be assigned to Proßmeritz again in 1949.
During the 19th century the village employed a municipal seal, depicting a grape, a ploughshare, and a winegrower's knife, surrounded by the words 'Gemeinde Bonitz'.
Dating from the 20th century, there is just a hallmark existing, showing an oval shaped arabesque and the words >GEMEINDE - BONITZ<. The seal of that time looked very similar.
Any connection of this settlement to Bonitz families could not be found so far.
Also the origin or meaning of the names Pohnicz or Bonitz are not known to date.
Text and images partly contributed by G. Hanak.
Weisskirchen (Hungarian: Fehértemplom, Serbian: Bela Crkva)
Vojvodina province, today located in Serbia, population abt. 12.000
Weisskirchen is a small city in Vojvodina province, a part of the Banat region that today belongs to Serbia. It is located very close to the border to Romania.
The settlement was founded in 1718 by German settlers and belonged long times to the Hungarian-Austrian monarchy.
At the end of World War II all remaining German inhabitants had to leave their home and were forced to move from Weisskirchen. Today, Bela Crkva is still an active city that has preserved its baroque style and charme.
Around 1770 Wenzel Bonitz came from Prague to Weisskirchen and found a new home for his family. He had 8 children and 31 grandchildren. That explains why the Bonitz name was present in Weisskirchen for many generations until the 1940s.
A prominent member of this family was Ferenc (Franz) Bonitz (1868-1936), who was a well-known journalist, promoting the German ethnic group within the Hungarian Empire. He later was employed by the Hungarian government as head of the prime minister's press bureau.
Today's descendants of the Weisskirchen Bonitz family can mainly be found in Austria, southern Germany, or in the USA.
Last update of this page: February 25, 2015
© 2000-2019 by Jochen Bonitz