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Gräfenwarth is a subdividion of Schleiz, Saale-Orla-Kreis, Thüringia, Germany

History[edit | edit source]

Gräfenwarth was first mentioned in 1325 and is named after a German establishment. The name changed from: Grevenwart, Grevenwarte, Grefinwartt to Gräfenwarth. The name probably refers to a Count, (Gräfen) Castle, (Warte). The legend is recorded, however, of a Countess of Schleiz who escapes from her husband. He supposedly calls out after his wife, “Countess wait!” That is a romantic version, anyhow.

The main occupation of the town’s residents was naturally agriculture/farming. Oddly enough, for a long time other necessary trades such as shoemakers, tailors, bakers and butchers were missing from the village. The local Church was built in 1702 and most likely replaced a much older building.

Due to the location of Gräfenwarth on the Wettera river which flows into the Saale, it lies in the boundaries of the village of the Heinrichstaler Hammer. For a long time iron and steel production was carried out here. Production became unprofitable around 1880 and the plant was converted into a grinding and sawmill. Between Heinrichstaler Hammer and the monastery was an iron mill called Christians or Spohiental, built in 1763. Here a Zainhammerwerk existed where iron workers formed staffs/bars. In 1834 the operation was closed and taken down.

Around 1350, six farms belonged to the nearby Nun monestary, Holy Cross, where mostly noble daughters that were not permitted to marry were cared for. After the Reformation, this property was turned over to the local government and sold to 27 farmers. This “Community of 27” farmers lived in villages that had certain privledges including the right to brew beer among other things. They worked for a long time as an early form of a cooperative. Nicolaus Niclas, one of Gräfenwarth’s sons was born here in 1733. He became the principal of the Lüneburg School and donated a new organ to the village church before his death in 1808. After the wars, famous racing driver, Manfred von Brauchitsch retired to the village.

August 16, 1993, residents in Gräfenwarth decided to join either Schleiz or Saalburg. 88.16% decided for Schleiz and on June 3, 1996, after some arguments, the annexation request was approved by the state government and Gräfenwarth became incorporated with Schleiz.
(This history is a translated excerpt from the official website of Schleiz >stadtinfo>ortsteile>Gräfenwarth)

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran[edit | edit source]

All church books in the Schleiz area are in the process of being microfilmed by the EKMD (Evangelical Church in Middle Germany) in Eisenach.  When the filming is completed sometime in 2011, the books will be returned to their original churches.  Milcrofilmed records will then be accessible through Eisenach, see:   For contact information about the church books , see: >Kirchen-Link-Liste>Grafenwarth

Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]

"Keyword Search" for Grafenwarth in FamilySearch Catalog results - "Churchbooks of Lutheran Church Saalburg (AG Schleiz)"

  • Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths - 1602-1634  FHL INTL Film {1197734 Item 1}
  • Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths - 1753-1781  FHL INTL Film {73193}

"Keyword Search" for Thuringen in FamilySearch Catalog result - Die evangelischen Kirchenbucher Thuringens by Karl Guldenapfel FHL Book 943.22 K23g  This book gives the starting dates of church books in Reuss j.L., including Schleiz.  Grafenwarth church books began:

  • Baptisms, Marriages, Burials - 1828, previously in Saalburg, beginning in 1602.
  • Confession/Communion Register - 1860, previously in Saalburg, beginning 1791. 
  • Confirmations- 1855

The records can be accessed in Germany, see above.

 Return to Schleiz,Germany