by Bernhard Kauntz

If you haven't done so yet, you should read the first page before continuing here, in order to understand better.

A couple of years later I got an e-mail from Harry Kauntze, which brought me back to the question about the origin of the name. He wrote:
Your research sounds familiar to what my grandfather found when he tried researching the name of Kauntze 30 years ago. I have been meaning to research our name for ages and it might be interesting to you as Kauntze is clearly derived from Kauntz. If my ancestors went direct from Germany/Austria to the British Isles then our name would probably have evolved before our kin went on to Romania. I am related to the Kauntze(s) that you list on the England register.

His idea, that one of our ancestors of the Kaunitz-Rietberg-clan had come to England before the others went to Romania, was quite intriguing. During our conversation he sent me a list over the Kauntzes in England, whom he knew of. The oldest "English forefather", George Kauntze, had been a military musician and, as Harry correctly pointed out, because of this probably was belonging to the (upper) middle-class, which in turn could fit in with the Kaunitz-Rietberg family. Furthermore his name once is written as "Kauntza", which may let us assume an unstressed vowel at the end.

However, the final "e" was a problem. Proper names are of course most susceptible to changes and were so even more in earlier centuries - e.g. "Koontz", especially together with migration. That the English branch is to be found partly as "Kauntz" and partly as "Kauntze" on the web, may also be due to copying mistakes, etc.

Then I remembered the village of Kounice in the Czech Republic. (which, by the way, in German is called Kanitz). Some years had passed now, since I was looking for information about that on the web, maybe there was something new? And yes, on the official page of Dolní Kounice I found the following under "history":

10. prosince 1185
Bitva u Lodĕnic (asi 6 km od Dolních Kounic) mezi Čechy (Přemysl Otakar I.) a Moravany (Otto Kunrád), v jehož vojsku bojoval pan Vilém z Kounic, zakladatel kláštera v Dolních Kounicích.

This means about (I don't know Czech, but as a linguist and with some help of dictionaries, I have made the following translation):
December 10th, 1185
The Battle of Lodĕnice (about 6 km from Dolní Kounice) between the Bohemians (Přemysl Otakar I.) and Moravians (Otto Kunrád), and his military commander(?) Sir Vilém (William) of Kounic, the founder of the monastery at Lower (Dolní) Kounice.

Well, good. Here we find a Kauntz already in the 12th century. And if the dynasty's name was Kounic, and the village eventually was called Kounice, then we have both forms of the name established.
But there are still more interesting things to come: during our correspondence, Harry sent a biography of his great great great grandfather, Henry, whose father Edward also came to England as Kauntze. But he was born in the 18th century in Hannover in Germany. Furthermore he was a musician, as was the "English forefather" George. Just coincidence? And Rietberg is situated about 100 km bee-line from Hannover. Who needs more evidence?

It is now quite evident, that all the Kauntz and Kauntze really must look for their origin within the family of Kaunitz(-Rietberg). The change of vowels from Czech "ou" to "au" is not unusual; Dutch and Englisch still say a German "au" for "ou". The English branch confirms furthermore, that the "i" was lost.

Why some of our ancestors went to England has a historical explanation. The Kurfürstentum (electoral principality?) of Hannover was in a personal union with England, but was made part of the Kingdom of Westphalia under the Napoleonic wars. The army was dissolved and quite some of the men went to England, thus continuing to serve the same king, George III of England. But the negotiations around the cease-fire with Napoleon in 1803 were held at Prince Kaunitz' castle.

Some more historic notes about the family Kaunitz-Rietberg:

After an initiative of the Souvereign Count Maximilian Ulrich von Kaunitz-Rietberg and his spouse Maria Ernestine a church is built "auf der Mayburg" for the farmers from Österwiehe and Liemke. Around the St.Maria-Immaculata-church expands thereafter the village of (Neu-)Kaunitz.

In Verl the St.Anna-church of today replaces the older church, which has become too small. Builder is Prince Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz-Rietberg.

Prince Alois Wenzel von Kaunitz-Rietberg, now however only private landowner, sells the estate together with all rights to the owner of a manor, Friedrich Ludwig Tenge from Niederbarkhausen.

Furthermore there is a Neu Kaunitz eastnortheast of Nuremberg, in the region of Tepl (Czech. Teplá).
Some notes about it:
Nationality, part of: Austria-Hungary until 1919, 1919 - 1938 Czechoslovakia, 1938 - 1945 Reichsgau Sudetenland, governmental district of Eger, 1945 - 1991 Czechoslovakia, since 1991 Czech republic

The communities of the municipality of Tepl:
(54.) Neu Kaunitz:
189 inhabitants (1930)
163 inhabitants (1939)

Back to: Kauntz-Online

last update 2008.01.10