From a Dransfeld tax registry, 1602, researcher Peter Schräder has found an early version of the surname, spelled Jagetho, from jage to in German: jage zu: go on hunting or continue hunting.
One of the earliest documents from our Jatho family: The marriage record for 19-year-old Andreas Jürgen Jatho of Settmarshausen to Margreta Hellwig of Lippoldshausen on 21 Nov 1699. Andreas was a teacher in Lippoldshausen and lived to the ripe old age of 77 when he died 'Vom Baum todt gefallen', a tree fell on him. Click the image for a larger photo; the marriage is number 4 on the page.
A photo of the actual church record book from Dransfeld, 1749; click the image to enlarge. Many thanks to Peter Schräder for this picture as well as the tax record above.
St. Martini Church in Dransfeld, where G.W. Jatho was baptized in 1824.
The all-important dispensation that allowed Adolph Jatho to marry Henriette Habicht. Click for an enlarged copy.
Adolph Jatho's signature, from a legal document, June 1831.
There are other Jatho families from the region whose residence there dates back to the 1600s, and one famous aviator, Karl Jatho, was born in Dransfeld in 1873. At some point genealogical documents and/or DNA research may provide a connection to them. For earlier ancestors from the maternal Jatho line please visit our page about the Keppel, Cogen, Gautro, and Althens families.
One of Ulrich Jatho's surviving sons from his first marriage was Georg Heinrich Jatho. Georg Heinrich was quite reknown for his expertise as an innkeeper in Dransfeld, a town on the road between Hann. Münden and the university town Göttingen. The illustration below is from Meisner's and Kieser's early seventeenth-century town atlas. Click to enlarge. G.H. had developed his skills in Göttingen at the Hotel zur Krone, where a heavy student presence required deft management skills to house and feed the scholars. With money lent to him by villagers who were equally impressed with his knowledge of fine wines, G.H. made a success of the 'Stadt Hanover' inn in Dransfeld.
Georg Heinrich married Henriette Catharina Habicht, daughter of Johann Rudolph Habicht of Bremen, in 1821. Their daughter Marga Ida Elise's birth is recorded in 1822 at St. Martini parish, Dransfeld. Two years later in January 1824 a son, Georg Wilhelm, was born.
Alas, G.H. died in September 1827 of tuberculosis. Within a year his widow Henriette petitioned the local churches for permission to marry her late husband's half-brother Adolph.
Adolph was ten years younger than Henriette and was manager of a brewery. A special dispensation issued in 1828 (translated here by Peter Schräder) detailed the town's dilemma in deciding whether to grant the marriage. Arguments against the union pointed out that Adolph had no experience as an innkeeper and the inn's continued success was vital to the Dransfeld economy.
But the marriage had the blessing of Henriette's father-in-law Ulrich, who wanted his grandchildren's best interests to be considered. Adolph himself argued persuasively that he would make a better stepfather to them than a stranger might; he was, after all, their uncle too!
Impediments to the marriage were set aside and Adolph and Henriette were married in December 1828 once the dispensation was approved and granted. In 1830 Adolph's and Henriette's son Carl Ludwig was born. Alas, there was a spot of bother for Adolph.
He was arrested, apparently for agitiating for economic and political reform---the local establishment did not appreciate challenges to their policies. In early 1831 Adolph was imprisoned, at what cost to his family we can only imagine. In one legal brief, discovered by our researcher Peter Schräder, Adolph begs to be relocated to a different prison cell in Göttingen to escape the ever-present vermin. His actual signature, from a document filed later that year, is represented here. Note the self-assured flourishes of his handwriting at right.
As far as the children from Henriette Jatho's first marriage, no confirmation records for Marga Ida can be found but Georg Wilhelm was confirmed in 1838 at the age of fourteen. He followed a different profession than his father and stepfather and became a watchmaker. His last residence before emigrating in 1848 was Kassel, his grandfather's home town. Perhaps he relocated there to escape Adolph's notoriety.
G.W.'s choice of profession may have also been fueled by economic circumstances. The region around Kassel experienced economic depression throughout the 1840s culminating in a series of major riots in 1848. It's probably no coincidence that he chose that year to emigrate to the USA, where after arriving in New York he traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to set up his business. To read more about Georg Wilhelm's new-world accomplishments, please click here.
We are indebted to Peter Schräder for significant new details and records of our Jatho ancestors in Dransfeld and Cassel. His tenacity in obtaining the original dispensation for Henriette's and Adolph's marriage helped us establish conclusively our connection to the Jathos of Kassel. We're also grateful for Regina Koppe's early research in records from the old country.