Hoss Family Genealogy

Jacob Johann Hoss

Here is a photo of him and his brothers and sisters around 1920. Jacob is second from the right on the top row.

There is some family debate about whether it was spelled Jacob or Jakob. He signed it Jacob on his citizenship papers.

As background; we had NO info on Jacob’s siblings or family history, until after I posted this photo online and it was found and replied-to by the people quoted below, and others. Thank you all!

Top row, left to right, Maria Hoss (later Zerbe), Michael Hoss, Jacob Hoss, Fritz Hoss
Bottom row, left to right, Elizabeth Hoss, Maria Magdalena Hoss (later Wittke), , and Albert (see the story of 2 Marias below)


Click here for more Hoss family tree

Jacob’s Military Service in WWI
Born March 29, 1892 in Mainz Kastel Germany. Jacob was a master shipbuilder in Germany and an employee of the ‘Berlinghaus-shipyard’ at Cologne-Mühlheim, and served as a sergeant in the German Army in World 1 WWI photo in uniform . We believe Jacob is in this 1913 photo. The scroll reads “Konigl. Bayr. Inf Regt. No.23 Saargemund”, meaning Königlich Bayerisches Infanterie-Regiment 23 of Company 5, The King’s Bavarian Infantry Regiment No. 23 in the Saar 1911-1913″. Which then led me to this, except that it references cavlary, not infantry, but there is a horse in our photo. Click the following link for a 31 MB high resolution copy of this postcard photo he sent of himself in Königlich Bayerisches Infanterie-Regiment 23 that you will need to download to your computer then view in a photo viewer, because it will be too big for your screen. You can then blow it up further and will be able to see that the city background is painted, and some officers and accents are merely painted props, and every soldier has a beer stein. German geneaologist Christian Porzelt thinks Jacob may be the man sitting on the beer barrel. Christian further relates “I have a few more details on the military career of Jacob Hoss. You can check the “Kriegsranglisten und -stammrollen des Königreichs Bayern” ancestry. See the links below. Jacob was sent to war on Aug 9 1914, only a few days after the mobilization (Aug 1 1914), and was injured the first time shortly after by shell splinters (in his left leg and his left arm pit). He was injured a second time in 1916, when a shell splinter hit his hip. Starting as a “Gefreiter”, he became “Unteroffizier” in Nov 1914 and “Vizefeldwebel” in Sept 1916. He also was decorated with several medals (to read these websites in English, use Google translate and paste the web address into the blank on the left)
Preussische Eiserne-Kreuz 2. Klasse https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisernes_Kreuz
Hessische Tapferkeitsmedaille https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allgemeines_Ehrenzeichen_(Hessen)
Hessisches Kriegsehrenzeichen https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Hessisches_Kriegsehrenzeichen.jpg
Militärverdienstkreuz 2.Klasse mit Schwertern https://www.ehrenzeichen-orden.de/deutsche-staaten/militar-verdienstkreuz-2-klasse-mit-schwertern-3-form-1913.html
Dienstauszeichnung 3.Klasse https://www.ehrenzeichen-orden.de/deutsche-staaten/dienstauszeichnung-3-klasse-1913.html

This is what I find on Wikipedia in German: The Infantry Regiment “King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, No. 23 was, along with the Infantry Regiment No. 22 , an association of the fifth Infantry Brigade of the Bavarian army . The regiment was formed on 1 April 1897 from the fourth half battalions of the 4th , 8th , 17th and 18th Infantry Regiment in Landau in der Pfalz (staff, I. Battalion ) and Sarreguemines (II Battalion) established.”

Jacob’s Immigration to the United States and Family
Jacob married Margarethe (Gerda) Porzelt who was born in 1888 in Neukenroth Germany. She had 5 sisters and 2 brothers. Her father worked in a coal mine. They had two children, Ferdinand Hoss, and Margaret (Marge) Madeline Hoss who married Carsten (Cars) Borglum (see borglum.com listing XD). Family photo 1943    on the immigration boat,    Jacob with Keith 1952,     Magarethe with grandchildren 1960s

Jacob and Gerda and their son Ferdinand emmigrated to the United States in 1924 their 1924 passport.    Ferdinand’s passport. His first job was as a machinist in the American Laundry Machinery factory in Rochester NY. Approximately 1932 he went into the sausage manufacturing business with a partner named Sattle, who was a sausage maker by trade. A family story is that the partnership broke up because people walking by would see the sign of the “Hoss and Sattle Meat Market”, laugh, and keep walking. The main store was at 1227 North Clinton Avenue in Rochester, and later had 2 branch shops. The Hoss German Sausage Shop made around 60 varieties of sausages and cold cuts, had full meat counters, imported about 105 varieties of European cheeses, and over 300 varieties of European candies, plus other German items like multiple-types of pickled and fermented herring (imported in 20-50 gallon wooden barrels), eel in aspic, many varieties of smoked fish, baking ingredients and baked goods, 4711-brand cosmetics, and canned goods. The sausage making specialty was Smoked Liverwurst, which they prepared in two, 2-story, very-heavy steel, walk-in smokers.    advertisements His daughter Marge and son-in-law Carsten Borglum owned and ran the store after Jacob’s death in 1953.

Jacob died Feb 26, 1953, as a result of a heart attack suffered after a court appearance, apparently due to the stress of being sued by a person who tripped over a public utility gas pipe in the sidewalk in front of his meat market, the Hoss German Sausage Shop, in Rochester, New York, USA. article about the sausage shop
He had the heart attack while driving on Main Street in Rochester at the corner of State Street. He had enough time to pull to the curb in a bus lane, which prompted a policeman to come running over and he pronounced him dead.

His wife Margarethe died of old age some years later after suffering a stroke in her sleep in the Webster home    she shared with Marge, Cars, and their family after the death of Jacob.

Jacob’s son Ferdinand was born in 1919, and married Ruth Cockburn. Ferdinand was an avid sportsman, who died in 1952 in a solo boating accident on Sodus Bay while duck hunting in upstate NY, leaving Ruth a widow with their son Michael. Ruth later married Lawrence Rossiter with whom she had a daughter Maureen (so no Hoss blood).

Jacob’s daughter Margaret married Carsten Borglum, both of whom took over the Hoss German Sausage Shop and ran it until the mid 1970s, when they sold it to Lawrence Rossiter whom had worked in the shop for many years. Cars and Marge’s eldest son and daughter also worked in the sausage shop until their teens when it was sold. wTheir son Keith worked there weekends, holidays, and summers from age 6 until he left for college at age 18. By age 9 he was cooking and serving sausage samples to customers, similar to what you see in stores like Costco. By age 12 he was a cashier. He recalls hating working in the back cold “sausage-making” room tying wet strings on barrels of pig intestines in icy brine to use as hangers for smoking liverwurst. Keith credits his interests as a “foodie” to that job. His younger sister Donna also worked there briefly as a stocker and clerk. Cars and Marge had six children, most of which lived near them when they relocated to the Orlando Florida area. Carsten died in 2004 and Marge died in 2011 and are buried in the family plot with Jacob and Margarethe in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester NY.

We would like help verifying any of this. Contact webmeister at borglum.com (“at” = @ to foil spammers)

In October 2002 we recieved significant information on his ancestry, (listed below ), and would appreciate any additional input you may have.

The following is reprinted from emails received ( I LOVE getting emails like this, it’s the best part of building this site): In chronological order of receipt:

Subject: Jacob Johann Hoss – Robert Hoss
From: m.r.hoss at hotmail.de
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002

Dear Keith,

My name is Robert Hoss, I’m 46 years old and live in Germany.

Surfing in the internet I found your notice about one of your ancestors. I can give you further informations about Jacob Hoss / the Hoss family in Germany, because Jacob Hoss was the brother of my great-grand father.

I would like to give you a feed back concerning the family picture.

From the right to the left:
Fritz Hoss (Hoß), Jacob’s brother, moved in 1920 from Mainz to Cologne after he returned from his captivity as a prisoner of war in France during WW I. There he met his sister Maria. Jacob joined them there (when, is not clear). Fritz died in 1962 and is buried in our family grave in Mainz-Kastel.

Albert Hoss (brother and my grand-grandfather) is right in front of your ancestor Jacob Hoss (who emigrated to the US in early 1920 – that’s what my family told me.

Who’s the man next to Jacob, I’m not quite sure because due to the results of my investigations (approx. ten years ago) the father of Jacob, Johann Gregor Hoss, died 28.04.1896 (35 years old) in Mainz-Kostheim and his wife Katharina Hoss didn’t marry again. So if this photograh was taken around 1920 – he was already dead. I know that there were 6 children (4 brothers and 2 sisters) therefore it’s more realistic that the 4th man on the picture is the brother Michael Hoss.

One of the two sisters is Elisabeth Hoss ( Zerbe after marriage – this is the “Zerbe”-branch of our family and I can give you informations as well ). I’ll try to get out more about the persons on the picture.

I have documents going back until the middle of the 18th century. Our family lived all the time in a close area ( near Mainz ). The origin is Mainz-Laubenheim. From there Johann Gregor Hoss moved to Mainz-Kostheim in the 2nd half of 19th century, got married and had his family.

Our families history is so exciting for me, therefore I today contacted all people I know to get clear about the “picture”. What I knew was that I have seen this picture somewhere in the past and I recognized the discussions about who is who on this picture. Clear was who is your great-great-grandfather and who is mine. Today I visited my parents and my aunt to tell my story and get more information about the picture. My aunt told me that your mother visited us after World War II and your great-great-grandfather Jacob supported our family at that time by sending “care-packages” and more-over sponsored her Communion in the end of the 1940s (?) sending her shoes and a dress.

Tomorrow I’m going to meet a cousin (f) of my fathter to fix the “who is who” of the picture. Anyway, I’m happy to get a small kick to continue my investigations and I’m happy beeing able to support you. I hope my English is not too bad.

Awaiting your next mail with excitement

best regards


Subject: RE: new question/relation Michael Hoss?
From: Robert HOSS <m.r.hoss at hotmail.de>
Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2008

Dear Keith,

Regarding your questions related to the family picture on your webpage (http://borglum.com/jacob-johann-hoss/) :

The picture shows the brothers and sisters including your grandfather Jacob Hoss.

At the time the picture was take, ‘JOHANN JACOB HOSS’ the father of the six children already died. As far as I got told from my relatives still alive, my grand-grand-father ‘Albert’ (brother of your grand-father ‘Jacob’) covered the role of father at that time. We can taken into account that this picture was shot to document the family before disintegration.

Regarding Carols answer I see now direct link to our family history (in case of your grandfathers brother ‘Michael’). What I can imagine is that from emigration periods more past, that there is any link. We know that the ‘Laubenheim-branch’ of our family was much bigger than we know now. Moreover after the ’30 Years War’ in Europe over several periods especially from our region here in Germany people emigrated to America. Your grandfather Jacob participated in one of the last bigger streams due to the reason of big unemployment rate and without propects to the future. This is one part of our common history not only in terms of family.

Coming back to the question Carol addressed to you in origin, there is a chance that in periods more past than in case of Jacob someone of our ancestors from Laubenheim emigrated to the USA. But there are more places in Europe where ‘Hoss’ or ‘Hohs’ or ‘Hosz’ lived or decided to move somewhere else.

At the end of my e-mail, I would like to inform you that my father Albert died 27/02/2006. At that time I tried to contact Anneliese (Kippert) as well but without success. I will take your e-mail to pic up to get clear about here once again and inform you accordingly.

I do hope that my mail will help you.

Kind regards

m.r.hoss at hotmail.de

From Kate Werkman in 2014 , granddaughter of Maria Magdalena Hoss-Wittke:

Keith, I am so grateful for this. My Oma’s life and history fell off the map for a very long time due to the family civil war, never mind the world wars which brought struggle and strife between. Plus I have spent the last few years researching the Rittner side of things for My Father’s War. I could not have hoped for more, that someone wants to know, that there is a place to finally rest Magdalena’s story. All this family – Wittke seems to run from themselves from family secrets or-that-which-shall-not-be-named. I have been the only one looking all my life. This has been my life’s work since Magdalena ‘Oma’ planted the family history seed in her kitchen in Hamburg far away and long ago. In my mind it is like yesterday. Both a burden and a curse. A lot of baggage for a 10-year-old. Not that she intended it that way. And then she passed away the following months afterwards. Even my father’s side has it’s difficulties – she was also the first one to tell me about my father. When I flew back to Canada I went looking for him.  I met my father when I was 22. and was not raised with any siblings as they were mostly all in Germany. That is a story within this story for another time. 

If you read the letters at the bottom of the Hoss page you’ll see that there is already conflicting info from others, like from Robert Hoss and Schembs.com. You’ll see in those letters some other “errors” I need to address, if supported. What to leave out and what to leave in? I don’t want to overwhelm people! Yet always feel it is important to tell the whole and real story. 

There are two Marias. (Maria) Magdalena and her sister Maria. This is very confusing and really perplexed me as well. The Hoss family sort of followed German tradition in naming after the grandmother – the youngest or oldest. Magdalena is the youngest born daughter and last born child in 1895 named for grandmother Schembs, Johann passed in 1896 – which is whom your ancestor is named for but goes by Jacob. According to the naming website at Ancestry.com it is the second name the child is known by. So Maria Magdalena is known as “Magdalena” and Maria is known as Maria. Two separate people, but very easy to mix up 100 years later. Therefore I believe that it is Maria that married into the Zerbe family, not Magdalena.

Here is what happened to Magdalena. In the photo she could still be Maria Magdalena Hoss, not yet Maria Magdalena Wittke, but it depends on the year of the photo. She married Gustav Wittke circa 1915 as their first child in Harburg – northern Germany (now amalgamated into Hamburg)  – to further confuse namings – Magdalena’s daughter is named Margot Maria Magdalena Wittke. She was born in 1915. The style of dress in the photo is interesting as Magdalena is the only girl with long sleeves, and the boys are all in formal wear. I think this was taken at or after a funeral or such a family gathering. And here we have a defining thing – in historical research – as it is important to know the exact date of your Jacob leaving for the States. I would say the date of the photo is 1925, both Gustav Wittke and Katharina Hoss passed in early 1925. However, the only person wearing a wedding ring as far as I can see is Michael. Plus Jacob looks identical to his citizenship paper photo. If it is 1925 then Elisabeth or Maria should be married too? And they would of all had kids. Magdalena had three by then – Margot (1915), Gerd and Helmut (1917), (1918). Or the photo could be early 1914 (Magdalena is 19) (Jacob is 20) or 1915 (Magdalena 20-years-old) as war broke out in July and ended in 1918. Or yes later but unlikely. I have the Sterbeurkunde (death certificate) of Gustav Wittke I will send that shows her as his wife and that she was born Hoss – it shows on her passport that she was born a Hoss as well. However I big thing is that it states she was born in Hamburg. The passport was issued to her in 1966 when she came to Canada for a visit. When I went to see her in 1970, the year before she died in her oral history she said she was from Luxembourg. I now remember this as I found notes from when my uncle visited in 1992 and he states here she was born in Luxembourg. This makes sense from a religious view as Catholics in northern Germany are rare. Luxembourg is a French Roman Catholic country, Mainz has historical influence from this as well. Maybe she said around Luxembourg – And she spoke French and encouraged me to do so, so we practiced, in her kitchen in Hamburg when I was 10 starting with the days of the week and months of the year.  I recall she said that she moved North to work as a nanny as the family wanted someone who spoke French. the French took her away out of the area. OR she was the cousin from the North sent south to learn French.  It is not exact and does not match perfectly. I would have to apply/search for her birth certificate in all the above areas to clarify – as none was found upon her death.  I created a family tree on Geni.com. for the Hoss side of things so I could gain a sense of it all and see everyone, so have been playing around with this. Magdalena and Gustav had three children. She had her daughter at age 19. Magdalena never remarried after Gustav died in 1925.

Again I think Maria married the Zerbe brother. It is confusing, I know. I think much had to do with the ex-communication from the Catholic Church. Plus the wars. 

As for Magdalena, I think it is like coming home – like the movie Titanic – in the end when she goes back to the ship. I feel her siblings; family – that they are finally all together again. The ghosts are at rest.

MyFathersWar at g mail dot com

here’s a letter from Fred Bouchard, one of Jacob’s employees in 2005 at the time of Carsten’s funeral (Marge’s husband and Jacob’s son-in-law )