This branch of the Gatter family originates from the church parish Grembs, Gross Gerungs (=Groß Gerungs) (not Grob Gerungs as we sometimes read: “ß” is a German double “S”) in the region of the Waldviertel (“Forest Quarter”) in Austria. In the early 17th century when the church records start, we find three members of this family. Even though their relationsship is not clear, it can be assumed that they are siblings or cousins. These are:

  • Hans Gatter born between 1595 and 1600. His son:
    Ferdinand GATTER   born: 1635

  • Urban Gatter born around 1605 and his wife Dorothea (who married Jonas Crauss after Urban's death in 1639) . Their children were:
    Clara GATTER   born: 1631
    Tobias GATTER   born: 1632
    Georg GATTER   born: 1636
    Ferdinand GATTER   born: 1637


    The town of Gross Gerungs in around 1910.............




    The Town Center of Gross Gerungs in around 1900




    In the religious reformation of Europe, members of this family had rejected the catholic faith and have become lutheran protestants. In the 1650s however the counter-reformation set in and people were forced to re-convert. An index of those reconverted in 1652-1654 exist (“Verzeichnis der Neubekehrten in Waldvietel”). This work lists several Gatters that came back into the arms of mother catholic church, these are:

    • In the church parish of Göttfridts (Gerichtsbezirk Zwettl) : Veronica Gatter(in) and her children Johann (16 years), Balthasar (15 years), Anna (14 years), and Maria (12 years).
    • In the church parish of Grembs (Gerichtsbezirk Gross Gerungs): Ferdinand Gatter
    • In the church parish of Arbessbach (Gerichtsbezirk Gross Gerungs): Christoph Gatter

    Their descendents are likely to still live in Austria today. Due to the counter reformation Austrian Gatters are catholic today.

    The Counter-Reformation

    The picture glorifies the victory of the nobility and the church over the heresie, which is symbolized by which with snake head (medusa). The landscape shown is the Waldviertel, the “Forest Quarter” from which the Gatters originated.

    (Title page of the codex 7757 von Georg Vrtlmayr, Passau 1654 (gouache on parchment) (original in the National Library Vienna).








    In those days of oppression Ferdinand Gatter (1635-1690/91) however decided to rather leave home than to fall back into the claws of catholic suppression. He turned to Germany and settled, then 20 years of age, in 1656 in Königsbronn in the Jagstkreis in the duchy of Württemberg (today in the state of Baden-Württemberg, 60 kilometers east of the city of Stuttgart).

    He lost no time and on October 16, 1656 marries Barbara Mayer who was born in Steinheim am Albuch (Württemberg).


    View of the iron mining city of Königsbronn

    On November 17, 1656 he purchases a house (“Hofstatt”) in Königsbronn, and we learn that he is working as baker, “Kastenknecht” (whatever that is), and as “Hüttenschreiber” (a kind of secretary for the local iron mine).

    Ferdinand and Barbara have 15 children with whom a prospering and one of the most numerous Gatter lines takes its start. A good share of the Gatters living in Germany today are likely to descend from this marriage.


    The spring of the Brenz River - source of Königsbronn's wealth. This little river with its remarkable water output powered numerous hammerworks that produced iron ware.
    The city hall of Königsbronn, once the palais of one of the town's richest iron work owners


    The descendants of Ferdinand and Barbara soon spread to the towns and villages along the Rems and Brenz rivers. Locations are:

    Eselsburg (NOT Ehalsburg as in some sources)
    Giengen an der Brenz
    One of Ferdinand Gatters descendents was the honorable Johannes Gatter (1696-1757) who had a leading position as “Oberfaktor” in the Brenz Iron Works. His grave has survived to this day in the town of Königsbronn and its epitaph (of course out of IRON) is currently being restored (see pictures)





    Gatters in McKeesport, Pennsylvania

    In 1851 Jakob Gatter (1830-1874), one descendent of this line, emigrated to the United States where he married his German love Katharina Kolb from Aalen (Württemberg, Germany) and settled in the Philadelphia area. Here still today some of his descendents live.


    Jacob Gatter and his wife Katharina Kolb in the 1860s in Pennsylvania
    The House of the Gatters in McKeesport, Pa.


    McKeesport in 1893



    Fifth Avenue in McKeesport around 1910








    Jacob Gatter's decendants stayed in Pennsylvania for several generations. His son Carl Hermann Gatter (1860-1932) was a councilman of Monessen, PA, and was addressed as "Sqiure" then. He had various jobs including bartender 1896, mill watchman, dry goods 1900, driving a delivery truck for a spirits company, and special police 1918. The below photo shows him with his police badge around 1918 next to what is believed to be an early fire truck (center of picture).


    Gatters in Cook County, Illinois

    Among the emigrants form this line is also Christian Frederick Gatter b. ca. 1826-1830. He was a world traveler who dealt in cattle hides, many of which came from his ranch in Mexico. When he settled in Evanton, IL he became president of his bank, The Hide and Leather Bank which was acquired by Continental Bank.

    He is probably the same "Christian F. Gatter" who died on 8. Nov. 1898 in Cook County (Chicago). In the 1850 Census (5. Sept 1850), he is listed as "Frederick Gatter, age 20" in Northfield, Cook County, Illinois, living in the household of his sister Catherine Gatter Freer (age 23), together with husband Joseph W. Freer (age 25), their son Frederick Freer (age 1) and sister Louisa Gatter (age 18).

    He married in Lake County, Ill. on 20. Nov. 1885 (Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763-1900, Vol. 0D2, page 0376, Lic. 091M0193) a lady called

    Paula Elizabeth Mayer (Meyer?), born in Jan. 1862, daughter of Wilhelm (William) Mayer originating from the vicinity of Heilbronn, Germany.  

    Chicago in the 1920s



    The Gatter family lived on Judson Avenue


    Fountain Square in Evanston around 1910


    His son Frederick William was born when Christian was 69 and his wife 33. He died between 1895 and 1899, since his wife Paula is married again in 1900 (this marriage took place in 1899 or 1900). The children of C.F. Gatter were besides the oldest (May) born in Evanston, IL).

    It is still not clear from where C.F. Gatter came. Some claim from Heilbronn in Germany, but tehre are no Gatters listed in the parish registers there. In the Gatter files at we find the following couple and their children:

    Johann Caspar Gatter & Magdalena Honold
    Catharina Friederike Gatter, Christening 9 Nov 1825, Evangelisch, Aalen, Jagstkreis, Württemberg
    Christian Friedrich Gatter, Christening 5 Aug 1827, Evangelisch, Aalen, Jagstkreis, Württemberg
    Friederike Christine Gatter, Christening 26 Feb 1832, Evangelisch, Aalen, Jagstkreis, Württemberg
    Regina Fridrika Gatter, Christening: 10 May 1829, Evangelisch, Aalen, Jagstkreis, Württemberg
    Sabine Luise Gatter, Christening: 1 Jun 1831, Evangelisch, Aalen, Jagstkreis, Württemberg

    I believe he is the one marked in RED. Though some more research is necessary.



    But many stayed in Germany...


    Many Members of this family however stayed in Europe and a considerable number of Germany's 150 Gatter households is from this line. One branch lives in Heidenheim on the Brenz River. Among this bunch of Gatters is Friedrich Gatter who recently passed away. He was a passionate Gatter-genealogist and was able to connect some of the American branches to the tree.  

    The town of Heidenheim on the Brenz with the Helffenstein Castle


      Another branch of Gatters  from this line is living in Schwäbisch Gmünd today. They have to this day remained faithful to the old craft of this line and are running an important business in the region, the GATTER IRON WORKS. Check out their website at
      Edelstahlguß Stahlguß Sphäroguß.. Grauguß


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