My Greatsinger (Gretzinger) and Bonnett ancestors of Berlin, Germany

Jerusalem Chapel

My Greatsinger (Gretzinger) and Bonnett ancestors are through my great x3 Grandmother Hannah Elizabeth Kritsinger/Greatsinger (she married David Prindle, Sr.).

Her grandfather was Johann Christian Gretzinger (Greatsinger), he was the son of Johann Jacob Gretzinger and Loisa (Louisa) Antoneta Bonnett, he was baptized 17 Jun 1729 in the Jerusalem Chapel (Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel) in Berlin Stadt, Brandenburg, Prussia, Germany.

Loisa (Louia) Antoneta Bonnett was the daughter of Johann Frantz Bonnet and Anna Dorothea Strelmer / Steiner.

Johann Frantz Bonnett is listed in German church records as Johann Franciscus Bonnet, Johann Frantz Bonet, Frantz Bonet, and with surname listed as both Bonnet and Bonnetts. On his marriage record his father is listed as Johann Bonnet.

History of the religious affiliation of the Jerusalem Church: United Protestant since its reconstruction in 1968, originally Roman Catholic, Lutheran from 1539 until deserted in the Thirty Years War, Calvinist (1658–1662), the Calvinists and Lutherans shared the church (1682–1830), Evangelical Protestant (1830–1941), Romanian Orthodox (1944–1945), then destroyed. (5)

Photo postcard of the Jerusalem Chapel taken in 1906.

Bonnet Name Meaning

French: from the medieval personal name Bonettus, a diminutive of Latin bonus ‘good’. French: occasionally, a Gascon variant of Bonneau. English and French: metonymic occupational name for a milliner, or a nickname for a wearer of unusual headgear, from Middle English bonet, Old French bon(n)et ‘bonnet’, ‘hat’. This word is found in medieval Latin as abonnis, but is of unknown origin. In Germany the name was borne by Waldensians, of French origin. (1)

My Bonnet ancestors are found in church records of the Evangelical Lutheran church in Berlin. But the surname has its origins in France and most with the surname Bonnet in Germany were originally Waldensians from France that came to Germany.

Gretzinger Name Meaning

One source states the Gretzinger surname means someone from any of the three places named Grötzingen (Old High German Grezzingun) in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Another source states it is a Swedish and German surname that was a locational name for a dweller on a pebbly or sandstone piece of land, one who came from Gresse in Germany.  (2 & 3) The name could also be related to the surname Kritzinger which originally was Kreutzinger and meaning “Living near the Cross” in German.

Johann Christian Gretzinger (Greatsinger) emigrated to the American Colonies before 1760 and settled in Freehold, Monmouth, New Jersey. He married first before 1760 to Anne (Antje) Palmer/Parmer, she may have been the daughter of Emanuel Palmer/Parmer. Most of his older children’s baptism records are found there in the Dutch Reformed Church Records in Freehold, New Jersey. He migrated to Ulster County, New York by 1774. After the death of his first wife, he marries second to Susannah Myers in Ulster County, New York.

Children of Johann Christian Greatsinger (Gretzinger) with first wife Anne (Antje) Palmer/Parmer:

  1. Catherina (Catrina) Greatsinger/Kritsinger, she married Johannes John Deyo
  2. John (Johann) Greatsinger/Kritsinger, he married Lea Litts
  3. Stephenus/Stephen Greatsinger, he married Deborah Litts
  4. Susannah M. Greatsinger/Kritsinger, she married Benjamin Deyo
  5. Maria Polly Greatsinger, she married Daniel Litts
  6. Sarah Greatsinger, she married Isaac Sluyter
  7. Anna Greatsinger, she married Ezekiel Rhodes
  8. Eleanor Greatsinger, she married Johannes John Litz/Letts (Litts)

As you can see, many of the Greatsinger siblings married into the same Litts family, two married into the same Deyo family. One married into the Sluyter family, this is same Sluyter family that I am also descended from, for my ancestor Lea Litts mother’s maiden name was Sluyter (see below).

Children of Johann Christian Greatsinter (Gretzinger) with second wife Susannah Myers:

  1. Rev. Christan Greatsinger, he married Anna Mariah Smith
  2. William Greatsinger, he married Phebe Spencer

I am a DNA match to over 50 people that are all descendants of Christian (Johann Christian) Greatsinger and his two wives. That number does not include my 3rd and 4th cousins that share David Prindle, Sr. and Hannah Elizabeth Greatsinger/Kritsinger or Daniel Prindle and Sarah Jane “Jennie” Doman as ancestors!

My direct ancestor is John (Johannes) Greatsinger, the son of Johann Christian Greatzinger (Greatsinger) and Anne (Antje) Palmer/Parmer. He was baptized 30 Apr 1764 in the Dutch Reformed Church in Freehold, Monmouth, New Jersey. I have not been able to find his marriage record yet, but he married Lea Litts, the daughter of Roelof Lits/Litts/Litz and Sarah Annatje (Zara) Sluyter.

My Litz ancestors came early to America most likely from Germany, although the surname is found to a lesser degree in the Netherlands as well. Roelof Lits/Litts/Litz was the son of Daniel Litz/Letts/Litts and Femmetje Clerk/Klerk. The parentage of Daniel Litts is unproven, although some list him as the son of Johannes Litz who came from Wannweil, Württemberg, Germany.

Femmetje Clerk/Klerk was the daughter of Willem Klerk/Clerk and Hilletje Vanderbilt. There are those that say Willem Clerk was the son of William Clerke of Leicester, Leics, England who died in Virginia and Mary Spenser. This is highly unlikely. Clerck is a Dutch surname, often found as De Clerck. He married Hilletje Vanderbilt, a woman of obvious Dutch ancestry, in the Dutch Reformed Church in Kingston, Ulster County, New York on 25 Aug 1698. The baptism records of their children are found in the same church records.

Roelof Litts married Sarah Annatje (Zara) Sluyter, the daughter of Edward Sluyter (Sluiter) and Lea Van Schuyven. Both the Sluyter and Van Schuyven families were from the Netherlands. The name Roelof is a given name of Dutch origin, it is the Dutch cognate of Rudolph. (3)

You may read more about my Dutch ancestors related to my ancestors Edward Sluyter and Lea Van Schuyven here: My Dutch Gardenier (Flodder) Ancestors and Related Lines. And Cousin Hannah Hoes Van Buren (wife of Pres. Van Buren).

My direct line:

Pictured is my great-grandmother Anna “Cora” Prindle Cole.
  1. Johann Jacob Gretzinger and Loisa (Louisa) Antoneta Bonnett (daughter of Johann Frantz Bonnet and Dorothy Strelmer/Steiner).
  2. Johann Christian Greatsinger and Anne (Antje) Palmer/Parmer (possibly the daughter of Emanuel Palmer/Parmer).
  3. John (Johann) Kristinger/Greatsinger and Lea Litts (daughter of Roelof Litts and Sarah Annatje (Zara) Sluyter).
  4. Hannah Elizabeth Greatsinger/Kritsinger and David M. Prindle, Sr. (son of Amos Prindle and Esther Canfield).
  5. Daniel Prindle and Sarah Jane “Jennie” Doman (daughter of Jacob (John Jacob) Doman and Mary Ann Chamberlain).
  6. Anna “Cora” Prindle and Joseph Edward Cole (son of Lorin Richard Cole and Nancy M. Losure). My great-grandparents.

I will be writing in the future in more detail about the life of my Greatsinger and Litts ancestors in America.


  1. Bonnet Name Meaning –
  2. Gretzinger Name Meaning –
  3. Gretzinger Surname Meaning
  4. Origins of the Given Name Roelof
  5. Rabe Family Genealogy Blog

If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

About Anna Kasper, ACDP

I am an avid Genealogist. I am currently a student at Phillips Theological Seminary (one of the few Catholics!). I am an ACDP - Associate of the Congregation of Divine Providence (Sisters of Divine Providence of Texas). If you are unfamiliar with what a Religious Associate (also called an Affiliate, Consociate, Oblate, Companion) is exactly, visit my about me page for more information. In community college, I majored in American Sign Language/Deaf Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies when at university.
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1 Response to My Greatsinger (Gretzinger) and Bonnett ancestors of Berlin, Germany

  1. Barb LaFara says:

    Your information on name origin is fantastic! I have a brick wall ancestor named Rachel Letts, 1752-1818, of Monmouth, NJ. I am now thinking I should research Litz and Litts surnames. Thanks for sharing.


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