Maria Elisabeth Menke
- Born: 7 Dec 1799, Oldendorf, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany
- Christened: 14 Dec 1799, Marienkirche, Oldendorf, Melle, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany
- Marriage (1): Johann Eberhard Heinrich Obrock on 25 Oct 1816 in Marienkirche, Oldendorf, Melle, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany
- Marriage (2): Hermann Henrich Schweer, Obrock on 13 Sep 1832 in Marienkirche, Oldendorf, Melle, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany
Maria Elisabeth Menke married onto the Obrock Hof or farm (farm #5 in Oldendorf). When her husband died, she inherited the Hof for a given period of time, during which she had to remarry or she would lose the farm. As the Hof, or farm name was Obrock, a man marrying into the Hof had to take on the name of the farm as his new surname. This is the case here. The ancestral name of Obrock was only such since the marriage in 1832, before that time it was Schweer. Descendants of the 1st husband have the last name Obrock, and the paternal ancestral name of Obrock. Descendants of the 2nd husband have the last name of Obrock, but the paternal ancestral name of Schweer.
Usually the youngest son or daughter inherited everything- no other sibling inherited anything; non-inheriting male siblings changed surnames only if they stayed at the Hof. There was only one family called by the Hof surname in a given generation. The surname stayed with the Hof, regardless of the mode of procurement; this was true for all four Erben (heir) classes: Vollerbe (full heir), Halberbe, Erbkötter, and Markkötter. The Vollerbe had the oldest and the highest status in the Mark.
The advantages of the Vollerbe status was: Protected tenancy, no military service, ability to keep and re-invest profits, more votes in Mark council, ability to engage laborers adn choose lessees in the Mark, greater rights to use of Mark properties, serve as judges of the Mark, receive greater percentages of Mark property when the system was ended.
The disadvantages were: the Gutsherr needs to be asked and give permission to marry, harvest trees, build new structures, etc., a fee must be paid for marriage and death, loss of the Hof by mismanagement (German terms meaning this are "Abmeierung" or "Neubesetqung"); payment of a Freibrief to leave the farm ( A Freibrief is a license issued by the Gutsherr for a fee allowing a son or daughter of a Hof occupant to leave the property); and, higher regular annual fees. When a son or daughter left the farm, they retained the surname of the Hof unless they became the inherited occupant of another farm.
Many different types of payments had to be made to the Gutsherr, and others in addition to those payments listed above. The first were regular taxes (gewisse Gefälle). The children had to work (Zwangdienst) for a half year for the Grundherr, normally when they were 16 years old. The farmer had to give "natural" gifts to the Grundherr. This was probably farm labor for the Lord of the Place at harvest and planting time. He had to give wood and bread to the church. He had to give chicken and eggs to the Gogericht (lower court). He had to pay one tenth (Zehnt) of his crops and the livestock to the Zentherr (could be the bishop, but not the same person as the Grundherr). He had to work for the local administration, e.g., carrying wood. He had to make a contribution to the sovereign (kind of defense tax). Non-regular taxes (ungewisse Gefälle) were also required. The Weinkauf (earlier called Winkauf, which was a derivative of the German work winnen - to win) was a tax if the farmer married. The Sterbfall was paid if the farmer or his wife died, and the Friekauf was paid if a child left the farm. The lot of the feudal farmer, though better than those without inheritance, was not wonderful. Since non-regular taxes were paid to the Grundherr and recorded in his records, it is possible to construct family genealogies.
The requirement to pay for a Freibrief ended in the Napoleon time (1806-1814) given his doctrine of "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite." An annual fee was assigned to each property, and all other fees were canceled and the farm became the property of the farmer. However, the farmers had to pay a steep price (Freikauf) to the Guttsherr for the lost Auffahrt or Weinkauf. You could say that in a way, the farmer had to buy the land from the Guttsherr. As a result, some of the Colons (or Main Farmers) were financially strapped, especially if the harvest was bad. The economy of the area also collapsed after Napoleon was driven out, partly due to the onerous terms of the land reform and because the home weaving industry was no longer viable due to competition with English mechanization. As a result, emigrations to Holland and America were commonplace.
A Gutsherr is the person or institution holding authority over a Mark (answering again to a higher authority); examples include the Bishop of Osnabrück or the Count of Schelenburg.
The Hof system ended between 1800 and 1840. A rental fee was assigned to each property, all other fees were canceled and residents were allowed to purchase the Hof outright. There were no restrictions thereafter on sale, lease, transfer, inheritance, etc. Naming practices are still used by some families today.
Men's surnames such as Obrock (or colon, alias, modo, known as), after the birth surnames may come and go- even to death. Women's surnames changed only if she married onto another Hof. Children were christened with the Hof surname. Hof documents are usually kept in the state archives.
Maria married Johann Eberhard Heinrich Obrock, son of Johann Heinrich Obrock and Kathrine Margarethe Bergmeier, on 25 Oct 1816 in Marienkirche, Oldendorf, Melle, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany. (Johann Eberhard Heinrich Obrock was born in 1784 in Oldendorf, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany, christened in Marienkirche, Oldendorf, Melle, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany, died on 12 Mar 1831 in Oldendorf, Melle, K. of Hannover, Germany and was buried on 15 Mar 1831 in Oldendorf, Melle, K. of Hannover, Germany.)
Maria next married Hermann Henrich Schweer, Obrock, son of Jobst Johann Hermann Schweer and Cathrine Maria Elisabeth Pflogstert, on 13 Sep 1832 in Marienkirche, Oldendorf, Melle, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany. (Hermann Henrich Schweer, Obrock was born on 6 Feb 1798 in Westerhausen, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany and was christened on 11 Feb 1798 in Marienkirche, Oldendorf, Melle, Osnabrück, K. of Hannover, Germany.)