Welcome to the Fausack/Fausak Family genealogy website.
The website is intended to be both a source and a repository of data, information, maps, and images about the Fausack/Fausak families who have lived in Europe since at least the 1400s and in North America since the late 1800s.
The geographic roots of the family are in northwestern Brandenburg in Germany. The Fausacks (or Vausacks) appeared in church records from Brandenburg in the 16th and 17th centuries. With only a few exceptions, the church records have mainly come from present-day Prignitz and Ostprignitz-Ruppin Landkreise. The Fausacks were primarily farmers and agricultural workers, and were of the Lutheran faith in the years after the Protestant Reformation. By the mid-1800s, some had taken up trades in Berlin and other cities in Prussia.
Based on our geographic origins, and also the Slavic character of our surname, our current hypothesis is that the family derived from one of the West Slavic tribes (the Wenden in German) that inhabited present-day Brandenburg prior to the Middle Ages and before the arrival of the Teutons. The pagan Slavic tribes were gradually assimilated into the Germanic and Christian peoples in the late Middles Ages (circa 1300-1500).
The earliest Fausack of record was a "Mecklenburger Fausack", whose given name is not known, who carved votive statuary and was reported to have died in 1498. Other Fausacks began to appear in the records from Perleberg, Lenzen, Gandow, Platenlaase, Nausdorf, and Mankmuss in the 1500s and 1600s. The eastward movement continued slowly into the 1800s and beyond.
One branch of the family, led by Johann Michael Fausack (1761-1827) and Louise Graf (1772-1829), with at least five of their children, emigrated in 1818 as German colonists (along with about 5,000 other Brandenburgers) from Brandenburg into central Poland. That part of the family remained in Poland and East Prussia for about 100 years. About the time of World Wars I and II, most of these Auswanderer returned to Germany or emigrated to the United States and Canada.
In Poland, the surname gradually lost the "c" in Fausack and largely became "Fausak"; the branch that stayed in Prussia retained the "c". Family members in present-day Germany derive from ancestors who never left Prussia, and from those who emigrated to Poland and returned; family members in Germany use both spelling variants.
Before universal education and standardized spelling became common in the late 19th century, and also because the surname was often transliterated from German to Polish and Russian and back again, there were many spelling variants of the name, including Vausack, Pfausack, Fowsack, and Faustsack in Prussia and Germany; Fausak, Fauzak, and Fauzzak in Poland; and Faysak and Фаусак in Russian-speaking areas. Remember also that spelling was unimportant when most people could not read or write; names were recorded by the Pastor however he thought they sounded. A good rule-of-thumb for family research prior to the 20th century is: "If is sounds the same, it probably is the same."
One of the primary goals of the site is to encourage the exchange of family history information, so please get in touch with us if you have something to add or to correct. The website will become ever more useful with your contributions of names, data, documents, and photographs. Please help us expand our knowledge of the family history.
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If you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.
STATUS in mid-2015
Research in German archives continues on Fausack and related families after about 1600 in westernmost Brandenburg state in Germany (then Prussia). Most of the early Fausacks lived in and near the town of Lenzen, and then appear to have moved eastward to villages around the towns of Perleberg, Pritzwalk, and Wittstock (such as Mertensdorf, Wernikow, and Wulfersdorf). Dozens of newly discovered Fausacks have been added to our body of knowledge in the past year.
As before, we have yet to make definitive connections between the 17th century Fausack families in westernmost Brandenburg and the 18-19th century families in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin area and in Berlin.
Many historic records from German and Polish archives have been made available online during the past year and have added greatly to our knowledge. These include civil registrations of birth, marriage, and death from Berlin, where many family members moved beginning in the early 1800s and thereafter. Importantly, German Lutheran church books from central Poland from the period of about 1820-1930 have been recently posted online by Polish archives, and have added many previously unknown individuals and new information about others who were known to us. A large branch of the family, headed by Johann Michael Fausack (c176-1827), were German settlers in central Poland during that time. All of the Fausaks who immigrated to North and South America are believed to have derived from this branch.