Legend of the Thanisch Family Name


The newspaper article shown above was published in the "Trierischen Volksfreund" and recounts a legend on the origin of the Thanisch family name.  The article translates as follows:

They Remained True to their Profession

There used to be a prosperous village of Thanisch with a population of 160

Bernkastel-Kues.  Very few citizens of the city of Bernkastel-Kues and the surrounding area know that, during the 30 Year War, there used to be a prosperous little village on the beautiful hillside near the Graach sheep farm in the District of Thanisch Woods.
The village of Thanisch was located on a thoroughfare, which connected the two cities of Bernkastel and Trarbach and went on to Maria-Zill (Forest between Trarbach Heights and the Buchborn District).
This road remains today as a vineyard road and is known locally as the "Trarbach Weg".  The village with its population of 143 to 160 belonged to the Catholic parish of Bernkastel.  It consisted of 18 stately farms, all of them dedicated to agriculture and viticulture. 
Behind the vineyards, fruit, grain and flax were grown.
About 1630-40 a passing traveler or wagoner brought the plague into the village.  In a very short time the entire population fell victim to the then incurable epidemic - with the exception of one male inhabitant.
Seeking help, this man was taken in by the community of Graach.  According to oral tradition, all the deceased were buried in Graach as well.  It was further related, that the resident of Thanisch married a woman from Graach and took the name "Thanisch" after his unlucky village.  The Thanisch are families dedicated to viticulture either in Bernkastel-Kues, Graach, Lieser or Rachtig.  They have remained faithful to the profession of their ancestors well into the 20th century.

The above legend arose to explain the "Wüstung Thanisch" (ruins of Thanisch) which are found in the Municipality (Gemeinde) of Graach an der Mosel.  The facts surrounding this legend were investigated by Hr. Arthur Weber from Graach, and in 2001, his findings were archived in the "Datenbank der Kulturgüter in der Region Trier".  Hr. Weber concluded that the "ruins of Thanisch" are much older than the 1630-40 date attributed to them by the Legend.  They are most likely the ruins of Thaners, a village known from 14th century records and which was likely abandoned during the terrible plague in the mid-1300s.

Further, Hr. Weber found 28 individuals with the name Thanisch on the 1624 Tax Rolls (Schätzungslist) of Graach, showing that a considerable number of residents by the name of Thanisch lived there prior to the 1630-40 plague.  Apparently, these Thanisch residents fled Graach during the plague.  Hr. Weber could find evidence of only one family who returned to Graach after the Thirty Years War.  Franz Thanisch and his wife Appolonia were living in Graach in the early 1650's.  Franz may well be the ancestor of our Tharnish family, however, the number and names of his children are unknown, so a definite connection cannot be made.