May Family Tree

Descendants of
Johannes Meÿ/Maÿ/May [1689-1750]
by Fred T. May
See photos of Alsenz

On September 15, 2001, my wife and I were pleased to meet Karl Wilhelm May - a 7th cousin of all descendants in the 12th May generation - in his home village of Alsenz, Rheinland Pfalz, Germany. This is the first contact on record with a descendant of our May line still living in Germany!

We had a very enjoyable visit with Karl and his wife, Elfriede, in their attractive and comfortable home overlooking the village. Though I speak very little German and he speaks no English, we exchanged information on our family history. I was especially pleased to learn that Karl identified the old style of writing of our family name as Maÿ. He could trace his Maÿ line to his oldest known ancestor, Johann Adam Maÿ. After returning to Texas, I studied some LDS microfilms and confirmed Karl's ancestral line, and identified our common ancestor, Judge Johannes Maÿ [1638-1720].

More recently I have been in contact with Bob Hayne, an American descendant of Judge May through his youngest son, Johannes [1689-1750]. Bob's great-grandfather in this line was Balthasar Hohn, who was born in Alsenz in 1839 and immigrated to America in 1854.

Karl Wilhelm May looking at family records in Alsenz.

Karl met us at the historic Alte Rathaus in the center of Alsenz. This building was the center of government of the village and surrounding region for many years - well before our Maÿ/May ancestors lived there. Johannes is first known to have lived in the village in 1665, when he married Margaretha Lauers in the local Evangelische church. Karl showed us the houses where his father and grandfather once lived, both within a block of the church property. The graves of his parents are in the church Friedhof (cemetery). He also showed us a museum [Steinhauermuseum] that he helped establish in the village in 1995 to commorate early stone workers of the area. Karl gave me a booklet on the museum that includes a twenty-three page essay he wrote on the history of the village. He served as Burgermeister (Mayor) of Alenz from 1972 to 1979.

Another very familiar name still in Alsenz is Zepp. Klaus Zepp was the village Burgermeister in 1995 and Eugen Zepp wrote three essays in the booklet on the Steinhauermuseum. Anna Maria May, a sister of our May immigrants from Niederhausen an der Nahe, married Hans Heinrich Zepp in Alsenz in 1737. He was much older than her and died in 1747. Also, Johann Nickel May, the brother who remained in Niederhausen when his mother and other siblings left the village in 1748, married Anna Catharina Zepp about 1745. I haven't found a record of her birth or their marriage.

  © 2003 Fred T. May