Krichau Coat of Arms

The family name of this family has been spelled in several different ways depending on how the author of a source has heard the name pronounced – and how well the author could write. The name Kruckow is in the family until it is written down in Abild parish (Abild Sogn). Here it is changed to Krickau/Krichau/Krikau/Krichauff. Maybe it is not that big of a mystery, because at the time, the parish belonged to the Duchy of Schleswig and the author of the source originated from Kvong parish (Kvong Sogn) in Western Jutland and therefore he spoken an entirely different dialect than the people in Schleswig who mostly spoke German or “Sønderjysk.”

The House of Kruckow

The noble house of Kruckow is found in Germany from the 1200 century, and there are also Kruckow families to be found in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and in several states in Germany. The family is thought to originate in the county Kruckow in Mecklenburg-Vor Pommern in Germany.

The first Kruckow that we know of is Erling von Kruckow. He was born between 1335 1395 in Kruckow in Mecklenburg-Vor Pommern in Germany. His descendant, Johannes (Janikin) Kruckow was born in Pommern, but lived in Trustolpe on the island of Lolland, Denmark, for a long period of time, and this is also where he died. He was a knight or squire and had been knighted. On his coat of arms the upper body of a sort of deer or unicorn is seen.

Hans or Johannes (Jannikusson) Kruckow was born around 1400 in Pommern and died the 8th of October 1453 in Kroken in the county of Luster in Norway. He was married to Anne Ludvigsdatter Barsebek. She was born in 1416in Preetz, Schleswig-Holsten, and died in 1450 in Kroken in the county of Luster in Norway. Hans/Johannes was a member of the Norwegian war council in 1444 and was also a knight. He lived in Bergen, Norway, where he also had a job, possibly in trading.

Hans (Johannes) Kruckow was born in 1440 in Kroken in the county of Luster in Norway where he also died in 1512. He was in 1472 married to Karen, who was born in 1451. They lived on a farm in Kroken on Hafslo in Luster, Norway, and had two sons; Johan and Hans, the latter later moved to Iceland.

Johan (Hansen) Kruckow was born in 1473 in Kroken on Hafslo in Luster, Norway and died in Soerheim, Luster, Norway. He lived his life in Soerheim and had a trading place in Hjelmsoe in Finmarken. He had his own trading ship and did a lot of “North Land trading” and also a lot of trading with the merchants in Bergen. He inherited large areas of land on Iceland from his deceased brother, who had no heir. In 1510 Johan married Gudrun Thordsen (Smoer). She was born in 1484 in Bohuslen in Sweden and died in 1530 in Soerheim, Luster, Norway. They had 7 children.

The first records of Johan are from 1518, where he is referred to as a merchant and trader. In 1524 he became engaged in politics and was at that time also a Lord. When King Christian the Second in 1524 fled the country, the Great Council took over the governing of the country and they held their meetings in Bergen. Johan Kruckow was a member of the Kings Council and therefore also a member of the Great Council. They chose a new King, Frederik the First, who ruled until 1533, where he died. The Council then chose a new King, Christian the Third, and Johan Kruckow was involved both times, but there are no more records of him since then.

The start of the Danish line of the family begins in the Duchy of Schleswig, a place where various spiritual trends have always tended to meet. In the Kingdom of Denmark, the Reformation was initiated in 1526 where the Duke Christian (later to be King Christian III) created a Lutheran-Evangelical pastoral seminary in Haderslev, and it drew many people from around the Kingdom and Duchies to the city. In 1528 the so called “Haderslev Articles” was written and they marked the implementation of the Reformation in the counties of Haderslev and Toenning and soon after in all of the Duchy of Schleswig.

In 1536, after Christan III was crowned King, the Reformation was implemented in the entire Kingdom of Denmark and Norway and the year after that, the church ordinance was written. In the Duchies a special ordinance was written in 1542 by Luther’s’ close associate, Johannes Bugenhagen. This ordinance established that the Duke was obliged to make sure that only Lutheran-Evangelical church services were held in the Duchy and that the right church discipline and -lessons, together with regular school classes, were taught to the people in the Duchy. The Duchy was divided between several dukes and therefore the churches differed slightly in their education and instruction. Also the languages in which they spoke in the churches differed around the Duchy; a border formed by the line drawn between the parishes of Hoejer, Moegeltoender, Ubjerg, Burkal, Tinglev and Holboel divided the Duchy in a Latin and Danish speaking area (north of the border) and a Latin and German speaking area (south of the border). This is almost also where the Danish-German border is today!

The islands of Als and Æroe also belonged to the Duchy of Schleswig, but at the same time it also belonged to the Diocese of Odense which had an entirely Danish church- and school system. From 1854 Soenderborg and Kegnæs (both on the island of Als) belonged to the parish of Schleswig because of a privilege given to the Duke Hans the Younger.

From the beginning of the 1800 century the Danish government wished to simplify the very complex administrative issues in the Duchy. That would mean that the Duke of Augustenborg on the island of Als would lose his title and privileges and become a landlord instead, and the economy of the island of Æroe would become greatly impaired because of lower land tax rates in the Kingdom of Denmark. If both the island of Als and Æroe would instead entirely become part of the Duchy of Schleswig, it would mean that they would have to hire pastors and teachers educated in Kiel, but that would in turn cause a language barrier in both school and churches.

The solution to all of these problems was to establish a small Diocese of Als-Æroe in 1819 – and with this the islands could stay part of the Duchy of Schleswig.

Left to Right: Mother Anna, Maurice, Elmer, Hans, Christian, Pete, Art, Ed, Father Jens Krichau
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