In 1911 Johannes Gravert, a farmer in Krempdorf, handed his farmstead
over to his son, only to devote himself entirely to family research
in his home region.
At the end of the 19th century, people knew very little about their
families and ancestors. Most of them only knew their parents, sisters,
brothers, and grandparents. But amongst them were people who realised
the necessity for a wider perspective on their families‘ origins
and on their consanguinity. People like Johannes Gravert saw the need
to educate others that consanguineous marriages, like marriages between
siblings, may have fatal consequences.
Johannes Gravert squeamishly collected all available data of farmers
and their families in the Kremper and Kollmar Marsh. Unfortunately,
he could not complete his work. His two companions Pastor Emil Holst
from Barmstedt and Theodor Ahsbahs from Hamburg completed his work in
1929. With the help of the Kremper Marsh savings bank they published
The Kremper and Kollmar Marsh
This book contains the history and data of 1,270 farming families in
the Stör, Elbe, and Krückau region as well as in the adjacent
villages in the geest. It covers 24 rural communities in an area of
According to the original Gravert Book, most farmer families in our
region are descendants of the first inhabitants in the Kremper and Kollmar
Today nobody can tell if the names of these families are of Saxon or
Dutch origin. At the time of dyking men had a first name only. Family
names were introduced only after 1300 a. D., with "Hahn" being
the first registered family name here.
The family name "Grauwer" (Gravert) appeared in 1500 a. D.
in the Kremper Marsh for the very first time.
A German magazine wrote: "...No other German region holds such
a detailed register of its inhabitants, of their families, and of their
Right after publication of the Gravert Book in 1929, first plans for
a supplementary series were made. In 1946 Pastor Holst organised the
first planning meeting. Volunteers led by Pastor Loetje published the
first, content-rich supplementary series to the Gravert Book in October
A new generation grew up. Dr. Hellmut Augustin lead a large team of
volunteers in their work toward the second supplementary series,
which was published in 1976.
Hans-Peter Ahsbahs was elected chairman of the Gravert Book Society
in 1995. Over the next years he and his board members Karl-August Linnepe,
Kerstin Stäcker, and Gertrude Gravert, with the help from many
volunteers prepared the third supplementary series of the Gravert Book.
This "Supplement Series 1 / 2 / 3 - The Farms in the Kremper and
Kollmar Marsh" of 1999 was a huge success.
Later this positive feedback encouraged the board of the Gravert Book
Society to plan for a modern coloured photographic portrait book.