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The history of the noble Kaas family of Danish origin
Preliminary, short edition:

The history leading to the Kaas branches in Peru, South Germany, Wisconsin and Hungary

Ancient Kaas estates
mentioned in the text

 

The surname Kaas
Up to 1526 the family members had used patronyms as their surname (Jens Ovesen [Ove's son] > Thomas Jensen [Jens' son] etc.). When king Frederik 1. in 1526 ordered the noblemen to use fixed surnames, the Kaas family consisted then of just a handful of persons. The most natural for Erich Mogensen was to take the surname Kaas. Likely this was the estate by Limfjorden were he was born nd still had some association to.. This also was the surname of his mother. In those times it often occured that persons changed their family name. But to change their family's coat of arms hardly never occurred.

Two noble families named Kaas
From 1526, when Erich Mogensen took the fixed surname Kaas, there were two (close related) noble families of the name Kaas in Denmark. The other oldest Kaas family, who became extinct at the end of 19th century, had a coat of arms with a chevron in its shield. To separate the families from each other the extinct Kaas was therefore called "Sparre-Kaas" - or rather "Kaas (sparre)" - which translated to English should be "Kaas (chevron)".

   Kaas (sparre)

The now living family Kaas (presented on this site) has a brick in its arms. Similarly this was earlier called "Mur-Kaas" - which in several occasions has led to some misunderstandings about the actual, correct name. Preferable for identification is "Kaas (mur)" - which translated should be "Kaas (brick)". This site identify the different members (when it's needed) as "Kaas (sparre)" and "Kaas (mur)".

 

The earliest, known origin of the Kaas family
The history of the Kaas family is known back to the period of knighthood in the 14th century, when the family obviously was prominent and well established in the North of Jylland, Denmark. Its decendancy is documented for all generations back to "Ove Ovesen of Gravlevgaard" who must have been born in the middle of the 14th century. The surname "Ovesen" indicates that he was son of a man whose first name was Ove - or Age. One has assumed that his father was Age Jensen mentioned in documents and that Age's father may have been the Johannes Reventlow who immigrated from Holstein (now Germany) about 1300. This is supported by a similarity in the coat of arms. However this is, a theory without sufficient documentation. Other families, also with more similar coat of arms, have been suggested by genealogists. It also might be that Ove Ovesen didn't have common ancestors with any of these. but came from an own family.


Ove Ovesen
Ove Ovesen (ca 1350-aft.1416) is the earliest, sufficiantly documented forefather of the living Kaas family. A document of 1416 telling that the nobleman "old Ove Ovesen" was given Gravlevgaard, indicates that he did services for the Church (collecting taxes etc.) because this mansion until then had been owned by the Church.
 

Jens Ovesen
Ove's son Jens Ovesen (ca 1385-ca 1430) of Gravlevgaard married Getrud Udsen a daughter of Svend Udsen and Kristine Hvide. Svend Udsen was a rich, influential knight and Hvide was the most powerful family in Denmark at that time. Jens Ovesen's marriage to Gertrud indicates that Ove Ovesen and his son had a good position among noblemen. They presumably were squires - because they are not mentioned as knights. ("Nobility" was first defined after 1520.)
 

Thomes Jensen
Jens Ovesen and Gertrud had at least two sons. The son Thomes Jensen (ca 1428-1511) of Gravlevgaard and Damsgaard is forefather to the Kaas family. Jens Ovesen died when Thomes was a child. But Thomes was very well raised in Gertrud's second marriage. Thomes is mentioned in documents as a squire and a representant in the county coucil . He married a daughter (first name unknown) of Jens Kaas from a prominent family of knights. (It is from this family the surname Kaas was inherited.) Her mother descended from a Danish king through an illegitimate relation. This Kaas family, who became extinct around 1800, had owned the estate by the same name Kaas by Limfjorden for generations. When Jens Kaas died, there were many children to share the heritage. The problem was obviously solved by Thomes' prospect of inheritance from his mother Gertrud Udsen, who still were alive. Through an agreement Thomes Jensen took the ownership of the Kaas estate. Thomes and his wife got one daughter, before she died. The daughter would later inherit the estate Kaas.


The Kaas mansion at the south shores of Limfjorden.

Thomes was married again ca 1460 with Kirsten Glob from the estate Damsgaard on Mors (an island in Limfjorden, North Jylland). They got two sons, Niels and Mogens Thomesen, of which Mogens is Kaas' forefather. Damsgaard was owned by Thomes Jensen and his agnatic descendants for 190 years - until 1650.
 

Mogens Thomesen
Mogens Thomesen (ca 1460-1521) of Damsgaard and Kaas was also married twice, both times with the sister of a bishop. The first marriage was to Gjertrud Kaas (of the other Kaas family) - a niece of his father's first wife. They got (at least) one child, Erich Mogensen (our forefather). In Mogens' second marriage to Elline Friis there were several children. One son, Niels, were killed.

From 1513 the king of Denmark was the rather ruthless Christian 2nd. during his reign he gradually came in opposition to the noblemen in Jylland, finally also the Church. A conflict developed between Mogens Thomesen and the king's bailiff - probably connected to previous mentioned opposition. Mogens was accused of attempt of forgery. He went to a monastry in Aarhus to obtain proof of his innocence, but died while he was there - before april 1521 - and was given a Christian burial. When the king came to Aarhus, he let his body - without any verdict - be excavated and hanged on the town square, to disgrace him and set an example. Mogens was afterwards buried outside the Christian graveyard. The king also confiscated his family's estates and belongings.

This incident, in addition to other violations by the king, is mentioned in the history books as the reasons for the rebellion by the nobility and the Church two years later. The nobility asked the king's uncle, the duke of Schleswig, for help and offered him the throne. King Christian 2.nd then chose to flee the country and the duke became king of Denmark (as Frederik 1st). Mogens Thomesen's widow, Elline Friis, shortly after appealed to him about king Christian's misdeeds towards her husband - and the estates was given back to the Kaas family. Mogens Thomesen's body was taken up for the second time and again laid into a Christian grave.
 

Erich Mogensen (Kaas)
Erich Mogensen (Kaas) (ca 1500-1556) is the last forefather to all members of the now living family Kaas. While he lived there was a turbulent period in Denmark. Some time between 1528 and 1532 he married the noble Anne Emmiksen (fixed surname) from Southern Jylland and Fyn. Her mother was of a famous influential family of the name Flemming.

After Frederik 1st death in 1533 there was a disagreement in the nobility about the succession. One party would elect a Protestant king, while the other wanted to give the throne back to the Catholic Chirstian 2nd, who had been imprisoned. This led to a civil war from 1534 to 1536, that was won by the Protestant fraction. The Church was then reformated in Denmark and Norway. Erich Mogensen Kaas obviously supported the protestants, due to his father's opposition to Chistian 2nd.

Erich and his wife got at least 11 children who grew up. At least one was born before the Civil War, but most of them afterwards. Anne Emmiksen inherited from her father  the estates Gelskov in the southern part of the island Fyn and Brendur (Braenore) in South Jylland. Erich and Anne lived at Gelskov. Erich and Anne died before all the kids were grown up. Very little is known about Erich's life, but he obviously must have been of some influence, because most of his sons got in a high position.
 

The children of Erich Mogensen (Kaas)
Beside Gelskov and Brendur the children of Erich Mogensen Kaas later inherited Damsgaard and Skovgaard estates from his sister and several other estates through their mother from the family Flemming.

One of Erich's and Anne's daughters, Sophia Kaas (ca 1545- aft. 1610), was a maid to princess Anne of Denmark who married king James 6. of Scotland (later also James 1. of England). Sophia followed the princess to Scotland and was engaged to a Scottish nobleman. He died, however, before the wedding. Sophia later returned to Denmark and lived together with her unmarried sisters at the estate Faddersboel by the coast of the North Sea in Hundborg, North-West Jylland.

All seven sons of Erich and Anne did services for the king - most of them as district governors - in Denmark, Norway or Gotland (an island east of Sweden). Two of the sons, Anders Kaas and Herman Kaas, have living agnative descendants. Herman Kaas is the forefather of the foreign Kaas branches.

The branches after Anders Kaas
The family branches of Anders Kaas is only shortly summarized here.

Anders Kaas' son country judge Hans Kaas (ca 1578-16329) is the forefather of three branches, the first a numerous, Danish branch who lived mainly on the islands Fyn and Langeland, south in Denmark. This branch became extinct in the middle of the 18th century.

The second branch got through their careers into the higher nobilty. The branch is well known for its many high ranked officers - a famous general, and many admirals in patricular - also a prime minister Friderich Julius Kaas (1758-1827). Admiral Friderich Christian Kaas (1727-1804) married one of the last members of the other, now extinct Kaas family (a granddaugther of our own Kaas family). They inherited the estate Nedergaard on Langeland. This large estate were owned by the Kaas family for more than 200 years, The living branch of Kaas in Demark descents from them.

The daughters of Friderich Christian Kaas' were married into the highest Danish nobility. Among them, Johanna Henriette Valentina Kaas married the count of Danneskiold-Samsøe an agnatic, illegitim descendant of a Danish king. Two of their daughters were married to the royal family of Augustenborg and by this also connected to the Royal House of Denmark. Their descendants were married to different royal houses in Germany ande England. Through Henriette Kaas the Kaas family therefore is ancestors to the descendants of Kaiser Wilhelm 2., to the Swedish, the Spanish and the Greek royal houses.

The third branch after Anders Kaas were by their marriages linked to Schleswig-Holstein, but became extinct in Denmark in the middle of the 19th century.
 

Herman Kaas of Skovgaard
Herman Kaas (ca 1545 - ca 1613) inherited the estate Skovgaard outside Viborg in North Jylland, where he settled. In 1576 he  married Birthe Kaas of the other Kaas family. They got 16 children - of 14 the name is known. Earlier it was believed that Herman Kaas of Skovgaard was an ambassador in Russia, but this seem to be a mistake with his grandson Herman.

The sons of Herman Kaas made a militar career or did services for the king as district governors, tax collectors etc. Among them, Stalder Kaas was the first one in the family who chose a career at sea, and he became an admiral before he retired. Obiviously he inspired later generations of the Kaas family.
 

Iffver Kaas - of Ulstrup and Faddersboel
It was only through Herman's son Iffver (Iver) Kaas the family name was brought on more than two generations. Iffver Kaas (ca 1586-1662) married the noble Sophia Krag in 1616. In 1626 Iffver Kaas bought Ulstrup, a big estate nearby the above mentioned Faddersboel. 10 years later he also bought Faddersboel from his brother Stalder, who previously had inherited this estate from his aunts. These two mansions, both situated in Hundborg parish, became a gathering place for the Kaas family for over 130 years - up to 1719 - when all in the next generation were established elsewhere and Faddersboel, as the last one, had been sold.

 

The family branches of Iffver Kaas
Three sons of Iffver Kaas and Sophia Krag got agnatic descendants for two generations or more. From their son Jørgen (Joergen) Kaas a branch leads to Western Germany and further to Peru, South Germany, Wisconsin and Hungary.  From their son Mogens Kaas (1627-1694) a branch moved to Norway, where it became extinct in the middle of the 19th century.. And from their youngest son Hartvig Kaas (1635-1704)  three new branches developed. One thin, Danish line of these leads through an illegal marriage (lost nobility) to "von Kaas" in Florida, one is the living, Norwegian branch Kaas. This changed name to Munthe-Kaas in 1848 and has become very numerous. The third, a short, Danish branch, had their last agnatic descendants in Danish Westindies in the beginning of the 19th century.

This document just follows the agnatic descendants of Jørgen (Joergen) Kaas.

Jørgen (Joergen) Kaas of Faddersboel
Iffver's and Sophia's son Jørgen (Joergen) Kaas ) (1617-1698) married Anna Maria de Wetter in Holland, but later they settled at Faddersbøl (Faddersboel), which he inherited. Documents show that Jørgen was guardian for several of his brother's children. Obviously he also had some financial problems.

 

Johannes Iver Kaas
Jørgen's eldest child, Johannes Iver Kaas (1644-1718), was born  at Maartensdijk castle in Utrecht, Holland and died in Köln (now Germany). As a second lieutenant Johannes Iver killed a fellow officer in a winehouse in København (Copenhagen) in 1671. Because of this he went in excile in Germany and Holland where he served in the Danish foreign forces. Then he served at the court of king Louis 14. in Paris. Here he also converted to the Catholic Church. Later her served under the Kurfürst of Köln, where he advanced to colonel. He also was  a district governor  in the Köln county. Johannes Iver sent an application to return to Denmark, but this must probably have been denied.

 

The German branch of barons von Kaas
Johannes Iver got married in 1682 to Franciska M C von Viermond (Viermund) from Köln, and their children were born there. The Kaas branch were continued by their third son, Vilhelm Friedrich Wolfgang Freiherr Kaas (1690-1768) who married  Agnes Dorothea von Borchers. Their son, Augustus M J Freiherr Kaas (1729-1803) was a chamberlain (Kammerherr) of Kurköln. He got married to Bernhardina M V von Preising. Bernhardinas mother, Francisca von Althaus, was the last of her baron family. Through his wife, Augustus Kaas "inherited" their barony in addition to his own. His title became "Freiherr zu Herzhaus und Althaus". Both baronies were located in Nordwalde bei Münster, Westfalen. Augustus and Bernhardina had 10 (known) children. Only their son Clemens August continued the Kaas branch.

 

Clemens August von Kaas and duchess Juliane
Johannes Iver's great-grandson Clemens August Freiherr von Kaas (1759-1832) was "Oberforstmeister" (chief forester - a sort of property administrator) to the Count of Schaumburg-Lippe. 57 years of age the count, whose first marriage was childless, married the 19 year old princess Juliane of Hessen-Philippsthal (1761-1799) who gave birth to  three daughters and one son (Georg Wilhelm graf zu Schaumburg-Lippe). The count of Schaumburg-Lippe died after seven years of marriage in 1787. The duchess afterwards had a relationship, claimed to be a "morganatic" marriage, to Clemens August von Kaas. During her son's minority duchess Juliane was the regent of Schaumburg-Lippe Short after the duke's death, the state was occupied militarily by the landgrave of Hessen-Kassel. With the help of foreign states duchess Juliane managed to achieve a rapid withdrawal of the Hessian troops. Her 12 year period as regent is described as "extremely beneficial" for the state.

 

Clemens' and Juliane's two sons "von Althaus"
Duchess Juliane died only 38 years old, but got two sons with Clemens August Kaas - both born in secrecy in Paris during the time of revolution. The sons were given the family name and weapon "von Althaus" after Clemens August's grandmother. Their agnative descentants are thus members of the Kaas family (just like others with the surname Kaas, von Kaas or Munthe-Kaas).

 

The Peruvian branch of Kaas - "de Althaus"
The elder son of Clemens August and duchess Juliane, Clemens Anton Freiherr von Althaus (1790-1836), made a military career. In the Napoleon war he was aide-de-camp to Wellington in the Battle of Waterloo. After Napoleons defeat he went to Argentina, then to Chile, where he participated in several battles for the liberation of Peru - first in the general staff of general San Martin, later as a general under Simon Bolivar. As a cartograph he is known for making the first complete maps of Peru and Bolivia. He settled in Peru under the name of Clemente de Althaus and married (chatolic) Maria Manuella Pascuala Flores of the Peruvian nobility  Their descendants of de Althaus form the Peruvian branch of Kaas. Its genealogy is now (2011) researched. The branch consists of several well known persons and is still existing.

 

The  German branch of Kaas - von Althaus
The younger son, August Heinrich Jacob Freiherr von Althaus, moved to Baden, South-Germany, where he studied to dr. phil. He became a captain in Baden, later chief of the mines. His barony title was confirmed by the Duke of Schaumburg-Lippe and then recognised by the Great Duke of Baden. He married Maria G. Caroline Baroness von Reischach. When she died three years later, he married her sister Ernestine, with whom he got at least three children. Descendants of them continue the German branch of Kaas with the surname von Althaus. Whether there are living persons in this branch is not yet determined - research is going on  (2012).

 

Descendants of Clemens August's second marriage
After the death of the duchess Juliane, Clemens August married Magdalene Habicht in 1804. with whom he got four sons and one daughter . They got the surname "von Kaas". The two sons Carl von Kaas and Eduard von Kaas both emigrated. They are now forefathers of the Wisconsin branch and the Hungarian branch of Kaas.

 

Carl von Kaas - the Wisconsin branch
The elder son, Georg Carl August Freiherr von Kaas, made a solid career under the Duke of Schaumburg-Lippe. He became head of property, later also head of finances. However, due to political movements and intrigues, he lost the Duke's confidence, and in this situation asked to be dismissed from his offices. With his wife and children he emigrated in 1851 to USA - Wisconsin, where they settled in Sheboygan -after living a period in Milwaukee. With some exceptions his descendants have stayed there. The family kept the name "von Kaas". The Wiscosin branch has continued up to the end of 20th century, but there is likely noone to proceed it further on. (Research is still going on.)

 

Eduard (von) Kaas - the Hungarian branch
A younger son of Clemens August and Magdalene was Eduard Clemens Frans Freiherr von Kaas. He became a captain in the Austrian forces. Afterwards he settled in Farmos, Hungary, under the name of Kaas and married Ida Ivanka of the Hungarian nobility. Perhaps then Eduard dropped the prefix "von" to his surname Kaas.
Their son baron Ivor Kaas became a well known publisher and politician. Another son, baron Ervin Kaas, was in the railway administration. Both of them had agnatic descendants. At least Ervin Kaas has a living decendant born Kaas, but probably there is nobody to continue the Hungarian branch of Kaas.

After the communist takeover Niels Albert baron Kaas (a son of baron Ivor  Kaas), moved to Australia with his wife and daughters. He lived the rest of his life in Subiaco, Perth. Western Australia. One of his two daughters later moved  back to Hungary. The other one stayed in Subiaco, was married and have descendants there.

An own graveyard for descendants of three of Eduard Kaas' children were established on the estate of Kaas in Farmos, This is still maintained.

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