Michael Koschnitzki
Augusta W Koschnitzki
Augusta W Koschnitzki
1860 - 1940

Koshnitzki - Possible Origins and Historical Connection to Russia

What is interesting about this story found below, is that Michael Koschnitzki's son-in-law Albert Lenser was born in Danzig, Germany. Albert Lenser and Augusta (Koschnitzki) Lenser also immigrated together to Pennsylvania, which means that they likely were living in or near the Danzig area together.  Albert Lenser also may have had Polish ancestry - his grandfather's name being Kupferschmidt (of unknown origin), and his grandmother's maiden name being Formella, which is of Polish origin.  It also notes that the last name can be spelled with either a Y or a I on the end, and be of the same family. 


The ancestral home was in Riga, Central Russia. In early days the name was spelled KUSNITZKY. The literal meaning is "hunters of bear and wolf".

During the time of the Tartar invasions (according to a Russian documentary film) a prominent General in the defending forces was General Kusnitzky. Under the reign of Peter the Great, members of the nobility, including the Kusnitzky group, formed a conspiracy to dethrone Peter the Great because of their hatred of his brutality. They were forced to flee. Some of them (including the forebears of Carl Frederich Koschnitzki) went to the Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) area, and others fled to England, and later immigrated to Pennsylvania.

Carl Frederich told one of his granddaughters that at one time the family name had "von" in front of it, but changed it as he felt the name was long enough.

All the family background given to the granddaughter from Carl Frederich, was from an aunt he corresponded with who lived in Danzig (Gdansk, Poland).

Please bear in mind that there are various documents with two spellings of our family name; one with it ending in an "I" and also a "Y". Albert and Jonni (Jack) always spelled the name with an "i" on the end whereas John Wilhelm (Bill), Fritz (Fred) and August (Gus) always used the final "y". My grandfather's (Albert, Sr.) German Confirmation document shows an "I" whereas my Great Grandmother's (Anna Sophia)Memorial notice shows it with a "Y".


After living in the United States for some time, it became increasingly difficult for the family members to have people pronounce the name Koschnitzki/y correctly and also spell it. The name of KAY was legally adopted by most members of the family in the Superior Court of San Francisco, California on June 16, 1921 and on September 4, 1923.
The mother, Anna Sophia and son Fred (Fritz) decided to keep the family name of Koschnitzky.

(I am not sure if there is any connection between Michael Koschnitzki and the family below, however it is still interesting to note.)



Circa 1911 - Millbrae, California
Back Row
Gus holding Carl - Fred - Albert - Jack holding Mary - Mary - Henry - Bill
Front Row
Adele holding Edna - Ada holding daughter - Celia holding Albert, Jr.- Anna Sophia - Clarence - Carl Frederich
"Tante" Marie holding "Little" Marie - Tillie - Ferna

CARL FREDERICH KOSCHNITZKI was born December 4, 1835, Schillingsfelde, East Prussia and died February 25, 1915 in San Francisco, San Francisco County, California.

ANNA SOPHIA SCHUMACHER PLUNS was born December 5, 1842, Oderquard, Hannover Germany and died May 13, 1928 in Yacolt, Clark County, Washington.

CARL "CHARLIE" AUGUST FREDERICK WILHELM SHRADER, JR. was born in 1869 in Hamburg, Germany and died January 25, 1923 in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon(Anna Sophia's first child from her first marriage to Carl August Frederick Wilhelm Shrader).

JOHN-WILHELM HEINRICH THEODORE "BILL" KOSCHNITZKY was born November 03, 1873, Balje, Germany and died March 18, 1952, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California.

JONNI FREDERICK CARL "JACK" KOSCHNITZKI was born February 08, 1875, Bremmerlehe, Germany and died April 01, 1948, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara County, California.

ANNE MARIANNA SOPHIA MARIA was born July 10, 1877 and died 1882 in Germany.

JACOB ALBERT CHRISTIAN "AL" KOSCHNITZKI was born August 10, 1879, Balje, Germany and died March 14, 1951 in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara County, California.

FRITZ JOHANN "FRED" KOSCHNITZKY was born December 17, 1880, Balje, Germany and died April 03, 1950 in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon.

CHARLES AUGUST "GUS" KOSCHNITZKI was born May 17, 1884, Balje, Germany and died January 19, 1973 in San Francisco, San Francisco County, California.

HEINRICH FERDINAND "HENRY" KOSCHNITZKY was born November 16, 1885, Balje, Germany and died April 16, 1959 San Francisco, San Francisco County, California.

MARIE ANNA KOSCHNITZKY was born December 04, 1888, Balje, Germany and died December 23, 1964 in Longview, Cowlitz County, Washington.

Immigration Dates

Carl "Charlie" Shrader: November 10th, 1884-Ship's name "Lessing".

John Wilhelm "Bill": May 8, 1890-Ship's name, "Columbia"

Jonni Frederick "Jack": October 5, 1891-Ship's name, "Fürst Bismark"

Jacob Albert "Al": 1895 (Original year of immigration. Immigration records destroyed)
and departed November 29th, 1900-Ship's name, "Deutschland" (U.S. Citizen)

Fritz Johann "Fred": Departed June 11, 1896-Ship's name "Fürst Bismark".

Charles August "Gus": Departed September 21, 1899-Ship's name, "Auguste Victoria"

*Carl and Anna Sophia: April 28, 1901
On the S.S. Pennsylvania-Arrival May 10, 1901, Ellis Island, New York
*Carl had immigrated to the United States originally in 1859 and
was a U.S. citizen when he arrived again in 1901 as was his wife, Anna Sophia, son Heinrich and daughter, Marie.

Heinrich Ferdinand "Henry": April 28, 1901
On the S.S. Pennsylvania-Arrival May 10, 1901, Ellis Island, New York

Marie: April 28, 1901
On the S.S. Pennsylvania-Arrival May 10, 1901, Ellis Island, New York