Goertz, Adalbert (1928-2011)

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Adalbert Goertz
Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives (492.165)

Adalbert Goertz: physicist and genealogist, was born at Langenau, Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia on 3 December 1928 to Paul Gerhard Goertz (1887-1945) and Margarete Schukat (1900–1996). He grew up on his father’s Rittergut (estate) at Powarben, Kreis Samland, East Prussia. On 8 August 1958 he married Bärbel Kittler (1933– ), daughter of Horst Kittler (1910-1946) and Elfriede Fast Kittler (1910–2001) of Danzig, at the Neuwied-Torney Mennonite church. They had five children: Claudia, Dirk, Elke, Frauke, and Hans-Peter. Adalbert Goertz died 7 May 2011 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Adalbert Goertz studied at the Friedrichs-Kollegium in Königsberg from 1939-1944. He was baptized in 1943 at the Elbing Mennonite church by Emil Händiges. He was drafted as a Flakhelfer (anti-aircraft helper) in the Heimatfront (home front) in July 1944, but escaped by sea to West Germany in spring 1945.

He completed Oberschule at St. Peter-Ording in Schleswig-Holstein from 1948-1950 and was a Mennonite Central Committee-sponsored exchange student at Upland College in California in 1950-1951. From 1951-1958 Goertz studied physics at the University of Frankfurt and received a Diplom-Physiker. From 1958-1960 he was employed as a research physicist at Philips research laboratories in Aachen and Eindhoven.

In November 1960 the Goertz family moved to Boulder, Colorado, USA where he worked at the National Bureau of Standards and completed a PhD in physics at the University of Colorado in 1968.

In August 1968 the family moved to Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, where Adalbert taught at the Mont Alto campus of Penn State University. In the following decades he taught physics and mathematics at a variety of colleges and universities. He retired to Colorado Spring, Colorado, in 1997.

In Mennonite circles, Adalbert Goertz was known for his long-term research in the genealogy of the Mennonites of the Vistula valley, his home region. He published numerous articles in Altpreussische Geschlechterkunde, Archiv Ostdeutscher Familienforscher, Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter, Ostdeutsche Familienkunde, Mennonite Quarterly Review, and Mennonite Family History; and also on websites such as GAMEO and mennonitegenealogy.com. He corresponded with many persons researching their family histories and was known for his exacting standards of genealogical accuracy. A collection of his papers is at the Mennonite Library and Archives, North Newton, Kansas.


Goertz, Hans-Jürgen. “Familienforscher Dr. Adalbert Goertz gestorben.” Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter (2011): 234-236.

Selected Bibliography of Adalbert Goertz works

Brandt, Edward R. and Adalbert Goertz, eds. Genealogical guide to East and West Prussia (Ost- und Westpreussen): records, sources, publications & events. Minneapolis, Minn.: E. R. Brandt, 2003. This book went through multiple editions.

Goertz, Adalbert. “Familiengeschichtliche Quellen zu den Mennoniten Altpreußens,” in Archiv für Sippenforschung (1962): 463-466.

Goertz, Adalbert. “Mennonitische Familienkunde,” in Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter (1966) 59-61.

Goertz, Adalbert. “Ein Predigerverzeichnis aus dem Jahre 1787,” in Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter (1962): 42-50.

Goertz, Adalbert. “Westpreußische Mennonitenhöfe,” in Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter (1959): 47-52.

Goertz, Adalbert. “Zur Herkunft der Mennoniten in Deutsch-Wymyschle,” in Ostdeutsche Familienkunde (1973): 280-281.

A complete bibliography of Goertz’s writing until 2001 can be found at: http://www.mennonitegenealogy.com/prussia/biblio.htm.

Archival Collection

"Adalbert Goertz Papers, 1950-2010." Mennonite Library and Archives. North Newton, Kansas. http://mac.libraryhost.com/index.php?p=collections/controlcard&id=314.

Additional Information

This article is based on the original English essay that was written for the Mennonitisches Lexikon (MennLex) and has been made available to GAMEO with permission. The German version of this article is available at http://www.mennlex.de/doku.php?id=art:goertz_adalbert.

Author(s) John D Thiesen
Date Published August 2018

Cite This Article

MLA style

Thiesen, John D. "Goertz, Adalbert (1928-2011)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2018. Web. 16 Apr 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goertz,_Adalbert_(1928-2011)&oldid=161458.

APA style

Thiesen, John D. (August 2018). Goertz, Adalbert (1928-2011). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 April 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goertz,_Adalbert_(1928-2011)&oldid=161458.

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