Decendants of Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Stelzriede
Origins of the name Stelzriede -
Being a rare name I have not found Stelzriede in the usual lists of name origins. My grandfather told me that he thought it meant "house on stilts", and related to the house the family may have lived in long ago. Although "Stelze" means "stilts", I never could find a word like "Riede" that meant anything close to "house". Riede does appear in many forms as Ried, Reid, Reed, etc., usually taken to have meant "brook" or "stream". Stelze is less common, but is found in the German names Stelzer and Stelze.
Looking at similar german words I found the following:
"Ried" means "marsh grass" or "reed" and Riede (plural of Ried) is also a southern german term for "marsh" or "moor". So Stelzriede literally means "stilt reeds" or "stilt marshes". Possibly referring to tall marsh grasses growing near the home, but this is just a guess. A word with a similar prefix, "Stelzvogel" is literally "stilt bird" and refers to a wading bird. Looking at the pictures of many of the Stelzriedes it could be that they were relatively tall, slender people which might also explain the name.
A name with a similar ending, from Hille, is the name of the knights seat or manor, "Wiekriede" that is mentioned on one of the Hille web sites. Here "Wiek" may be the low german form of "Wiege" that means "cradle". So this would literally be "cradle marsh" referring to the home ground.
One of the Hille web sites describes the Engelage family (in german) that appears to be similar to the Stelzriedes in that all people with the name Engelage are descended from a single family. A difference is that there are no longer any Engelages left in Hille, but they have spread to many more countries of the world than the Stelzriedes. The name means "narrow place" and indeed the original home site in nearby Levern moor is said to be thus.
Spellings (and Misspellings)
In Germany -
In the late 1700s both the Stelzriede and Steltzriede (with an extra "t") spellings appear in church records - even for the same individuals, including Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Stelzriede, the first Stelzriede known from church records. The spelling without the "tz" is the most common. The spelling may simply have varied with the clergyman or person doing the recording. Spellings with "tz" occurred in two time periods, 1771-77 and 1809-14. Names with "tz" are Johann Freidrich Wilhelm (b. about 1750), Johann Heinrich (b.1775), Johann Friedrich (b.1777), Carl Franz Heinrich (b.1809), Marie Louise (b.1812), and Maria Elisabeth (b.1814).
In Michigan -
Ernst Heinrich (Henry E.) Steltzriede (b. 1808) who moved to Saginaw, Michigan used the spelling with the additional "t". Most of the Michigan family are thus Steltzriedes. This spelling does have the advantage in America that it encourages the proper german pronunciation of the name.
The 1840 federal census online has the name transcribed as "Stiltzreide".
One online land patent record of 9/1/1848 has Henry Steltzriede transcribed as "Henry Stebzried".
In the (no longer available) 1850 federal census the name is spelled "Stelzriede", without the "tz".
In the 1870 federal census (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader) [image1] , [image2] , [image3] the name appears as "Stelzrieder" without the "tz" and with an "r" at the end, for both the Henry E. and Levy families.
In the 1880 federal census (at least online at the FamilySearch web site) the Levy Steltzriede family is listed under the misspelling, "Stellzriede".
In California -
Charles William Stelzriede (b. 1877) decided to drop the final "e" from his name. This created the "Stelzried" branch of the family, originally in California.
In Illinois -
In the old newspaper articles describing the 1874 murders the name was misspelled as "Steltzereide".
In an online listing of obituaries from the 1894 Belleville, IL newspaper the name is "Elmer Stelzrieder".