The GOWDY Family


Von Gaudy Family - submitted by Tony Haslam

1.     Originated in Scotland from Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire ( see Scots In Germany ) when, in 1641, Andrew Gaudie or Goldie or Gowdie of Craigmuie came across to Hungary at the invitation of Prince Ragozzi, and then to Prussia having been promoted to Major-General by the Elector of Brandenburg in or around 1650. He became Andreas von Gaudy, bought an estate (Buendtken ) and married Katharina von Murray, who was the daughter of  Colonel Jacob von Murray also from Scotland (Perthshire) and who was serving in the Prussian army and living in Brandenburg. From them, the von Gaudy dynasty began and flourished until the early 1900’s by which time many of its members had made tremendous achievements, which are outlined in this brief. Very sadly, the family appears to have died out, which is why I have recorded these facts in recognition of their considerable contribution to Prussia. He died in 1665.


2.     In 1715, Colonel Andreas Erhard von Gaudy (1686 – 1745 ) masterminded an attack from the sea on the Swedish defences at the Battle of Stralsund in 1715, when the Swedish Army, under King Charles X11, were well dug in on the shore facing the town! During his time at school in Stralsund, he bathed in the sea on a regular basis and knew that the sea-bed was extremely firm, so he managed to persuade the King and his Generals that the Prussian army could ford it and take the Swedes from the rear! To prove the point, he led a small contingent in at night, which convinced the hierarchy to go ahead with his plan. This led to the defeat of Charles X11 and the Swedish Army at Stralsund and was later written up by Frederick the Great in his book “ Memoires de Brandenburg ” (see Scots in Germany). In 1740, Andreas Erhard von Gaudy was one of the first offices to be awarded the Medal Pour Le Merite ( The Blue Max ), which was Frederick the Great’s personal award for outstanding gallantry and meritorious service. For over 200 years, it has been Prussia’s, and latterly Germany’s, highest military award and one of the most famous ever.


3.     Two other von Gaudys: Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst von Gaudy (1725 – 1788 ) and Friedrich Wilhelm Leopold von Gaudy (1765 – 1823) both became Lieutenant Generals in the Prussian army (see General Officer list) as well as distinguishing themselves in battle on a number of occasions, which led to both of them being awarded the Medal Pour Le Merite ( The Blue Max ): Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst in 1760 and Friedrich Wilhelm Leopold in 1793.


4.     In all, the von Gaudy family were awarded three Medal Pour Le Merite ( The Blue Max ), which was a considerable achievement when you consider how difficult it was to win and the fact that it was the King’s personal award and only he could sanction it.


5.     Freiherr Franz von Gaudy ( 1800 – 1840 ) was, and still is, one of Prussia’s, and latterly Germany’s, most admired poets and has had a street named after him in Berlin, Gaudystrasse, which begins at the Falkplatz and ends at Schoenhauser Avenue. He has been described as “ The Burns and Beranger of the Fatherland rolled into one! ” ( see “The Scots in Germany ”).   Quote by Prince Otto von Bismarck to the Prussian Parliament on January 28th 1886: "Who, of my age, has not heard with enthusiasm the recitation for example, "Bertrand's farewell?" or the poetry of Baron von Gaudy or other glorifications of Napoleon 1."


6.     Leopold Otto von Gaudy ( 1728 – 1789 ) was a Cabinet Minister under Frederick the Great on the General Board of Directors and played a major part in Frederick’s restructuring of Prussia.


7.     Leopold Otto von Gaudy was given a Freiherrsstand (made a Baron) in 1785; as with German custom, all members of the von Gaudy family were entitled to call themselves Freiherr or Freiherren from that date onwards.


8.     Ludwig Ernst Otto von Gaudy ( 1769 – 1813 )  (G/G/G/G/Grandfather ) was Minister of War for Prussia in 1810.


9.     Alice Freiin von Gaudy ( 1863-1929 ) is also recognised for her books and poetry, many of which are held in the State Archives in Berlin.


10.  Karl Friedrich Ludwig von Gaudy ( 1734 – 1784 ) was appointed Chamber Director at Marienwerder in 1773 as part of Frederick the Great’s government.


All the above information is supported by records and papers, the majority of which came from the Institut Deutsche Adelsforschung in Berlin.

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