This website provides a genealogical summary of the founding and development of the Dutch branch of the ancient Chorus family from Aachen up to nowadays. It is largely written in Dutch, but here you'll find some topics in English. At the bottom of this page we'll explain the Dutch keywords on the buttons, in case you still want to use them.
Origin of the Chorus family
The origin of the Chorus Family has to be situated in the German city of Aachen. The first written deeds that mention a person by the name of Chorus are from the 13th century. In a deed of 1232 a Tiricus (Diederik) Chorus is mentioned as a witness of a gift to a monastery. In 1250 two brothers Chorus (William and Henric) were witnesses of a land transaction to the main church of Aachen, the later cathedral. These deeds nowadays are preserved in the State Archives of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Duisburg, Germany. One of them is to be seen at this web page. It is a deed from 1335, written in Avignon on behalf of Pope Benedictus XII. It was a letter of indulgence, addressed to the most famous ancestor of the family: Gerhard Chorus, who was first mentioned in a deed of 1327 as alderman of Aachen. He later became mayor of the city.
The assumption that Gerhard was the first one to be named Chorus because he founded the choir (the Latin word chorus = quire, choir, chancel) of the famous cathedral of Aachen is no longer valid, while there were persons with the same family name before him. Nevertheless Gerhard Chorus has been very important to the city of Aachen. On several occasions he was diplomatic ambassador of Aachen. He also represented the city as the nobility of all counties and cities gathered to choose a new king.
Gerhard Chorus managed the matters of the Communal Hospital of Aachen (1327), initiated the construction of the outer city wall (1329-1336), instituted an important civil rights rule (Kurgericht 1338) that applied until the end of the 18th century, and founded the town hall (1350) on the remains of the palace of Charles the Great. Gerhard Chorus is honoured as its founder with his statue at the southern façade of the building. There is also a statue of Gerhard Chorus on the roof of the choir of the cathedral.
Gerhard Chorus has been buried in the cathedral of Aachen, a very honourable fact, as until then only the emperors Charles the Great (742-814) and Otto III (980-1002) of the 'Holy Roman Empire', were buried there too. The tombstone on the Chorus grave referred to Ritter (Knight) Gerhard Chorus, as he was honoured with this ancient title by empress Margaretha, wife of Ludwig IV, who visited Aachen in 1338. Now an engraved copperplate in the cathedral remembers this Ritter of Aachen.
Outside, near the cathedral there is the Ritter Chorus Strasse (street) that reminds of our famous ancestor. Though up to now no one has been able to prove that Tiricus, William, Henric and Gerhard Chorus really are the forefathers of the nowadays Chorus families, it is not an unlike assumption. There is clear evidence that the proven ancestors of the Dutch members of the Chorus family were also born in Aachen, and that three of their descendants, who are documented here at [namen], moved to the Netherlands in the late 18th century to marry the daughters of farmers who would inherit prosperous estates. They all succeeded in that purpose.
Thus started the Dutch connection of the Chorus family. There are still several Chorus families in Germany too, such as Aachen, Köln, Trier, Bonn, Jülich, Mainz, Hannover, and Düsseldorf. So far we have traced our direct family line back to 1650, when a Quirinus Chorus was born in Aachen. At this website you'll find the results of our research. There is also a website about the Chorus family in Germany, written by Gerhard Müller-Chorus.
City administrators of Aachen
Around 1730 Cornelius Chorus employed 900 to 1.000 needle workers, for that era really a huge employment. The yearly volume of trade involved 40.000 Reichsthaler. In 1754, as Cornelius deceased at the age of 95, more than a thousand men and women worked in his needle factory while many more outworkers were providing at home the basic needs to fit the raw steel materials into the semi-manufactured product to be completed by the factory workers.
Besides Cornelius Chorus Nadeln, by far the largest factory in Aachen, there were eight to ten other needle factories in the city. In proportion to the number of inhabitants of Aachen, 25.000 in those days, this may show the importance of the needle industry for Aachen: one out of five citizens were working in the needle manufacturing industry. The contribution of Cornelius Chorus to that major success was described by historian and keeper of the city archives Carl Franz Meyer: “As a result of his tireless ambition to refine the needles, to innovate production techniques and to improve the workshops, his factory was able to achieve substantial advantages. Mistakes were continually traced, improvements made, the effectiveness of scouring mills increased, and the power of still unused water better utilized. All this served the reputation of Aachen. As a commercial manager he succeeded in selling his products all over Europe.”
But he did not reach these achievements smoothly. For instance, he was forced to institute many legal proceedings against forgers and rivals who fraudulently used his trademarks for products of lesser quality as is documented (in Dutch) at this webpage. Cornelius Chorus' son, Cornelius the younger (1701-1774), followed in his footsteps, and additionally served the city as a mayor for many years.
Chorus in the Netherlands and elsewhere
In the early years of the 17th century some other baptised children with the name Choris appear in the church books, but later on more and more become documented with the name Chorus. At the page [Namen] of this website you'll find the names of the places in Limburg where they settled.
In Berlin, at the end of the 19th century, two or three generations of the family were using the name Von Chorus after Hans Wilhelm Chorus (1842-1905) was raised to the (time limited Prussian) peerage because of some heroic behaviour as a major general. Some of his descendants later emigrated to the USA and Canada. More Chorus namesakes are living there and in several countries in South America, all being descendants of emigrants from Germany who came on ocean steamers, as we can learn from the often well preserved passenger lists and emigration registers of the late 19th and early 20th century.
In Germany itself the Chorus namesakes from the early 17th century have fanned out to other cities like Köln, Trier, and Koblenz. From that time on members of the Chorus family also emigrated to Belgium and Luxemburg.
How to surf this website
The [OORSPRONG] button on the left traces back to the origins of the Chorus family in Aachen. The buttons [STAMBOMEN], [CHORUS], [BORGERS], and [PIJLS] show compact family trees of these respective families. The [DOCUMENTEN] button leads to various original documents and other textual pieces of and concerning the families. The [FOTO'S] button shows numerous pictures of (mostly early) members of the family.
The genealogy from the eldest proven member of the Dutch branch of the Chorus family and onwards, can be found with the [NAMEN] button. Each Roman numeral marks a new generation. [PLAATSEN] describes the various hometowns in Limburg province, the area where the family settled after moving from Aachen in the 19th century. These include several maps. The [CONTACT] button leads to information concerning the Chorusgen webmaster and the family members who have been aiding him in collecting material and the uncovering of sources.
Old crests of Chorusmen, most of them with (partly) similar signs
In this crest and the three below the blocks represent roofing tiles. Why the amount of tiles is varying remains unclear. The crest below is from 1725 and shows the same amount tiles as the one from 1408, as the one above shows less tiles.
Old seal of Heynrich Chorus
Nowadays common family crest of the Chorus family, representing a harrow with cloverleafs
Trademark of the needle manufacturer Quirinus Chorus 1635-1687
Mayor Cornelius Chorus the younger, 1701-1774