Executioner of Groningen

Een voorvader met een opvallend beroep: Adamus Dominicus Füchten, Scherprechter te Groningen in het eerste kwart van de 19e eeuw. Adamus Dominicus Füchten is op 25 januari 1774 gedoopt in Schüttorf. Schüttorf (of Schuttrop) is een plaats in het toenmalige Pruisen, niet ver van Oldenzaal. De baptism1 took place in the Mariä Verkündigung Kirche. We know that he was born in Schüttorf because the place of birth is mentioned in various registrations and deeds (banns, marriage & death). The first name Adamus rarely appears in the church books and deeds. He is therefore mainly referred to by the name "Dominicus Füchten".

Dominicus Füchten married2 on Sunday December 21, 1806 in Groningen with Anna Maria Grimme (n/l). The banns of marriage3 were posted on Saturday, December 6, 1806. In the deed of marriage, the profession of Dominicus Füchten is immediately noticeable, namely "Scherpregter der Stad Groningen". An executioner carried out corporal punishment on behalf of the government and was also appointed to execute death row inmates. We also read in this deed that he comes from Schuttrop and Anna Maria Grimme (n/l) from Rolte.

In the baptismal book of St. Johannes Apostel und Evangelist in Rulle (which comes somewhat close to Rolte) is a baptism4 recovered from Anna Maria Grimme (n/l) on March 28, 1879. Anna Maria Grimme (n/l) died5 on June 10, 1872. In the death certificate is mentioned that she was 94 years old. Based on the baptism date, her age would be 93 years. It is therefore certainly plausible that the baptismal certificate found belongs to Anna Maria Grimme (n/l).

The Füchten couple had at least seven children together.

  1. Franciscus Antonius, baptism October 2, 18076
  2. Anna Maria, baptism October 27, 18087
  3. Joannes Nepomucenus, baptism April 5, 18118
  4. Maria Geertruida, birth August 29, 18139
  5. Johanna Dorothea, birth August 19, 181510
  6. Jan Hindrik, birth January 23, 181911
  7. Anna Maria Casparina, birth July 20, 182112

As can be seen in the list above, the first two children were certainly born before the Civil Registry was introduced in Groningen. Baptisms of these children can be found. However, the information in the baptismal books is limited, only the names of the father, mother, witness, and child are mentioned. Dominic Füchten, however, also had a message posted in the Groninger Courant every birth13. Below an example of such an advertisement (concerns the birth of Anna Maria).

Birth advertisement Anna Maria Füchten, Groninger Courant 1-11-1808

Further investigation showed that a lot of research has been done concerning the Groningen Executioners. In Gruoninga 2008 (yearbook for genealogy, name and heraldry province of Groningen) an article14 (with genealogy) can be found from Mr. C.R.H. Snijder about the executioners family Füchten / Fuchten. This article shows that Dominicus Füchten comes from a large family of executioners. In the first appendix of the article, Mr. Snijder appointed all the executioners of Groningen. Dominicus Füchten is the twentieth executioner on the list of executioners who were active in Groningen between 1545 and 1851. He held this position between 1802 and 1816. He was also the successor of his brother Joannes Petrus Füchten who was active as executioner between 1796 and 1802 After Dominicus Füchten, only two executioners would be appointed in Groningen.

When son Jan Hindrik was born in 1819, it is stated that Dominicus Füchten is a shopkeeper.

Dominicus Füchten died15 at the age of 52 in the city of Groningen. At his death, in 1825, the death certificate listed the profession as "shopkeeper". According to the death certificate, he was the son of Franciscus Antoon Fuchten and Maria Geertruida. The name of the mother is not entirely correct, but is close to the name mentioned in his baptismal certificate, namely Anna Gertrudis Carels.

There is much more to tell and research about the life of Dominicus Füchten, but that is for another blog article.


1Baptism Adamus Dominicus Füchten, Matricula Online, Schüttorf Mariä Verkündigung | Osnabrück, rk. Bistum | Deutschland, Archival identifier 0016, page 0009 Taufen 1770-1774
2Kerkelijke Gemeente Groningen, Trouwboek 1803-1807, archiefnummer 124, Doop-, trouw- en begraafboeken enz. in de provincie Groningen, inventarisnummer 192, blad 106
3Kerkelijke Gemeente Groningen, Ondertrouwboek 1803-1809, archiefnummer 124, Doop-, trouw- en begraafboeken enz. in de provincie Groningen, inventarisnummer 188, blad 145v
4Baptism Anna Maria Grimme, Matricula Online, Rulle St. Johannes Apostel u. Evangelist | Osnabrück, rk. Bistum | Deutschland, Archival identifier 0038, page 0019 Taufen 1778-1779
5Gemeente Groningen, Overlijdensregister 1872, aktenummer 546

6,7,8Kerkelijke gemeente – Groningen, Doop- en trouwboek 1701-1811, archiefnummer 124, Doop-, trouw- en begraafboeken enz. in de provincie Groningen, inventarisnummer 625 (Rooms-katholiek) Statie Bij de A
9Municipality of Groningen, Birth register 1813, archive number 1634, inventory number 5, record number 630
10Municipality of Groningen, Birth register 1815, archive number 1634, inventory number 7, record number 685
11Municipality of Groningen, Birth register 1819, archive number 1399, inventory number 6056, record number 79
12Municipality of Groningen, Birth register 1821, record number 620
13Groninger Courant 88, 1 november 1808, pagina 2
14Een Stad-Groninger familie van scherprechters – Genealogie Füchten / Fuchten, by Cornelis R.H. Snijder. In Gruoninga 2008 (yearbook for genealogy, name and heraldry of the province of Groningen).

15Municipality of Groningen, Death register 1825, record number 103


  • Featured image: former executioner's house, which now houses an antiques shop, address 131 Gedempte Zuiderdiep in Groningen, photo Michiel Beckschebe August 2017