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Descendants of --- de Presbyter (Prester/de Praers).

Generation No. 1

1. --- DE PRESBYTER (PRESTER/DE1 PRAERS). was born in prob. Wales or Denmark, and died in prob. Wiltshire, Eng. or Powys, Wales. He married --- UNKNOWN in prob. Wales.

In earlier times when the Romans controlled central England and most of the settled world, there was a group of elete military men that were appointed to supply security for the Emporior of Rome. These men were known as the Praetorian Guard. These were not only elete military men, but were also highly educated and powerful men within the Empire, who benefited from the fuedel system that the Emporior controlled. Later in history these people began to control the various areas of the world that had been conquerored by the Romans and a "title" of "The Praetorian" began to evolve. This person held a powerful political position that secured control of these areas by other than military means. This held the military in check and allowed for a dual military and politically controlled local government. The Praetorian held the powers of a Magestrate, Judiciary, Tax Collector, Military Paymaster and Governor, all at one time. A Praetorian generally came up though the ranks in the military and was appointed by the preceding Praetorian. It was common practice for a Praetorian to appoint his son to succeed him. He could control his sons rise though the military to insure his success.

As the Roman Empire began to deminish, the role of the Praetorian began to deminish. He began to insure his power by aligning himself with the new and prevaling power, the church. As time passed the position of the Praetorian was changed and other titles began to evolve.

The Presbyter was one such title. A Presbyter was a highly educated noble that held power through the Catholic Church, which was the predominate Christian religion during this period in history. The Presbyter was an "Elder" in the church who managed the vast church properties and worked very closely with the prevailing monarchy, very simular to the Praetor in the earlier Roman Empire. No King could hope to maintain his power in a Christian country without the blessing of the church. They also knew of the great power of the church and often used it to their advantage. Thus the Presbyter was also considered a powerful figure by the King. Because a Presbyter held such a powerful position in the church and was its representative, in many cases he was also considered a priest. we can not consider these men as we might consider the monks of this period. But they were instead men of noble families that held their position in the church for political means. It is true that most of them were very ferm in their religous conviction, but they were primarily military and politicaly oriented.

Presbyter is a Latin name, while its anglicized name is "The Elder", "Prester" "Prater". "Praitellius", "Pretor" and "de Priers". (note the similarity of the spelling of the names Praetor, Priers, Prater) Of couse these names and their meanings evolved in time. Presbyter is still considered as meaning "the elder", while Prester is considered as a variation of priest. Prater and Praitellius on the other hand evolved as meaning a Reeve (an official) and later in some areas became known as meaning "speaker". while todays translation is "a person who babels". In Dutch it evolved as meaning a field. (From the "Prater" park in Austria.) When researching we must remember that words and names evolve, just as they do today, and their useage or meanings change with time and society.

We are not certain where our ancestor was born or where he died but we do know that he was a Presbyter who was probably already established in Wales before the Norman Conquest. We know that he had ties with Norman Lords because of the properties his sons gained as "spoils" in the Conquest. Rienbald de Presbyter (Prater) was named Chancellar of England in 1066, so we can assume this family was very well connected with the Norman Nobility. I think that he was very closely connected to Gerald of Windsor and other Welch Princes who also had Norman blood lines.

The Prater family can be found in various parts of the world today. In about the 1290's a Bishop, who was a Prater of the family in England, was part of an emissary group sent to Austria by the Crown of England to create an alignmemt with the Austrian Crown to defend against France. This Bishop (Prater) was given control of church property in Vienna, Austria. This property adjoined the property surrounding the royal estate and Palace of the King of Austria. In the early 1300's a section of the property held by the Prater was given to the royal family as a hunting reserve. It was called "The Prater" out of respect for the Bishop. By the 1700's this 10 square Kiometer area known as "The Prater" was hunted out and the royal family opened it to the public as a park.

Adjoining the Prater Park was another area which was a meadow that sat very close to the royal palace where groups of minstrel shows would be held to entertain the Royal Family and other noblity of Austria. Today this medow contains one of the largest amusement parks in Europe. "Prater Park". The Bishop (Prater) of Vienna had descendants (many of the Bishops of this period in history did not practice celbacy) who can be found in Austria, Denmark, Czechoslovakia and one branch is even in Australia. One of the branches from this Bishop established the villiage of Pretor near Bitola and Lake Magli Prespa in Czechoslovakia.

Another branch can be found in Demark and descendants of this branch also migrated to Australia during World War II. The branch in Australia has changed the spelling from Prater to Prather as a result of the war. The Prater that founded the branch in Australia was working in a farm equipment plant in Austria during the outbreak of World War II and when the Germans took Austria the plant was converted to manufacturing war equipment. Mr. Prater was caught while trying to return to his family in Denmark and placed in a prision camp. After several months he and a friend escaped. He knew he could not return home without getting caught so he desided to go where they least expected, to his former employer in Austria. He was taken to his employers farm and hidden in the root cellar until false papers could be made and he could regain some weight and not look suspicious. He then was put to work in the plant where he remained until the allied forces pushed the Germans out. Mr. Prater then went to the American Army to enlist and he was refused because he worked in the plant for the Germans. He then went to the Canadain Army and enlisted as Prather. He was shortly shipped to Australia where he lives today.

He later brought his brother and sisters, from Denmark to Australia, to live with him. Another branch of the family migrated to Australia from England in the early 1800's. This family line descends from Richard Prater of Nunney Castle (died 1580). They continue to spell their name Prater.

In my research of the Prater / Prather / Praytor / Prator / Preator ect. families in America I have found:

A. One (1) branch that came here from Czechoslovakia (Prater - they came here circa 1940).

B. Two (2) branches that came here from England via Canada. (Prater - they came here and settled in Montana in the late 1800's)

C. ALL other branches of the families I have researched in America have been found to have descended from Thomas Prater (Prather) who came here in 1622 from England.

There may be other branches of the family in American but I have yet to find them!


Nunney Castle



The Prater family is believed to have descended from the "de Priers" family which came into England with King William in 1,066. They were a very powerful and wealthy family that held large estates along the Welch borders in the 1100's. The name Prater (and its variants) evolved in time.

There was a Ranulphus Praers living in Castle Rye, Bayeux, Calvados, Normandy about 1035..... his connection is not known. He founded the Stokes Family.

Children of --- PRAERS). and --- UNKNOWN are:

2. i.   GUILLIUMUS (WILLIAMUS) JOHONNIE2 PRATER, b. Prob. Wales or Denmark; d. Bet. 1080 - 1130, Eatonwater, Wiltshire Co. England.

This chart show some of the various branches of the Prater lineage backward, from Thomas Prater, one of, if not the first, Praters to come to America. Click on it to see it full size.

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