Every genealogist knows about the legendary Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It’s genealogy Mecca.
You know, the place with the “key.”
What key, you ask? That key – the one that means this:
How to break a genealogist’s heart.
Create the Plan
Thankfully, my friend Jen told me how to make a research plan for the Family History Library (FHL) by using the Search Catalog feature.
By selecting the desired location, you can then view all of the library holdings. I divide my list into books and online work, because to view those films, you simply so and sign on to a computer in the FHL or an affiliate library near you. Unfortunately, I have no affiliate library near me.
I went prepared with a list of locations, book numbers and films.
Here’s the obligatory “arrival selfie.”
Bright Shiny Beads
I was behaving, truly I was when someone noticed me sitting at a table researching. After introductions, I discovered that the group of ill-behaved people clustered around a glass room was a bunch of bloggers.
Of course, I knew immediately I had found my peeps, so I immediately went over and introduced myself to the rest of the group.
My friend, Daniel Horowitz from MyHeritage arrived about the same time and about this time, Mr. Myrt asked us if we’d like to be interviewed on Mondays with Myrt.
Of COURSE we would.
Except, I was wearing a grey t-shirt. Never fear though, because I had my ever-present DNA-bling.
Monday’s With Myrt was being produced inside the room with those mountains in the distance again, and the waiting room was effectively outside where excited bloggers had to be reminded more than once to hush. I don’t want to say the best part was waiting, but it was amazing to meet these wonderful people in person after seeing their online presence for, in some cases, years.
Sprinkled in were new bloggers too, so everyone was helping everyone else and it was kind of a blogger love-in.
I suddenly realized that this was the PERFECT opportunity to break out my new ribbons.
Last year, I had no idea about conference ribbons, but at RootsTech, and I understand at other conferences as well, attended collect ribbons on their badges. Ribbons are a hot item. When I discovered that I was presenting, I wanted to have something for the attendees.
I discovered that you can indeed order and receive ribbons in 7 days.
So…..drum roll….the unveiling of my new DNAexplain ribbons!
I proceeded to give a ribbon to everyone in close proximity that couldn’t escape, and Daniel Horowitz took a selfie to commemorate the event. Thanks so much Daniel for posting on Twitter and giving me permission to use!
Daniel Tweeted: Some of my #geneafriends @RobertaJEstes giving her first ribbons to @CarolPetranek @histfamilles @ancestorfinder1 #genealogy #Rootstech
That’s the amazing Mr. Myrt in the black hat.
Mondays With Myrt
A few minutes later, I was seated with Myrt.
Now, I have a confession to make, but don’t tell Myrt, OK?
I’m not a “conference person,” nor do I follow a lot of genealogy blogs. (It’s OK to hiss at me.)
I knew about Mondays with Myrt, and I knew the person online named Pat-Richley Erickson, but not well. I knew she was a genealogist and a quilter, but I did not know she was Myrt. Her name isn’t Myrt, or Myrtle, so I never connected the dots. I’m sure there’s a good story in here someplace, but Myrt, or Pat, will have to tell you herself. Actually, she tells you a bit about herself here on her YouTube Channel.
So, imagine my surprise when I looked inside the production booth to see Pat. Where was Myrt. I figured Pat must be being interviewed too.
Myrt livestreams her Monday interview sessions through her blog. You can view them here. She has an amazing following. One follower, Tierra Cotton-Kellow even managed to tune in on a plane on her way to Salt Lake.
To include Cheryl, Roger took a picture of Cheryl taking a picture.
Note Cheryl’s GeneaBlogger beads given by Myrt. I’m now a proud bead-wearing member of the tribe too.
While sitting at lunch, Lisa Moffit (white sweater at right) and I discovered that she and I are actually cousins through our Acadian lines. How much fun is that!!!
I was so grateful to be included in the impromptu blogger lunch.
On the way back, I snagged a few more photos.
Not that the Mormon Church here is influential, but the road goes UNDER Temple square.
I did manage to go back to the library and research for most of the afternoon, but it was digging in a dry well.
No matter where I looked, no ancestors. I know a whole lot of records that they aren’t in, and I suppose that’s negative evidence. However, I know the Lentz family, and probably the Reuhl (Ruhle) family were in the Shippenberg area of Cumberland County, PA which borders on Franklin County. I perused all records for both counties today, in the hopes of discovering who they were indentured to, or anything about their missing 14 years or so.
I’m presuming that the by-then-elderly Ruhle couple, Fredericka Ruhle Lentz’s parents died either in route or in Pennsylvania. There is no sign of them in Ohio in the 1830s. Unfortunately, there’s also no sign of them in Pennsylvania either.
Frustrated with them, I moved to another brick wall line with no luck there either.
Fortunately, I had made dinner arrangements with another genetic genealogist and his wife and enjoyed spending the evening with them immensely.
Tuesday Has to Be Better
Tuesday was a great people day, but an awful research day.
I had a difficult time getting motivated to research on Tuesday, so instead I decided to walk over to the conference center and pick up my badge.
Early badge pickup is available today and now the Salt Shaker says RootsTech.
Conference Coming to Life
The conference theme, just guessing now, is “Connect Belong.”
This interesting display greeted me.
Another genealogist, Carol Whitaker from Oregon, also picking up a badge was stringing yard between the pegs, so of course I had to ask her what she was doing.
Attendees will be connected their traits and locations and of course, belonging. What a great idea. I’ll take another photo or two of the board later in the week.
Of course, you know that I immediately noticed all of the genetic traits.
Does anyone know what’s on the dress I’m wearing?
I was very pleased to meet Danielle too. Those with the Ultimate Passes are assigned to a hostess who has already proven to be a Godsend.
Danielle is amazing, but I don’t know what she did to deserve being saddled with me😊
The RootsTech halls are empty now, but they won’t be for long.
She took me to see the room where I’m speaking and let’s just say it’s cavernous! I hope I have enough ribbons!
This amazing piece of art made from carpet scraps adorns the conference center just inside the door. Looks like a quilt to me, of course.
By this time, I had managed to usurp most of the morning, and ran into someone who invited me for lunch again. You’re going to think the only thing I did was eat!
That’s not at all true – I also drank coffee at Starbucks and admired the beautiful art that graces many open spaces in Salt Lake City.
Yes, DNA is everyplace, including free standing art that is reminiscent of a room divider.
Slices of petrified wood.
Good thing these aren’t for sale.
Seagull statue outside of Nordstroms.
The Chocolate Factory. What, you think the Chocolate Factory isn’t art?
Pshaw. You obviously haven’t gone inside yet!
When it became evident that I absolutely could NOT kill anymore time, I went back to the FHL with the intention of reviewing at least most of the images records that I can’t access without being in the library.
However, I immediately say Tierra Cotton-Kellow who writes at Pressing My Way and is also a professional photographer. Why knew? The great news – she’s my photographer for this event and still has some slots open for a few fortunate others.
Right after I found Tierra, Nathan Murphy found me.
Nathan did me a huge, huge favor some years ago and discovered one of my ancestors in England. Bless his heart, Nathan shared! I could never have found this record otherwise, because Nathan stumbled across it.
Never mind that he was a convict being deported😊
No, no, not Nathan, my ancestor!
I did eventually return to research, but apparently this is not the trip for me to make any headway whatsoever. It’s a good thing that I enjoyed meeting new friends and reuniting with old, because the research was entirely nonproductive.
There’s so much to look forward to for the rest of the week, starting tomorrow.
Wednesday is the DNAexplain Blog Meetup
I’m excited to greet everyone in the FamilyTreeDNA booth for the DNAexplain meetup tomorrow after the opening keynote. The vendor expo hall opens at 6 PM and stays open until 8. The first free mini-session begins in the booth at 6:15.
Wednesday, February 27 – 6:15 – Family Tree DNA booth #1107 – Family Finder Search Tips – Quick tips for how to perform surname and ancestral searches successfully!
Wednesday, February 27 – 6:45 – DNAexplain Blog meetup in the Family Tree DNA booth presentation center
Wednesday, February 27 – 7:15 – Family Tree DNA booth – Family Finder Bucketing – Connecting your matches to your tree so that Family Tree DNA can assign your matches to your maternal or paternal side – even without having your parents tested!
The week before RootsTech was a series of unplanned disasters. But then again, who plans a disaster.
The good news is that I got through them. I now have a new car, because the old one decided to go belly up at the most inopportune time. My laptop decided to boot after all and the rest of the issues got taken care of too.
I didn’t have the full-fledged meltdown, but I was close.
A last minute presentation combined with last minutes changes and of course, a winter storm.
Hey, it’s Michigan – of COURSE we had a storm.
Now that’s all just a memory to smile about. All I can say is thank goodness for my husband who does in fact know how to do laundry as well as work on computers!
For all the years I didn’t go to RootsTech, I always looked at the venue, Salt Lake City, and wondered why anyone in their right mind would go there in February – unless you were a ski buff.
The answer is three-fold:
You’re going to be inside most of the time, so who cares what’s going on outside. (Assuming you can actually get to SLC.)
The Family History Library (FHL) which is open until 11 PM the Monday and Tuesday before RootsTech. If I come next year (do not laugh at me), I’m coming a week early to research. Right now, the library is packed and I’m a bit overwhelmed. However, I’ve never been in a friendlier, more helpful library anyplace!
The energy. I can’t even begin to explain this – but it’s a real phenomenon. Meeting people you know online and distantly. Things like discovering a new cousin sitting across the table from you at lunch. Excitement’s in the air and it’s palpable!
Everyone here treats you like family. You’re included at tables and in conversations. Yesterday, someone noticed me sitting at a table in the FHL library and asked me if I’d like to join the blogger group for Mondays With Mert. Needless to say, I wasn’t dressed for the occasion, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow!
I’ll share those photos tomorrow!
The Heartland from the Air
You’re coming along with me this week, so let’s start with the flight.
Well, actually, the gift shop before the flight. Here’s to chocolate carrots! I knew someday, someone would convince me to like carrots!
Seeing America from the air is amazing. This time, there were varying amounts of snow cover, which I found both interesting and beautiful. These photos are east to west, Detroit to Salt Lake.
We had light snow cover in Michigan. Some places had less, and some more. This was right after takeoff.
The clouds look like puffs of cotton. Most of the Midwest seemed to have about the same amount of snow cover. I wonder what river I’m looking at. It’s not small, that’s for sure. Could be the Mississippi.
These irrigation circles remind me of mud pies. Hmmm, can I work these into my presentation “Beyond Pie Charts?”
By now, we’re certainly west of the Mississippi. The snow highlights the terrain features when you can see some earth beneath.
The beginning of the mountainous area and lots more snow.
You can see the tectonic plate uplift here. Flat on one side, then the mountains raise up majestically.
Lots of snow in the mountains. I wonder how much snow is actually on the ground here. Of course, I don’t know where “here” actually is.
The tiny dots are houses and that river has many twists and turns.
Not far from Salt Lake City now. Beautiful lake reflecting the blue sky.
Just popped out beneath the clouds, beginning landing approach.
Wow, approaching Utah and Salt Lake City was just stunning!
The salt flats are under about an inch and a half of water right now, which made for an incredible view.
I had a terrible time selecting photos for this article. So much beauty. You can see the salt flats better in this and the next photo.
There’s the city.
At the airport, obviously.
In Salt Lake City, there are mountains everyplace you look. That’s Salt Lake City in the distance on the left. You can see it if you squint. The size of those buildings contrasted to the mountains reminds us of the insignificance of humans.
After I checked into my hotel, I decided to take a walk. It’s chilly, but not cold by Michigan standards.
RootsTech will be at the Salt Palace Convention Center in just another day. The locals call this structure “the salt shaker.” Seems appropriate. I doubt the designers had that in mind.
Downtown is deserted right now, but it will be bustling soon.
On Monday, I walked to the Family History Library. I’m not Mormon, but I find the beauty of churches inspiring. Temple Square is behind the walls. The Mormon Office building (with a nice cafeteria) is the white tall structure in the distance.
Another beautiful view of the Temple. Can you spot the gold Angel Moroni statue?
The entrance to Temple Square across from the Family History Library. Free tours are offered.
I flew from Michigan to Utah in three and a half hours. Even with the time getting to and from the airports, the trip was still less than a day. This same journey took our ancestors months traveling in covered wagons and they had to build housing once they arrived. This small, typical log cabin is preserved outside the Family History Library to remind everyone of their ancestor’s humble beginnings.
As luck would have it, a man arrived to open the building just as I was taking photos outside. I stood just inside the door with enough space to turn around to take these pictures.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who loves quilts.
Every inch of space was utilized. Just think of the parents and all the children living in this very small one room cabin. You can see half of the dresser between the two beds – so the entire cabin is the width of those two beds and the dresser. The length of the cabin is about 2 beds, roughly,
Spinning was an important part of making clothes. Of course, those pioneers had to make everything from scratch.
Later cabins had stoves for warmth and cooking. Earlier ones had simple fireplaces.
Somehow my ghostly appearance is fitting, peering into the lives of our ancestors from another time and place, so far away.
I’m going to go inside the Family History Library now and search for those ancestors, so join me in a day or so for the next step in our Journey to RootsTech 2019.
Wednesday, February 27 – 6:45 – DNAexplain Blog meetup in the Family Tree DNA booth presentation center
Wednesday, February 27 – 7:15 – Family Tree DNA booth – Family Finder Bucketing – Connecting your matches to your tree so that Family Tree DNA can assign your matches to your maternal or paternal side – even without having your parents tested!
Friday, March 1, Ballroom B – 3 PM – Beyond Pie Charts: Using Y and Mitochondrial DNA Testing to Solve Genealogical Puzzles
DNAexplain Blog Follower Meetup – Wednesday Evening – 6:15
The DNAexplain blog follower meetup which includes 2 free mini-sessions (and two giveaways) will be Wednesday evening from 6:15-7:45, right after the expo hall opens, in the Family Tree DNA booth, #1017, boxed in red on the map below. It looks like if you walk between LivingDNA and 23andMe, you’ll run smack dab into the Family Tree DNA booth.
Family Tree DNA has a new booth this year with a presentation center right in the booth, so we will be the first to use the new facility.
I’ll be in the booth from 6-8 PM and have prepared special two mini-sessions for my blog followers and anyone else who would like to attend.
You don’t have to stay for the whole time of course!
Please stop by and say hello. I’d love to see you.
Thank you to Family Tree DNA for graciously allowing us to meet in their new presentation center.
Beyond Pie Charts: Using Y and Mitochondrial DNA Testing to Solve Genealogical Puzzles – Friday – 3 PM – Ballroom B
Jim Brewster was originally presenting the session, “Beyond Pie Charts: Using Y and Mitochondrial DNA Testing to Solve Genealogical Puzzles” at 3 PM on Friday.
Unfortunately, Jim is unable to attend and late last week – yes – as in 4 or 5 days ago, I agreed to present this session.
Now, the good news is that I’ve been working with Y and mitochondrial DNA 19 years, long enough to have some really good examples to include. You’ll laugh, I promise, and maybe even shed a tear or two. DNA and families are anything but boring!
Please, come and see the presentation at 3 on Friday afternoon in Ballroom B, on the map below.
I promise you’ll be entertained and learn something too!
For those who can’t attend, several sessions are going to be LiveStreamed, 12 recorded and available later for free, and 18 more will be available with the purchase of a Virtual Pass. My session is not being recorded, so you’ll have to come and see it live!
Several people have asked about the LiveStream schedule, which you can find here. I believe this is also the link to view the LiveStreamed sessions.
An additional 12 sessions will be recorded and available for free viewing later.
Blending Family History and Technology with the Art of Storytelling
Descendancy Research: Another Pathway to Genealogy
Making Memories of You
New York Research Essentials
You Can Do DNA
How to Write Your Life Story in Five Pages or Less
Heirloom, Documentation or Junk: What to Keep or Toss
S.O.S. (Save Our Stuff): Stories and Heirlooms
Families Discovering Family History Together
Writing and Publishing a Family History: Ten Steps
Artificial Intelligence in Photo Management (and How It Can Boost Metadata)
Breaking through Brick Walls in Scottish Research
Virtual Pass Classes
A Virtual Pass is available for $129 (or $79 if you have already registered for RootsTech) which entitles you to the following recorded sessions as well.
Chromosome Mapping for Absolute Beginners—Jonny Perl
Must-Use U.S. Records at Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, findmypast, and MyHeritage—Sunny Morton
A Deep Dive into Understanding Your DNA Results—Blaine Bettinger, Angie Bush, Jonny Perl
The Surname Is Key: History of Surnames and Conducting Surname Research in Germany—Dirk Weissleder
One Touch Genealogy Research: Handle a Record Once—Thomas MacEntee
You Need Both! Uniting DNA and Traditional Research—Angie Bush and D. Joshua Taylor
Chromosome Mapping Tips and Techniques—Blaine Bettinger
Deeper Analysis: Techniques for Successful Problem-Solving—Elissa Scalise Powell
The Magic of German Church Records—Katherine Schober
My Ancestors Are from Germany, and I Don’t Speak German—Tamra Stansfield
When Details Disagree: 8 Ways to Resolve Conflicts—D. Joshua Taylor
20 Hacks for Interviewing Almost Anyone, and Getting a Good Story—Joanna Liddell and Karen Morgan
Going Dutch: Finding Families in Online Records of the Netherlands—Daniel Jones
Beyond the Mists of Time: Sources for British Medieval and Early Modern Genealogy—Nick Barratt
The Combined Power of DNA, Records, and Family Trees—Jen Baldwin, David Nicholson, Diahan Southard
The Genealogist’s Google Search Methodology—Lisa Louise Cooke
Jewish Genealogy: How to Start, Where to Look, What’s Available—Lara Diamond
Slave Traders, Speculators, and the Domestic Slave Trade—Kenyatta Berry
Your Imbedded Reporter😊
I bought an Ultimate Pass this year, which means I’ll be able to have up-front seating which facilitates good photos for blog articles. I have also arranged to attend many of the vendor lunches and several of the vendor sessions so that I’ll be able to report back to you about new announcements and what’s coming, of course with a focus on DNA.
I hope to publish articles daily while I’m there, although I’m not promising given the hectic nature of my ever-evolving schedule. Rest assured I’ll let be writing as soon as I can. My ability to publish is sometimes constrained by poor Wi-Fi which makes it impossible to upload photos and articles.
My regular article publication schedule will be disrupted while I’m gone, so those ancestors will just have to wait!
For me, the best part of RootsTech last year was meeting people in person. I look forward to seeing you there, so please come to the meetup Wednesday evening or my regular session Friday at 3 and be sure to say hi.
I’m easy to recognize – l’ll be wearing something “DNA.”
I receive a small contribution when you click on the link to one of the vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay, but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
In the past, customers waited with bated breath for ethnicity updates which were labeled with version numbers. Not anymore.
That old weather saying applies – “if you don’t like the weather in <insert location here,> wait 5 minutes.”
Today, there are a lot more vendors today offering ethnicity (who doesn’t?) and the updates often don’t come in a sweeping change, but gradually with smaller partial updates – so it seems like some vendor is always updating something. That’s a good thing and keeps us checking back, which means we can check on new matches too.
Recently, 23andMe made ethnicity changes and today, it’s Ancestry’s turn.
Ancestry now divides their ethnicity results into 500 regions which combined with your matches and where your ancestors were found comprise Genetic Communities.
Obviously, Genetic Communities are most accurate if you know where your ancestors were from and lived at any given point in time – but even if you don’t, Genetic Communities are useful, nonetheless, providing hints.
My overview is shown at right, with the regions and communities shown on the map. A timeline shows below.
Clicking on 1750 shows the migration pattern from Europe to the US and the communities in the US where the people from Germany settled, for example.
At right, you can see the region stories, but of more interest is the list of my ancestors who were alive in those locations at that time.
Enlarging the map continues to show my ancestors more granularly. Clicking on a pin shows that or those ancestors in the pane at right.
Probably not useful for breaking down brick walls, but quite interesting.
Increased African American and Afro-Caribbean Communities
Just when I thought I was done with the Muller story, as in end-of-the-line done, another wonderful gift arrived for the Miller descendants in the form of a chapter from a book written by Peter Mosimann and his wife, Berti Mosimann-Bhend whose family owned the Muller home in Schwarzenmatt, Switzerland for generations, and still does.
Peter Mosiman very kindly sent this chapter of his out-of-print book to Chris, who sent it to me. I did my best translating it using www.DeepL.com/Translator.
An automated translator can only do so much, even a good one, so I sent the translated text back to Chris, who very patiently reviewed and retranslated over 260 places in this document over the holidays, in spite of having a young family. I feel like I need to apologize to Chris, because this isn’t even his family – although I wish it was.
This may not be your family either, but if you have Swiss or “Alpine” family from Europe, this is probably the story of your family. The goats, the cheese, their hand tools, carvings about God in their barns and…well…just come along. There are amazing photos and it’s never going to get any more “real” than this unless you have a time machine.
My humble thanks to Chris and to Peter Mosiman for his permission to use his chapter and his photos to document the beautiful home of our Heinsmann Muller, the grandfather of Johann Michael Muller (Miller) the second who was born in 1692 in Steinwenden, Germany. At least, it’s very likely Heinsmann’s home. We know it was in the Muller family a generation later.
This historic home was built in 1556, according to the date carved into the wall, 100 years before Johann Michael Muller was born, but half a century after we know that a Muller man was living in Schwarzenmatt.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank Peter and his wife, Berti Mosimann-Bhend for preserving and restoring this wonderful historical home for future generations. You can read in the text the extent of their frustrations but were it not for their perseverance, there would be nothing left today.
Before we read Berti’s chapter, lets take a look at the earliest history of Schwarzenmatt, the quaint Swiss alpine village where Johann Michael Muller was born to Heinsmann Muller in 1655.
Prehistory of Schwarzenmatt
As we travel further back in time in the human occupation of our planet earth, records become increasingly scarce. Eventually, of course, the only records are archaeological sites found in caves and shelters where our very distant ancestors lived. Pathways faintly threaded through the mountains and forests connecting one location with the next, or shelters with hunting grounds.
During the Middle Ages forts and castles were built along these routes to protect access, although all are in ruins today. Villages were established as waypoints, probably accidentally, beginning with a single hut, and grew slowly over time.
The villages and farms in this region came under Bernese control in 1386 and at that time, several villages were listed, including Boltigen, first mentioned in 1286, and Schwarzenmatt. The Boltigen church, St. Mauritius is first mentioned in 1288, so enough people were living there at that time to warrant the erection of a (then Catholic) church in the community.
Traditionally, villages in this valley imported grain from Bern and raised cattle on the valley floor and in seasonal alpine herding camps. Some trade occurred over the Juan Pass, shown below, crossing the Alps to France as well.
Our Muller family is first found in the records of Schwarzenmatt in the early 1500s, at least by name, but humans inhabited the alpine valley and mountains long before. Who knows, these early settlers could have been our ancestors, or they could have moved on or eventually their lineage might have been wiped out.
The first trace of human habitation is found about a mile and a half as the crow flies, above Schwarzenmatt in the mountains towering over the village.
The Ranggliloch Mesolithic shelter from about 15,000 years ago is a cave above what eventually became a mule path known as the Juan Pass (1509 meters) that connects Boltigen in Switzerland with Jaun in France and passed directly through the tiny village of Schwarzenmatt.
Now that we know a bit about the earliest history of the area, let’s turn to Chris who tells us that a letter arrived from Peter Mosimann which included the chapter on the house on the Kreuzgasse in Schwarzenmatt, from the Boltigen book. This chapter was written by Peter’s wife Berti Mosimann-Bhend whose family owned the Muller home.
The second-last paragraph in the letter by Peter Mosimann may be a good summary:
“Heintzman Müller certainly lived in Schwarzenmatt in 1653, but whether he lived in our house hasn’t been proven yet. In former times, young families often spent some time at home, but when there were several children, then they moved out and often lived nearby. It should also be remembered that in some larger houses there were two fireplaces, so that we cannot deduce the exact number of houses from this directory.”
Let me add that there is indeed a Wolfgang Müller on the 1653 house list, so it is hard to tell, if there may in fact have been two Müller families in Schwarzenmatt. Personally, I do not think so, but it remains a possibility.
On the bottom of the letter there is a note that in 1653 (year of Schwarzenmatt house list) a peasant war was taking place in Switzerland. I was not aware of this, you can read about it in English here.
The book chapter itself gives no new genealogical information for you, Roberta, except one notion on page 289 that a Benedikt Müller is on record as a Schwarzenmatt resident as early as 1502. Besides that, I am sure you will like the photos!
On the pages 293 and 294, there is a colored floor plan of the house, “black” being the remains of the original building from 1556 and all further parts added from 1705 onwards That means that if Heintzmann Müller and son Michael indeed lived in this very house, then it was about one third of the size it is today – rather small!
Also, please note that from page 308 onwards additional houses are described, not the house on Kreuzgasse.
I was excited to see that one Benedikt Muller was living in Schwarzenmatt in 1502, 153 years before Johann Michael Muller was born in Schwarzenmatt in 1655 to Heinsmann or Heinzmann Muller, however his name was actually spelled.
If we use the 30-year generation as an average, we can presume that Heinsmann was born in about 1625.
Heinsmann’s father – born about 1595
Heinsmann’s grandfather – born about 1565
Heinsmann’s great-grandfather – born about 1535
Heinsmann’s great-great-grandfather – born about 1500
Benedikt Muller – born about 1470.
Did we just reach back another 5 generations in the Muller family in Schwarzenmatt? It’s certainly possible, but very unlikely that we will ever be able to connect those dots.
The Muller House on Kreuzgasse in Schwarzenmatt
This next section is the chapter itself, translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator and improved by Chris. I have left the translation largely intact, even when it’s stilted, in order not to inadvertently change the meaning.
Page 1 of the pdf that Peter sent, page 289 of the original book, on the bottom right of the page.
In the gable triangle, the year 1556 is at the upper left corner; the house is therefore one of the earliest dated rural residential buildings of the municipality Boltigen and perhaps even of the entire Bernese Oberland; today it forms a rare example of the small rural house type of the 16th century. So that one can imagine the time, in which this house is built, can visualize something better.
I would like to remind you of some important events of that time:
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers America.
1509 Nikolaus Kopernikus explains that the sun is the center of our planetary system.
1515 Battle of Marignano. End of the Swiss great power politics.
1517 Start of the Reformation in Germany by Martin Luther.
1519 Magellanes is the first to sail around the world.
1528 Reformation in the state of Bern.
1531 Kappeier wars. Death of Ulrich Zwingli.
1536 Bern conquers Vaud.
1556 Emperor Charles V of Habsburg abdicates. “In my kingdom the sun never sets.”
In Boltigen the entries in the first church book (Eherodel) begin.
1564 The Geneva reformer Johannes Calvin dies.
1572 Persecutions of Huguenots in France. Bartholomew’s night.
1588 England destroys the Spanish Armada.
1608 Invention of the telescope.
It was the time of the masters, the patricians, Schultheisse and Landvögte, but also the time of the muleteers and rice runners, religious wars, plague trains, witches and Anabaptist persecutions, the Renaissance and the Baroque.
Probably the house on the Kreuzgasse was built on the Allmend built. It stands in a striking, sunny location of the settlement, directly on the old alpine and mule track (IVS: BE 25.1) from Boltigen via Reidigen to Jaun and more into the Gruyère region.
Before 1615 there were in Schwarzenmatt only a few courtyards, only four prove themselves with certainty, which also included our house; next to it there were some individual farmsteads (Tuor 1974: 64).
The house may have always been our ancestors. Documents of the State Archives and archival material the community of Boltigen and the Säuert Schwarzenmatt as well as private purchase contracts suggest this. In Schwarzenmatt are already 1425 Agnes Spilman (BU: 271), 1502 Benedikt Mueller (U 2) and 1558 Peter and Paulj Spylman (K 1: 4) detectable. The Spielmann Families and Mullers have been at least since the 15th century and 16th century settled here. Barbara owned in 1720 Spyllman in the Säuert Schwarzenmatt a “Hauß and Spycherblatz” [house and granary] (SSB: 54). 1741 lent Hans Spillmann Saltigen 179 Kr 6 bz 1 X and gave as a deposit the so called “Lehngut” [feud ?] and the house in Schwarzenmatt including beunden [a piece of land with a fence] and garden (AG: 25).
Andreas Müller married Johanna Horner (died 1768) in 1731.
Barthlome Müller (born 1731) her son, took Anna Zimmermann from Wattenwil (died 1775) as his wife. Since Barthlome had fled for unknown reasons around 1770, Anna and her children had to be supported by the community as in the poor calculations (MA 1:1773 f.). Single mothers were I’m afraid it was very badly placed back then. Jakob, Barthlomes and Anna’s son, married her already in the house on the Margaretha Spielmann living in Kreuzgasse (1742-1819); unfortunately, Jakob died very early (1758-1785). In his widow Margaretha lived with her two children two children Anna (1779-1837) and David (1782-1817) and her sister Magdalena Spielmann (1747-1812). Both women were sentenced in 1786 by the choir court for unauthorized serving of wine without permission, each penalty of 1 lb (C VIII: 31 0). Already their father, the mule skinner Hans Spielmann (died 1784) had to appear before the choir court several times because of unauthorized sale of wine and unauthorized [“Wirtschaft” is an inn, so “Winkelwirtschaft” could be an inn at a street corner, but I am guessing. Alternatively, it could as well be a specific juristic term for unauthorized sale.] at the Schafscheid [a place, where sheep are separated in different groups and directed on different roads] in Schwarzenmatt (C VI: 404, 409, 412). In 1805 Margaretha was (owed?) the Moneylender Johannes Zabli at Brunnehus 33 Kr 1 0 X accrued interest owed (EA: 12).
Kreuzgassen: Magdalena and Margritha Spielmann have all the house rules. 1808. AGM: 18.
Page 2 of pdf, page 290 of document.
The Kauf-Beyle of 1819/1825 states that “the lower half of the house (on Kreuzgasse) belongs to David Müller (1782-1817). Children of thought Schwarzenmatt “I belong to.” These five children were siblings of the seller Anna Spielmann, Johannes’ daughter from Weissenbach. She had inherited from her grandmother Margaretha Müller, née Spielmann, widow of the late Jakob …, half of the house. According to above Purchase and sale of orphans of Boltigen Municipality in Anna’s name her part of the house to old Gerichtsäss Jakob Gobeli zu Weissenbach (1746-1839), husband of Anna Müller (1779-1837).
Anna Müller’s brother David (1782-1817), Jakob’s son, married (Eherodel burned) Magdalena Karlen (1775-1827). He died as a soldier in a hospital in Holland. Their children were David (1803-1878), Magdalena (born 1805), Anna (born 1811), Christian (born 1814, teacher) and Margaretha (1816-1862). Later, Jakob Gobeli must have passed on his half of the house to these five children.
David Müller (1803-1878), known as “the hunter”, married in 1825 with Barbara Reidenbach (1798-1853). Her children were Barbara (born 1825, died in the USA). Caroline (1833-1903). Susanna (born 1834), David (1840-1897 died in Ohio) and Friedrich Wilhelm (born 1842, died in the USA).
In 1837 David acquired his four siblings’ shares in house and real estate, so that he is the sole owner of the in the house on Kreuzgasse. Caroline was my great-grandmother, she took (married) in 1868 in Spiez, Friedrich Bhend (1836-1904), of Jacob blessed, to man; he was cheese maker and Salzer and came from the small town Unterseen, his hometown. In 1872 David Müller sold the whole property for 6’700 Fr. to his daughter Friedrich Bhendin. His children were Louise (1872-1884) and Frederick (1873-1943). He married Susanna in 1903.
Katharina von Allmen (1877-1950); both were my Grandparents. They had three boys: Friedrich (1904-1984), Johannes (1906-2005) and Karl (1909-1973).
Johannes Bhend and Elise Stalder (1911-2008), my parents [the parents of Berti Mosimann-Bhend] held their wedding in 1935 and were gifted with five daughters: Rasmarie (born 1935), Hulda (born 1937), Elise Bertha (born 1940), Therese (born 1943) and Verena (born 1946).
If this chart is accurate, Berti and I are 9th cousins, once removed, or 9C1R. The three people in red immigrated to the US, and we’ll meet David, highlighted in red, later. Back to Berti:
After the move of my parents to the old age center “Bergsonne “the house in Zweisimmen was uninhabited since 2002. In February 2009 I bought it from the community of heirs.
With the “Ferien im Baudenkmal” Foundation FIB”, a sub-organization of the Swiss Heritage Protection, in 2010 an agreement was signed for 30 years completed. For the gentle reconstruction and the conversion into a holiday home was the subject of an architectural competition, won by the architects Bühler AG in Thun.
The house was built on top of it, after a six-month delay due to a neighbor’s building objection, from May to Christmas 2011 by the Foundation; in cooperation with the cantonal authorities. preservation of historical monuments, but mostly disregarding my wishes as owner and financier.
Unfortunately, the work was not done at all gently, as promised before, and without feeling for the historically valuable, interesting house! Thereby especially local craftsmen. On 21 December 2011 took place the inauguration, and on 25 December the first holiday guests moved in.
Image on page 290
The house on the Kreuzgasse in Schwarzenmatt from 1556. Susanna Katharina and Friedrich Bhend-von Allmen [his family name] stand in front of the ring fence.
With their children Friedrich, Karl and Johannes. Little boys used to wear skirts. The rings of the fence were made of green, slender twigs of dance. In front of the house stands a “Scheielizaun”. Photo from 1912, owned by B. Mosimann.
The house property bordered 1872 “above (N) at the Magdalena Eschler Soil, outside (E) and below (S) an the alley and inside 0NJ at Susanne Stocker Erben Bäunde.” To the house belonged a house pasture or five feet right on the Hausweidreidigberg and the ground serving summation or right of pasture to the of summed up Schwarzenmatt grounds. It was the impetus after with the alley maintenance complained [I am guessing again: “Kaufbeile” is probably the archival folder for house purchases] in 1872.
The house possesses an old house right (HV: 18), which the residents are entitled each year to take one of the following forest ranger marked fir tree, called lot wood, for his own use to fell. An old house belonging to the house winter right of way allows them to use the logs in winter with the horn sledge to the western neighboring property to lead it there to firewood, and next door to it in the woodcut. In spring, all the traces of logging on neighboring land removed be. The current owner refuses to know anything about any old rights.
All over the world, people used to use the material which nature has offered on the spot; thereby are the characteristic houses of a region of the country which fit in perfectly with their surroundings. The most important building materials in the Bernese Oberland were wood and stone well into the 20th century; both stood in the immediate vicinity in sufficient quantity and reasonably priced, so also for our house. The walls of the basement, the west wall, the wall between cook and stable as well as the pedestal of the east wall between the house door and the stable door consist of unhewn quarry stones, from boulders and brook debris in all sizes; they all originate from the near environment or even from the pit itself. The stones are made with only little lime mortar connected, plastered and white limed over. The art of masonry was here in the valley at that time still little developed and stands in contrast to the to the remarkable carpentry of this house.
In 2011, we invited the archaeologists of the Service (ADB) for a tour of the old building but unfortunately the offer was not used.
The house underwent various structural changes. 9.11.2009.
The roofs of the residential part and the stable were 1951 only with shingles, later then partly above the shingles covered with bricks, such as those around the new fireplace. Around 1960 the whole western part of the wall above the dwelling covered with bricks. 1977 one laid over the shingles of the apartment – in place the brick – Eternit plates and over the shingles of the stable brick.
(Page 4 of pdf, 292 of original)
During the reconstruction of 2011 the whole, well preserved cement asbestos roof together with the existing shingle roof again for no reason through heavy tiles is replaced. A good shingle roof insulates against summer heat and winter coldness; therefore it was in the Gaden [The “Gaden” must be a specific Swiss German term of a room. I never heard it before and cannot find information about it online.] never unpleasant even in the worst summer heat warm. Since the air here in the mountains in the evening always cooled, we girls in the Gaden could always sleep well. At the part of the stable the wooden roof bricks of the shingle roof, held by wooden hangers, unfortunately unnecessarily discarded. In addition the good roof bricks that had been stored in the hayloft disappeared without a trace.
West wall of the kitchen during reconstruction. 10.07.2011.
Above: Large eaves with typical 16th century ridge console.
Above: Year 1556. 9.11.2009.
Above: Strange holes in the beam above the room door. In the square hole on the upper right was the joist of the former.
“Welbi” (hallway) from 1951. Right: Holes to snap in the rod of the fireplace lid [I cannot offer a better translation than this. Fitting places for a rod used to open/close the fireplace.]. 26.2.20
Page 5 of pdf, page 293 of original.
Construction phases: Plan photographs autumn 2009 by architect Hans-Ruedi Roth. Spiez:.
Black – 1556 Original building. One room wide, two room deep with open smoke house. Later the installation took place of a wooden fireplace. The stove firing with stove plate and boiling stove were located at the western exterior wall of the kitchen.
Blue – 1705 Extension of a barn on the north side. Independent ridge, staggered opposite the main building.
Red – 1903 Widening of the Stuben floor to include the eaves arcade. Two new parlours with three are built on the ground floor, resp. two single windows. The three symmetrically arranged gaden windows were only changed in 1952.
Yellow – Modifications and installations after 1952.
Above: Facade west and east. Below: Front and back of the house.
Page 6 of pdf, page 294 of original
Ground floor plan.
Page 8 of pdf, page 296 of original
The ground floor originally only possessed one single room. Around 1900 the story was renovated and east, so that a small adjoining sleeping room was established. During the renovation of the front of the room, unfortunately only narrow walls were inserted between the windows; but before that, the opened window shutters were in place during the day. This “improvement” was fashion at that time.
Between the parlor and the stable there was originally an open smoke kitchen, where the rising smoke is through the cracks of the roof; and in the process the soot adheres to beams and walls, that’s why the one upstairs is black today. Later the open western half of the kitchen is a large, pyramid-shaped wooden fireplace. After a post-butcher feast, from the middle of the winter onwards, ham, bacon sides and sausages were stored and smoked on wooden rods in the upper half of the upwards tapered room, safe from mice. Through the open chimney also light fell in the kitchen. Today’s small roof window shows about the where once the former fireplace led out into the open air.
In the kitchen, on the right parlor door post old drill holes arranged vertically on top of each other are visible; in it one could see the long rod for adjusting the fireplace lid. On the left side you can see a lot of weird ones all over the beam above the door, 1-2 cm deep square smaller and larger holes. However, they cannot, as is was assumed, be marks caused by halberds that were smashed in there a long time ago, the holes are too small and their cross section would have to be rhombus-shaped, the specialist of the archaeological (A: Wulf; 4.3.2013). Also nail holes are hardly an option, they are too little for that deep. Since the holes end sharply, they could perhaps be marks of flails [“Morgenstern” in German can mean both “morning star” as well as “flail” – I know, that sounds strange…].
Rescued remainder of the original debris from the rubble dump.
Substructure. It is 21.5 cm high, 15.2 cm wide, with a scratch plow pattern characteristic of the time and bore the ceiling up to the wooden fireplace until 1951. It is another confirmation the year 1556 (Rubi 1972: 57). The incisions for this beam is still visible on both kitchen walls.
To the right of the room door stood the wood-burning stove, which was also used to heat the tiled stove in the living room. In front of the cooker and the “Buuchchessi” [I have no idea, again Swiss German specific…] the kitchen floor without any basement below it consisted until 1951 made of large natural stone slabs; otherwise wooden shutters formed the floor the kitchen. With these stone slabs was later below the little garden door. The large, whitewashed wall framed by a small “Buuchchessi” was for cooking laundry. There was no “Schüttelstein” [must be a specific kind of stone for dish washing] yet; we washed the dishes in a basin on the kitchen table and simply poured the dishwater out to the Hostettli [Swiss German…]. We drew hot water with an oval water cup the “Water Ship”, a tin ship, with a copper rectangular container with lid on the side at the wood-burning stove. When in the stove was fired, we also have hot water.
The other households in Schwarzenmatt had to obtain their water at the different wells of the village until their houses built around the middle of the last century got a water connection. But in front of our house entrance has always been a well of our own with water rights for it (purchase records 1819/1825); there the water rights are we fetched the drinking water with a kettle. This kettle stood to the right of the woodcop door [I do not know the term, it describes a specific kind of door] and hung in it a “watergätzi” (ladle). Not until 1951 did the kitchen a connection with cold water and a back then usual [“Schüttelstein” again must be the place for dishwashing, but I do not know the exact meaning of the word] made of white stoneware. At this opportunity, a hole was broken through the west wall and a large window with sash bars, double glazing and shutters was built in. At the same time, the wooden fireplace was torn out as well, a floor was built in at the entire length of the kitchen and the steep, turned-in staircase to the upper floor turning 180 degrees [was built in]. The beautiful old two-part front door with knocker was sold and replaced by a one-piece the upper half of which consists of a window that can be opened. The kitchen has been equipped with the two the new windows is now much brighter. The electric light reached the village of Schwarzenmatt in 1928 (PBS:254), the telephone came into the house in 1956.
In the upper floor the large Gaden served on the east side for the storage of supplies and the small Gaden (with stove hole) as bedroom. Both rooms received early light through three small windows, all with one sliding window vision. During the reconstruction of 1951 these windows were replaced by four larger ones, and it was two rooms of the same size, but now brighter.
An antique dealer from Grubenwald convinced our mother to sell the old windows to him for little money and he built them in at his rustic “Restaurant Schlössli”.
The original Gadenwand [“Wand” means “wall”, but since I do not know what a “Gaden” is, I cannot further describe its meaning] would be on the arcade side very well preserved. In the wall, on the outside at different heights thumb thickness, good hand-long wooden nails for hanging tools and clothes, because cupboards were hardly used here until the 18th century known. It is possible that these nails were (page 9 of pdf, page 297 of original) even so-called corn nails and thus relics of the former granary. On one wall-length, arm-thick wooden pole, hanging on ropes at shoulder height, Papa lined up all kinds of agricultural objects like Treicheln, bells, calf and goat bells, chains and ropes. A 150 x 40 cm long and safe from mice needed wooden board mother, to put on tea and aromatic herbs, dried fruit and keep scrawny beans in linen bags. The pergola [arbor] also served as a screed [“floor screed” is the term my dictionary gives me, it is a kind of wooden floor]. During the conversion of our resistance – the wooden nails sawn off short way and the beautiful old wall behind an isolation layer hidden. Due to the excessively thick insulation of the floor, the room lost so much height that you could no longer stand erect.
The window sill with grooved bevels is typical of the 16th century and well preserved in the area of the corner combs. 9.11.2009
Above: The grooved bevels in the living room are a feature of the 16th century. 11.4.2011.
Above: Door fitting of the living room door. Around 1760. 15.3.2011.
The typical gaden windowsill of the 16th century with grooved chamfers in the area of the Gwätte harrows (corner combs) still preserved; other embellishments when different grooves didn’t exist back then. It will can hardly be explained unequivocally, why the carpenters of the Oberland around 1600 as on order of the grooved trains cultivated over a century on the cornices and other parts of the building and from then on, for a while, only the Cube as a decorative element. “In the history of the Bernese carpentry, there was never a single change that occurred as quickly as the one around 1600 in the Oberland” (Rubi 1975: 34; Rubi 1980: 27) The still Gothic grooved bevel on the outer wall, above the sitting stove of the living room as well as at the lintel of the door of the house door and the room door confirm the notched year 1556.
The custom of using the year of construction on the building as a jewelry form has only very hesitantly spread in the Alpine region in the course of the 16th century. Before 1550 only isolated numbers; the oldest preserved one comes from 1516 at a house in Hasli near Oey, parish Diemtigen (Fiückiger R.: 129).
Page 10 in pdf, page 298 in original
The parlor used to have a large tread stove from sandstone; it was heated from the stove in the kitchen. The stove stood directly above a walled-in rock in the basement. Above the oven hung the “Ofestängeli”, a finger-thick wooden pole; it was used for hanging up and drying of wet clothes, small clothes, diapers, dads calf bandage etc. ln the corner above the stove can be in the hallway is a wooden lid which can be closed with an oven lid or “gaden” lid can be opened, so that the hot air can ascend into the cold “gaden”. Sometimes we girls slipped up through the hole when we went to sleep. Often we would take a rest on the oven warmed cherry stone baglet with us to bed.
Candle holder made of brass sheet; tallow light, so called “Meijulämpli “with drinking glass insert and suspended tallow bowl, 19. 2 tallow bowls made of brass turned, end of 18th century. House on the Kreuzgasse. 2010.
Wick or light cleaning scissors made of iron. Candles were up to beginning of the 19th century made of animal fat (tallow). The longer the wick, the more sooty and dripping they became. The burned tip of the wick therefore had to be regularly shortened (snuffed) with the wick scissors. To prevent the cut-off wick from falling off, the scissors [had] a box to hold the hot wick. Length: 15 cm. House on the Kreuzgasse. 2010.
The furnace had a “Ofeguggeli”, a niche in which the Mother kept food warm for a late coming home family member. In the autumn we dried in it plums, pear and apple slices. Around the oven ran a low “Ofestüeli”, a small wooden stove bench; Papa liked to sit on it when he tied the shoes or wrapped the calf pads in winter.
In 1972 the old, cozy sandstone stove needed repair and had to give way to a tiled stove; its “Ofeguggeli” now had a metal door. Unfortunately this cozy sitting stove was also torn out during the conversion.
In winter the living room was the only warm one until 1951, well-lit room throughout the house. Here we all ate meals. After we finished dinner Papa sat at the big table in the parlour, writing, mother sewed, knitted or mended dresses, socks and lingerie, we girls did our homework or played. In the cold kitchen was only cooked, washed up and I got the laundry.
The windows and doors are protected against rain and breeze. The pergola on the east side was a kind of winter garden; the morning sun warmed them even on cool days so that my old parents could stay there on their bedside. Such arbours (I do not have a good translation for “hilbe” – again, probably Swiss German) belong to many old Simmentaler houses. The door and some of the windows were unfortunately removed during the conversion, instead of renewed, so that it is now on the pergola with the coziness is over, because it rains in, often an uncomfortable draught prevails and you also feel exposed.
The tiled stove from 1972. 9.11.2009.
Under the pergola was the small chicken yard, in front of the fox protected by wire mesh. This pergola was supported with five poles. Why with the conversion three have been removed, we don’t understand; now the gate to the chicken coop is jammed because of this. When I was a child, my mother owned a dozen chickens, but no rooster. She bought from the chicken dealer Peduzzi, who is on a motorbike with side-mounted (page 11 of pdf, page 299 of original) the so-called “one-day chicks”. We held these until they were bigger, on the always warm room oven in a box with interspersed sawdust; then we brought them for a while in a small Hostettli (Swiss German again…) enclosure. The money from the egg sale was a welcome addition to the household budget for the mother.
Of course cats always lived with us because of the mice, too.
Above: Stove hole closed. 11.4.2011.
Above: stove hole open. 25.11 .2012.
The cellar and wooden doors, the stable door, the door on the upper pergola and the former front door are typical doors of the 16th century. They consist of two wide, up to 6 cm thick boards. Groove and comb connect them at the contact surfaces, and two entirely slightly wedge-shaped burr strips with dovetail profile keep them together. Since these boards can move in damp conditions weather laterally expand, but in drought it will the doors seldom fit exactly in the door frame. Folds of the posts (Rubi 1980: 112).
In 1705, in the extension of the ridge, an economic section on the day. Various holes, grooves, rectangular recesses and other characters on the bars prove that the timber has already been used in another building was used, which at that time was quite customary. Such re-utilization can be seen in our house at other places as well. For example, two former parlor joists with planed profiles serve as posts of the outer wooden door, another beam with profile was used as rafter on the roof of the upper and a former pergola cornice with a 17th century diamond pattern was used as a support for the cellar ceiling.
The part of the barn had a hay stage, a scattered pergola and three small stables for four to six goats and two pigs. Through the two coverable feeding holes in the floor boards, left and right of the gate door, daddy threw hay from the stage directly into the feeding troughs.
(page 12 of pdf, 300 of original)
Above: House before the reconstruction. 24.7.2008.
Above: under the pergola supported by five posts was the chicken yard, behind the Wall of the chicken coop. 27.5.2011.
The stables underneath the economic section shows various interesting details, e.g. over the ridge purlin a stapled rate pair (I have no idea even in German, what “verklammertes Rafenpaar” is supposed to mean, it must be a specific term in carpentry – not my subject…) or the gate door at the north wall with its ingenious wooden lock and the inscription “DMD 1844”; it is to be opened with a wooden key. DM is David Müller (1803-1878), D probably means David’s. On the stable wall of the on the east side is a wooden jug, from which the goats licked their salt – today also a rare object.
The small board, which the wall underneath before the salt was unfortunately thrown away during the conversion.
Above: Door to the wooden mop of wood.
Above: Strip with dovetail profile on the upper half of the barn door. 3.7.2011.
The eaves-side of the building is supported by two posts. The scattering pergola was covered from the hayloft by a small door; this opening existed, as the beam construction and Roth’s plans clearly show, already since 1705 the addition of the economic section of the building took place.
Flax, cereal cows, or also litter (dry leaves, fern, niche) stored, therefore evenly, the scattering hood. It is not comprehensible for us that the monument care this completely intact pergola, which is formerly an important function in everyday farming life as the first action at the beginning of the I’m afraid the reconstruction was cancelled. Double incomprehensible, because it robs the big canopy of its supports. The carpenter warned, if much snow the protruding roof could break.
Such scattered foliage belonged in former times practically to all stable barns. Some of them are used as threshing floors. (Tuor 1974n5: 169) and can still be seen in the valley today (page 13 of pdf, 301 of original) and can be observed at numerous houses. Probably found the many old, tanned boards of our Scatterbugs and others, on stage for decades stored boards with planing profiles on any noble building in Gstaad use. A few windows of our house front we discovered in summer 2012 by chance at a chalet converted into a holiday home in the community Oberwil, the others found elsewhere can be used again.
The stone slabs between the house and stable entrance come from the surrounding area and the reddish plates from the Roteflue Alp.
Directly behind the stable part supports the upper neighboring garden a 1 to 1.5 m high, today cement grouted quarry stone wall. They already existed in 1611, because at that time a “Hanns Spillman vff der mur’ (K 1: 191). This one lived in the neighboring upper house, which will later be my grandsons and my cousin today. Martin Bhend.
Economical part of 1705 with step-down cottage 0/VC). Stables, scattering arbour and hayloft, in front the upper Hostettli. 9.11 .2009.
Above: Wooden castle at the gate of the hayloft. 11.4.2011.
Above: Detail of the corner combing (Gwätt) with Ratennagel (large hardwood nail) for stabilizing the Beam. 3.7.2011.
Above: Salt can for goats. 9.3.2011.
I love this goat salt lick. I can see them standing there yet today!
Above: Between house entrance and stable. Above the spreading hood. 24. 7.2008.
Next to the barn door stood the wooden cottage (outhouse); at whose back wall served as a horizontal board with two round holes for dismounting. The septic tank had to be occasionally with a “Bschüttigoon” (small, wooden scoop on long wooden handle) exhausted will be. With the liquid manure the vegetables in the garden were or she was fertilized with a lockable liquid manure cart on the Maadli flood and distributed it there.
This still completely intact little cottage, which nobody stood in the way, would have stood nevertheless with the change can stay! This would have given the holiday guests the former simple states and to show it as a ski and sledge room or playhouse that kids could use. The house was supposed to be an architectural monument. Give the holidaymakers a little idea how the lives of the former inhabitants of this area could have played!
Old. original kitchen window with sliding window.
Page 14 pdf, 302 of original
The saying “Fear God and keep his commandments” is carved in Gothic script above the stable door. 20.4.2011.
Stone slab floor in front of the stable. If the stones are wet, their red color is more visible. 9.3.20 11.
Above 2, cellar wall made of found stones with a ventilation formed by four stone slabs. 10. 7. / 25.9. 2011.
Scattered pergola, two-part barn door and little exit cottage on the covered cesspit. (outhouse) 9.3.2011 .
Right: Departure. 9.9.2011.
Page 15 of pdf, page 303 of original
Wooden mop with exterior wall of “Müselen” (wood chips) and door; brick kitchen wall. 9.11.2009.
Above: Cellar door with bar grille. 9.3.2011.
Above: Cheese tower with rinds and cheese boards. 15.3.2011.
I love this cheese tower! I can see the Muller family making, and then checking the cheese.
On the west side of the farm building is the woodcut; it can be entered directly from the kitchen. A wooden door leads out of the mop of hair. The doorposts consist of old beams, which have planing profiles. Above the lintel donated a window the room brightness. Before the reconstruction wood splinters stacked up to under the roof and branches the outer walls, so that a closed hilber where daddy spent hours and hours in the winter wood sawed and split.
The cellar is half deepened in the ground and possesses a stamped ground. Attention deserves the wooden bar grids of the outer cellar door; with this you can the enclosed room can still be ventilated. In always cool cellar we supplied buckets, tubs, pickling barrels for fruit and the garden tools; but we stored especially potatoes and vegetables, milk and milk products.
Butter. Daddy took care of our alp cheese on the cheese tower. Not only the cheese tower in the cellar, but also others objects stored in the house show that in former times whose inhabitants were alpine shepherds who made cheese:
Cheese vat: 60 cm copper belly cauldron diameter, capacity about 80 litres. In it during cheese making, by heating the milk, the cheese mass won.
Järbe: Wooden ripening for shaping the cheese mass (in cheese cloths), outside around with adjustable pull cord to tighten. They were used for larger hard cheese. Cheese boards: while pressing on the table was the fresh cheese mass between two round boards in the first place.
Cheese tower: three round, staggered trays, through the center of which is a ground level in a large stone and ceiling joists rotatable axis guides. Then the cheese from the alp Reidigen (Rieneschli), where we our cattle summered, salted by their parents, well-groomed and, protected from mice, for personal use and kept it in a safe place. A rarity!
Alp Reidigen is about 2 miles as the crow flies.
Gebsen: cooped, round, low vessels from wood, in which the milk is stored overnight in the cool Milchgadeo or cellar was kept, so that on the surface, the cream was eliminated. This could be skimmed off in the morning with the shallow Nidelkelle and processed into butter.
Vätterli: round, turned or coopered wooden moulds with grooves and little holes in the bottom, through which drained the cheese milk. For the production of Cheese and goat cheese.
Tools stored in the house for various activities and repairs testify to the fact that the former residents knew how to help themselves in everyday life. So shortly before 1950, father Hans and uncle Karl covered the whole roof with shingles. We found when clearing out the house before the conversion of all kinds of tools and equipment for:
Cheese drill to take a cheese sample; wooden ladle.
Carpenters and carpenters carving tools
Chisels, all kinds of saws (e.g. clamping or frame saws), burr saws, large and small drills, various axes and planes, hammers and pliers
Wooden angle and scale (EIIstock), whetstone
Cooper: pulling chair, pulling knife, plane with slightly bent up sole
Roofer: black bucket with string, hammers
Masons: trowels, spatulas, hammers
Wooden rubbing board
Forestry worker: Zappi, sweeper hook, crowbar, iron for debarking, axes, crop!, Guntel. Iron and wooden crossroads, big forest saws, foxtail, iron chains etc.
Shoemaker: Special hammers, shoe last, iron fitting foot, shoe nails
Veterinarian: Trocar (french trocart). Metal instrument for stinging bloated cows (rumen).
Above: Vätterli (cheese mold)
Above: Cheese vat
Page 17 of pdf, 305 of original
Above: All kinds of hand-forged nails with square cross section found in the house.
Above: Hand carved spoon; wooden clothes pegs (“Gäbeli”); milking grease box made of cow horn and inserted wooden floor, which is attached to the milking chair strap with a cord.
Above: 2 artificial chairs and an artificial stick. When spinning, the flax is tied to the top of the stick and put it in the tube of the chair.
Above: Chipboard holder for resinous woods for the lighting.
The house was once used for spinning and weaving, because on stage we found corresponding objects such as breaking, weaving shuttle, spinning wheel, bobbins, three-legged artificial chair with artificial sticks, reel, peg. etc. From former own production are today 200-year-old pillow- and bedding suits still available. You carry partly embroidered monograms, e.g. “DM 1 0”. (David Müller 1 0 pieces). These suits were then in the Simmentalertruhe, which is being restored today in the living room. 1747 learned the daughter of Andreas Müller with her mother Johanna Horner the weaving craft (C VI: 419).
Other items kept in the farm building bear witness to the once arduous life of the mountain farmers:
Horn sledges were used to transport wood,
Branches, straw or hay, wooden bowls for discharge of liquid manure and other substances for the carriage of water, huts for carrying dung, rope cloths for scratching hay and lischnen (sedge grass), hay ropes with truffles to bind the Burdines from hay and Emd; these so-called “Fertli” were on his back from the meadow to the hayloft.
I wonder if this is what is being carried in the photo below.
Also, a wooden dustpan, dung forks, hay forks and wooden hay rakes with long stems are available. A flail points to former threshing (page 18 of pdf, 306 of original) treidebau. The wooden equipment and tools the respective owners and occupants of the house burned well their monograms in order to protect them from confusion. To protect the world.
V.l.t.r.: Water briquette,
Hut with “Brätschel”
Melchter and KalberkübeL
Beautifully woven huts with wooden carrying straps, “called “Brätschel”, were used for entering smaller quantities of hay or grass, but also for transport and food to our agricultural and food processing businesses plots of land or on the mountain; occasionally they even took a toddler with them. On the Räf was carried all sorts of loads, especially wood and cheese; they leaned on the long, decorated puzzles with an iron tip at the bottom. We can today, we can hardly imagine the long distances that are possible and height differences the people in former times had to cover every day and what heavy loads and on their backs in huts and on rafts that we have carried with us.
All sorts of small tools, the use of which today is hardly known anymore, came to light in the house: a ring pliers and open, different large copper and brass rings with pointed ends for pig wrestling. A ringed trunk (nose) hindered the animals to stir up the soil or to damage the edge of the (fence or) to gnaw away at a wooden feeding trough. Since 2008 the Animal Welfare Act prohibits the marking of pigs. (I love that translation, though it is utterly wrong – “pig wrestling”! Indeed what is meant here is a tool to mark pigs with metal rings. “ring” in German is “Ring”, “wrestling” is “Ringen”…)
With a pair of ball pliers you could use lead balls yourself for cast muzzle-loading rifles. Maybe this pliers for making balls with a caliber of 17 mm belonged to my great-great-grandfather David Müller, called “the hunter” who lived in the house. Such pliers were in use until the end of the 19th century.
Above: Ball tongs. Length 14 cm. Right:
Ring pliers with rings. Length 17 cm.
On the ground, directly in front of the whitewashed southern house wall, formed long, thick wooden boards a 1.30 m wide, slightly elevated floor, which can be used for all sorts of ???. Thanks to the large canopy, it rained it seldom on, so we here in summer grass from the “ribbons” (grass ribbons on both sides of the alleyways) and we could have dried it. In autumn we spread out on these boards the harvested onions and dug up (page 19 of pdf, 307 or original) DahIienknoiien to dry out. Also boxes with red Geraniums stood here in late autumn until the first frost. Papa “Baumgretzen” stratified directly at the wall. (lumber) Between the boards and the fence was a small garden. In spring winter follies, snow and March bells blossomed there, crocuses, April bells and daffodils, in summer all kinds of meadow flowers and low along the fence roses. Even medicinal plants like warts grew here and cheese herb. Also an apple tree and in the corner a stick of gooseberries were present. At an old red climbing rose climbed up the edge of the house.
Carved chair back from 1739. House on Kreuzgasse.
In the course of the rebuilding of the house – without us to ask – one day the whole good soil of this garden with all the bulbs, trees and boards was simply lifted up and taken away. As a replacement a boring, splintered one was created, in summer hot forecourt, as it is in the Simmental otherwise is barely visible.
On the small meadow of the upper Hostettli, in spring snowdrops, marchdrops, aprildrops and daffodils; in summer, forget-me-nots followed, mat nails, Küherkäppli, red clover, more meadow flowers and all kinds of grasses. Also, this earth has been taken away; now there is a splintered parking for two cars. This bare house environment hurts us; it must be changed urgently!
The triangular garden in front of the house, “Haltenboden” “called ” (plot with summation to be served on the Schwarzenmatt area), was founded by David Müller in two halves acquired the first 1839 and the second in 1853. The purchase of this plant blossom enabled the inhabitants to grow flax close to the at home and better self-sufficiency with vegetables, potatoes and berries. Remarkable is still that the second half salesgirl, Elisabeth Tänzer. on the Eschiegg, who needed the proceeds to “give birth to her daughter Elisabeth to pay the apprenticeship fee, which the weaving craft learned.” (production certificate 1839; axes of purchase and letter 1853)
Above: Snowdrops and winterlings in Mätteli in front of the house. 14.3.2009.
Above: Kitchen and living room wall with eternit protection and climbing rose. The stone embankment had to give way to the new water pipe. 27.5.2011
Page 20 of pdf, 308 of original
The vegetable garden was protected against the cold Bise by a board wall provided with deck loading, as it is protected by a here in the valley belongs to almost every old garden. The inner wall along grew a rhubarb stick, productive currants and raspberries, also a gooseberry bush. In flower gangs on the upper side fence and next to the garden paths winterlinge, schneeund March bells, tulips, April bells, daffodils, irises, larkspur, lupines, flake flowers, roses, buschelfriesli, big daisies, pansies, asters, flox and fire lilies. They are being converted to buried to a large extent by excavated material or else disappeared.
The “Maadli” also belonged to the operation of my parents, a mat (mat=food, does this mean garden) situated above the Dachebüel. David Müller had the one part 1849 from the Burgergemeinde for the price of 250 Kr and the other part 1864 of the Stocker brothers for 2070.50 Fr. in increases (PG: 133; axes of purchase 1864).
Note, this is where discussion of the other buildings in the village begins, according to Chris, but I am retaining this section because it paints such a vivid picture of the life and times of the people who lived here. Our ancestors saw and were in these buildings too. For all we know, these buildings were built and owned by additional ancestors. Heinsmann had to marry someone and the family surely lived nearby!
On an artificial small terrace on a slope in a very beautiful location the oldest stable barn of the municipality Saltigen stands there, dating from 1688. It is preserved by the monument preservation as worthy of preservation. It is built entirely as a block building, on the upper floor, however, as a loose block construction, so that the hay stick can pass through the “gime” (spaces) is ventilated. Access to the barn is from the valley side, that to the hayloft on the mountain side. The stable floor is in the back deepened in the slope and secured by quarry stone walls. The longitudinal stable contains one store each for grass and small cattle and a feeding walk. On the east side there is the cromes for the litter (foliage, niche, straw).
Above the stable floor, a beam shows the following Inscription (antiqua. notched, unfortunately only partially legible):
The small barn is still used today as a storage room. The building is in a bad condition and should urgently be redeveloped; but the preservation of historical monuments is on our request has not yet occurred. Below the mother moved the old barn on her big planzbiätz beans and autumn vegetables such as cabbage, cabbage and cabbage and palatine turnips.
In 1927, a new and larger plant was built on Maadli land. Barn built, still today called “Nöji Schüür”. They has the following inscription on the top bar: “BI. Fritz Bhend + Katha. v. Allmen. Built in 1927 Z.mstr. SI. Stryffeler.” To the building wood of the broken off old Eggscheune use. It was the Ueltschi brothers, cattle breeders, Boltigen, bought for 800 Fr. (Receipt). To it was agreement of the acid meeting necessary (PBS: 229).
Garden with traditional shop wall as protection against the iron and fence with wire mesh against the street. 30.5.2009.
Page 21 of pdf, 309 of original
The former vegetable garden, bordered at the top by a local “Scheielizaun”, was a flower meadow before the restoration.
Under which “Maadli” ran past, uphill of the old path and ending up far behind the new barn, a beautiful, about 300 m long, up to 1 m high dry stone wall. It was mostly covered with hazel herbaceous perennials, hedge roses and Maples stocked and offered small birds and lizards shelter. Directly below the new barn the wall contained a small niche; inside there was an old iron stove. The mother prepared and then we’ll have lunch each time our family in the “Maadli” on the mucky tedding, cherry picking, haying or Emden was.
The old Maadli barn from 1688 with two plum trees; the snow pushed the lower tree down in February 2012. 5.4.2011.
Page 22 of pdf, page 310 of original
Above: Back side with gate to the hayloft.
Above: wooden door hinge of the gate. 5.4.2011.
In 1977 the wall was completely demolished, because they corrected the old way, extended it, asphalted it. and as a rhinestone vision with three loops up to the willow. Our own small spring because of the large earthworks and excavations above the old barn. The old way could possibly a part of the medieval mule track.from Adlemsried to Tubetal and Schwarzenmatt.to Eschi.
The medieval mule track.
New Maadli barn from 1927. 5.4.20 11 .
Also the food south of the “Maadli” with barn, called “Lehn”, 1915 by Friedrich Bhendvon Allmen, and the “Grimattli” belonged until the inheritance from 1951 of the Bhend family, also in Ruere a third of the “war moss” (Lischenland with Heufimmel and forest), the “Untere Stierenweid” (lower bull pasture) (residential house with economy part, 16th or 17th century and 1735th inscription: IM ESM ZM ZM HST HR 1735, antiqua notched) with a freestanding barn, and the “Grabenmatte”; then a third of the Grabenheimwesen” (country and barn); further behind Ruere, below at the old Waldweidgasse, indoors to the “forest pasture”, the “Waldweidli” with a hay house, a bovine pasture, Wiesland and forest; in addition the third part of the Sennhütte on the “forest pasture” (four cow rights, pasture, with and complaints, with forest share). The whole property was taken over by the three Bhend families and jointly farmed.
The “Grimattli” or “Grünmattli”, underneath the “Maadlis”. came on the 3rd Hornung in 1837 in the possession of my ancestors. The barn standing on it was fire insured for 2′ 100 Fr. (Certificate of Inheritance 1951); unfortunately it was torn down in autumn 2011. In of a shopping hatchet reads: “Know and know be thither: That the respectable old court apostle Jacob Gobeli, from and to to Weißenbach, for himself and his heirs: to his beloved cousin, the honourable David Müller, David’s son, from and to Schwarzenmatt, and eat inherit the two property effects listed below
A home being to said Weißenbach, called Schußeli, containing a residential house together with attached barn and stabling.
A piece of land called the Grimmenmatte, in the Bäuert Reidenbach, with a coating standing on it.
The purchase price was 1,000 Kr Berner- or 2,500 f Swiss currency (axes of purchase 1837). Jakob Gobeli’s wife died on 18 Hornung 1837. Anna née Müller; she was the sister of David Müller. Jakob, at that time 91 years old and childless, donated then on 17 June 1837 to his “beloved godchild David Müller” 500 Kr or 1 ‘250 f to the remaining. Purchase remainder (donation 1837). On the vegetable blossom at the “Grimattli” my parents built potatoes every year until the distribution of the inheritance in 1951. The land was planted on this parcel every few years. Shifted.
Maadli. Drawing P. Mosimann.
My great-grandfather Peter von Allmen (1843-1918) and his wife Magdalena (born Boden, 1848-1924) possessed in Ruere many real estates; 1876 Peter was also (page 23 of PDF, page 311 of original) owner of the house on the Unteren Stierenweid and 1878 of the Grabenhaus (LB II: 38, 17). After Magdalenas death, the whole property was taken over the same year. The three heirs Peter (born 1910), son of Peter. (1871-1913), and the daughters Magdalena (born 1872) and Susanna Katharina (1877-1950). Since Susanna Katharina 1903 Friedrich Bhend (1873-1943) had married, came now about a third of the former large Ruere-owned property in his family.
On November 4, 1939, Friedrich Bhend, my grandfather sold to the private docent and medical doctor Max Müller, then director of the of the Psychiatric Clinic Münsingen, the beautiful, large, residential building in Ruere, built around 1700, which is today a protected monument. After the war began, rented also other rich lowlands in the Oberland houses or flats as possible escape accommodation-for their families. The purchase price for the building including 781 m2 of land was exceptionally low. The longer uninhabited house was located in a house with a in quite bad condition and had to be renovated. The unique house sale inspired Werner Juker in 1952 to his novella “The House in Ruhren” (or “Horen”). The house was built by the three current Müller heirs fortunately largely in the original, almost museum-like condition the kitchen furniture, for example, with the the Buuchchessi, the wood fireplace, the windows partly with the bull’s-eye slices, the shingle roof. In the house there are neither Electricity nor water (A: M. Müller, 17.8.2011). In the barn connected with the residential building the current owner Ernst Gobeli still livestock. Already 1734 is from “the sloppy house in the ditch” to read, because there had often been operated Winkelwirtschaft (C VI :32, 116, 173, 176, 180).
Above: The Grimtlischeuer shortly before the dismantling. Photo: Ueli Stryffeler.
Above: Remains of the barn, on the horizon the old Maadli barn. 24.3.2012.
Page 24 of pdf, 312 of original
When Susanna Katharina had died, in 1951 the still considerable possessions among the three Bhend brothers divided.
– Fritz: The whole “Untere Stierenweid” with farmhouse, the “Grabenmatte”, a third of the “Grabenheimwesens “, a third of the “war moss” and the “Waldweidli”.
– Hans: In Schwarzenmatt the lower, smaller house, called “Auf der Kreuzgasse”; the “Maadli” (as the compensation, because of the relatively new barn); from the “Lehn” the external (front) part, two cow rights on the “forest pasture” and one sixth of the Sennhütte.
– Karl: In Schwarzenmatt the upper, bigger house, bought 1924 (certificate of inheritance 1951). called “Uf the Mur”; the “Grimattli”, from the “Lehn” the inner (rear) part, two cow rights on the “Waldweid” (forest pasture) and one sixth of the hut there (Erbgangsangs- Das Grabenhaus in Ruere. 13.9.2011 . Below: 1 0.8.2011. document 1924). Karl’s son Martin sold the “Grimattli” the farmer Ueli from Schwarzenmatt Stryffeler, who will break off the barn in 2011.
The Grabenhaus in Ruere. 13.9.2011 .
Above: 1 0.8.2011.
Buuchchessi (covered), fireplace, wooden door in the ditch house. The kitchen in the “Haus auf der Kreuzgasse” was quite similar until 1951. ” looked like. 16.10.2011.
Page 25 in pdf, 313 in original
The house on Unteren Stierenweid dates from the 16th/17th century and was extended in 1735. Recordings around 1970 and 2010. Photo: Preservation of monuments in the Canton of Berne.
A beam above the residential part of the Sennhütte on the “Waldweid” bears the following inscription: “BL PVA 1\ MB. ZM HK 1896”. BL means builders, PVA Peter von Allmen (1843-1918), MB Magdalena Floor (1848-1924), ZM Master carpenter HK(?). The house has on the ground floor stables for young cattle and goats, above a living room, a kitchen and a Milchgaden, behind it a cowshed and a hay stage under the roof.
The “forest pasture” is a Vorsass. The flat stones from the nearby streambed belong to the flysch of the Simmendecke; they were bricked up unprocessed.
After the distribution of the inheritance in 1951 Hans, my father, was compelled, as a supplement to his own business, from Karl Stocker, teacher in Boltigen at that time to rent the steep, arduous “Büelacher” and the even more stubborn “Farnerenrain “. Also, he farmed the northeastern of the Büelachers situated property with name “Schmidsweg, which belonged to Altred Wüest. We were a simple family of mountain farmers, and the parents during the Second World War, always easy to take care of her five girls every day. I had little spare time, because in all the families I had to the children, in keeping with their powers, the parents.help in the operation. Nevertheless or perhaps just because of that I lived in the old house on Kreuzgasse. Happy childhood.
Cooperation: Peter Mosimann
Above: The mountain hut on the Waldweid. 7.10.201 0.
Right: The walls consist of unhewn stones from the nearby stream bed.
Page 26 of pdf, 314 or original
The house on Kreuzgasse. Dächenbühl in the background. February 1968.
The house on the Kreuzgasse. Behind the economic part is the upper house, called “Uf der Mur>>. 23.11.2008.
This ends the above translation of the wonderful chapter by Peter Mosimann and his wife, Berti Mosimann-Bhend.
Life in Schwarzenmatt
Some of these translations were a bit rough, but translating their life then for us to understand today is rough, regardless of the language. It truly is another world away, in both geography and the lives these mountain farmers and their families lived.
I found it interesting to note the discussion about the well. It seems this location was the only property to have its own water source, which tells you EXACTLY why this home was build where it was. I’d wager that this was the very first house or hut, at the time, to be built in Schwartzenmatt. Clean water equates to life. Contaminated water means illness and death. The first settler got their choice of where to build their camp and that prime real estate location was clearly adjacent the water source.
I was surprised that they received both electricity and phones as early as they did, considering the terrain. However, the poles for power lines which also carried phone lines would have snaked up the valley right alongside the stream.
The artifacts found and the carvings speak in whispers about the lives of Heinsmann Muller, and probably long before. The earliest people who lived in this half house/half barn hut environment would have guarded their livestock, goats and pigs, closely. Cheese and meat meant life. The growing season was short and the elevation high, which further reduced the time for crops to ripen.
When I lived in the Swiss Alps in 1970, just about 30 miles away and across a few mountains, in July and August, much snow remained on the ground in the ski resorts. In other locations, alpine meadows above the tree line were snow free and literally carpeted in Edelweiss and meadow flowers, exactly as described by Berti.
A wild Alpine garden stretching as far as the eye could see, without end.
Perhaps now I understand my breathless enchantment with this landscape so foreign to my young American eyes, yet so hauntingly familiar. Indeed, I felt that I had returned home and have longed to return since the day I left.
Not the Only Immigrants
I was surprised to read that three different children of David Miller, “the hunter,” immigrated to and died in America. How would they have even known about America in this remote location? Why would they leave?
It’s also ironic that my own Miller ancestor, great-grandson of Johann Michael Muller/Miller, the immigrant, was named David Miller and his son, John David. David has been a Miller name for generations and I can’t help but wonder if its genesis was in Schwarzenmatt.
David Miller, “the hunter” who lived in Schwarzenmatt had a son, David, who was reported by Berti to have died in Ohio.
I told you the name was popular. Carrying the same names also makes it difficult to sort through the various men.
Could I possibly find the David Muller who was born in 1840 in Schwarzenmatt and died in Ohio?
He probably had absolutely no idea that he was related to any Miller already living in the States. After all, by 1680, Johann Michael Muller had left Schwarzenmatt and his son immigrated in 1727, 160 years before David would be born in Schwarzenmatt.
By the time David immigrated, 150 years more or less would have passed since Johann Michael Muller Jr. would have immigrated.
No, surely David had no idea at all.
The question is, could I find him?
David Muller (1840-1897) Who Died in Ohio
The family members who migrated to America obviously kept in touch, because the family who stayed in Schwarzenmatt had knowledge of the death year of David who moved to Ohio. He probably had no idea whatsoever that his Miller cousins, a few generations removed were also living in Ohio about 200 miles away and in nearby Indiana.
It’s clear that my Ohio clan had lost the oral history of where, in Germany they had originated, and Switzerland was lost entirely to history.
Finding David in Ohio was more difficult than I expected.
David Miller died on January 30, 1897 and was married to Mena Strubel in 1878 according to a later census and the marriage record of one of his children.
According to the 1880 census, they had:
Barbara 4 (born 1876)
Mary C, 2 (born 1878)
David born in May of 1880
In 1900, I find Mena, born Oct 1854, with:
Unnamed child probably born 1880-1882
Carrie (female) (born in April 1884)
Charles (born August 1887)
Obviously I’m missing a child according to the 1900 census that shows Mena with 6 children living. That child was probably born after 1880 but before 1882 so they would be old enough to be gone from the household by 1900. David and Mena also had one child that died.
One very pleasant turn of events is that in 1880, David Miller actually says he was born in Switzerland. He is the only David Miller in the 1880 census anyplace that says he was born in Switzerland, so, I’m pretty confident we found the right David Miller.
Sadly, in 1897, David Miller of Navarre, Stark County, Ohio met his demise in a train accident according to this brief article in the Stark County, Democrat published on February 4, 1897.
Is This the Same Family?
I suspect so, but there is no absolutely proof. We are missing a definitive link between Heinsmann and Berti’s family line that begins in the documentation with Andreas who was born in 1710 or earlier, given that he had a child in 1731. We know that Heinsmann had a son, Johann Michael Muller, in 1655 who could have been his first or last child, or in-between.
Heinsmann could have been Andreas’ father, uncle, grandfather, related more distantly or not related at all. I must say, in a tiny village with only a few farms, that’s probably unlikely, but given the common name of Muller it could certainly happen. I learned long ago to never assume anything.
We’re also missing a definitive link between the David that died in Ohio in 1897 and the Schwarzenmatt line, although that connection seems firmer.
To prove definitively that Berti Mosimann-Bhend’s Muller line is one and the same with the Johann Michael Muller line, a Y DNA test needs to be taken by one of the male children descendants of David Miller who died in Stark County, Ohio in 1897 and a male Muller who is known to descend from the Schwarzenmatt line. The Y DNA, passed from father to son ad infinitum would match, or closely enough to establish the ancestral relationship between:
Johann Michael Muller who immigrated to the US in 1727
Muller family from Schwarzenmatt
David Muller who died in 1897 in Ohio
Maybe someday one of the Schwarzenmatt descendants or David Miller’s descendants will find this article and reach out. I am offering a DNA testing scholarship for a male Miller descendant of both lines. If this is you, just leave a message in the comments.
I sure hope the genealogy bug bites someone in the Miller family!
Last in the Series
This is the last in the long series of Muller/Miller articles. I hear you laughing now, because I know I’ve said that before – but I really think this one is it. We’re now back beyond the reach of records and before even Chris can excavate anything more.
Perhaps one day the next generation will add to this story when, if we’re lucky, new records are found, transcribed, indexed and translated.
It’s been a long journey from Schwarzenmatt in the 1600s to Indiana in the 1900s when Eva Miller married Hiram Ferverda and had my grandfather. The Muller lineage may reach back even further in time, to Benedikt Muller who lived in our quaint alpine village in 1502, more than 500 years and 15 generations ago.
Clearly, the red generations between Heinsmann and Benedikt are speculative, and I don’t want to portray them otherwise. Miller is such a common name.
Berti is probably a 9th cousin once removed, give or take a generation. That’s an amazingly long time – roughly 23 generations counting both lineages.
I would love for Berti to take an autosomal DNA test. There’s a small chance that she would match my mother, especially considering that it’s very likely that Heinsmann Muller’s wife, the mother of Johann Michael Muller was a young lady from the same village, or at least the neighboring farms. There were only a limited number of families living in that area in the early 1600s and every family intermarried into the mix.
Fingers crossed that somehow, someplace, DNA tests or new records surface to prove me wrong once again about this being the “last article!”
In the mean time, a deeply heartfelt thank you to the many people, in particular Chris, Tom and now, Peter and Berti, who have helped compile and reconstruct the stories of the Muller men of Germany and Switzerland, their wives and many descendants who have scattered like alpine meadow seeds on the winds of time throughout the world.
In this Upload-Download series, we’ll cover each major vendor:
How to download raw data files from the vendor
How to upload raw data files to the vendor, if possible
Other mainstream vendors where you can upload this vendor’s files
Uploading TO 23andMe
This part is easy with 23andMe, because 23andMe doesn’t accept any other vendor’s files. There is no ability to upload TO 23andMe. You have to test with 23andMe if you want results from 23andMe.
Downloading FROM 23andMe
In order to transfer your autosomal DNA file to another testing vendor, or GedMatch, for either matching or ethnicity, you’ll need to first download the file from 23andMe.
Download Step 1
Sign on to your account at 23andMe.
Under your name at the upper right-hand corner of your page, by clicking on the little circle with your initials, you’ll see “Browse Raw Data.” Click there.
Download Step 2
You’ll see “Your Raw Data.” Click on the blue download link.
Download Step 3
On the Download Raw Data page, scroll down towards the bottom until you see “Request your raw data download.”
Click on Submit request.
Download Step 4
You’ll see the following message saying an e-mail will be sent to you.
Download Step 5
A few minutes later, an e-mail will arrive that says this:
Click on the green button in the e-mail which will take you back to 23andMe to sign in.
Download Step 6
After you sign in, you’ll be immediately at the download page and will see the following.
Your raw data file will be downloaded to your computer where you’ll need to store it in a location and by a name that you can find.
The file name will be something like “genome_Roberta_Estes_v2_v3_Full_xxxxxxxx” where the xs are a long number. I would suggest adding the word 23andMe to the front when you save the file on your system.
Most vendors want an unopened zip file, so if you want to open your file, first copy it to another name. Otherwise, you’ll have to download again.
23andMe File Transfers to Other Vendors
23andMe files can be in one any one of four formats:
V2 – the earliest tests taken at 23andMe. V2 test takers were offered an upgrade to V3.
V3 – V3 files beginning December 2010 through December 2013
V4 – V4 files beginning December 2013 through August 2017
V5 – V5 files beginning August 2017 through present
The changes in the files due to chip differences sometimes cause issues with transfers to other vendors who utilize other testing chips.
Your upload results to other vendors’ sites will vary in terms of both matching and ethnicity accuracy based on your 23andMe version number, as follows:
From below to >>>>>>>
Family Tree DNA Accepts *
GedMatch Accepts ***
LivingDNA Accepts ****
Yes, fully compatible
Yes, partly compatible
* The transfer to Family Tree DNA and matching is free, but advanced tools including the chromosome browser and ethnicity require a one-time $19 unlock fee. That fee is less expensive than retesting, but V4 customers should consider retesting to obtain fully compatible matching. V4 tests won’t receive all of the distant matches that they would if they tested at Family Tree DNA
** MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA use the same testing chip, but MyHeritage utilizes a technique known as imputation to achieve compatibility between different vendors files. The transfer and matching is free, but advanced tools require a one-time $29 unlock fee unless you are a MyHeritage subscriber. You can read about the various options here.
***GedMatch recently transitioned to their Genesis platform and is still working on matching between multiple vendors highly disparate chips with little overlapping test regions. Patience is key. Matching is free, but the more advanced features require a Tier 1 subscription for $10 per month.
**** LivingDNA accepts files, but their matching is still in an early testing phase. They have also just changed DNA testing chips so the net effect is unknown. I will review their features later in 2019.
23andMe Testing and Transfer Strategy
My recommendation, if you’ve tested at 23andMe, depending on your test version, is as follows:
V2 – Upgrade (retest) at 23andMe to newer test version.
V4 or V5 – Test at either Family Tree DNA or MyHeritage and transfer to the other one. You never know which match is going to break down that brick wall, and it would be a shame to miss it because you transferred rather than retested.
I receive a small contribution when you click on the link to one of the vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay, but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
I’ve been keeping this secret and I’ve been about to burst!
Today MyHeritage announced their second MyHeritage LIVE Conference, to be held this year in Amsterdam, September 6-8.
Last year’s conference in Oslo was amazing, and this year’s will be too – plus – Amsterdam is a super cool and fun city. Canals, history, genealogy, museums, jewelry (the diamond capital of the world,) amazing food and did I mention…genealogy. It’s impossible to NOT have fun in Amsterdam so plan to stay a few extra days!
I love Amsterdam, but then again, I have Dutch ancestry on both sides of my family. So, yes, I’ll be there. I can’t miss this one! I hear my ancestors calling.
Ok, down to brass tacks.
Conference tickets include:
Lunches on Saturday and Sunday
Friday night drink reception
MyHeritage party on Saturday night
Editorial comment – MyHeritage knows how to throw a party. Seriously!
The list of speakers other than Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage Founder and CEO, who is an amazing, inspirational speaker, hasn’t been announced yet. In Oslo the speakers included MyHeritage staff and industry recognized experts on both genealogy and DNA.
One of the features many people enjoyed was the hands-on workshops.
From my perspective, one of the best things about the conference was getting to meet, talk to and exchange information with other people from around the world.
Early-bird ticket pricing at 150 Euro or about $170 US is in effect until July 31st, but seats are limited and they may sell out. Amsterdam is a major European airline hub, so very easy to reach.
You can register for MyHeritage LIVE now at this link.
Many of the DNA sessions and workshops feature or include genetic genealogy information and if you have DNA test results at MyHeritage, it’s much easier to understand what the speakers or workshop leaders are discussing.
I receive a small contribution when you click on the link to one of the vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
The family in Fussgoenheim, Germany said that Margaretha was supposed to have been a twin. Her birth year was given as 1774 by a cousin who lived there.
Her twin was reported to be Anna Elisabeth Koehler who married Johann Matthias Koob. The problem is that I was unable to find a second child, a twin, born in October 1781 when Anna Elisabetha was born. Plus, the years of 1774 and 1781 aren’t exactly twin material.
Furthermore, I could find no record of any twins at all in this family. Twins, especially twins that survived, were extremely rare due to the propensity for twins to be born prematurely.
Of course, every Koehler family in this entire region named their daughters the exact same names, so sometimes it’s very difficult to assemble these records into families unless the records are very precise or you can retrofit using multiple records.
As it turned out, I spent years spinning my wheels about twins when it didn’t matter.
The German relatives were insistent though, and I thought surely, surely, they knew what they were talking about. Marliese, the mother of my corresponding cousin was a pen pal with Kirsch/Koehler family members in the US during the bombings in WWII – not all THAT far removed from when Anna Margaretha died. A little over 100 years. Marliese, then a teenager, lived in the same village and her family knew the family history. Her grandparents were still living, reaching back generationally into the mid-1800s. Who was I, a Johnny-come-lately, to question?
By the time I started asking questions, another half century+ had passed and the cousin’s daughter in Germany was NOT pleased about me asking “Do you know where your Mom found that piece of information?” over and over again. Eventually, I stopped asking for fear of receiving NO information. Not long after, she stopped writing. I think she was experiencing heath issues. I was extremely grateful for what she did provide, because photos and other items she sent would have been impossible for me to discover any other way.
Thankfully the family in Indiana, so grateful for those WWII letters, had saved them and shared them with me. God bless those cousins, in particular Irene Bultman, all now gone to dwell with the ancestors.
I’ve now killed the twin rumor, but what do we have left?
Margaretha Elisabetha’s Son’s Marriage Record
One reason this family was so difficult to unravel was because Margaretha Elisabetha’s name was recorded more than one way. In her son, Philip Jacob Kirsch’s marriage record, her name is given simply as Margaretha.
Typically, using German naming conventions, the first name is never used except formally, with the middle name used as the common name. Given the German naming convention, Margaretha would have applied had she been named Elisabetha Margaretha or Anna Margaretha. In fact, any first name plus Margaretha for a middle name – since German children were called by their middle names.
Except…except…she wasn’t named Elisabetha Margaretha but Margaretha Elisabetha. It also turns out she wasn’t Anna Margaretha, another candidate, either. But getting to this conclusion was a twisty turny mud path with potholes thrown in for good measure.
I was only called by my middle name, in addition to my first name, when I was in one heap of trouble. I wonder if that came from Mom’s German side.
These records were so difficult to sort through back in the 1980s when I realized I really needed to sort through them and not just take family information as gospel. You might laugh today, but truly, that was quite a surprise revelation to me, and I didn’t come to that realization until I received conflicting information from 3 different cousins, all of whom “should know.”
I still remember that day, realizing that EVERY piece of information I had might be in error, because some of it unquestionably had to be wrong. Three different people for a mother simply could not be accurate.
I had to start from scratch.
I was not happy. I think that was the day I went from a genealogical gatherer to a hunter. Something I never intended to be.
But I had to sort that one question out.
Just that one question….
Yea, right. The moon is made of cheese and the earth is flat too.
Research in the 1980s
Research in the 1980s was challenging in and of itself – the genealogical equivalent of walking uphill in the snow, both ways.
First, I had to visit the local Family History Center and search through the indexes for names of people who might be the person of interest. Some indexes were computerized, some were on fiche and some indexes had to be ordered on microfilm.
After finding the index entry I was interested in, I had to order the photo image of each record from the church at the Family History Center and wait for its arrival. Many of these images are available online today.
I would go back to the FHC (20 miles each way) to retrieve the record when it arrived from Salt Lake City. Then I packaged up the image, along with the church index record that I had ordered from and sent everything to Elke, my German translator.
Elke translated each record by hand and sent the entire document set back, stapled together, thankfully. From these individual records, I assembled families, first on group sheets and then in PAF, Personal Ancestral File, a now-defunct genealogy program that ran on a computer that was physically huge, but much less powerful than our phones today.
Hard to believe we ever accomplished anything, but we did – just V-E-R-Y slowly!
Internet searches are truly a Godsend.
Bread Crumb Trail Builds Family Records
Along the way, as Elke translated each record, I assembled a series of hints. For example, from Margaretha Elisabetha’s children’s marriage records, we discovered that Margaretha Elisabetha was alive in 1821 but dead by 1829. Those records bracketed her death year, but her death record itself was stubbornly elusive.
In 1819, Margaretha Elisabetha’s husband, Andreas Kirsch died at the young age of 45, leaving a 47 year old widow with children to raise. I’m suspecting that Margaretha Elisabetha and her surviving children worked in the fields together outside the village of Fussgoenheim. What choice did she have except to do the work of her deceased husband in addition to her own?
In 1819 when Andreas died, Margaretha Elisabetha’s family consisted of at least 3 if not 4 living children.
Age in 1819
August 17, 1896
23, if alive
Catharine Barbara Kirsch
Sept. 13, 1798
Died in 1817
Johann Adam Kirsch
Dec. 5, 1798 (clearly there is a year or parent issue – two children cannot be born 3 months apart)
21, died in 1863
May not be her child. No birth record found. Married Maria Katharina Koob.
Three or four children ranging between the ages of 23, if Andreas (Jr.) was alive, and 13 were living when Andreas (Sr.) died. Philip Jacob Kirsch continued his father’s name by naming his youngest son Andreas, or Andrew in the US, but that son died at 4 years of age.
I’m guessing that the family remained together, with everyone living in the same house or with the eldest son as the family morphed. As her family matured, Margaretha Elisabetha gradually changed from being the head-of-household to the matriarch and then, perhaps, to being cared for by others until she passed.
Unfortunately, Margaretha Elisabetha died in 1823, just two weeks shy of her 51st birthday and just prior to the 4th anniversary of Andreas death. Philip Jacob, her youngest child and my ancestor was only 17 at the time.
Daughter Anna Margaretha Kirsch had already married in 1821, so Philip Jacob likely lived with his sister and her husband, Martin Koehler. That probably explains the bond between these two families, because in 1848, both families would immigrate to the US together, settling in Ripley County.
Records Confuse the Issue
OMG, I have no hair left! And I was doing this to relax.
Let’s just say that finding a death record for the person who DID turn out to be Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler under the name of Anna Margaretha Koehler Kirsch really threw me for a loop.
Everything was right – the parents, the husband, AND, there was indeed one Anna Margaretha Koehler born to those parents. But was Anna Margaretha who died in 1823 really the daughter of Peter Koehler and Anna Elisabetha Scherin named Anna Margaretha or was that daughter Margaretha Elisabeth?
“Anna Margaretha” Dies
Sadly, Margaretha Elisabetha or Anna Margaretha, the wife of Andreas Kirsch, whatever her name really was, didn’t have a lengthy life – at least not by today’s standards. She passed away at 50. I always wonder about my ancestors’ causes of death.
Furthermore, her death record, which in essence the only “tombstone” she has today is recorded under the wrong name.
Andreas had already died in 1819. Margaretha died only 4 years later. Tom was kind enough to translate Anna Margaretha’s actual death record from the Fussgönheim, Bavaria Evangelical Church records.
On the 21st of April 1823 died and on the 23rd was buried, Anna Margaretha KIRSCH, widow of the late Andreas KIRSCH, aged 49y11m22d. Her parents: Peter KÖHLER from Ellerstadt and Anna Elisabetha SCHERR.
Dang! Now what?
WHAT IS HER DOGGONE NAME???
I thought, based on that death record, that I had incorrectly identified Anna Margaretha Koehler as Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler, her sister. Documents had been recorded both ways, so I eventually had to make a chart.
First, I checked her children’s birth records.
Mother’s Name in Record
Aug 17, 1796
Margaretha Elisabetha in birth record
Catharina Barbara Kirsch
Sept. 13, 1798
May 28, 1817
Margaretha Elisabetha in death record. Name not recorded in birth record.
Johann Adam Kirsch
No record translated, may not be her son
Aug. 6, 1811, age 10 years 1 month
Margaretha Elisabetha in death record
Anna Margaretha Kirsch
Feb 16, 1804
Indiana in the US
Her 1821 marriage record says she is the daughter of deceased Andreas Kirsch and Elisabetha Koehler, present and consenting.
Philip Jacob Kirsch
August 8, 1806
Indiana in the US
1829 Marriage record says he is the son of Andreas Kirsch and Margaretha Koehler. Birth record says Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler
Ok, can we find Margaretha’s own birth record? Maybe THAT will shed some light on the situation.
The birth date of April 30, 1773 was calculated from the death date in the civil death record of Anna Margaretha Koehler Kirsch. We’re fortunate that the death record included her exact age and the names of her parents, including her mother’s birth surname.
Years ago, Elke translated the birth records of the children of Peter Koehler and Anna Elisabetha Scherin who lived in Ellerstadt. Peter was the proprietor of the inn called “The Lion” and they had several children, all born in Ellerstadt.
The problem is that they had other children that preclude Anna Margaretha from having been born in 1773, the death record year, or 1774, the year provided by the German cousin.
In 1772, Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler was born on April 30th.
In 1774, Maria Eva Koehler was born on February 23rd.
Clearly, neither of these daughters are named Anna Margaretha nor are they born in 1773.
However, the fact that the actual month and date of the Margaretha Elisabetha maps correctly to April 30th in the civil death record suggests that the death date year calculation used in the death record was off by a year.
Furthermore, Anna Margaretha in the death record is actually Margaretha Elisabetha who was 50 when she died, not 49, based on two pieces of evidence; the day/month match and the consistent use of the name Margaretha and often Margaretha Elisabetha in additional records.
It’s also helpful to know that when deaths were recorded in church records, generally the minister would go back and look up the birth record if the person was born in the same location. However, civil registrations had to take the word for the birth date/year from the people reporting the death who were clearly upset. Registrars recorded the name as they heard it, possibly not knowing the deceased as the local minister would.
That was a lot of heavy lifting.
Margaretha Elisabetha’s Birth Record
Margaretha Elisabetha was born in the village of Ellerstadt, not far from Fussgoenheim where she would live with Andreas Kirsch. Ellerstadt was literally the next village over, 2.6 km or a mile and a half, and the fields tended by the residents of the two villages would have intersected.
I wonder if the young people flirted while tending the fields, or if they met at church, or if the families had simply known each other for generations. Perhaps they “met” as toddlers playing while their parents worked and perhaps tended grape vines in the vineyards.
Today this region is wine country, probably much as it was when Margaretha Elisabetha was born there in the spring of 1772.
The page in the church book recording Margaretha Elisabetha’s birth was titled in Latin, a remnant of Catholicism and the Holy Roman Empire. This made me wonder if the church was Catholic, but it was Protestant.
On the 30th of April, at noon, about 11 or 12 o’clock, was born here a little daughter and due to weakness, as baptized the 1st of May. The father is Peter Koehler, proprietor of “The Lion,” from here and the mother was Anna Elisabetha. Godparents were Johann Jacob Muller, master miller from Heuchelheim and his wife, Anna Margaretha who have her in Holy Baptism the name Margaretha Elisabetha.
Aha, so maybe they met at The Lion as the families intermingled.
Heuchelheim could be another hint as to family members. If they weren’t related, why would a couple from 10 miles away travel to Fussgoenheim to stand up as godparents, especially on quick notice, for a weak child, who they would be obligated to raise if something happened to her parents?
It’s humbling to realize that Margaretha Elisabetha almost didn’t live. This may be the first record I’ve ever seen where a child was baptized “quickly” because the child was felt to be at risk of death actually survived.
Lucky for me that she did.
But this record also served to add to the confusion because I originally suspected that this child had, in fact, perished and perhaps there really had been another child born in 1773, a year later, perhaps with the same name. Reusing a name after a child had died was a typical German custom, although I’ve always wondered how they knew which child they were referencing.
What evidence could I accumulate as to the name and identity of the wife of Andreas Kirsch? Is she really Margaretha Elisabetha born in 1772, an unrecorded child by the same name born in 1773, or Anna Margaretha born in 1765 to the same parents?
Why do these people have to name multiple children with the same names? Were Margaretha Elisabetha and Anna Elisabetha both called Margaretha? No wonder someone thought there were twins. Maybe German Mom’s just named everyone the same thing so when they yelled out the back door and called their kids, they just had to shout one name for each gender and everyone showed up!
“Margaretha, Johann, time to eat!” and poof, all 10 kids plus the husband ran inside! Of course in a German village, using that logic, half the town would have arrived.
How sure am I that my ancestor, Andreas’ wife, really is this weak child? Or is she the older sister, Anna Margaretha, as stated in the death record, 9 years older than Andreas who was born in 1774?
Something is wrong, but which something and how, exactly, is it wrong?
Is this question really settled?
In date order, I created a summary of the pieces of evidence that we have for both names.
Type of Evidence
Anna Margaretha Koehler
March 10, 1765
Birth of Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler
April 30, 1772
Birth of Andreas
Aug 17, 1796
Birth of Catharina Barbara
Sept 13, 1798
Birth of Johann Adam (may not be their child)
Dec. 5, 1798
Birth of Johannes
Aug 11, 1801 (1811 death record might show more)
Birth of Anna Margaretha
Feb. 16, 1804
Birth of Philip Jacob
August 8, 1806
Death of Catharina Barbara
May 28, 1817
Death of Andreas Kirsch
May 20, 1819
Death of Anna Margaretha Koehler, wife of Andreas Kirsch
April 23, 1823
Calculated birth date as April 30, 1773
Marriage of Anna Margaretha
Sept 30, 1821
Elisabetha and Margaretha, separately
Marriage of Philip Jacob
Dec. 22, 1829
Margaretha alone, without any other name, could be either person.
However, the correlation between the calculated birth month/day and Margaretha Elisabetha’s birth, plus the fact that the only record in which the name Anna Margaretha appears is her death record, except for the 1765 birth record with a different month/day, pretty much confirms that Andreas’s wife’s true name was indeed Margaretha Elisabetha and that she was the daughter born in 1772.
In other words, it’s her death record that has the wrong name. Kind of like putting the wrong name on the tombstone, for eternity.
And that, I surely hope, is the final (and correct) answer!
The Kirsch and Koehler Houses
I am incredibly grateful to Marliese, my cousin who was raised in Fussgoenheim. She and her daughter blessed me with some photos that are nothing short of amazing.
Marliese labeled this first photo as the “Old Kirsch home in Fussgoenheim” where she grew up. The man at left looks like he’s wearing a long white butcher’s apron.
The entrance door appears to be in the black portion of the house which I took to be either a barn or garden area. That may be incorrect. I wonder the purpose of the architecture of the black area with the small door. In the photos below, some other houses seem to have similar structures.
The second photo, above, is labeled my Marliese as the Koehler house with an X and the Kirsch house with an O, although according to the first photo above, the houses would have been switched. Which house is which doesn’t really matter, because we descend from both families.
The close proximity of the houses surely explains the generations of intermarriage, although the early Kirsch records are in Fussgoenheim and the early Koehler records are in Ellerstadt. Based on this photo, at some point both the Kirsch and Koehler families lived in Fussgoenheim as neighbors.
This last photo is of a Fussgoenheim street, and I’m presuming the X marks the same location, just viewed from further away. You can see that other homes have a similar “barn door” like structure, with an embedded house type door.
Could this photo be of some sort of parade?
I don’t know enough about vintage automobiles to determine the model of the black vehicle. VW Beetles all look the same.
The Volkswagen was invented in 1938, but not put into significant production until in 1945, after WWII. This photo was probably taken after that but note the horse-drawn wagons as well.
One final photo shows people on the street in front of these homes, probably family members.
I surely want to know if these buildings still exist – and where they were. Unfortunately, Google Street View that provides actual “driving experiences” isn’t available in Europe.
I discovered that if you move sideway on Google maps, even though you can’t actually drive up and down the streets with Street View, you can still see and view the structure of the homes at least somewhat.
The building at left above is unique because it has the house, then the large black area which looks to enclose a garden or barn area, then another piece of the house on the other side before the next house with the 2 upper and 3 lower windows.
There’s no way to verify, at least not that I know of, that this was the original Kirsch/Koehler home. It’s a very good possibility due to the small, what appears to be flat roofed building, to the right that seems to match the style of the Kirsch home.
The house directly to the right of the truck which would have been the other Kirsch/Koehler house has clearly been torn down and replaced with a modern building.
Yes, I really did “drive” up and down the streets as best I could looking for a similarly shaped structure. It’s interesting how actually long and skinny these homes were with the fields to the rear. In one of Marliese’s letters, she stated that in the early 1900s, a field of 8-12 acres was sufficient to support a family.
Marliese, the German cousin, is related through both the Kirsch and Koehler families as well. The families intermarried significantly. Looking at the proximity of the houses, you can certainly see why.
People married their neighbors. Young people courted the people they knew.
The Oldest Known Photo
One last photo was passed down years ago through Joyce Heiss, another cousin, providing enough information that I could determine how this woman fits into the family tree and how I’m related to her.
I initially thought, based on the comment that she came to America with her children after her husband’s death that this was Anna Margaretha Kirsch, the daughter of Andreas Kirsch and Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler, born in 1821 who married Johann Martin Koehler. Anna Margaretha Kirsch immigrated to the US after her husband died, so this seemed to be a perfect descriptive fit – well, except for the name. We already know how confusing names can be.
However, this photo is of a different woman entirely. I had no idea this woman, the daughter-in-law of our Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler, immigrated too.
This photo is of Anna Elisabetha Kirsch born Dec 14, 1828 in Fussgoenheim to Johannes Kirsch and Maria Catharina Koob, probably in the Kirsch house in Fussgoenheim shown in the house photos. She married Philipp Jacob Koehler (1821-1873), the grandson of Andreas Kirsch and Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler through daughter Anna Margaretha who married Johann Martin Koehler.
Confused? Me too.
This is like extracting tentacles of an invasive vine wrapped around a tree – MY family tree in this case.
Yes, it’s complex – and complicated further by the fact that her husband, Philip Jacob Koehler, died in Indiana in 1873, not in Germany as reported on the photo.
In the pedigree chart above of Anna Elisabeth’s husband, Philip Jacob Koehler, the people with the upper-case names are my direct line ancestors. I’m related to Anna Elisabetha Kirsch and Philip Jacob Koehler, individually, several times over.
Anna Elisabetha Kirsch and Philip Jacob Koehler had 5 children, one of whom died for sure as a child in Germany, one who probably died in Germany and three who immigrated and settled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
Martin Koehler born July 16, 1848 in Germany died on January 3, 1913 in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and married Henrietta Doerner.
Margaretha Koehler born October 14, 1849 in Germany died on June 19, 1903 in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and married Johann Freidrich Stuber (1847-1934). They had 7 children, 4 of whom lived to adulthood.
Jacob Koehler born May 28, 1859 in Germany, married Wilhelmina Heckhauser.
This family settled close to my Kirsch family who lived in both Ripley County and Aurora in neighboring Dearborn County, just downriver from Lawrenceburg.
Anna Elisabetha Kirsch died in 1876 of tuberculosis in Dearborn County and is buried in the Riverview Cemetery just outside Aurora. The two Kirsch families knew they were related, although, to the best of my knowledge they weren’t sure exactly how. Or, perhaps they knew exactly and that knowledge was lost over the next hundred years.
Anna Elisabetha Kirsch is related to me on several lines on her maternal side. If I could reconstruct the Johannes Kirsch and Anna Margaretha Koob line, I’m sure I’d share even more ancestors with Anna Elisabetha.
Anna Elisabetha Kirsch shared several ancestors with her husband too. I’m betting they lived in the Kirsch and Koehler homes in Fussgoenheim and grew up as children, neighbors, playing outside together. This pedigree is what endogamy looks like. Some great-great-grandparents appear three times, and probably more if I had information on the missing generations.
Given that Anna Elisabetha is the oldest known photo of any Kirsch/Koehler/Koob ancestor, and I’m related to her through so many lines, I’m betting that my ancestors bore some physical resemblance to her. I look at her photo and wonder which of her features my ancestors shared and passed on down. Are some of her features my mother’s and mine as well?
I’m betting that I would share a LOT of DNA with Anna Elizabeth and perhaps with her descendants if they were to DNA test as well. There’s a lot of common DNA between Elizabeth’s children and the children of my ancestor, Philip Jacob Kirsch. Anna was Philip Jacob’s first cousin, once removed on her mother’s side and also related to him on her father’s side as well. Perhaps it’s a good thing they immigrated to a location where there were unrelated people to choose from as spouses.
Anna’s husband was Philip Jacob Kirsch’s nephew on his mother’s side and his first cousin once removed on his father’s side.
Anna was Philip Jacob Kirsch’s 1st cousin once removed on his mother’s side, and his second cousin once removed, as well as his first cousin once removed and second cousin, both, on his father’s side.
If you’re thinking that this isn’t a family tree, but a vine, you’re right.
Even though Anna Elisabetha Kirsch Koehler is not my ancestor, given how many ancestral lines we share in common, her descendants may match genetically as closely as if she was a direct ancestor. We share that many ancestors and there is only so much DNA in an ancestral population to pass around!
This is the perfect example of why endogamy can be confusing, both in the records, pedigree charts and when looking at DNA results where endogamous relations appear to be closer in time based on how much DNA is shared than they actually are.
Perhaps one day another Kirsch or Koehler cousin from the Lawrenceburg lines will DNA test and we’ll know how much ancestral Kirsch/Koehler/Koob DNA we share. Fingers crossed!
Last year, Rootstech 2018 was an unholy mess. I wrote about that experience here, making several positive suggestions for improvements. I’m sure the Rootstech staff was quite unhappy with me, but that’s OK, because it looks like they’ve implemented several changes that may, just may, make for an improved experience in 2019. Fingers firmly crossed!
I wasn’t planning to attend Rootstech 2019, but I’ve changed my mind, in large part because I really enjoyed meeting the people and vendors – and if you’re a technology person, Rootstech really is the conference to attend.
Plus, well, you know, that library just a block down the street has a powerful addictive draw for genealogists. Genealogy crack.
In essence, I’m attending so that I can report back to you on the latest innovations, products and features you might not otherwise know about. If you can’t attend, you can get the skinny from me – and if you can and do attend, I really hope to meet you.
Hint – I’ll be wearing genealogy and DNA garb. I’m in the process of creating new things right now, but no unveiling in advance.
I may be making cameo appearances from time to time and I’ll write closer to the conference about a possible meetup again this year.
I’m hopeful for an improved conference experience, but I’m still not convinced that Rootstech can handle thousands of people wanting to attend sessions in rooms that can’t handle thousands of people. They may plan better or have spillover or livestream rooms. I may actually choose to watch some sessions electronically.
Changes Rootstech has made include:
Mailing conference badges, so no hours-long registration lines (glory halleluiah)
Badge scanning at the session doors has been either reduced or removed – that part is unclear – we’ll see
For those who can’t or don’t choose to attend, you have more options:
Livestreams of Keynotes
Free Streaming of Many Sessions
Several DNA sessions are included, and some sessions not livestreamed are being recorded for later playback.
If you want to see additional sessions not included in the free offering above, you can purchase a virtual pass for another 18 sessions.
If you aren’t attending, you can purchase a virtual pass for $129, or if you are attending, you can add it for $79 and free yourself up to attend sessions not offered either free or virtually. Here’s a list of what’s included with the Virtual Pass.
It’s not too late. You can still register, but it’s too late to receive your pass in the mail – so you will need to stand in line. The good news is that the lines will be much shorter because many people will be receiving their passes in the mail.
The conference hotels and accommodations close by are full. However, there are still many hotels that are reasonably priced a little further out. I’m staying half a mile away, got a great rate, and will walk if it’s warm or Uber for less than $5 (including tip) if it’s not. A $10 Uber bill is still far less than staying at one of the more expensive hotels.
Really, all I care about is a clean room, reasonable bed, WIFI (really important,) a fridge in my room and hopefully, breakfast. I’m not going to be in my room much anyway.
To be clear, I am not recommending Rootstech – I’m giving it another shot. I enjoy the social interaction with other genealogists, met some awesome people last year, and I look forward to being your embedded reporter.
Just so you know, I didn’t apply to be, nor am I a Rootstech Ambassador, so no free ticket, no access to the media center, no access to celebs for interviews or any other Ambassador perks. I’ll be walking around just like everyone else. I’m therefore also not beholden to promote or write positive articles about RootsTech and the promoters.
I’m sure there will be no shortage of fun things to do, old friends to see again and new people to meet. I can’t wait to find out what’s in store this year. Adventures await!
Elias Kirsch and his family lived in Fussgoenheim – that much we know for sure. Unfortunately, the Fussgoenheim records are in sorry shape.
Fussgoenheim records include the following:
Baptisms: 1726-1798 and 1816-1839
Marriages: 1727-1768 and 1816-1839
Deaths: 1733-1775 and 1816-1839
Those books are not complete, with pages missing and significant water damage. In the words of Tom, my trusty cousin and retired German genealogist, “these are some of the worst German records content-wise I’ve ever perused,” followed by, “your gang is never easy.”
Isn’t that the truth!
Given the situation, we’ll just have to piece Elias’s life together as best we can from what records do exist.
Keep in mind that my collaborators, Chris and Tom, did not transcribe every single church record. They have looked at most of the Kirsch records, and Thomas graciously completed a spreadsheet of what he found.
However, if the records are ever entirely transcribed, we may find significant missing information in the baptisms and other notes in records not found under the Kirsch surname. Godparent notes sometimes describe the relationships between various people, including the godparents and the child being baptized, or the godparents and the child’s parents, or even the godparents’ relationship to each other – any of which might serve as either outright confirmation or breadcrumbs.
So, hopefully, over time, we will discover more than we know today. We’ve been able to piece quite an interesting story together from the breadcrumbs we do have.
Elias Kirsch was Born in 1733
Elias Kirsch May 6 1733 baptism Taufen 1726-1798
“6ten May Ist Joh. Michael Kirsch und seiner Haußfrau Anna Margaretha Ein Söhnlein getauft worden noie [abbreviation for Latin “nomine”] Elias Nicolaus … gett [? cannot read this, but it must mean: witnesses] waren Elias Nicolaus Schnell und seine Haußfrau von Dürckheim”
“On 6 May was baptized a son of Johann Michael Kirsch and his wife Anna Margaretha by the name of Elias Nicolaus. Witnesses have been Elias Nicolaus Schnell and his wife from Dürckheim.”
From this record, we know that Elias Nicholas was named after Elias Nicholaus Schnell who lived in Durckheim, now Bad Durkheim.
It’s likely, but not a given, that Elias Nicolaus Schnell or his wife are related to either Johann Michael Kirsch or his wife, Anna Margaretha, whose last name we don’t know. Otherwise, there’s no reason for them to know each other or travel from Durkheim to Fussgoenheim for a baptism. I was not able to find any records for Elias Nicholaus Schnell, unfortunately.
On the map above, we see that Bad Durkheim is about 11 km or 6.7 miles from Fussgoenheim. Other locations relevant to this family are Ellerstadt and Mutterstadt where the Kirsch and Koehler families would both live when they migrated to America in the mid-1800s. Mutterstadt is about 5 miles via road from Fussgoenheim. In essence, this is all one big community.
All of these villages are located in the Rhine Valley plain, but Bad Durkheim borders the beginning of the low-mountain region known as the Palatinate Forest, shown in green at left on the map above and in the photo below.
By Dr. Manfred Holz (Diskussion) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28600004
We don’t know exactly when Elias married, but it was sometime before his first child was born in 1763. The available marriage records list dates from 1727-1768, but clearly Elias’s marriage record is missing. What we do know, though, through the subsequent baptism records of his children, is that Elias married Susanna Elisabetha Koob.
Children of Elias Kirsch
Tom found the baptism records for four children of Elias Kirsch and Susanna Elisabeth Koob born in 1763, 1766, 1772 and 1774.
The records go strangely mute after that.
Are there any other clues?
Multiple Men Named Andreas
Andreas seems to be a popular name in the Kirsch family.
For your information: There are burial entries for an Andreas Kirsch in 1762 (“Andreas Kirsch, the Elder”) and 1774 as well. So there have been several Andreas Kirschs in Fußgönheim at the same time.
This is potentially relevant because Elias named a son Andreas Kirsch in 1774.
There is a gap in the burial entries from January 1743 to 1762. (The burial in January 1743 for Johann Michael Kirsch the elder is the last one for a long time!). There is another gap from 1776 up to 1816. I found no burial entry for Elias Kirsch or his wife in the years from 1762-1775.
In summary, I am afraid there is not much more I can search for.
So, the entire family disappeared from the records? However, given the evidence that I’m alive and descended from Andreas, they clearly didn’t disappear in fact. It’s just that I can’t find them.
Did Elias Die in 1804?
I frustrate myself incredibly when it comes to the Kirsch family, in part because I began this research 40+ years ago which I simply wrote down what people told me and gave no though to recording sources, or asking them how they knew a given piece of information. It seemed rude to ask, like I was questioning their truthfulness when they were trying to do me a favor. Besides, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t remember.
I was very young and very naïve. I know, right?!!
And I’m paying the price now. At least I was bright enough to WRITE THINGS DOWN!
In my genealogy software, I showed a death date for Elias Kirsch of May 2, 1804. A date that specific is too detailed not to have been found someplace. It’s not an approximation based on a child’s birth or marriage record, for example. But where did I come up with that date, and how?
I began searching relentlessly. Finally, I found a note from a German cousin decades ago where Elias’ death date was shown and the location was noted as Fussgoenheim, the village where Elias and my cousin both lived. This led me, of course, to presume (cousin word to assume) that the cousin had access to local records.
I had no idea at that point in time that the local Fussgoenheim records had been destroyed or were otherwise absent. Besides, absent at the local Family History Center might only have meant that the records weren’t (yet) filmed, not that they didn’t exist. I had already copied the Fussgoenheim church record images. I later copied the Fussgoenheim Civil Records as well, trying to fill in blanks, but all for naught.
Where did this death date come from? Not the church records and not the Civil Records. Not a family Bible because there wasn’t one. Believe me, I asked about a Bible AND I would have remembered that for sure.
I had searched (again) some time ago when I started this article, but I searched one more time – this time with different search criteria. That old adage, “cast the net wider,” might work. I searched for any Kirsch who died in 1804 in Germany, with no first name or location.
What popped up was a shock.
A death record alright, but a FRENCH death record.
That’s not possible. Elias was very clearly German. Besides, he lived and died in Fussgoenheim, not Ludwigshafen, right?
These Ludwigshafen records show a death date of February 4, 1804 in Ruchheim for Elias Kirsch, but is this the same Elias Kirsch? The cousin’s original note said May 2nd, 1804 in Fussgoenheim.
Ruchheim is approximately 2.2 miles from Fussgoenheim, so it’s certainly possible. As we know, there were several Kirsch men in this area, so I was very cautious.
Tom originally translated the death record thus:
Date of the Act: 16 Pluviose in 12th year of the French Republic or 6 February 1804.
Death Act No. 36
The 16th day of the month of Pluviose in the year 12 of the Republic, the Death Act of Elias KIRSCH…..the 15th Pluviose in the morning between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. at the age of 71 years son of the late Michael KIRSCH and Margaretha his rightful? wife from the declaration made by Andreas KIRSCH, ? and farmer here……and Kristoph Braun…farmer …..
Klingenburger, mayor and civil registrar. Mayor’s signature as well as signatures of Christoph Braun and Andreas Kirsch.
We asked Chris, a native German speaker to help fill in some of the blanks, and he very kindly did so, in the midst a whirlwind time in his life. (Thanks so much Chris!)
Death Act No. 36
The 16th day of the month of Pluviose in the year 12 of the Republic, the Death Act of Elias KIRSCH died [verschieden] the 15th Pluviose in the morning between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. at the age of 71 years, son of the late Michael KIRSCH and Margaretha his rightful [yes! recht=mäßige] wife from the declaration made by Andreas KIRSCH, citizen [Br. = short for: Bürger] and farmer here, who declared that he had been a son of the deceased [als welcher gesagt hat er seie ein Sohn des Verstorbenen] and Kristoph Braun, citizen and farmer here, who declared that he had been a neighbour of the deceased and who signed this document. [Br. und Ackersmann allda [?] als welcher gesagt hat er seie ein Nachbar des Verstorbenen, und haben unterschrieben.]
Klingenburger, mayor and civil registrar. Mayor’s signature as well as signatures of Christoph Braun and Andreas Kirsch.
The parents’ names match Elias’s church birth record and the birth year too. Not only that, but Andreas is confirmed in this death record as the son of Elias. Everything aligns – same family. The discrepancy in the death month and year, in part, might be explained by a difference in date conventions in the US and in Europe. In the US, the abbreviation 2-4-1804 would be February 4, 1804 and in Germany, it would be April 2, 1804.
This sure make me wonder how many of my ancestors’ dates are incorrectly interpreted by me.
The death record is signed by Andreas Kirsch, and Andreas was Elias’s youngest child and one of three sons.
It looks like we found Elias’s death record alright, but how did Elias suddenly become French?
The answer lies in the French occupation of the German left bank, the area between the Rhine River and France.
In the 1700s, Germany was still ruled by the Holy Roman Empire and was divided into sections ruled by Princes and royal families. The map below shows the Holy Roman Empire in 1789.
Wikimedia commons map by Robert Alfers
You can see the Pfalz region in the closeup, below.
The Rhine had for centuries been the road into the heartland of Germanic Europe facilitating transportation and trade. Of course, along that road marched and floated armies and invaders as well.
Wars in this part of Europe had been occurring regularly for hundreds of years by this time, and probably as long as humanity occupied this part of the earth.
The German people were weary. They had been displaced over and over again since before the 30 Years War which laid waste to and depopulated this part of Germany.
By the late 1700s, the German princes feared a Revolution, while the intellectuals hoped that the French would defeat royal absolutism. The common people, my families, were caught in the middle and could only deal with the outcome – whatever that happened to be.
When the French Revolution began in 1789, it was just one more in a succession of conflicts that dragged on until France officially occupied the German lands west of the Rhine.
In 1792, a conflict broke out, initially over the rights of German Princes with holdings in France, but it quickly expanded. The hostilities revealed that the civic ideals and French military were more than a match for the Germanic princes, vestiges of the Holy Roman Empire with no coordination among their fiefdoms, concerned about their own turf and not any consolidated whole.
The German lands saw armies marching back and forth, bringing devastation (albeit on a far lower scale than the Thirty Years’ War, almost two centuries before), but also ushering in new ideas of liberty and civil rights for the people.
Europe was racked by two decades of war revolving around France’s efforts to spread its revolutionary ideals, as well as to annex Belgium and the Rhine’s Left Bank to France and establish puppet regimes in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. The French revolutionaries’ open and strident republicanism led to the conclusion of a defensive alliance between Austria and Prussia on February 7, 1792. The alliance also declared that any violation of the borders of the Empire by France would be a cause for war.
Prussia and Austria ended their failed wars with France but (with Russia) partitioned Poland among themselves in 1793 and 1795. The French took control of the Rhineland, imposed French-style reforms, abolished feudalism, established constitutions, promoted freedom of religion, emancipated Jews, opened the bureaucracy to ordinary citizens of talent, and forced the nobility to share power with the rising middle class.
Feudalism was a social system wherein the nobility held land from the crown in exchange for military service. Vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles and peasants, villeins or serfs were obligated to live on their lord’s land and give him homage, labor and a share of the produce in exchange for military protection.
In other words, no one other than the crown or nobility actually owned land. Freedom was restricted and military duty was mandatory. It wasn’t quite slavery, but it certainly restricted freedoms in many ways. In essence, it was economic slavery with no way to free oneself. Even emigration required permission.
The French-imposed reforms beginning in 1793 proved largely permanent and modernized the western parts of Germany. However, despite these welcome reforms, when the French tried to impose the French language, German opposition grew in intensity. The French had crossed an emotional line in the sand.
A Second Coalition of Britain, Russia, and Austria then attacked France but failed. Napoleon established direct or indirect control over most of western Europe, including the German states.
Clearly, based upon these civil records, the mandate of the French language was implemented and upheld, at least officially. Knowing the tenacious nature of the German people, I’m sure not one word of French was spoken when they had any choice.
After 1793 French revolutionary troops occupied the German lands on the left bank of the Rhine known as the Palatine Region, and for the next 20 years their inhabitants were governed from Paris. Yet there is no evidence that the Germans were dissatisfied with French rule or at least no evidence that they strongly opposed it. Devoid of a sense of national identity and accustomed to submission to authority, they accepted their new status with the same equanimity with which they had regarded a succession to the throne or a change in the dynasty.
Wikipedia tell us that:
Following the Peace of Basel in 1795 with Prussia, the west bank of the Rhine was ceded to France.
Napoleon I of France relaunched the war against the Empire. In 1803 he abolished almost all the ecclesiastical and the smaller secular states and most of the imperial free cities. New medium-sized states were established in south-western Germany.
By ziegelbrenner – own drawing/Source of Information: Putzger – Historischer Weltatlas, 89. Auflage, 1965; Westermanns Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, 1969; Haacks geographischer Atlas. VEB Hermann Haack Geographisch-Kartographische Anstalt, Gotha/Leipzig, 1. Auflage, 1979., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9024294
With the defeat of Napoleon’s France in 1814, Bavaria was compensated for some of its losses, and received new territories such as the Grand Duchy of Würzburg, the Archbishopric of Mainz (Aschaffenburg) and parts of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. Finally in 1816, the Rhenish Palatinate was taken from France in exchange for most of Salzburg which was then ceded to Austria in the Treaty of Munich (1816).
It’s no coincidence that we see the church records recording births, deaths, and marriages resume, in German, in Fussgoenheim in 1816.
The French rule was over. The official language returned to German, although I’m willing to bet that while the upper-class society spoke French, the peasants and farmers in the villages never did.
They simply waited.
Some, of course, like Elias, died waiting – but his grandson Philip Jacob Kirsch, born in 1806, two years after Elias’ death, tired of constant turmoil in the Palatinate, would take his German-speaking family to Indiana in 1848 where they still spoke primarily or at least occasional German for another 100+ years.
Some of that strong German bloodline is discernible in his descendants today.
Kirsch Autosomal DNA
Because the Kirsch family didn’t immigrate until the mid-1800s, we don’t have as many descendants in the US today to DNA test as lines that have been in the states since colonial times.
Thankfully, another Kirsch descendant and his family are also interested in the Kirsch genealogy and agreed to DNA test.
It’s particularly interesting, because while Mr. Kirsch’s daughter and I don’t have an autosomal DNA match, he and my mother have a significant match, on six substantial segments, shown in red below. In fact, other than immediate family, my Mom is his closest match.
On the chromosomes above, Mr. Kirsch is the background person with mother being the red segments matching Mr. Kirsch. For purposes of comparison, I’m the light blue that matches with Mr. Kirsch and my mother on chromosomes 8 and 11. Notice the huge red piece of DNA that I didn’t receive from Mom on chromosomes 3 and 14, the first half of chromosome 11 and the smaller segment on chromosome 4. In these locations, I received my mother’s father’s DNA, because I certainly didn’t receive her DNA from her mother’s Kirsch lineage.
The largest segment that Mr Kirsch and mother share is 42.67 cM and the smallest segment larger than 5 cM is 10.27 cM. Four other people also match both Mr. Kirsch and mother, above, as well. Two matches don’t have trees, one lives in Germany and one in the Netherlands.
Of course, Mom and Mr. Kirsch share both the Kirsch and Drechsel DNA, given that Elias’s great-grandson, Jacob Kirsch, married Barbara Drechsel in Aurora, Indiana. We could be seeing a combination of segments descended from both Barbara and Jacob.
I inherited very little of this specific Kirsch/Drechsel DNA, and my children inherited even less. Obviously, Mr. Kirsch’s daughter didn’t inherit the segments from her father that I share with him, given that she and I don’t match. It’s amazing just how quickly descendants can go from 163 cM of shared DNA in one generation between two people on 6 segments greater than 10 cM, to no match between their children. Genetic roll of the dice.
I do wonder if any of these segments descended from Elias or if they were introduced by a wife’s line in the 4 generations (inclusive) between Elias Kirsch/Susanna Elisabetha Koob and Jacob Kirsch/Barbara Drechsel where the line splits into sibling lines in the late 1800s.
Of course, every segment has its own unique history, so these segments could descend from multiple ancestors in the pedigree chart, above – Kirsch, Koob, Koehler, Lemmert and/or Drechsel.
We won’t know unless some Kirsch and Drechsel descendants who descend from ancestors upstream of Jacob and Barbara test and match some of these segments. One thing is for sure, one way or another, this DNA originated with our ancestors someplace in modern day Germany, a place then known as the Holy Roman Empire.