Katharina (also spelled Catharina) Haag was baptized on April 25, 1716, in the Evangelical Protestant church in the small village of Heiningen, Germany, the daughter of Johann Georg (Hanss Jerg) Haag and Anna Hofschneider.
The Heiningen church records provide us with the baptism date. Generally, the birth would have occurred shortly before, perhaps a day or two.
The first three columns give us the baptism date, the child’s name, which, unusually, had no middle name, along with her parents’ names:
The 25th April, Catharina, Hanss Jerg Haag, baker and Anna, wife.
A lovely tidbit is that Catharina’s father was a baker. I’d wager that her home always smelled terrific as she was growing up. Perhaps she helped deliver fresh bread each morning to the residents in Heiningen as the sun rose over the nearby orchards, fields, and hills.
The final column in the baptismal record shows that Catharina’s Godparents were Johannes Leyrer, innkeeper, and butcher; Elisabetha, legitimate wife of Jacob Kauderer, citizen and weaver. Often Godparents were relatives. In this small village, it’s likely that everyone was related to everyone else.
Catharina was confirmed in 1732 at the age of 16, as reported in the Heiningen local heritage book.
Eleven years later, at the age of 27, on November 12, 1743, in her home parish of Heiningen, Katharina married Johann Jakob Lenz, a former military man from a village about 20 miles distant. Jakob’s first wife had died a few months earlier, in January, and their only child perished in the September prior.
Catharina and Jacob’s marriage took place in Heiningen, probably in the bride’s home church, shown in the painting with the steeple towering over the village. The church, of course, was the center of everything.
The marriage record tells us quite a bit:
Jacob Lenz, vinedresser in Beutelsbach, widower and Catharina, legitimate, unmarried daughter of Hanss Jerg Haag(en), citizen and baker here. 12 November 1743, the 22nd Sunday past Trinity.
Given that they were married on a Sunday, I wonder if the ceremony took place during the church service, or immediately after, perhaps. Did the entire congregation simply stay, and was there a meal for everyone in celebration?
Jacob was in the military as a grenadier until 1742 when he ”bought himself out,” not long after he married. Unfortunately, his child died in September 1742, followed by his first wife in January of 1743. Until this marriage record with Catharina, it was unclear what Jacob was doing for a living after the military.
Not surprisingly, Jakob returned home and resumed what appears to be the family, as well as the primary village occupation, that of a vinedresser. He had probably been raised tending the grapevines that produced grapes for wine every fall since he was a young tyke. Grapes were the main agricultural product of the hillsides of this region, and one way or another, every person participated in raising, trimming and harvesting the grapes, and wine production.
Jakob Lenz’s occupation was tied to the land, and specifically to the vineyards lining the hills around Beutelsbach – so it made sense that the newlywed couple established their home in Beutelsbach where Jacob could earn a living and support his soon-to-be family.
Katherina had never been married before, could read, and had always lived with her parents, according to local historian, Martin Goll’s notes from Beutelsbach, here.
Interestingly, an additional note reveals that Katharina, “in her single years, she was suffering from a headache for 6 weeks.”
This causes me to wonder about closed head injuries or strokes, as well as either meningitis, meningismus, or encephalitis – all diseases or injuries which would cause a severe protracted headache that would eventually resolve.
This headache was evidently memorable enough to be recorded in church notes regarding Katharina. This was clearly not trivial, and by the act of being written into the church notes, with a few strokes, “defined her” forever, as compared to other people. It’s one of the few personal things we know about her today.
Katharina departed Heiningen, and her family, at the time of her marriage, moving to Beutelsbach where she and Johann Jakob Lenz lived for the duration of their lives, sheltered beneath the vineyards which you can glimpse here and here.
A Google search of “Beutelsbach vineyards” shows these beautiful photos of the vineyards, many taken in the fall as the leaves turn, all tended and manicured meticulously by hand. It’s among these sculpted hills that Katharina spent almost a half-century of her life and raised her children.
The newlyweds probably celebrated Christmas in their new home, where their first child was born in the middle of the next summer, on July 30, 1744.
Katharina may have had the opportunity to see her parents, siblings, and their families from time to time, but a distance of 20 miles at that time was nontrivial. Nothing like today where 20 miles is just a quick half-hour drive.
The ancient path from Beutelsbach to Heiningen meandered through the hills. The contemporary road crosses the hills, but it’s unclear whether this road was vintage. In other words, the distance between Beutelsbach and Heiningen could have been longer and more circuitous when Katharina was making that trip.
Had she ever visited Beutelsbach before she moved there with her new husband?
Four years younger than Johann Jakob, Katharina died at 75 years of age on May 21, 1791, in Beutelsbach, two years before Johann Jacob would pass. Her cause of death translates as “legacy of nature,” which I believe means something akin to old age.
Katharina Haag and Johann Jakob Lenz had only four children, but collectively, they graced her with 30 grandchildren.
- Anna Lenz was born July 30, 1744, and died on January 31, 1810, both in Beutelsbach. Notes indicate that Anna “has been trained here and raised. Served a few years. Cause of death: inflammatory fever.”
Anna Lenz married Johann Jakob Birkenmayer on April 19, 1774, in Beutelsbach and had 8 children, including four daughters:
- Maria Barbara Birkenmayer born in 1775
- Anna Maria Birkenmayer 1777-1834
- Catharina Birkenmayer 1779-1785
- Magdalena Birkenmayer 1781-1867 (died in Schorndorf) and married Johann David Valentin Eisenberger.
- Johann Georg Lenz was born on September 27, 1745, and died on June 3, 1834, both in Beutelsbach. He married Anna Maria Birkenmayer (Birkenmaier) on September 22, 1772, in Beutelsbach and had four children, including Katharina and Johann Georg, the only two that lived to adulthood. His son, Johann Georg, died at age 25, but daughter Katharina married Joseph Lenz, her second cousin. Notes for Johann Georg Lenz state that he can read and write. He always lived with his parents and died of old age at age 89.
I can’t help but wonder if Johann George’s wife was the sibling of Anna Lenz’s husband, Johann Jakob Birkenmayer.
This family register from the Beutelsbach church, above, shows Johann George Lentz and his wife, Anna Maria Birkenmaier.
- Jakob Lenz, my ancestor, was born on February 1, 1748, died on July 2, 1821, in Beutelsbach and married Maria Margaretha Gribler or Grubler on November 3, 1772, in Beutelsbach. They had 9 children, three of whom died as babies.
- Georg Friedrich Lenz was born on January 13, 1750, in Beutelsbach, married Christina Koch (died 1803) on April 16, 1776, and had 9 children. Notes for Georg Friedrich reveal that he was raised in Beutelsbach, and his occupation was a vinedresser, the same as his father, spending his life working in the vineyards. He married second to Anna Maria Kreiger on February 2, 1807, but had no children by this marriage.
Katharina had her last child in 1750, at age 34. This, in and of itself, is rather unusual. Most women had children for another 6-10 years until they were minimally 40. There are no children born to this couple and buried during this time.
The descendants of Katharina’s daughter Anna Lentz through all females to the current generation (which can be males), are the only candidates to carry Katharina Haag’s mitochondrial DNA. Anna’s daughters are noted above.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mothers to both sexes of their children, but only females pass it on. Mitochondrial DNA, unlike autosomal DNA, is not halved in each generation, nor is it mixed with the DNA of the father. Mitochondrial DNA provides us with a glimpse far back in time – reaching back to Katharina’s mother’s mother’s mother’s direct line – and on back into the distant past.
If you descend from Katharina through all females to the current generation, I have a mitochondrial DNA testing scholarship for you. Just leave a comment or get in touch with me.
Who knows what discoveries await!
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