Susanna Elizabetha Koob was born to Johann Theobald Koob and Maria Catharina Kirsch in Fussgoenheim, Germany on June 17, 1731.
Susanna Elizabetha’s baptism, found by Christoph and translated by Tom tells us quite a bit.
Baptism: 17 June 1731
Parents: Joh. Theobald Koob and his wife, Maria Catharina, a daughter was baptized and named: Susanna Elisabeth
Godparents: Johann Andreas Kirsch & Anna Elisabeth, widow of the late mayor (village elder), Koob.
Worth noting here is that while Anna Elisabeth is referred to as the widow of the late mayor, she is NOT referred to as the grandmother of the child, which essentially eliminates Anna Elisabeth and her husband as being grandparents of the baby being baptized.
Kirsch and Koob Family Vine
The Kirsch and Koob families are heavily intermarried. It’s not a family tree, it’s a vine. This becomes evident in the earliest records and certainly extends back before those records began being kept in 1726. In 1720, there were 30 or 40 families in the village of Fussgoenheim with a total population of between 150 and 200. In 1743, the Kirsch and Koob homes are shown adjacent on a map.
Susanna Elisabetha’s mother is Maria Catharina Kirsch whose uncle was Johann Andreas Kirsch, the baby’s godfather.
We don’t know for sure who Anna Elisabetha, the widow of Mayor Koob was, but there was a Johann Nicholas (Hans Nikel) Koob who was Mayor in 1701 whose son was married in 1728, putting making him a candidate to be the deceased Mayor Koob.
The next record we have for Susanna Elisabetha Koon is her implied marriage since her first child was born in 1663, sometime after she had married Elias Nicolaus Kirsch.
Susanna Elisabetha could have married anytime beginning in 1751. Many records from this time frame are missing, including their marriage record, so Susanna Elisabetha probably birthed several children who are unaccounted for.
My cousin, Tom, found the baptism records for four children of Elias Kirsch and Susanna Elisabeth Koob, born in 1763, 1766, 1772, and 1774.
1763 Elias Kirsch and wife, Anna Elisabetha
A son was born, baptized and named: Emanuel
The Godparents: the mother’s brother, Emanuel Koob and wife, Maria Elisabetha
Born: 23rd of April 1763 Baptized: the 26th of the same Entry No. 50
1766 Elias Korsch and wife, Susanna Elisabetha
A son was baptized and named: Georg Henrich
Godparents: Georg Henrich Koob, the juror and wife, Anna Margaretha
Born: 12th of March 1766 Baptized: the 16th of the same Entry 73
1772 Elias Kirsch and wife, Anna Elisabetha
A daughter was baptized and named: Maria Catharina
Godparents: Johann Theobald Koob, the juror and wife, Maria Catharina
Born: the 30th of September 1772 Baptized: the 30th of the same
Maria Catharina is the only known female child. If Susanna Elisabetha’s mitochondrial DNA exists today, it would be through all females from the current generation, which can be male, through all females directly back to Susanna Elisabetha. If anyone fits this description, please reach out, because I have is a mitochondrial DNA testing scholarship for you. Susanna Elisabetha’s mitochondrial DNA will reveal even more about her heritage.
1774 Elias Kirsch and wife, Anna Elisabetha
A son baptized and named: Andreas
Godparents: Andreas Kirsch and wife, Maria Catharina
Born: the 6th of February 1774 Baptized: the same
It’s difficult to believe that a German couple in the 1700s only had 4 children. It’s much more likely that they had several earlier children and the records are simply incomplete.
Susanna was born in 1731. If Emanuel, born in 1763 was her first child, that probably means that Susanna was 32 when she married. Not unheard of, but not common either. Most German women married about a decade earlier.
Given Susanna’s age, their last child would have been born around the time that Andreas was born, in 1774, which makes sense.
Based on the records we do have, it seems that minimally, we are missing the birth of children in late 1764, 1768 and 1770.
Their child, Andreas Kirsch, my ancestor, was named after an earlier Andreas Kirsch who appears to be Andreas Kirsch born in 1729 who married Maria Catharina Koob, both of whom were related to Elias Kirsch and Anna (or Susanna) Elisabetha Koob.
Their son, Andreas Kirsch, was related to his ancestors, Johann Georg Kirsch, known as Jerg, and his wife Margaretha Koch through both his mother and his father’s lines.
He’s also related to the Koob line on both sides as well. Like I said, a vine.
The red stars are located between Johann Georg Kirsch and Margaretha Koch, and the gold ones on Koob ancestors who must be related in such a small village, although I don’t know exactly how.
It’s no wonder I’m having one heck of a time unraveling these families.
Susanna Elisabetha’s Death
It would appear from the records we do have that Susanna Elisabetha’s life was mundane. She was born, got married, had 4 children, and at some point, died. How exciting could life be in this little farming village anyway?
The answer is – plenty exciting.
About the time that Susanna Elisabetha was born, a political transformation was occurring that would reverberate through the next several decades in Fussgoenheim.
The von Hallberg family acquired first one half of the village in 1728, and then the other half. Beginning in 1729, as lord of the land, Jakob Tilman von Hallberg resurveyed the town, reducing the land owned by the townspeople by two thirds – resulting in a revolt.
In 1743, several families were shown on a map that I believe is Hallberg’s resurvey map. The then-current mayor, Johann Michael Kirsch, the father of Elias Nicolaus Kirsch, Susanna Elisabetha Koob’s eventual husband, Susanna’s father, Johann Theobald Koob, and other town officials refused to sign the land document. They were subsequently jailed for several weeks and then the families were expelled in 1744. Kirsch family members went to nearly Ellerstadt.
In 1750, the court ordered that they be allowed to return, but von Hallberg ignored that order which was reissued in 1753.
In 1743, Johann Theobald Koob, Susanna Elisabetha’s father, is shown as the neighbor of Johann Michael Kirsch. I’d say she married the neighbor boy, but in a small village, they were all neighbors and knew each other well. They were probably all related to each other in multiple ways.
Click to enlarge
Either Theobald Koob owned two pieces of land, which is certainly possible, or there were two living Johann Theobald Koobs at that time.
The history of Fussgoenheim tells us that Theobald Koob was one of the residents who refused to sign the land register. The Kirsch family members were expelled to Ellerstadt, living as serfs there for the next decade, at least. We don’t know where Johann Theobald Koob and family found shelter.
Susanna Elisabetha would have been 14 years old in 1743 when her father was jailed for standing up for both his rights and the principle of his beliefs. In 1744, the entire family was evicted, likely without much more than the clothes on their backs. Von Hallberg confiscated possessions, including clothes, and sold them for taxes, and whatever other sins he could concoct as justification for his actions.
Ellerstadt was a short walk, a mile and a half or about half an hour through the countryside, but still, it must have been terribly difficult for those families to watch other people living in their rightful homes in Fussgoenheim, while the Kirsch family lived essentially as indentured servants in Ellerstadt, within sight of their former homes.
Was Johann Theobald Koob and family living in Ellerstadt too?
This 1871 map is closer to what the area looked like in 1743 than contemporary era maps.
It’s possible that Susanna Elisabetha Koob and Elias Nicolaus Kirsch were married in Ellerstadt, not in Fussgoenheim. They had to be in the same location to court. The eviction order was lifted in 1753, and we know that some members of both families did in fact return to Fussgoenheim, but not everyone. After 10 years living elsewhere, some people had married and otherwise established new lives. For some, there was no going back.
At least a few of these old homes in Ellerstadt today stood then. Susanna Elisabetha Koob may well have strolled down this street with Elias Nicolaus Kirsch before 1753 when the families were allowed back in Fussgoenheim.
Google maps shows a photo of the Protestant church in Ellerstadt, here, but it’s impossible to know if this is the original church, or one constructed or heavily renovated later.
If they married here, it’s likely that the first several children of Susanna Elisabetha Koob and Elias Nicolaus Kirsch were baptized in Ellerstadt here as well.
Many years at first glance appear to be are missing in Susanna Elisabetha’s life, from 1743/1744 to 1763.
By 1763, they were living in Fussgoenheim when son, Emanual, was born, probably living in one of their old family homes that has been restored by the order of the court.
We know that Elias and Susanna were living in Fussgoenheim in 1774 when their last child was baptized, but the records after that are very incomplete. In particular, Fussgoenheim church records are missing from 1776 to 1816 – entirely.
The next piece of information, at all, is the death of Elias Nicolaus Kirsch in 1804, in a record recorded in French.
Why French, and is this really our Elias?
Yes, indeed it is.
Elias’s death is recorded in the civil office of Ruchheim, just two miles down the road from Fussgoenheim, and the actual entry says he lived in Fussgoenheim and is signed by his son, Andreas.
How do we explain French?
Yet another war broke out in 1789, slowly spreading across Europe.
The left bank of the Rhine was invaded by France, beginning in 1793, and was eventually ceded to France. The French Occupation lasted more than 20 years, toppling the Holy Roman Empire with its feudalism and rule by “lords,” like the Hallberg family. This would have pleased Susanna Elisabeth’s long-deceased father a great deal. After all, that’s what he fought and sacrificed so much for.
The warfare displaced many families and caused a great deal of uproar and anxiety – but ultimately, it was like ripping the bandaid off of a festering wound. The result was eventual democracy where citizens actually owned land that could not be taken away by the mandate of nobility and military service was not mandatory at the whim of a royal family.
If Susanna Elisabetha was still living, she would have been 62 in 1793.
We don’t know exactly what happened in Fussgoenheim and the surrounding area during this war, but a preamble to the Mutterstadt church records mentions that the residents had to flee across the Rhine “again” and were absent for about 5 years. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the years this entry was referring to, although the minister said that even baptism by a Catholic priest, if one could be found, was better than nothing. Some people stayed behind.
Mutterstadt isn’t far, only about 4 miles, so I’d wager whatever was happening in Mutterstadt was also happening in Fussgoenheim.
Elias’s death record in 1804 does not mention his wife, nor his marital status, but that’s not terribly unusual for a male.
There are no later death records that look to be hers, but many records are absent, although these French records appear to overlap slightly with when the German Fusssgoenheim church records begin again in 1816.
Based on what we know, it appears that Susanna Elisabetha passed on sometime between the end of the Fussgoenheim records in 1776 and the beginning of the French death records for this region in 1798.
Anything But Mundane
Based on what was transpiring around her, Susanna Elisabetha’s life was anything, anything, but mundane. She and her family was sucked into that vortex.
We know Susanna Elisabetha was at least displaced once in 1743, returning to Fussgoenheim sometime between 1753 and 1763.
Did she live long enough to see her children to adulthood?
If she lived long enough, she was likely displaced for a second time about 1793 at about 62 years of age.
Susanna Elisabetha could have died, a refugee, someplace across the Rhine. Or, she could be buried in the Fussgoenheim churchyard.
I don’t know which to wish for, because if she is buried in Fussgoenheim before the war, she maynot have lived to attend hr children’s weddings or know her grandchildren. The only child we know anything about is Andreas, her youngest child, who began having children about 1795. For all we know, Susanna Elisabetha’s other children may not have survived – and I fear that’s the case, because there are no records. That of course would mean that only one of her children survived. At least if she’s buried in the churchyard in Fussgoenheim, she’s buried among her children and family.
On the other hand, if Susanna Elisabetha died across the Rhine, she was living once again as a displaced refugee, vulnerable and dependent upon the charity of others. Possibly buried in a pauper’s grave, entirely lost to time.
It’s no wonder following decades of upheaval that shortly after the French occupation ended, immigration to the US would begin in earnest. At least two of Susanna Elisabetha’s grandchildren would heed that call, founding the Kirsch line in Indiana along the Ohio River.
Rest in Peace, Susanna Elisabetha, wherever you are.
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Fussgoenheim! That has gotten my attention. How strange that two random people (you and I) would have ancestors from this tiny village. My connection is the Borstler family. My Jacob Borstler, b 1700 in Fussgoenheim, married Catherine Peter, b 1706 in Solingen. He immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1724 per Moravian church records. His parents were Dewald Borstler and Marie Catherine Kemp. I have no other early information and can’t find an early link to your family. How in the world do you dig up all this information? I knew something happened to all those church records. Most interesting.
I write one generation at a time which is why you can’t find older links.