Several of my German families lived in the Palatinate in Germany before, during, and after the Thirty Years’ War.
The Palatinate, also known as the Pfalz, encompassed an area that stretches today from Bad Kreuznach in the north to Schweigen in the south. It is bounded on the east by the great Rhine River, and on the west by the smallest German state, Saarland.
I’ve indicated these landmarks with the arrows, above. The Palatinate is the roughly circular area in the center.
You can see in this larger photo of the region that not only does this area share a border with France, it’s small as compared to its massive neighbor.
During the Thirty Years’ War, the areas on the western side of the Rhine were utterly devastated, laid to waste, and depopulated for decades stretching into generations.
Historian and archivist, Winfried Seelinger at the Dannstadt archives calls this region, “God’s Little Acre” and says that it has probably always seemed so. Not only is the Rhine basin the warmest, sunniest corner of Germany, its fertile fields grow the famous German wines along with fruits and vegetables. As he says, people who descend from ancestors here come from sturdy stock – survivors of wars, pestilence, misery, and hard work. For those who did survive, there are many more who didn’t.
After the Thirty Years’ War ended, some of the original families tried to return to the area where they had previously lived. Virtually nothing was left – no semblance of their previous life except perhaps for rubble. The homes were destroyed, probably burned, and the fields were overgrown from 30 years of neglect.
To give you an idea of what 10-15 years of neglect in a field looks like, the photo above is the field behind my house. When we first moved here, the owners mowed the entire field because it was used as a horse pasture. No trees were standing. The woods on the far side of the field was mature when we arrived.
Sometime between 10 and 15 years ago, they stopped mowing the part of the field on the left half of the photo where the trees are growing. Keep in mind that this field is down a steep hill that is probably the height of a two story house, or maybe more, so the trees on the left are probably 3 or 4 stories high today. And this in just half of the duration of the war. After 30 years, the German farmers would literally have to start over, especially if they were growing investment crops such as orchards and vineyards where the vines and trees must be mature to produce. I can only imagine the level of dejection they must have felt if they did return to survey the extent of the damage and they found a scene like this amid ugly, overgrown rubble reminding them of death. The mocking ghost of a life that once was.
Some families did not attempt to return. Many didn’t survive and for those who did, thirty years is a generation. Young couples in 1618, if alive, were old in 1650. Few records survive from contemporaneous resources. Many that do were written later, or, in some cases, have to be inferred.
Before I discuss the records that involve multiple ancestors, I want to review the Thirty Years’ War and how it affected the Palatinate, called the Pfalz at that time in Germany. The region, on the fertile Rhine plain but within sight of the mountains and Palatinate Forest was then and is still known for its vineyards. In fact, one of the 1700s records in Fussgoenheim refers to the “wine tavern.”
Hambach Castle, now rebuilt and overlooking vineyards, below, near Neustadt, guarded the way on the old Roman trade routes and marked a location on the Way of St. James, also known as the Camino de Santiago, the point from where Emperor Henry IV began his pilgrim’s Walk to Canossa in 1076.
The Palatinate is steeped in history, and the families that resided there at the beginning of the 30 Years’ War likely had lived on same lands in the Rhine Valley, God’s Little Acre, for time out-of-mind – loving, fighting, defending their rich heritage. They were the descendants of Celts who had settled along the Rhine River hundreds to thousands of years before.
The Protestant Reformation began in 1517 and was quite influential across Germany and England by 1534, eventually rocking the religious foundation of all of Europe. Early, the Palatinate remained Catholic, but in the 1560s, under Elector Frederick III, adopted Calvinism and became the bulwark of the Protestant cause in Germany. The Palatinate was divided into two parts, the upper and lower region. The area west of Mannheim, Worms and Ludwigshafen was in the lower region, known as the Rhenish Palatinate.
The Thirty Years’ War began in 1618 when the Protestant-dominated Bohemian Estates offered the Crown of Bohemia to Frederick the Vth, grandson of Frederick III, rather than the conservative Catholic, Emperor Ferdinand II.
Frederick V accepted the Bohemian Crown in 1619 and was driven from Bohemia in 1620.
By this time, the Thirty Years War was in full swing and the Catholic troops utterly devastated the Palatinate over the next three years.
This epoch was absolutely brutal in the Pfalz as is illustrated in this drawing titled, “Les Grandes Miseres de la guerre,” drawn in 1632/1633.
According to Winfried, the area of the Palatinate where my ancestors are found after the war was entirely depopulated and abandoned. The population of this region was almost entirely wiped out, beginning in 1620 with the Palatinate Campaign, also known as the Spanish conquest of the Palatinate.
In August 1620, the Army of Flanders in the service of the King of Spain and headquartered in Brussels, 25,000 men strong, marched into the Lower Palatinate. By the first of October, they had taken several major cities. Fighting raged throughout the region with the Catholic troops engaged in scorched-earth warfare.
One by one, the major cities fell and the smaller villages were pillaged, looted and burned. In November 1623, nearby Mannheim fell, leaving only the fortified city of Frankenthal under Protestant control. Frederick fled into exile, but the citizens had no place to go as the Spanish occupied the Palatinate.
A year later, Frankenthal, shown above, where many of my family members had sought refuge, fell too and would not be reconstructed until 1682. During that time, people lived amid the ruins as best they could. In 1789, Frankenthal was again burned to the ground. No place was safe and people earlier displaced were once again on the move, seeking shelter anyplace they could find hope of safety.
The Protestant army in the Palatinate was a volunteer effort coordinated by an English knight. They became isolated into pockets by defeats in several regions and finally in March of 1623, James I, King of England and the father-in-law of Frederick V, ordered their surrender.
Frederick believed that his possessions would be restored to him, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, his lands were given to Bavaria and a Catholic counter-reformation was underway.
The population reduction in the Palatinate as a whole exceeded 66%.
This War didn’t end until 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia.
Thirty years is an entire generation, or more. People had found some semblance of a new life wherever they made their “temporary” home, had forged alliances, and were in no hurry to return to devastation in the countryside.
The few people who survived the onslaught sought exile in Durkheim, now Bad Durkheim, Frankenthal and Speyer, all three of which saw enduring warfare and eventually succumbed to the Catholic troops, and fire.
Winfried tells us that the entire Palatinate agricultural region was entirely devoid of population from about 1634 to 1650, and that repopulation was very slow thereafter. Everything had been entirely destroyed, including church and civil records. By way of example, only 5 families returned to Dannstadt, a village of about 7,500 people today, and probably fewer returned to Schauernheim.
In 1670, only about 30 people lived in Fussgoenheim, which could have been only three families.
In both 1652 and 1660, the Bishop of Speyer issued calls for people to come and settle, or resettle, in the Pfalz. Many Swiss and Germans from other areas along with displaced Jews began lives in the villages of the Palatinate.
But warfare STILL wasn’t over.
In 1673, King Louis XIV declared war on this part of Germany, annexed the lands to the Rhine and in 1674, this area was again ravaged by his armies.
The Bishop wrote on January 9, 1679.
The town of Lauterburg, and the villages around there are in such a desolate and pitiful state that the people don´t even have anything to wear. Some have run away, and those who remain do not even have bread to eat.
Winfried indicated that this description applied to all regions in the Pfalz
In 1688, the French King sent nearly 50,000 men with instructions “that the Palatinate should be made a desert,” launching what would become known as the Nine Years’ War or the War of the Palatine Succession. His commander gave the half-million residents a 3-day notice that they must leave their homes, causing thousands to die of cold and hunger. Many who survived became beggars on the streets of other European cities. Again, France devastated the area, annexing it for their own.
This etching shows the city of Speyer before and during the fire of 1689. Speyer was one of the locations that refugees from the villages and farms of the Palatine had fled. Once again, they would have to seek safety elsewhere as the city of Speyer almost totally destroyed.
From 1689-1697, French troops under Louis XIV once again ravaged the Palatinate. Many refugees fled across the Rhine, with France eventually offering incentives for the residents to return when they realized they needed residents to work the land and people to tax. Some did return, but many didn’t, having established new lives. Enough was enough.
Peace and tranquility returned to what was left of the Pfalz as the villages rebuilt not only their churches and homes, but also their population and civil structure. The French, however, were never far away, lurking like a watchful predator. The village of Rehhutte was occupied by French troops from 1734-1745.
In 1756, catastrophic weather conditions including hail destroyed the entire harvest.
Then in 1789, you guessed it, France invaded again.
In 1807, yet another French army did the same. By now, every castle on the Rhine had been destroyed. The French occupied the Palatinate until 1808, sending anything of value back to the coffers of King Louis XIV.
This dark period in history finally ended in 1816, almost 200 years after the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo when Europe was re-divided, and the Pfalz was given to Bavaria where it remained until after the first World War. The Holy Roman Empire and feudalism ended, along with serfdom and constant invasions, which, combined, made the lives of both peasants and wealthier citizens miserable.
Anyone who could immigrate or leave did in the 1700s with many settling with other Palatinate Germans in Pennsylvania. The outward-bound tide continued into the mid-1800s.
The carnage that occurred during the 1600s and 1700s has been described as nothing sort of war crimes. In this drawing, a peasant begs for mercy in front of a burning farm. Few received grace and were more likely to join those hung in the trees.
The Thirty Years’ War itself wasn’t just violent, but led to unremitting famine and plagues. Warfare not only killed soldiers, but legions of civilians as well. Many regions were entirely abandoned, for not only years but in some cases decades.
The population was almost, if not entirely, displaced at one time or another. In most cases, multiple displacements – constant insecurity and danger that only occasionally eased for a bit and never ended.
Pestilence and disease raged. Typhus, scurvy and bubonic plague accompanied the soldiers, infecting everyone in their wake. What few contemporary records exist provide harrowing details of starvation in huge numbers, including reports to the church of cannibalism.
Truthfully, I find it nothing short of amazing that I exist at all today. I am the descendant of people made of unremitting grit and who were the fortunate few. Grit, bravery and determination only take you so far. Eventually, either you’re either lucky, or not.
My Palatinate Families
Needless to say, most Palatinate records, specifically village and church records begin in the 1700s, after the wars of the 17th century ended and the regions had some opportunity to rebuild. It’s not surprising, given what they had endured at the hands of the Catholics that the area was almost uniformly Protestant, Lutheran to be exact, with a few Jewish immigrants and Huguenot refugees settling in the abandoned areas.
My mother had several German lines from the Palatinate.
The first couple, Philipp Jacob Kirsch and Katharina Barbara Lemmert immigrated and settled in Ripley County, Indiana in 1847. As it would be revealed, other close and more distant family members from Fussgoenheim and Mutterstadt also immigrated to the same or nearby locations – retaining family bonds forged in Germany.
Mom’s second line was George Drechsel, from Speichersdorf, and Barbara Mehlheimer, from Goppmannsbuhl, who immigrated in 1852, settling in neighboring Dearborn County, Indiana.
Their children, Jacob Kirsch and Barbara Drechsel married in 1866 in Aurora, Indiana.
Mom’s third German line was the immigrant Johann Michael Miller who immigrated in 1727 and married Susanna Agnes Berchtol. Both of their families were from the Steinwenden/Krottelbach area of the Palatinate. Their children would marry other German families for generations, every generation until my German-speaking great-grandmother married a Dutch immigrant instead of a nice German boy.
Additionally, Mom had several lines known as 1709ers, German people desperate to leave the Palatinate. There was a major freeze in the winter of 1708/09 in the Palatinate. On January 10, 1709 the Rhine River froze and was closed for five weeks. Wine froze into ice. Grapevines died. Cattle perished in their sheds. Desperate, thousands of Palatinate citizens traveled down the Rhine to Rotterdam in late February and March, seeking relief.
Rotterdam was completely overwhelmed and shipped them on to England where the Germans had heard that the Queen was giving free land in America. Their exodus was an unwise gamble born of desperation because they wound up stranded in impoverished tent cities in England in 1709 before eventually finding their way as laborers to the colonies.
Mom also had ancestors from other parts of Germany, but in this article, I’m focusing on the families that lived in the Rhine basin near the neighbor villages of Mutterstadt and Fussgoehein where these families were living after the Thirty Years’ War.
While I’m telling the stories of each of these ancestors as individuals in my 52 Ancestors series, the heartache spread throughout the entire Palatinate, affecting everyone. There was personal loss made worse by a mass mourning. The survivors, while hungry and desperately poor, were still the lucky ones. Most of the people died. All of their homes were destroyed. That they survived at all is nothing short of miraculous.
I’ve placed the several families in German towns and villages in “God’s Little Acre” as far back as I can. After we lose their specific family lines, sometimes we can glean additional tidbits from community history.
Before going further, I want to take this opportunity to thank the following people for their assistance in compiling not only the specific family records, but the history of the region and earlier records of those who carried the family names, but whom we can’t directly place as ancestors. Given the repopulation of the area after 1650, it’s very likely that later citizens in the 1700s with a specific surname were related to the earlier residents of the same name.
- Walter Schnebel – a cousin, now deceased, grew up as a neighbor to the Kirsch family in Fussgoenheim and compiled a great deal of historical information over several decades of research. His family has graciously contributed his research for future generations.
- William – a very generous researcher in a nearby village who has graciously offered to assist my search and photograph some of my family locations. William, I can’t thank you enough.
- Noel – a lovely blog-subscriber who took photographs of the Kirsch ancestral home in Fussgoeheim during her vacation. She’s amazing and I’m so grateful.
- Tom – my friend, cousin and retired German genealogist who I have become very close to over the past several years. I don’t know how I’d do this without him.
- Christoph – my good friend whose ancestors lived where my ancestors lived. They probably knew each other. Christoph, a native-German speaker and history buff discovers absolutely amazing resources that I can’t find. Christoph and Tom joined my life about the same time when Christoph discovered an error I had made!
- Winfried Seelinger – historian and archivist at the Dannstadt archives who gracioiusly sent me valuable family and historical information about this region during the Thirty Years’ War.
- Elke Hall – my German translator in the 1980s and 1990s when I first began this journey. She retired many years ago, but I still find historical and genealogical gems in her long and lovely letters.
- My cousins, Marliese (now deceased) who wrote letters to the Kirsch family in Aurora, Indiana during WWII and her daughter Heike.
- My cousin Joyce (deceased) whose husband Don is also descended from the Koehler, Kirsch and Koob ancestors. Joyce and her husband were stationed in Germany during the 1960s and she began her research then and was kind enough to share before she passed away.
- Cousin Irene Bultman, also sadly deceased, who lived near Aurora, Indiana and provided me with the Kirsch letters that Marliese had written.
- My mother who accompanied me on the trips to find her relatives, or at least the trail they had left behind. I miss her.
- My cousins who have taken DNA tests and provided records to help unravel our family.
- Countless others who have contributed hints, tips, photos or kindnesses. We are not on this journey alone and breakthroughs are so often thanks to the generosity of strangers.
I am incredibly grateful for the presence of these people in my life, their giving spirit and their patience with my never-ending questions.
Let’s start with the Kirsch family beginning with the immigrant parents. Like many families from these villages, I descend from multiple ancestors in the same family line. In small villages, you marry whoever is available to marry, which means you often marry cousins, close or distant. One of the benefits of the displacement due to warfare was the addition of new DNA to the pot, but it also made tracing the families immensely more difficult.
The Kirsch Family
|Philip Jacob Kirsch, farmer||1806||Andreas Kirsch, Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler||1880||Born Fussgoenheim, Germany, died Ripley County, Indiana||Katharina Barbara Lemmert|
|Andreas Kirsch, farmer||1774||Elias Nicolaus Kirsch, Susanna Elisabetha Koob||1819||Fussgoenheim||Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler|
|Elias Nicolaus Kirsch||1733||Johann Michael Kirsch, Anna Margaretha||1804||Fussgoenheim||Susanna Elisabetha Koob|
|Johann Michael Kirsch, Mayor until 1757||C 1700||Johann Adam Kirsch, Anna Maria Koob||Before 1759||Lived in Fussgoenheim, birth location uncertain||Anna Margaretha, surname unknown|
|Johann Adam Kirsch, unterfauth, mayor in 1701||C 1677||Johann Georg Kirsch, Margretha Koch||Before 1740, alive in 1717||Lived in Fussgoenheim, birth location uncertain||Anna Maria Koob|
|Johann Georg (Jerg) Kirsch, baker, co-tenant of Josten estate in 1660 letter||C 1620, married 1650 Durkheim where is a baker||Before 1695||Lived in Fussgoenheim, probably born elsewhere||Margretha Koch|
|Maria Catharina Kirsch||1701-1711||Johann Wilhelm Kirsch, Anna Maria Borstler||After 1772||Married and lived in Fussgoenheim, birth and death locations are uncertain.||Johann Theobald Koob|
|Johann Wilhelm Kirsch, gerichtsmann, court man||C 1670, son of Johann George Kirsch born c 1620||Johann Georg Kirsch, Margretha Koch||Abt 1723||Lived in Fussgoenheim, birth location uncertain, married in 1695 in Durkheim||Anna Maria Borstler
|Johann Georg (Jerg) Kirsch, above||C 1620||Before 1695||Lived in Fussgoenheim, probably born elsewhere||Margretha Koch|
Based on these records, it appears that Johann Georg Kirsch, known as Jerg, spent the time during the Thirty Years’ War in Durkheim, now Bad Durkheim, settling in Fussgoenheim after the war.
In the Kirsch line, you’ll note that the birth locations of the three oldest generations are uncertain. There are no church records in Fussgoenheim until 1726.
We do have a marriage record for Johann Georg Kirsch in 1650 in Durkheim, followed by a record in the archives stating that in 1660, he is the co-lessee of the Josten estate in Fussgoenheim. Of course, that doesn’t tell us where he was between 1650 and 1660, where he was born or where the family was before that time.
There is nothing to indicate that the Kirsch family was in Fussgoenheim prior to the Thirty Years’ War.
Kirsch Immigrants to the US
Walter Schnebel’s records indicate that Kirsch family immigrants from Fussgoenheim, other than my ancestors, include:
- Anna Margaretha “Marie” Kirsch born Feb. 16, 1804, my ancestor’s sister, married Johann Martin Koehler who died in Germany. She immigrated with her brother’s family and children, and died on Nov, 30, 1888 in Dearborn County, Indiana.
Walter lists an Illinois group.
- Daniel Kirsch born September 7, 1795 to Daniel Kirsch and Eva Rosina Haas, married Catharina Barbara Lehmann, immigrated in 1836 and died on December 19, 1837 in Monroe County, Illinois.
- Johannes Kirsch born July 13, 1817 to Johann Daniel Kirsch and Katharina Barbara Lehmann, married Elizabeth Knewitz, then Maria Katharina Mohr, died March 24, 1861 in Monroe County, Illinois
- Maria Catharina Kirsch born March 19, 1821 to Johann Daniel Kirsch and Katharina Barbara Lehmann, married Andreas Probst, died July 18, 1877 in Monroe County, Illinois.
There seem to be three distinct groups, the Monroe County, Illinois group, the Dearborn County, Indiana group and a St. Louis, Missouri and area across the river in Illinois group.
- Johannes VI (John) Kirsch born October 14, 1804 to Georg Heinrich Kirsch and Anna Barbara Ellspermann, married Margaretha Beckmann, died August 1, 1883 in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana. Immigrated in 1853 with their children.
- Anna Elisabetha Kirsch born Dec. 14, 1828 to Johannes Kirsch IV and Maria Catharina Koob, married Philipp Jacob Kohler (Koehler), died June 28, 1876 Aurora, Dearborn County, Indiana.
- Johannes (John William I) Kirsch born August 1, 1835 to Johannes Kirsch IV and Maria Catharina Koob, immigrated in 1859, married Caroline Kuntz in Dearborn, Indiana.
- Andreas Kirsch born October 23, 1817 and Valentin Kirsch, brothers, born August 29, 1819 to Johann Adam Kirsch and Maria Catharina Koob immigrated on September 16, 1936 from Le Havre to New York on the ship “Henry IV.” It’s likely that Andreas is the same person whose gravestone stood at the now-defunct St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Franklin Twp., near where Philip Jacob Kirsch lived, with a death date of Sept. 19, 1891. If this is correct, Philip Jacob is his uncle and it’s likely that Valentine lived locally as well.
It’s unclear from Walter’s spreadsheet if he connected thee following immigrants back to the Fussgoenheim families, or if he was searching for potential Kirsch family members in the US. After looking at the rest of his spreadsheet surnames, I suspect he connected these families in some fashion. Ironically, in the early 1980s in St. Louis, I recall seeing a restaurant named the “Kirsch House” and thought it remarkable. Now, of course, I wish I had stopped.
- Diether “Peter” Kirsch and Susan immigrated to Ohio and had 5 children who began being born in 1842.
- Johannes “John” and Cathie lived in Cleveland, Ohio between 1880 and 1900 along with their 5 children born beginning in 1850.
- Adam Kirsch and Charlotta Louisa in St. Louis Missouri and St. Clair County, Illinois having children born beginning in 1869 in Illinois.
- Adam Kirsch and Mary having children in Ohio beginning in 1877.
- George Kirsch and Caroline having children in Cleveland Ohio beginning in 1874.
- Martin Kirsch and Elizabeth Bernhardt having children in Madison, Illinois beginning in 1885.
- William Kirsch and Lizzie Langenwalter having children in the US beginning in 1891.
- John Kirsch and Emma Salomi Bauer having children beginning in 1890 in St. Louis, MO, Collinsville, IL beginning in 1890.
In the future, if Kirsch males from these lines take the Y DNA test, we’ll know if they connect for sure.
There is a Kirsch DNA Project at Family Tree DNA.
We have a male representing the Y DNA of the Kirsch line.
We don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of Maria Catharina Kirsch. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Maria Catharina through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Koch Family
|Margretha Koch||Bef 1630||Steffan Koch||Married in Durkheim, died in Fussgoenheim||Johan Georg (Jerg) Kirsch|
|Steffan Koch||Bef 1595||Fussgoenheim, Durkheim|
Steffan’s name was likely Johann Steffan Koch and given that he was the Lutheran pastor in Fussgoenheim before the war, he was likely born and trained elsewhere before being called to serve in Fussgoenheim.
Margaretha was likely born during the Thirty Years’ War and Steffann before. In her marriage record, Steffan was noted as the former pastor in Fussgoenheim, which could be former in the sense of “as before the Thirty Years’ War” or former in the sense of presently deceased, or both.
We don’t have either the Koch Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Margretha Koch. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Koch male that descends from the Stephen Koch line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Margaretha Koch through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Boerstler or Borstler Family
|Anna Maria Boerstler||C 1670||Johann Adam Borstler||After 1736||Lived in Fussgoenheim, married in 1695 in Durkheim||Johann Wilhelm Kirsch|
|Johann Adam Boerstler||Before 1650||Lived in Durkheim when his daughter married||Margarethe|
|Anna Barbara Boerstler||1695||Johann Jacob Boerstler and Anna Stauber||1762||Born in Schauernheim, died in Mutterstadt||Johann Sebastian Reimer|
|Johann Jacob Boerstler, Mayor of Schauernheim 1694-1702||C 1659||1704||Lived and died in Schauernheim, possibly born in Beindersheim near Frankenthal although documentation is lacking||Anna Stauber|
Borstler family records are found in a wide range of villages in the Palatinate. In addition to the villages where my ancestors and earlier mentions are found, Walter also shows connections to Lambsheim, Assenheim, Rehutte and Oppenheim, all in this same general area.
Johann Adam Borstler along with Margaretha and Hans Jacob were found in the early records, their births having taken place between roughly 1640 and 1655. Hans Jacob died in 1704 in Schauernheim.
Schauernheim and Dannstadt church records both begin in 1673.
The Borstler family is found early in Fussgoenheim where one Theobaldt Burstler (probably Borstler) is living in 1717 and noted as an old man who has knowledge of the earlier customs, rules and rights of citizens.
Walter Schnebel shows that Johann Michael Boerstler born about 1659 is interviewed in 1717 as well, being the leaseholder of the Munchhof estate.
This would suggest that both of these men were from Fussgoenheim and had knowledge of the area from before the warfare in the 1600s, establishing the Boerstler line in this specific area.
The Borstler family is found as a leaseholder at the Munchhof estate south of Schauernheim and in the early Schauernheim records.
In 1704, Hans Jakob Borstler died after being noted as the Mayor from 1694-1702. This is my second Boerstler line.
Hans Michael Borstler died in 1724 and was noted as a leaseholder at the Munchhof estate. His son, Johannes was born about 1684 and married Maria Margaretha Koob in 1724 in Dannstadt. They continued as leaseholders at Munchhof where Johann Theobald Koob, displaced from Fussgoenheim, then living in Weissenheim am Sand, purchased one quarter of the leasehold estate in 1748.
Boerstler Immigrants to US
Hans Michel Borstler born August 1701 in Schauernheim to Johann Michael Borstler and Anna Margaretha Lackinger, died 1767 in Berks County, PA, married Anna Catharina Krehl in Assenheim in 1726.
Jacob Borstler born 1700 in Fussgoenheim to Johann Theobald (Dewald) Borstler and Maria Catharine Kemp (Kamp), married Catharina Peter in PA about 1727 and died in Berks County, PA.
George Borstler (Berstler,) brother of Jacob, above born about 1712, died in Alsace, Berks County, PA.
We don’t have the Y DNA of a Borstler male. I have a testing scholarship for any male who carries that surname and can document descent from the Boerstler line.
We don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of either Anna Maria Borstler or Anna Barbara Borstler. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from either woman through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Stauber Family
|Anna Stauber||1659||Hans Stauber||1729||Schauernheim||Johann Jacob Boerstler|
|Hans (Johann) Stauber, farmer||Before 1639||Schauernheim||Margarethe|
The Stauber family is found in Schauernheim, according to the Schauernheim history, with Anna born there in 1658 or 1659, but her sister Margarethe was born on October 2, 1641 in Speyer. We don’t where the Stauber family lived before the war, but they were clearly in Speyer during that time.
We don’t have the Y DNA of a Stauber male. I have a testing scholarship for any male who carries that surname and can document descent from the Hans Stauber line.
We don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Stauber. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Stauber through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Koob Family
The Koob family married into the Kirsch family many times over several generations.
|Susanna Elisabetha Koob||1731||Johann Theobald Koob, Maria Catharine Kirsch||After 1776||Fussgoenheim||Elias Nicolaus Kirsch|
|Johann Theobald Koob, leaseholder at Munchhof||C 1705||Johann Dietrich Koob, Anna Catharina||After 1766||Died either Fussgoenheim or Munchhof||Maria Catharina Kirsch|
|Johann Dietrich Koob, Mayor in 1730||C 1670||1734||Died Fussgoenheim, birth location uncertain||Anna Catharina, surname unknown|
The Koob family was found in early records in Fussgoenheim and surrounding villages.
The first mention that Walter found of the Koob surname was in the 1430s where Jost Kob is mentioned as a leaseholder, then in the 1470s and 1480s where Lorenz and Christmann Kob are noted as mayor, respectively, and Velten, Hensel, Hans and Henrich are noted as jurymen. Walter did not indicate where, but since this is the Fussgoenheim spreadsheet I’m using, I’d presume it was there.
Claus Koob is mentioned in 1553 and is noted as the mayor in Schauernheim in 1520.
In 1530 and 1540, Hans and Wendel Kob are noted as jurymen, presumably in Fussgoenheim, with Wendel also noted as a leaseholder. Both also contributed to defend against the Turks in 1585, as did Henrich and Michel.
In 1585, according to Winfried, there is a tax list to “defend against the Turks.” In a separate section of taxed individuals who have a lot in Schauernheim but live elsewhere, we find Wendel Kob, noted as the mayor. We would interpret this to mean he was the mayor of Fussgoenheim during the Turkish invasion.
In 1595 in Mutterstadt, it was noted that the family sought safety for 16 years in Frankenthal. We find mention of children of a Valentine Koob and Margaretha whose children were born in both Mutterstadt and Frankenthal between 1627 and 1649.
Records survive in neighboring Schauernheim earlier than in Fussgoenheim. In those records, we find Andreas Koob who died in 1627 and was the mayor there in 1617.
Between 1613 and 1627, Endres Koob is the Mayor in neighboring Dannstadt. Andres, probably the same person, is noted in September 1592 on the war tax register and again in 1617 on a tax list, noted as Mayor.
We find Koob family members by 1714 in nearby Weisenheim am Sand.
The Koob family was known to have been in Fussgoenheim in the early 1700s. Fussgoenheim records indicate that in 1701, Hans Nikel Kob was mayor and still living in 1717, noted as an old man. Elder residents were providing information about property, family lines, citizenship and such before the war.
Johann Dietrich Koob was mayor in 1730.
Between 1573 and 1701, no information is known about who was mayor, but in 1528, Lorenz Kob was mayor and in 1480, Debalt Kalbe was noted as mayor. This history reaches far back before the Thirty Years’ War, so I suspect that the Koob family was displaced, but then returned.
A Hans Simon Koob died in Schauernheim in 1708 and 1712. In 1709, he’s mentioned as a vineyard owner, so obviously there were two men by the same name living there in that timeframe.
We also find early Schauernheim marriages to Koob females, even though we don’t know who their parents were. Records connect the Schauernheim and Fussgoenheim Koob families, as well as Koob family members who lived in Weissenheim am Sand prior to 1743.
The Koob family living in Weissenheim am Sand who would provide shelter to Johann Theobald Koob after he was expelled from Fussgoenheim in 1743 was likely the son of Hans Nikel Koob, the Mayor of Fussgoenheim.
In Ellerstadt, in a local booklet by Merk, the Koob surname is listed as present between 1736 and 1780 and from 1821-1890.
These families were all somehow connected and lived in this area before the Thirty Years’ War. It’s that connection and alliance that may have saved them.
Koob Immigrants to the US
Georg Koob born August 15, 1865 and his sister, Maria born April 4, 1868 to Johann Dieter Koob II and Elisabeth Claus immigrated to the US.
George Koob died in Port Clinton, Ottawa County, Ohio on May 21, 1942.
We don’t have Koob Y DNA so I have a Y DNA testing scholarship for any Koob male descending directly from Koob males through all men.
We also don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of Susanna Elisabetha Koob, so I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Susanna Elisabetha Koob through all females to the current generation, which can be male or female
The Koehler Family
|Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler||1772||Johann Peter Koehler, Anna Elisabetha Scherer||1823||Born in Ellerstadt, died in Fussgoenheim||Andreas Kirsch|
|Johann Peter Koehler, farmer||C 1723||Johann Peter Theobald Koehler, Anna Elisabetha Ulzhöfer||1791||Married in Ellerstadt in 1762, died there||Anna Elisabetha Scherer|
|Johann Theobald Koehler, tax collector in Rehhutte||1696||Johann Thomas Koehler, Anna Barbara Garnschrag||1767||Seckenheim, tax collector in Rehhutte, Neuhofen in 1735, died in Neustadt||Anna Elisabetha Ulzhöfer|
|Johann Thomas Koehler||C 1663||Mathes Koehler, Anna Maria Zee||1729||Born Seckenheim, married and died in Ladenburg||Anna Barbara Garnschrag|
|Mathes Koehler, church council member, gemeindsmann||C 1645||Wolfgang Koehler||1708||Married in Ivesheim, died in Seckenheim||Anna Maria Zee|
|Wolfgang Koehler, beer brewer and baker in Seckenheim||1622||Johannes Koehler||1708||Born Neckarau, died Seckenheim||unknown|
|Johannes Koehler||Before 1600||1675||Born Mannheim, died Neckarau||unknown|
In Ellerstadt, in a local booklet by Merk, the Koob surname is listed as present between 1736 and 1780 and from 1821-1890.
From the records, it looks like the Koehler family may be one that crossed the Rhine for safety in the 1790s. I’d wager that there are Koehler family lines there that connect with ours that are later found in Ellerstadt. I believe that Marliese indicated that her oral family history indicated as much and that her family had located some distant family members.
Walter Schnebel notes that Johann Theobald Koehler “came in 1761 from the Rehhütte/Limburgerhof to NW.” I don’t quite know what NW stands for, although I suspect Neustadt. Generally, it’s an abbreviation for a town and sometimes, only Walter can decipher them, except he can’t now.
It’s also worth noting that the translation of his wife’s name, Anna Elisabetha Ulzhöfer was translated years ago quite differently, as Jlleshofer.
Walter’s research indicates that in the 1720s, the family lived in Rehhutte and in the 1740s, they seem to have moved to Ellerstadt where numerous records exist.
Koehler Immigrants to the US
The only known Koehler immigrants are the children of Johann Martin Koehler, who died in 1846 in Fussgoenheim, and Anna Margaretha Kirsch who immigrated with her brother after Martin’s death. Three of her four surviving children married in America.
We have a Y DNA tester representing the Koehler line.
We do not have Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler’s mitochondrial DNA. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Margaretha Elisabetha through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Scherer Family
|Anna Elisabetha Scherer||1741||Johann Philipp Scherer, Anna Margaretha||1784||Born Heuchelheim, died Ellerstadt||Johann Peter Koehler|
|Johann Philipp Scherer, innkeeper at the Lion Inn in Heuchelheim||1702||1755||Heuchelheim death, birth unknown||Anna Margaretha surname unknown|
Heuchelheim bei Frankenthal is only 8 miles up the road from Ellerstadt.
Walter shows a Johannes Scherer, “from Burchsal” in Fussgoenheim having a child in 1758 that died 6 years later. Given that Johann Peter Koehler was from Ellerstadt and they married there in 1762, this is may not be the same family line. Bruchsal is the opposite direction from Ellerstadt as Heuchelheim.
We have neither the Y DNA of the Scherer line, nor the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Elisabetha Scherer.
I have a DNA testing scholarship for any male Scherer descending from Johann Philip Scherer through all males to the current generation.
I also have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Elisabetha Scherer through all females to the current generation which can be either male or female.
The Ulzhöfer Family (formerly translated as Jlleshoefer)
I believe this name is spelled Ulzhöfer, based on Walter’s records, but it was originally translated as Jlleshoefer.
|Anna Elisabetha Ulzhöfer||1704||Ulrich Ulzhofer||1735||Born Bruehl, married Seckenheim, died Rehhutte||Johann Peter Theobald Koehler|
This record reaches back to the time when families would have still been resettling after warfare.
This location of Bruehl is far from the area where the Koehler family is found and may not be the correct Bruehl.
We don’t have either the Y DNA of Ulrich Ulzhoefer or the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Elisabetha Ulzhoefer. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any male that descends from Ulrich Ulzhoefer directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Ann Elisabetha Ulzhoefer through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Garnschrag Family
|Anna Barbara Garnschrag||1666||Hans Valentine Garnschrags||1747||Ladenburg||Johann Thomas Koehler|
|Hans Valentine Garnschrags||Bef 1646|
Ladenburg is only a few miles from Mannheim and an area where refugees from west of the Rhine seem to have settled.
We don’t have either the Y DNA of Hans Valentine Garnschrag or the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Barbara Garnschrag. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any male that descends from Hans Valentin Garnschrag directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Ann Barbara Garnschrag through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Zee, Zeh Family
|Anna Maria Zee||1646||1722||Married Ivesheim died Seckenheim||Mathes Koehler|
|Friedrich Zee, Zeh||Bef 1625||1694||Died Ivesheim|
Village center to village center is about a mile, so these people could literally have lived within sight of each other. I wonder if any type of bridge existed at the time.
Note that the surname See is also in Fussgoenheim. I don’t know if this is a different spelling of the same name, and if it’s the same family. These records date back to the Thirty Years’ War, so these families could have wound up just about anyplace.
Zee, Zeh DNA
We don’t have either the Y DNA of Friedrich Zee or the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Maria Zee. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any male that descends from Friedrich Zee directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Ann Maria Zee through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Lemmert Family
|Katharina Barbara Lemmert||1807||Johann Jacob Lemmert, Gerdraut Steiger||1889||Mutterstadt||Philipp Jacob Kirsch|
|Johann Jacob Lemmert, farmer||1775||Johann Peter Lemmert, Maria Katharina Reimer||1808||Mutterstadt||Gerdraut Steiger|
|Johann Peter Lemmert, farmer||1736||Johann Peter Lemmert, Anna Maria Steiger||1781||Mutterstadt||Maria Katharina Reimer|
|Johann Peter Lemmert, customs officer, farmer||1705||Balthasar Lemmert, Anna Barbara Ortwer||1738||Mutterstadt||Anna Maria Steiger|
|Balthasar Lemmert, customs agent, landlord of the White Swan||1676||Johann Jakob Lemmert, Katharina Funckh||1750||Mutterstadt||Anna Barbara Ortwer|
|Johann Jakob Lemmert, court cognant||1636||Needs to be translated||1714||Mutterstadt||Katharina Funckh|
|Rosina Barbara Lemmert (line 2)||1669||Johann Jakob Lemmert, Katharina Funckh||1743||Mutterstadt||Johann Jakob Renner|
|Johann Jakob Lemmert, above||1636||1714||Mutterstadt||Katharina Funckh (Funk)|
Unfortunately, Walter doesn’t have Lemmert on his spreadsheet. His focus was Fussgoenheim, and I have only found Mutterstadt Lemmert records.
We need the Lemmert Y DNA and I have a DNA testing scholarship for any male descending from a Lemmert male through all males to the current generation.
We also don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of either Katharina Barbara Lemmert or Rosina Barbara Lemmert, so I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from either woman through all females to the current generation, which can be male or female.
The Funckh (Funk) Family
|Katharina Funckh||C 1635||Ventin Funckh||Lived in Mutterstadt||Johann Jakob Lemmert|
|Veltin Funckh||Before 1615|
The Mutterstadt Family History book shows the only Funk as Oswald Funk born about 1647 in the Canton Bern, Switzerland and died in 1708 in Mutterstadt. However, the note says the married couple moved from Switzerland about 1710 to Mutterstadt. One or the other is incorrect – perhaps a typo. I do wonder if Oswald Funk is connected to Veltin (Valentin).
Funckh (Funk) DNA
We don’t have either the Funckh (Funk) Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Katharina Funckh (Funk.) I have a DNA testing scholarship for any male that descends from Ventin Funckh (Funk) directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Katharina Funckh (Funk) through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Reimer Family
|Maria Katharina Reimer||1740||Philip Heinrich Reimer, Anna Barbara Renner||1803||Mutterstadt||Johann Peter Lemmert|
|Philip Heinrich Reimer||1718||Johann Sebastian Reimer, Anna Barbara Borstler||1756||Mutterstadt||Anna Barbara Renner|
|Johann Sebastian Reimer, judge||1692||Ludwig Reimer, Anna Margaretha||1766||Mutterstadt||Anna Barbara Borstler|
|Ludwig Reimer, court cognant, master sentinel, watch-master, lieutenant, judge||1651||Bartholomous Reimer, Odilla Kobss||1712||Mutterstadt||Anna Margaretha surname unknown|
|Bartholomous Reimer||1617||1707||Born and died in Mutterstadt, married in 1650 in Frankenthal||Odilla Kobss (is this another spelling of Koob?)|
|Maria Saloma Reimer||1752||Johann Jacob Reimer, Rosina Barbara Renner||1791||Mutterstadt||Johann Philipp Steiger|
|Johann Jacob Reimer, shoemaker||1723||Johann Bernard Reimer, Anna Katharina Sager||1795||Mutterstadt||Rosina Barbara Renner|
|Johann Bernard Reimer, gerichtsverwandter, schoffe, court related, alderman||C 1687||Ludwig Reimer, Anna Margaretha||1757||Mutterstadt||Anna Katharina Sager|
|Ludwig Reimer, above||1651||Bartholomous Reimer, Odilla Kobss||1712||Mutterstadt||Anna Margaretha surname unknown|
|Bartholomous Reimer, above||1617||1707||Born and died in Mutterstadt, married in Frankenthal||Odilla Kobss (is this another spelling of Koob?)|
These records suggest that the Reimer family was from Mutterstadt before the war and returned after. The Koob family was in Mutterstadt before 1650, so the families would have known each other before they sought refuge in Frankenthal.
As I look at the 12 km (7.5 miles) path to Frankenthal, today, I think about the hundreds of families that walked that exact route on their way to desperately-needed safety, probably leaving everything behind except literally what they could carry. Lucky families might have had a cart and an ox to pull it.
It’s interesting to note that Walter shows an Ottilie Koob born about 1627 in Mutterstadt to Valentin Koob and Margaretha. While two children are attributed specifically to Valentin and Margaretha, one born in Frankenthal in 1649 plus Ottilie, four other children were born during this period to unknown parents. Barbara was born in 1637 and another Ottilie in 1644, both in Mutterstadt. Johann Franz and Johann Debold Koob/Kob were born in Frankenthan in 1649 and 1659 respectively. With that much age spread, it’s unlikely that all these children were born to the same parents, not to mention two Ottilies.
Is Odilla Kobss the younger Ottilie Koobs who was born in 1627 in Mutterstadt andperhaps married in Frankenthal while the family was sheltering there?
We have Reimer Y DNA, but we don’t have mitochondrial of either Maria Katharina Reimer or Maria Saloma Reimer. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from either woman through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Sager, Seger Family
|Anna Katharina Sager||1689||Rudolph Sager||1751||Born Ruchheim, married and died Mutterstadt||Johann Bernard Reimer|
|Rudolph Sager||Died Ruchheim||Elisabetha surname unknown|
The name is spelled Seger in some records.
The village of Ruchheim is just up the road from Mutterstadt.
Sager, Seger DNA
We don’t have either the Sager Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Katharina. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Sager male that descends from the Rudolph Sager line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Katharina Sager through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Steiger, Staiger Family
|Anna Maria Steiger||1705||Daniel Steiger, Maria Katharina Klein||1789||Mutterstadt||Johann Peter Lemmert|
|Daniel Steiger, church elder, kirchentester||1669/1670||Johann Theobald Steiger||1736||Mutterstadt||Maria Katharina Klein|
|Johann Theobald Steiger, Mayor 1673-1693||C 1625||1694||Mutterstadt|
|Gerdraut Steiger||1783||Johann Philipp Steiger, Maria Saloma Reimer||1829||Mutterstadt||Johann Jacob Lemmert|
|Johann Philipp Steiger, farmer||1748||Johann Martin Steiger, Maria Magdalena Weber||1794||Mutterstadt||Maria Saloma Reimer|
|Johann Martin Steiger||1716||Johann Theobald Steiger, Anna Katharina Bereth||1758||Mutterstadt||Maria Magdalena Weber|
|Johann Theobald Steiger||1689||Blasius Steiger||1742||Mutterstadt||Anna Katharina Bereth|
|Blasius Steiger, Mayor 1794-1814, customs collector for 7 years||1655||Johann Theobald Steiger||1733||Mutterstadt||Anna Clara Bayer|
|Johann Theobald Steiger, above||C 1625||1694||Mutterstadt|
|Anna Maria Steiger||C 1658||Johann Theobald Steiger||1734||Mutterstadt||Johann George Orth|
|Johann Theobald Steiger, above||C 1625||1694||Mutterstadt|
The Mutterstadt Family History book says that Johann Theobald was born in Mutterstadt in 1625, which is during the Thirty Years’ War. This suggests the Steiger family lived in Mutterstadt before the war.
Steiger, Staiger DNA
We don’t have either the Steiger Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of either Anna Maria born 1658, Anna Maria born 1705 or Gerdraut Steiger. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any male that descends from the Steiger male line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Maria, Anna Maria or Gerdraut Steiger through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Bayer Family
|Anna Clara Bayer||C 1655||Mutterstadt||Blasius Steiger|
The only other Bayer family in the Mutterstadt Family History book is Maria Katharina Bayer born about 1745 in Assenheim and who died in Mutterstadt.
Walter, however, shows a Konrad Bayer born about 1760 who left for the Ukraine in 1785 with 5 persons.
In 1758, an Elias Bayer (Baier) was born in Roxheim to a Joahnnes Bayer and Katharina Schmid.
It’s unclear if any of these Bayer individuals are connected to Anna Clara Bayer.
We don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Clara Bayer. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Barbara through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Bereth Family
|Anna Katharina Bereth||1696||1721||Born Schwetzingen, married and died Mutterstadt||Johann Theobald Steiger|
|Johann Georg Bereth||C 1656||1710||Schwetzingen||Margaretha Ackerman Maudach (of Huguenoten)|
I was not able to find a location by the name of Huguenoten. Cousin Joyce recorded that she was “of Huguenoten,” but I now suspect this was an indication that she was a Huguenot refugee. Was he as well?
Schwetzingen is across the Rhine River from Mutterstadt, which causes me to wonder how this couple met. Is Swetzingen a location where the Bereth family took refuge from the war?
We don’t have either the Bereth Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Katharina Bereth. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Bereth male that descends from the Johann Georg Bereth line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Katharina Bereth through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Klein Family
|Maria Katharina Klein||C 1675||Daniel Klein||1733||Mutterstadt||Daniel Steiger|
|Daniel Klein||Before 1655||Mutterstadt|
Daniel’s parents were probably displaced when he was born.
The Mutterstadt Family History book shows a Jacob Klein born about 1610 in Mutterstadt, married Sept. 9, 1640 in Frankenthal to Veronica and had son Johannes about 1659 in Mutterstadt. This suggests that the Klein family sought refuge in Frankenthal too.
In the Jewish section of the book, Abraham Klein was born about 1759 in Obrigheim, in the Pfalz, married Rosine Theresia Kahn. Two of his children died in Mutterstadt. This line does not seem to be related to Maria Katharina whose name is decidedly more Protestant, with a traditional saint name of Maria.
We don’t have either the Klein Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Maria Katharina Klein. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Klein male that descends from the Daniel Klein line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Maria Katharina Klein through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Orth Family
|Anna Barbara Orth||1685||George Orth||1757||Married and died in Mutterstadt||Balthasar Lemmert|
|Johann Georg Orth, baker||Before 1665||Abt 1696||Mutterstadt||Anna Maria Steiger|
It’s noted in her marriage record that her father’s name is George Orth, citizen of Mutterstadt, but it was translated in other records as Ortwer and in one record as Ortel.
The Mutterstadt Family History books shows his name as Johann Georg Orth, a baker. Walter had access to the original records, not to mention was quite familiar with Mutterstadt families and who they connected to, misspellings or not.
Walter had no records for Ortwer, but several for Orth. However, his earliest Orth records are children born to Johann Jacob Orth and Anna Maria Becker in Gonnheim beginning in 1670.
Another Orth group was born 1700-1730 in Freinsheim, but at least one died in Ellerstadt.
It’s unclear whether any of these connect to the Mutterstadt family.
We don’t have either the Orth Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Barbara Orth. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any male that descends from Johann George Orth directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Barbara Orth through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Renner Family
|Anna Barbara Renner||1721||Johann Peter Renner, Anna Katharina Schuster||1787||Mutterstadt||Philipp Heinrich Reimer|
|Johann Peter Renner, court cognant, farmer||1679||Johann Peter Renner||1746||Mutterstadt||Anna Katharina Schuster|
|Johann Peter Renner, farmer||1645||1709||Born Frankenthal, died Mutterstadt||Susanna Elisabeth Wentz|
|Johann Jakob Renner, farmer, Mayor 1655-1661||1610||Mutterstadt||Margaretha Buchheimer or Anna Elisabetha unknown|
|Rosina Barbara Renner||1732||Johann Adam Renner, Anna Barbara Raparlien||1773||Mutterstadt||Johann Jacob Reimer|
|Johann Adam Renner, farmer||1695||Johann Jakob Renner, Rosina Barbara Lemmert||1746||Mutterstadt||Anna Barbara Raparlien|
|Johann Jakob Renner, farmer||1662||Johannes Renner||1730||Mutterstadt||Rosina Barbara Lemmert|
|Johannes Renner, farmer||1632||Mutterstadt|
|Johann Jakob Renner, farmer, Mayor 1655-1661, above||1610||Mutterstadt||Margaretha Buchheimer or Anna Elisabetha unknown|
Johann Jacob Renner, born about 1610 served as mayor in Fussgoenheim from 1655-1661.
Walter’s note, also found in the Mutterstadt Family History book, says, “Family fled to Frankenthal for 16 years because of the chaos of war, came back to Mutterstadt in 1650.”
This tells us that at least a few families managed to tough it out in Mutterstadt until 1634. I wonder if they left during the Palatinate Campaign from 1619-1622 and returned, only to leave again in 1634. I wonder what caused them to leave in 1634. There must have been some precipitating event. How I wish for journals of my ancestors. Walter’s note about leaving for 16 years in 1734 appears on multiple families, which would suggest that they all decided, together, that it was indeed time to leave, understanding what would happen to everything. Yet, they decided to walk away because their alternate choice was death.
Walter shows that a Wendel Renner was born about 1575 and had 2 known sons, Marx and Hans Sebastian who lived in Dannstadt and Schauernheim. Johann Jacob and/or Johannes Renner might have been his sons as well.
The Renner family was clearly established in this area before the Thirty Years’ War.
Renner Immigration to the US
Walter lists several immigrants:
- Johann Jacob Renner born October 17, 1702 in Mutterstadt to Johann Jacob Renner and Rosina Barbara Lemmert was the brother of my ancestor, Johann Adam Lemmert. Johann Jacob married Helena Barbara Sach in 1726 Oggersheim and died in Chester County, PA in 1766.
- Hans Veltin (Johann Valentin) Renner born Dec. 10, 1703 in Dannstadt to Johann Diether Renner and Magdalena Cheru, married Anna Margaretha Wessa and died in 1780 in Bedminster, Bucks County, PA.
- Anna Kunigunde Renner born April 1, 1711 in Dannstadt to Johann Martin Renner and Anna Magdalena died in 1749 in Pennsylvania.
- Her brother, Hans (Johann) Conrad Renner born May 5, 1715 in Dannstadt married Verena Becker, immigrated in 1738 and died in 1749 in Pennsylvania.
I wonder if this group traveled together.
We don’t have either the Renner Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Barbara or Rosina Barbara Renner. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Renner male that descends from the Renner line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Barbara or Rosina Barbara Renner through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Schuster Family
|Anna Katharina Schuster||C 1690||Mutterstadt||Johann Peter Renner|
Anna Katharina Schuster was having children in Mutterstadt by 1718 and until 1734.
The Mutterstadt Family History book shows only later Schusters who originally hailed from Altlussheim.
We don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Katharina Schuster. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Katharine Schuster through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Wentz Family
|Susanna Elisabetha Wentz||C 1640||1721||Died in Mutterstadt||Johann Peter Renner|
Walter’s records provide us with Susanna’s name and notes that they had 2 children in Mutterstadt. Given that Johann Peter Renner was born in Frankenthal, it’s certainly possible that they were married there. The Mutterstadt family book shows no Wentz until in the 1700s.
We don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of Susanna Elisabetha Wentz. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Susanna Elisabetha Wentz through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Weber Family
|Maria Magdalena Weber||1724||Johann Martin Weber||1751||Mutterstadt||Johann Martin Steiger|
|Johann Martin Weber, court man, church elder||1700||Elke could not read father’s name.||1748||Mutterstadt||Maria Magdalena Schunck|
While we can’t make a connection, the Weber surname is found in the region by historians and researchers. Y DNA from the various lines would confirm or eliminate the possibility that this was the same family line.
Walter Schnebel finds one Albertus Weber, an alderman, born about 1640 marrying Apollonia Beck in Weisenheim am Sand.
The Mutterstadt Family History book shows Hans Weber born about 1520 in the small village of Wiesoppenheim Worms. He died about 1590 in Mutterstadt. He is listed on the register of those paying taxes to defend against the Turks in 1584 on the Neustadt register.
We don’t have either the Weber Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Maria Magdalena Weber. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Weber male that descends from the Johann Martin Weber line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Maria Magdalena Weber through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
The Schunck Family
|Maria Magdalena Schunck||1688||Johann Georg Schunck||1748||Married and died in Mutterstadt||Johann Martin Weber|
|Johann Georg Schunck||Bef 1668||Died in Missling, Baden (?)|
This record came from my now deceased cousin, Joyce, who researched in Germany while her husband was stationed there. She notes that Johann Georg Schunck died in Missling, Baden. I don’t find Missling or Misling or anything similar on a map. Clearly, it existed at one time.
Baden, at that time, bordered the Pfalz, on the right of the Rhine River.
The Mutterstadt Family History book shows a Caspar Schunck born about 1695 noted as a “wagner from Missling (Baden)” where Missling has the German character that translates to English as ss. He married about 1714 and had 4 children in Mutterstadt.
Leonhard Schunck was born about 1655 and had a child in Mutterstadt in 1686, so the Schunck progenitor had come from Missling to Mutterstadt sometime before 1686. I wonder if Leonard was the brother of Johann Georg Schunck.
We don’t have either the Schunck Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Maria Magdalena Schunck. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Schunck male that descends from the Schunck line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Maria Magdalena Schunck through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female
The Rapparlien, Rapparlie, Rapparlier Family
|Anna Barbara Rapparlien||1701||Abraham Rapparlien, Anna Barbara Hoertel||1750||Mutterstadt||Johann Adam Renner|
|Abraham Rapparlien, gutsbestaunder, (unknown translation)||1669 or 1672||Abraham Rapparlien, Anna Blancart||1736||Mutterstadt||Anna Barbara Hoertel|
|Abraham Rapparlien, baker, judge or court bailiff||Before 1645||1696||Born in Guines near Calais, France, died in Mutterstadt||Anna Blancart|
The Rapparlien family wasn’t the only family from near Calais. Christian Deyo who died in 1686 or 1687 in Mutterstadt was also born near Calais. The Calais region and Huguenot families are discussed, here.
I strongly suspect but cannot prove that the Rapparlien family was French Huguenot.
The Mutterstadt family history book notes beside the entry for Abraham Rapparlie the elder that religious refugees came around 1662 to Mutterstadt. Abraham did well for himself as a baker and a judge or bailiff in the court in Mutterstadt. His wife, Anna Blancart was born in Flanders.
This map of Flanders in 1609 shows that it encompassed part of what is today France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Calais and Guines was part of Flanders at that time.
Calais in 1477.
In spite of the war-related upheaval in the 1600s, the Rapparlie family felt that there was more opportunity in Mutterstadt than elsewhere. Perhaps because after the war, so much of the land had been depopulated, and settlers were actively being sought. This is somehow ironic as we think of the mass exodus of residents from this region throughout the 1600s. It never occurs to us that some people would welcome the opportunity to settle on and work vacant land.
Guines is located about 6 miles from Calais.
Unfortunately, the Protestant records only exist for 1668-1685, while the Catholic records remain from 1628-1796. Abraham was born before 1645, so his records aren’t available, and his known children were born between 1664 and 1687, in Mutterstadt.
The great news is that these records were transcribed in 1891 for the Huguenot Society of London. The transcription document states that Guines was the religious center of Protestantism in the north east of France in 1685, at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Protestants were “very numerous” in the district after 1558. Thankfully, a transcript of the Protestant records is available, here, and while Rapparlie doesn’t appear, having left about 1662, the records are full of Blancart and similar names.
Rapparlie, Rapparlien, Rapparlier DNA
Along with another Rapparlie researcher, I began the Rapparlie DNA project at Family Tree DNA several years ago. To date, we have two males who descend from the Mutterstadt line. Not only do they not match each other, neither of them match anyone on Y DNA, at least, not yet.
We need additional Y DNA testers from the Rapparlie line. I have a DNA testing scholarship for a Rapparlie male descended from the Muttertstadt line through all males to the current generation.
I have a mitochondrial DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Barbara Rapparlie(n) through all females to the current generation which can be male or female.
The Blancart Family
|Anna Blancart||C 1642||1717||Born in Flanders, died in Mutterstadt||Abraham Rapparlie(n)|
Anna was likely born in the Huguenot community near where Abraham Rapparlie(n) was born, Guines, near Calais, now in France. The Blancart name is found with various spellings such as Blanchart and Blanchard in the Huguenot transcriptions.
We don’t have the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Blancart. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Anna through all females to the current generation which can be male or female.
The Hoertel, Hertel Family
|Anna Barbara Hoertel||1682||Johan George Hoertel||1735||Mutterstadt||Abraham Raparlien|
|Johann Georg Hoertel, juror in Mutterstadt, miller in Rehhutte||C 1643||1715||Mutterstadt, Rehhutte||Anna Catharina|
Rehutte isn’t far from Mutterstadt. There doesn’t seem to be much there today, but Johann George was a miller.
Hoertel, Hertel DNA
We don’t have either the Hoertel Y DNA or the mitochondrial DNA of Anna Barbara Hoertel. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Hoertel male that descends from the Johann Georg Hoertel line directly through all males to the current generation. I also have a scholarship for anyone descending from Anna Barbara Hoertel through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female.
Lessons from the Community
We can easily see that while individual genealogies are exceedingly valuable, we gain a broader understanding of those families if we evaluate the historical events that were occurring in the region. Evaluating their family networks, meaning the the families with whom they are affiliated, their FAN (Friends and Neighbors) Club, hat tip to Elizabeth Shown Mills, often produces additional insights. When possible, people stay together and travel with family members because survival, historically, had demanded such.
Let’s face it, you’re more likely to look after blood kin, your brother and his children, for example, than a stranger. The more family you had nearby, the more assistance was available, and the better your chances of survival.
Having grouped our families and their locations in detail by surname above, let’s see what kind of information we can glean by looking at the community, meaning the entire family grouping, as a whole.
|Family||Location Before War||Refuge Location During War||After War|
|Koch||Fussgoenheim||Durkheim||Fussgoenheim by marriage|
|Boerstler/Borstler||Unknown, possibly Beindersheim||Durkheim||Mutterstadt, Fussgoenheim, Schauernheim|
|Koob||Fussgoenheim||Frankenthal||Fussgoenheim, Munchhof, Weisenheim am Sand|
|Koehler||Mannheim, Neckarau||East of Rhine||Ladenburg, Iversheim, Seckenheim, Rehhutte, Neustadt, Ellerstadt, Fussgoenheim|
|Scherer||Unknown||Distant – Heuchelheim||Ellerstadt|
|Ulzhofer||Unknown||Possibly Bruehl – distant||Bruehl, Seckenheim, Rehhutte|
|Garnschrag||Unknown||East of Rhine||Ladenburg|
|Zee||Unknown||East of Rhine – Iversheim||Seckenheim|
|Bereth||Unknown, possibly Huguenot, wife “of Huguenoten”||East of Rhine – Schwetzinger||Schwetzinger, Mutterstadt|
|Schunck||Unknown||Unknown||Misling, Baden, Mutterstadt|
|Rapparlie(n)||Guines near Calais||Guines near Calais||Mutterstadt|
|Blancart||Flanders||Guines near Calais||Mutterstadt|
Based on this information, it looks like the entire remaining population of Mutterstadt may have gone together to Frankenthal in 1634. Koob from Fussgoenheim is also found in Frankenthal. There are no reports of these families in Speyer or Durkheim, now Bad Durkheim.
I can’t help but see in my mind’s eye the image of parents, pregnant mothers, carrying crying children, tears streaming down their own faces, helping the elderly along, hand in hand, desperate but not beaten. Perhaps Mutterstadt was burning behind them, and other villages around them.
The escape to Frankenthal must have lived on as legend in these families for generations. Or, perhaps it was so horrific that the stoic Germans dared never mention that departure from life as they knew it.
Other families sought shelter in different locations.
The Boerstlers were clearly in the region before the war and may have already had ties to Durkheim, now Bad Durkheim, where we find family records. The Kirsch progenitor married in Durkheim, but we don’t know where the Kirsch family was from before the war.
This compiled work allows us to search the records of both Frankenthal and Durkheim for specific families, surnames and records – much more productive than shooting in the dark.
Several family members who are later found together are also clustered east of the Rhine in the same and adjacent villages.
Furthermore, this type of summary project helps me flesh out the details in their lives. To imagine their flight to Frankenthal with their neighbors who were also their relatives, both close and distant, perhaps helping each other as they stumble and fall along the path, encouraging each other in an attempt to rein in their own terror.
I can feel the overwhelming dread they experienced when returning to Mutterstadt and Fussgoenheim, walking down that same road in the opposite direction some 16 years later, minus several family members resting someplace in graves. Returning home, such as it was. Perhaps they visited the cemetery beside the rubble of the church to tell their family members that they had come back.
I suspect they brought along with them other refugee families who needed new permanent homes. Maybe they were now relatives too. And of course, some children would have married and babies would have been born. Refugees or not, some things about human nature never change.
Returning to “God’s Little Acre,” was, for them, perhaps the sprouting of seedlings after a devastating forest fire. They had survived. Raised children. Brought new life into the world. And now, the next generation would begin anew, carving a future out of the ruins of the past.
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This was fascinating reading, obviously a labor of love for you. The amount of work you put into this research is mind-boggling.
Just a note, you will probably want to correct your text for posterity.
« In 1807, yet another French army did the same. By now, every castle on the Rhine had been destroyed. The French occupied the Palatinate until 1808, sending anything of value back to the coffers of King Louis XIV. »
By then the French Revolution (1789) had occurred, the kings were no longer and it was the Napoleonic era in France.
My dear Roberta,
You never cease to amaze. This is an incredible tribute and a history that I hope will live forever. Your insight into the lives of so many ancestors is breathtaking. I’m so impressed. My mother’s German and Swiss ancestry is all centered in the 1709-10 Palatine movement to the Hudson Valley. I’ve now counted 50+ direct ancestors among them. Oddly enough all of them remained in the area and intermarried with descendants of others in that population. Their children and siblings often moved on to other parts of the expanding America, but my ancestors did not. Many remain there even now. A few married into the Dutch community that preceded them in New York.
Your work is an inspiration for laggards like me. Thank you!
I wish I had known this much all those years ago at the Palatinate conference. I didn’t know any of it then.
Did any of your family associate with the St. John’s Raccoon Creek (absorbed into St. John’s Farmers Retreat in 1869) Lutheran congregation in Ripley County? If so, we have another connection with each other. My husband’s ancestor was minister at Raccoon Creek from 1852-1856.
Not that I know of, but you never know.
Yes, I agree that Roberta’s research and then writing is mind-boggling.
Epic….. makes history not just genealogy come alive….. your family should be very thankful you have done all this work.
Wow! Fantastic work!
I wish your help pages went into your genealogy approaches for Germanic ancestors.
Except for the 1709ers – they are all brick walls.
My first breakthrough was years ago when I found the village name in an obituary. Misspelled. After that, FamilySearch and lots of paying to have records searched and transcribed after that. You’re looking at about 40 years of work.
You have written yet another family treasure! Wonderfully written history, clearly described with annotated maps, a labor of love. Love and hugs.
great reading as always! Just a note: I das that you linked the wrong Heuchelheim on one of the maps. The Heuchelheim you refer to is the one close to Frankenthal in the Palatinate. Not at all that far away.
here is Marc Rapparlie and I am from the village Mutterstadt.
Unbelievable, what work you did and what you have written together here. I was looking for the ancestor Anna Blanchart. I came across your article. I will get a DNA test these days and do it again. I will gladly share the data with you. If you have any further questions, I would be happy about a contact.
You have no idea how excited I am! I will email you shortly. I’m not at the computer.
I can’t thank you enough for your decades of research and documentation. Your description of the tragedies that our families faced generation after generation are heartbreaking. You are correct, they, and we, are lucky. I’m descended from the Fussgoenheim family Anthon Gift (b.1700) and his father Simon (b.1606). I now understand why there was birth in Frankenthal, etc and a trail from Bern, Suisse.
Your site is also of interest because my husband descends from Reimer’s but their place of origin is unknown. A clue.
Thank you for the links to sites as my research is just beginning. Any suggestions would be welcomed!
The Reimers are from Mutterstadt. I descend from that family too. This is exciting.
Roberta, I just recently discovered that the Renners of Mutterstadt are my ancestors. I had the information from the Mutterstadt church records, but your work takes me back several generations and provides an enormous amount of context and background. A remarkable job of research and outstanding presentation of it.
Are we cousins?
Hello cousin, I am excited to share with you that my 8th great-grandparents are Abraham Rappellier and Anna Blancart. It also so happens that I have an entire Flemish line as well that includes the Blancarts (Blancaert). There is also a few Swiss connections that now make sense because of your wonderfully rich narrative. I have found most of the dates and places from Ancestry DNA and MyHeritage and see just a few names and dates transposed here and there but overall it’s a match to yours. I haven’t added all the children yet as one Hans David Raparlier 1687 had14 children with Maria Apollonia Haege – several of whom died young and at the same time (from the dates) likely due to events of upheaval and disease. Your information is a treasure trove of information for which I am truly grateful and appreciative. Hans David is the brother of my ancestor Elisabeth Raparlier 1677. Interestingly she married a fellow from Frankenthal, Hanss Philipp Biebinger 1676 – and again here your narrative gives a likely reason as to how and why. It has been my lucky week … I discovered a German text listing hundreds of local events in the Fulda area where another branch of my family lived. Mentions of the Inquisition and witch burnings! I am sure as I review all this new information I may have questions. One of the most exciting things is the link to the French Huguenots – something I have always felt a connection to since a young age growing up in Upstate New York (Genesee River & wine country which looks near identical, as does where I live now in Oregon – amazing). Our whole area growing up was Dutch Flemish and German, in agriculture. So thrilled to meet you and connect. Peace. Mark
Been trying to contact you about the Rapparlie DNA project. Maybe my email went to your spam folder. I have recently discovered that Abraham Rapparlie is my 8th great grandfather on my mother’s grandmother’s line. It would seem from your narrative that I am on the right track. His wife Anna Blancart also shares the surname of my ancestors in Zele, Flanders on my mother’s grandfather’s line. How should I best proceed to test the theory? Ancestry DNA stops at 1700s but I’m confident the line before that point. Thanks so much for your wonderful work – we are so thrilled to have this information. Hop to hear from you soon. Mark
Hi Mark. Hold tight. I do have your email but have been swamped this week. I’ll be back with you shortly. Thanks for reaching out.
Hi, Roberta- Fantastic job! I am descended in part from the Kirsch, Busch and Mettert families in Fussgoenheim. I really appreciate the amount of work and scholarship that very obviously went into this.
Hello cousinCharlie! How do you descend from the Kirsch family.
I just retired (history teacher) and am starting to organize a lot of raw genealogical data! Anna Kirsch (1786-1874) of Fussgoenheim was my great-great-great-great grandmother. She married Johann Martin Busch (also of Fussgoenheim), and their grandson emigrated to Buffalo, NY in 1861. Other Fussgoenheim surnames names in the family tree include Heinrich, Gross, Guttenberger, and Mettert. I speak passable German and I’m planning on visiting the locale, probably in 2023. I’m fascinated by the traumatizing, apocalyptic experience that ‘regular’ people underwent during the 30 Years War, and I think you have done a masterful job of exploring that.
Search on the blog for the key word Mutterstadt. I have never been there but would love to visit. Take lots of pictures. There’s a little museum but it’s often closed. Make arrangements in advance.
This is the most amazing historical and genealogical collection of its kind for one region and family that I have ever seen! In 1965, I lived in Speyer as a young man for three months on a church assignment mission. Then, fifty years later, my wife and I had a similar assignment in the village of Hahnheim, south of Mainz. I am intrigued because my middle name is “Mance,” passed down over the generations; itt was my grandfather’s middle name also, and yet, no one ever knew where it came from. But, in French, the name is “Mayence.” Mainz=Mayence=Mance? I’m not sure. The spelling of my family name, JARRARD, has been attributed to the Huguenots; the spelling has been changed, but from what? Thanks for the clue! I’ll keep looking. GREG
My maiden name is Renner. So far I’ve only taken a DNA test through Ancestry. Would like to get some more information about the DNA testing scholarship. Please contact me.
Hi Jaime. Do you descend from this Renner family? That’s the first question. Since you mention maiden name, I’m presuming you’re female and your father was the Renner, which means he would carry the Y DNA of this line. Females don’t have a Y chromosome. You have your mother’s mitochondrial DNA. If you descend from this Renner family from this town, and your father is willing, I’d love to continue the discussion via email. Just let me know and we can follow up.
You are correct, I am a female and my father’s family name is Renner. My family tree is on ancestry.com, if you would like to have a look and see if it matches what you are looking for. Unfortunately my father passed away 13 years ago. I have male siblings but I’m not sure if that would be helpful to you.
Excellent read! I am currently researching my family lines in Ruchheim and Assenheim, which are nearby. While none of your family names show up in my direct line, a couple of the names (Kirsch and Renner) are second marriages for a great-grandmother and 3rd great- grandmother, and both names show up repeatedly in my “cousin” tree. They settled in the metro east area of St. Louis in Madison and St. Clair Counties. A large group of German families from the Ruchheim area settled there.
That’s very interesting. I’ve always wondered about the Kirsch family from that area.
Thank you so much for sharing your research. I am descended from Jacob Börstler b. 1700 in Fussgönheim who emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1724. All I had known of Jacob was from his the Moravian Church archives which referenced his birth and parents in Fussgönheim. Glad to better understand the wall I hit with his parents.
So pleased to hear from you. If you’ve done an autosomal DNA test, we should see if we match. I’m in all of the major databases. If you know of any males Borstler cousins, I’d love to provide a testing scholarship so we can have the Y-DNA record of our line.