Johann Adam Kirsch (c1677 – 1734/1739), Mayor, Elder and the Free Village Wine Tavern – 52 Ancestors #307

Johann Adam Kirsch was born about 1677 to Johann Georg Kirsch, known as Jerg, and Margaretha Koch who were married in 1650 in Durkheim, now Bad Durkheim.

Given that Jerg Kirsch was a leaseholder of the Jostens estate in 1660, in Fussgoenheim, we know that the couple would have been living there at that time. By 1673, the French were once again ravaging the landscape, and between then and 1689, this area of the Pfalz was once again depopulated.

Durkheim Perhaps

Did the Kirsch family leave in 1674 when other families in this region sought refuge elsewhere, or were they still trying to stick it out in Fussgoenheim when Johann Adam Kirsch was born about 1677? There’s no way to know.

Did Jerg’s family go back to Durkheim where Johann Adam’s brother, Johann Wilhelm Kirsch was married in 1695? That’s the most likely scenario, not only because we know Wilhelm was living there in 1695, but also because we know that their parents were married there in 1650. They knew the landscape, probably had family there and would have gone someplace where they had at least some resources.

Johann Wilhelm Kirsch’s marriage entry in the church records indicates that his father, Jerg Kirsch, was deceased. Of course, Jerg was Adam’s father too. We don’t know when Jerg died, or if Adam’s mother was still living.

If Johann Wilhelm Kirsch, approximate age 25 in 1695, was living in Durkheim, then it’s likely that his younger brother who would have been 18 at that time was living in Durkheim as well.

The Nine Year’s war ended in 1689, officially, but it’s unlikely that former residents returned immediately. Houses and barns had been burned across the countryside – fields, vineyards, and orchards ruined.

The Kirsch brothers may have been in Durkheim in 1695, but six years later, we know that Adam had returned to Fussgoenheim.


By 1701, Johann Adam Kirsch, then about age 24, was Mayor of the northern half of Fussgoenheim. I have to wonder how many residents were living in Fussgoenheim at that time. It would only have been repopulated for a decade, maybe less.

By 1720, the entire village only consisted of 150-200 people, or about 15-20 homes. The number of families that had returned by 1701 was probably only a handful. It had been nearly a quarter-century since they had left – again – after only living in Fussgoenheim about 15 years after returning after the 30 Years’ War. Altogether, in the 100 years between 1618 and 1718, the Kirsch family had lived elsewhere for about 66 years.

It makes me wonder why they came back at all. Perhaps it had to do with reclaiming their father’s leasehold estate rights. Something is better than nothing, and that leasehold offered at least some opportunity, even if it did require a significant amount of elbow grease.

Seeking Resources

If I can find a copy of the book, Ortsgeschichte von Fußgönheim by Ernst Merk, published in 1925, the answer might be there on page 153 where Adam’s testimony is recorded. I’m working on that task, but the book is only available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which is closed due to Covid, and a library in Buffalo, NY. Fingers crossed for inter-library loan.

Another publication, Heimat-Blätter für Ludwigshafen am Rhein und Umgebung, issue 1921 No. 10 reportedly contains additional information. My German friend told me that Heimat-Blätter für Ludwigshafen am Rhein und Umgebung was a journal published from 1912 to 1939 and might well hold additional information not only about Fussgoenheim, but this region. I’m attempting to find out if this is available anyplace digitally, in a pdf file that I can copy/paste into a translator.

The answer to another mystery may be held in these documents.

Who Was Johann Adam’s First Wife?

Walter Schnebel, now deceased, researched the Kirsch family for decades with access to original records in Fussgoenheim and other German locations.

Walter’s birth year for Johann Adam was given as (about) 1677  and his death before 1740.

Walter’s exact verbiage is as follows:

(?) N.N. Greulich (* um 1680 † vor 1706, T.v. Adam Greulich); seit ca. 1677 in Fgh. (OG Merk, siehe Weistuhm 1717 Vern. 1717)

This translated to:

(?) N.N. Greulich (* about 1680 † before 1706, T.v. Adam Greulich); since about 1677 in Fgh. (OG Merk, see Weistuhm 1717 Vern. 1717)

I interpret this to mean that Walter wasn’t sure that Adam had a first wife, or possibly that he didn’t know her first name. Someplace, Walter obviously found a record.

Adam’s second wife was Anna Maria Koob.

Here’s the quandry for me.

Johann Adam Kirsch’s first recorded child, Johann Michael Kirsch born about 1700 is my ancestor.

If in fact, Johann Adam Kirsch was married to Miss Greulich before her death in 1706, and Johann Michael Kirsch’s birth year is roughly accurate, then Ms. Greulich was his mother, not Anna Maria Koob.

I’d surely like to know!

This matters – a lot.

1717 in Fussgoenheim

There’s painfully little information available for Fussgoenheim during the time that Adam lived there. The villagers would have been rebuilding following warfare from 1618-1650 and again from approximately 1673-1690.

In 1733, Jakob Tilman von Halberg, the “Lord” of the land complained that the residents refused to pay for the new church. That, combined with the fact that church records begin in 1726, suggests that rebuilding even the basics of society took more than 20 years and maybe closer to 30.

In 1717, the village elders attempted to recompile at least some portion of what had been lost. I purchased a booklet transcribed in 1968 in German that included a portion of the original 1717 record.

I scanned and utilized Deepl translator to gain at least a small window into what happened 303 years ago. When that didn’t go well, due to a somewhat archaic font, I typed the entire document, word for German word. I think I might just have inherited my German ancestors’ tenacity.

Johann Wilhelm Kirsch was the court clerk, cognate, or “court man” who, along with a few elders recorded as much of their history and customs as could be reconstructed. I asked a native German-speaker to see if he could give an assist to the translation, but his comment was that the challenge is that the German words themselves were archaic, and even in German, he wasn’t sure what some of it meant – let alone trying to translate into English.

I’ve included the transcribed/translated document, in total, below using both the Deepl translator and Google translate. I translated this once by copying the text into the translator, but given that the font was difficult for the translator to recognize, I eventually retyped the entire 10 pages. I discovered how difficult it is to type words that you don’t understand or know how to spell. So, in reality, this document has been translated 4 times and I’ve combined the pieces that make the most sense from all 4 versions. The crazy things we do for genealogy!

If anyone can improve on this version, PLEASE feel free😊. I have included the actual scanned pages in German for reference.

Some of this is very awkward and nuance is lost, but I think the idea is conveyed from both 1628, almost 400 years ago, and 1717, with footnotes at the end of each section. The fact that we have any of this is amazing! Thanks to Christoph for finding this book for me and his assistance.

Fussgoenheim History from Pfalzische Weistumer

This document begins with the history of Fussgoenheim.

W. Ludeigshefen. first sure mention in 1291 as violin home, 1343 as foot home (Christman, settlement names I, s 171 ff. in the 14th century, the n oberdorff and underdorf divided place belonged partly to the count of leiningen, partly to the lords of falkenstein, whereby both lords of the village used their own mayors. The Liningingian part of the lower village, from 1385 to the middle of the 16th century in the fiefdom of the Knights of Meckenheim, was bought by the lords of Hallberg in 1729/31 and since 1731 by Baron von Hallberg (Chancellor Jakob Tillmann von Hallbert.) The Falkenstein’s, in the course of time several times as fiefdoms, lastly 1629-1726 to the family Kessler von Sarmsccheim, granted rights to Ober and Unterdorf to the Duchy of Lorraine in 1667 with the County of Falkenstein; 1728/29 as Lorraine fiefdom to the family von Hallbert. In the agriculturally rich district, since time immemorial extensive property of various spiritual foundations (Seebach Monastery, Limburg, Lobenfeld, Schonfeld, Neustadt Monastery, etc.) Petry, Rheinland-Pfalz, S, 109, E Merk, local history of F (1925) K. Kreuter, local history of F., in: Heimatbl. Ludwigshafen 1925 Nr 20 Fabricius, Unt. Nearby area, S, 499 f.

StARch. Speyer WS or Kreigverlust. Dr. bei Ernst Merk, Ortsgeschischte von F (1925) S 156 ff (A) and by K. Kreuter in Heimatbl. Ludwigshafen Jg. 1921 Nr. 9 (B) In the following reprint of the text A which seems to be more true to the original spelling than B.


Copia Fussgenheimer wiesumbs, according to the falkenstein chancellery, was sent in 1628.

  1. Item one assigns the community four days of the full court, the first on the Monday after the twelfth, the second on the Monday after Easter Monday 1), the third on the Monday after St. Peter’s Day 2), the fourth on the Monday after St. Michaelmas 3), and the four days of court shall be uncommitted.

  1. Item has the commonwealth a little bit of money to give away, that it may lend it to whom it will, and when a schoolboy is born, it should be granted to him for another, when he does what is proper, i.e., a commoner’s bidding for nothing.
  2. Item the same request of the commoner shall turn their way for a mile, and what he goes further, one shall give him for a mile six pfenning.
  3. Item directs the community to the junk twenty-eight (year old?) malter korns to the beedt below and above.
  4. Item is shown in the upper part in Seebach well atz, front and governing service.
  5. Items are rejected by two men from every court, since people are in them, the junker. a) [Note that a) and other letters or numbers with ) are references to endnotes.]
  6. The lower part of the item is similar to Seebacher court. b)
  7. Item they, the lordship, came here and find no hay and straw in the scrubbing, so they shall mow down to the meadows outside a town up to the Schauerheim 4) market, and if it is expedient that they do not save enough, so they shall mow outside again one more time than long and much, until their opportunity is again to travel home.
  8. Item one points at the lower part of the same as the Seebacher guth uf der thumbherrn well. [This did not translate entirely.]
  9. If it was a matter of fact that an unusual 5) man was coming to the village, the schoolmaster shall take him home where he belongs,
  10. Item indicates a common one a free bakehouse, if it is otherwise free. 6)
  11. The same beaker [baker?] shall have two sifters and two sieves and two baggages, who are good, which he shall lend to the people, the poor men as the rich, due to bake to him, and it is so, which bakes two malt, he shall give three loaves.
  12. Item which bakes an age, he shall give 3 c) breads, and which bakes half an age, he shall give according to number, and the woman may make the breads small or large as she wishes; and if it is proper to point out that the breads are becoming too small, the woman shall put on her pouch (bag) and give six bright defenses before the three breads; And if it were proper for the baker to put much flour under the bread, the woman shall put on her purse (pouch), and shall give two bright (light-colored) protections before the mead (meel), and the woman shall lift up her mead (meel), and the woman shall be punished by the basin.

[Note that a second translation of a given word is shown in (). Also note that the last sentence beginning with “and the woman…”, replaced with “and sell the woman with impunity from baker.”]

  1. The same baker shall bake the same bread properly, and if it is pertinent that the same bread was not baked properly, then the same man shall carry the bread before the churches and shall let the bread be seen and shall pay the bread to the pitcher according to honorable men’s knowledge. d)
  2. Item it is to have also the same baker some horse, with it he is to take the dough from the people and bring home the bread.
  3. The same baker shall not draw more cattle in his yard, than what he needs in his yard, and if it is pertinent that the backer (baker) did not hold such a thing, he has broken his freedom and she may bake whatever she wants.
  4. Item shows the common one way to the bitz 7) between Henn Beckern e) and the bakehouse, that a donkey may go in with two heretics.
  5. Item is assigned to the bachstaden eight schuch far from the Genheimer mark to the common wag.
  6. Item is assigned eight schuch far from the woge to the Dornferrt.
  7. Items are rejected by water f), and the one who oppresses them does violence and no right.

[Alternate translation: Item shall be put to one’s charge and thrown to the commoner. He does violence and no right.]

  1. Item you know: which in the community has no field in the mark, which should dig two times wide from the streets glue ditch unfriendly.
  2. When they have done this, they shall heap the grain without harm, and after that they shall ask g) the people of God (the court) for every kind of grain, and shall not refuse them, and when they have done this h), they shall give every driver a week, and should say to them: just thank your master. (Thank only your master.)
  3. They shall also give the community two quarters of wine, they shall not be angry or lazy (foolish.)
  4. Item shows the way through the German Herm court to the the thumbherm garden.

  1. Item the landlords shall have four oxen go into the long meadows, they shall have their yoke, they shall eat where they like to eat, and when a someone came into the marks and stopped there, one shall help out with it
  2. Item they shall have a farmhand to keep the oxen, and he shall have a basket in his arm, and what the oxen shit, he shall pick up, that the martens (maddies,madmen?) may (do) not beat the scythes with (on) it.
  3. Item the same servant shall have a staff, he shall have two kickhel, one he shall put on one foot, the other under the thuhnn; whatever he may deign to do, that shall be pleasing (given) to him.
  4. Item there are two meadows marked in Fussgoenheimer, which are to be from St. Georgentag 8) on up to St. Johannstag 3); they shall be pacified; the community shall have its way, and if it is proper that a beast (cattle) should come unscrupulously (unwholesomely) to him, and if he came to whom (meadow, lady) they were directed, he shall shout out three times: If no one comes to drive the beast out, he shall take his right handler in his hand, and shall drive the cattle out unharmed.
  5. Item it is supposed to hold the hospital property of Durkheim a footbridge over the brook.

Item es soll das spitalguy von Durkheim halten ein steg uber die bach.

Footnotes for above:

1) 6. Januar.
2) 24. Juni.
3) 29. Sept.
4) Schauernheim, so. Fussgoenheim.
5) too unfinished – naughty, unjust, wrong, vicious as opposed to justified? DWB. XI, 3, Sp. 538 ff.; or as much as ungeberdig = undisciplined, unruly, unruly in the gene set? DWB, ibid. Sp. 621 ff.; or as much as ungeberdig = unreliable, unruly, disobedient? Cf. DWB, ibid. Sp. 908 and IV, 1,3, Sp. 5349
6) i.e. the village lord
7) Bitz, Bitze = good meadow style, (fenced, surrounded) meadow garden. Zink, Pfalz field names
8) April 23rd

a) Probably misprints instead of real junk.
b) Deviating from a reads Art. 7 in B: Item also today and straw on the Seebacher yard.
c) Reading “3” after Merk doubtful.
d) More respectable (honorable).
e) Henn Beckern Gembackern.
f) follows for alpine pastures.
g) follows the.
h) follows ride.

Part II.


St Arch. Speyer, Gemeindearchiv Fussgonheim No. 1. notarial instrument Or., 36 parchment leaves in 3 layers, sheets 1, 2, 11, 12, 17-22 missing; the writing is heavily faded in places and difficult to read. Dr. in extracts by K. Kreuter in Heimatbl. Ludwigshafen 1921 No. 10. No genuine Weistum, but one after the loss of all older legal records (in the Palatinate Succession Circle) of Schultheiss and court in F. arranged notarial statement of the village right, whereby obviously in the way one proceeded in such a way that the Schltheiss on Grunt of collected reports (from whom?) and recorded the transferred rights in writing and a notary then questioned seven aged parishioners about the correctness of the individual sentences (seats) asked. In the following,

Dr. Schultheiss and the court’s remarks introducing the document (about the request of the mayor and the court) and the “instructed” legal sentences (seats) without the statements of the seven interviewees attached to the individual articles and under exclusion of the articles – only incompletely preserved in the presentation – in which the property of the community is described.

(Alternate translation of the last portion of this item:

A notary public then questioned seven elderly parishioners of tiber about the correctness of the individual seats. 1m following Dr. the remarks introducing the document (tiber the request of Sehultheij3 and Gerieht) and the “designated” legal seats without the seats assigned to the individual articles statements of seven interviewees and under the appearance of those – only incompletely preserved in the submission – articles in which…the community’s property will be torn up.)

Fusgenheimer wisdom from 1717

…a) Christoph Hauck and Willhelm Kirsch, men of the court, also Andreas Kirsch, Dieter Coob and Hanss Jacob Spannier, together with seven other inherited burgers from the court and the community of Fussgenheim, took some of the items from the court and the community of Fussgenheim with them, when they immediately presented too old acquaintances and witnesses, still pre-registered in the morning in the presence of the yoke noble, vest and highly distinguished gentleman

Johann Philipp Falcken, churpfaltzichen ausfauths of the lobli(che)n chief magistrate Neustadt, also gentleman Johann Melchior Faeth, at the time of his schooldays in Schauernheim, as a particularly bedded gentleman witnessed by a written presentation of thickly painted village righteousness oral recitation, who, in the french war, created for the village of Fussgenheim all the judicial protocols.

Alternate translation of the above paragraph:

Johann Philipp Falcken, churpfaltzisehen ausfauths of the 16bli[che]n oberampts Neustadt, also lord Johann Melchior Faeth, at Schauernheim, when particularly anhero witnesses of begotten masters were thickly bemoaned by written presentation of the eggs of the justice of the village, who will design and the village of FuBgenheim in the french 6) war, all court records, white thumb and other written documents, according to which the rights and justices of the village were to be proven to the best of their ability, leyder (b made a deal and was (a total) completely lost, whereas they provided and foresaw that when the old people still alive in the court and out of the community passed away with death, the old, well-born village rights and customs of the village are lost with the young burgers or descendants, even contested and disputed, or at least caused by all kinds of regulations and interferences (precautions and interjections) to which dear descendants of the village inmates are subjected due to their thirst and costs at the village of Fussgoenheim.

In addition to each of the two village parts, each of part was accompanied by various land and village rulers, with whom a body ruler had to recognize one body ruler, each of whom (which) brought his own special rights and regalia to exercise in the orth, but all the community is allowed to enjoy their freedom at all times, and especially from the side of the most merciful bodily control one is instructed to put a stop to everything that is running against the old right and comes from here, and to everything that is newly praying.

For this reason, they had decided in some cases, since otherwise there would be no other way to hold means before them, as the village rights accounts are demonstrably preserved and the long use and practice are safeguarded, and to listen to the old persons and the community about such legal rights, to instrument their testimony formally, and then to put it behind court for the future good evidence of the matters.

If, therefore, I, the notary public, together with both the chief magistrates, and especially the gentlemen called upon to do so and the witnesses standing here present, would have duly bedded me, the notary public, and their gracious village and bodily lordships, they would have been paid a sum of money by the very least that would not harm them, as their high and lower jurisdiction as well as the regalia and fautheylichkeit could be recognized and there was no obstacle to assisting them, and after the village rights and freedoms were reportedly confiscated, the resident old people were allowed to be questioned and the fee was paid for one or more instrumented documenta, one exemplary on parchment, to be shared with them (to help heal.) What village rights and justice, also with regard to the same property itself, as reported above, is presented to me, the notary, by Schultheiss Englehardt;

Whereupon the following seven old men took

  1. Adam Kirsch
  2. Jacob Antes
  3. HanB Adam Hauck
  4. Theobaldt Bilrstler [probably Boerstler]
  5. Matthes MuBpach
  6. Hemp Nickel Coop and
  7. Adam Gifft

How they, the community, those in quiet possession, come and use up to now, faithfully obeyed, heard, and questioned in the presence of one instead of being mercifully listened to, whose testimony is to be diligently recorded about it and were of lasting content.

Now follow the preregistered one, notario, handed over to me the rights, justice and property of Dorff’s Fussgenheim, also what each of the people who had been deported from it had said and gave me clear words.

  1. Firstly, in addition to the two schools, the court will be composed of burgers from the upper and lower villages, which court will have to judge and decide all matters arising in the field and elsewhere together. But what happens especially in the upper and lower villages, everyone has the power to come to a final decision and to let them be fined (2.
  2. Secondly, the servant is appointed (ordered) by the court, has his freedom from the woman, too, with annual enjoyment of a field and knowledge 3). (Alternate translation: Servant is ordered by the court also has from the community its freedom with annual enjoyment of one field and ?.)
  3. Thirdly, the community has put the bells and the clock out of its own means and belongs to them autonomously, therefore the community has to dispose of them. (4
  4. footnote (5
  5. Fifthly the people in the upper and lower villages had the complete joyfulness and the hour here, from immemorial years ago, in quiet possession and enjoyment in such a way that neither the village rulers nor the body rulers may not be entitled to it. For this reason (that is why) no one on either side has been threatened (warned) to leave the congregation (community) under what right and freedom, and against which something new is demanded (in return), the most gracious dominion of the body (rulership) is after the clausul, so to be followed after the body, guilty of vigorously manuteniring (6 the serf (bondswoman) against it ), the more so, since, according to the rights of the same liberties, too, by long possession, so running over human endings, acquiriret (7 can become (8.
  6. Sixth, the church (community) has brought the free wine tavern in the village in such a manner that every burgher is permitted to do business, to serve wine, beer, and brandy, of which neither one nor the other has to pay money, to give creutzergeld or other condition, but rather all this freely enjoys set, but enjoying all the freedom that comes from traditions from time immemorial and were therefore been kept so the community wants to keep this free right and no one has the right to interfere with them in this (9.

Ah, the German tavern – so important as a community gathering place, circa 1470, above. Bartering and trading took place between citizens. Politics were discussed, loudly, of that you can be assured. Plans were made and sealed with a handshake and a beverage. Celebratory toasts were hailed, with everyone joining in, and grief was softened there too. Friends and family are the glue of the community, and in this case, held together with a bit of wine, beer and brandy – and had been, from time immemorial, as they testified.

This 1658 tavern scene by Flemish artist David Teniers probably looked much the same throughout Europe.

Perhaps the residents, who would all have known each other well, played cards and smoked a bit.

By Chris Lake – Flickr: 16th_century_wine_press, CC BY 2.0,

Fruits for distilling German brandy known as Obstbrand or Fruchtbrand and vineyards growing luscious grapes for sun-kissed wines were prevalent in this region, of course. Every home might have had its own wine press which could also be used to press apples for cider.

I don’t know where the free wine tavern was located, or if the building still exists, but Fussgoenheim wasn’t very large, so it was assuredly in one of the buildings on the main street – the only street at the time. My guess would be about dead center – equally accessible to everyone. Perhaps by the market center or shared grazing meadow for livestock.

Here’s a link to a beautiful historic German tavern that might have resembled the one in Fussgoenheim.

No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0,

I can see Adam and the other bürgers, village citizens, pulling up a chair and gathering around the time-worn tables as they lift their glasses, perhaps with a beautiful, clear Riesling made from the world’s finest Pfalz white grapes, and mugs of much-loved German beer.

Here’s to the free wine tavern that was important enough to be recorded for posterity.

  1. Seventhly, the community is entitled (granted) to the freedom to hunt the free pastureland, which every commoner in the whole region is entitled to do freely and without hindrance in such a way that he is entitled to shoot, hunt, target, with or without a dog, and be able to possess, when and where he thinks fit, what justice for hunting the flock has obviously been driven by the inconceivable years and is in constant possession of that, as it were, which the daily actus possessorij testify abundantly (indicate) (10.


17-19 [Concerning the properties belonging to the community; due to the loss of the preceding articles the list of wisdom in the submission is incomplete.]

The community reminded the people that it was commonplace and customary in ancient times that those who sat in the village were not supported by any craftsmen (counted among the craftsmen,) so even though the lords of the manor may have the right to set up a branch (number) and to draw the craftsmen to it, the community does not recognize itself as guilty, These people take over their work in this, and are intent on remaining in the work with such, but to keep the free hand in this, to take over frembde outside the place to villages (except for the assumption of the village) (12.

1) In the notarial deed follow:

a) Remarks of the notary about the motivations that led him to make the legitimate request of SchultheijJ and GeTicht, and about the years he had initiated: first of all, he had to approve the 7 congregational and members of the court by the Shiirjste remembers, probably all of them and read points and then to take them into account at every what they themselves know of this and what they can expect from their parents or ancestors professed to have been or to have done something; and so that all may be stable and strong, and serve the community and the descendants instead of a wisdom [!], they have been reproached to give previously hand faithfully to the aydtes instead of giving them, yes, if necessary further on to give the real aydt, which handgelobniis presents the same freely, after they had previously been pleasantly protected from false zeugniis and mayneydt warned themselves to hiiten;

b) “interrogatoria generalia” meaning the name, age, religion, status and profession of each de: 7 respondents of recent questions, whether born in F. or how long otherwise there ansiissig whether knowledge of the war loss of the Briejschajten, protocols and other evidence, including whether or not everyone is willing to testify truthfully to say what he knows himself or what he knows from his parents or others old people in the Dorj about the rights, righteousness and property

I heard from Doris F.

2) The parties all agree; one of them remarks with regard to the second sentence that he remembers that the mr. brother of KeJ31er once wanted to hold the court, but the most merciful body-ruler had forbidden it, whatever remained.

3) Is confirmed unanimously by all the respondents, but one of them adds that he himself had never had a field, and a another reports that his stepfather seye had also been a buttel (servant or farmhand), probably but did not enjoy the field.

4) The respondents affirmed read out the sentence.

5) The text of this article and statements 1-6 auj Bl, 11 and 12 are lost. Ojjenbar deals with art. 4 of taxes, because the answer of Adam Gijjt received in Bl. 13 is that dajJ it as he remembers what he heard from his father in F. and that he had only given a headline in F. and that Taxes on 3 Turks, Friulia and county taxes I know nothing.

6) i.e. to protect, preserve.

7) i.e. acquired.

8) In detailed statements, all seven respondents confirm the traditional freedom from Fronden. One of them answers that he doesn’t know that he threatened to kill someone. or only one horse biB to the village, likewise also of his old father, who turned 88 years old, never ground heard that she froze; another testifies that he knows not otherwise, but that they are joyful, that they have heard such things even from old ones, even that one not once had to go out before the village,

The answers of Adam Kirsch and Jacob Antes see in Heimatbl. Ludwigshajen 1921 No. 10 and at Merk p. 153 if. However, moreover, it is implied that every Dorjteil its 14 Malter Beethkorn (Bedekorn) jiihrlich the rulerajt auj 4 hours far (to Neustadt or Dilrkheim); the carnival pilgrims miljJJten through the youngest Bilrger after “Fremersheim” near Alzey.

My German friend, Chris’s commentary: “I tried to locate the “Heimatblätter von Ludwigshafen […]”, which is one of the sources. It seems difficult to get those, they are not online and physically only in a few libraries.”

Chris explained the above entry: “Beede” or “Bede” originally was a kind of “voluntary gift” to the lords, which over time developed in a kind of tax. “Malter” is an old corn measure.

“Chickens for carnival” maybe needs to be explained as well, he said. “In former times, taxes were usually imposed at specific times of the year. This could be New Year, Christmas, Easter… in this case Carnival time. And as many people did not have real money in coins, they gave their tax in the form of natural goods, in this case, chickens.”

Now, of course, I wonder when Carnival was held. I’m betting on the fall when wine was pressed and produce harvested. That would be a logical time for celebration and wine made everyone feel festive. Think Oktoberfest today.

Oktoberfest was born in Germany, and everyone joins in and has fun.

We know that Adam’s descendants played in the band and sang in the choir in Fussgoenheim, a century later.

Chris interprets this section to mean that, “Essentially, what Adam Kirsch and the others are telling is that they never in their lifetime had to do any compulsory labor (“Frondienst”, or in the old term used here: “Fronden”, as a verb for the service “fröhnen”, “gefröhnet”) for the landlords. To my understanding, the purpose of the “Weistum” texts was an interesting ones: Today, we would assume that every landlord just imposed the new laws on the village, as they pleased. But in medieval right and apparently even in 1717, it was even more important to keep the rights of the people based on the local habits. So, if there are several Fussgoenheim inhabitants stating that they never had to do compulsory labor, then this would be a right they would also have in the future. And this, as other things, seems to have been a matter on which the village people were fighting about with the later von Hallberg lords.”

9) The respondents confirm this freedom of the villagers, whereby one of them (Hans Nickel Coop) remarks that in the front of the village above he could not report anything else than how the same have been confessed, which freedom has also been granted there, but hiitte of such a one who rules, who is compelled to desire something, who rules there as well, after but his father, as the schoolmaster, has contradicted this same thing, his finite and no longer desired anything, but stayed away.

10) Only two responses to this article have been received in the submission, both of which are in agreement; the second respondent responded [a, as he himself had done for the 40 years of such justice in the act driven here, also heard by his father, that it came from this way seye, and seye also alhier burgers, who take it.

11) These articles (pp. 17-22 of the template) jehlen.

12) This legal sentence is also confirmed as correct by the seven interviewees; in F. it is stated that never gave Zilnjte. There follows the notarial certification with the signatures and the partially preserved seals of the notary Johann Henrich Noretuiorji, councillor of Speyer, and the two witnesses Falck and Fedth.

a) Anjang jehU, cf. the preliminary remark.

b) behind this word oiienbar a rest sign.

Johann Adam’s Death

After the 1717 reference, we know little other than Johann Adam was deceased before 1743 when the property lines were redrawn by the Hallberg family with the intention of expanding their holdings at the expense of the townspeople. Ironic that Adam’s 1717 testimony may have influenced or even saved his family 36 years later, in 1753, when the Kirsch family once again returned to Fussgoenheim and by court order, reclaimed at least some of their land.

There are no church records before 1726, and no Kirsch burials before 1734. Adam’s wife, Anna Maria Koob, is the first Kirsch burial recorded in the book.

21 March 1734 Anna Maria Kirschin, lawfully wed wife of Adam Kirsch, buried in a Christian manner?, died on the 18th of the same (month); aged 54 years.

Her burial record says, “Anna Maria Kirsch(in), wife of Adam Kirsch,” not widow, nor does it refer to him as “former” or “deceased.” This suggests that Adam is still alive in 1734.

However, his death is not recorded in the church books through 1742.

In 1743, the Kirsch families were evicted from Fussgoenheim because they refused to sanction a fraudulently drawn map by von Hallberg, but there is no indication that Adam Kirsch is one of the people booted, although I all Kirsch men seemed to have been removed. There are no Kirsch burials beginning in 1743 for the next two decades. My friend Tom checked Ellerstadt too, with no luck.

Adam could have still been living.

Adam’s son, Michael Kirsch, the Mayor, owned three properties in 1743, shown on that map, likely inherited from Adam.

Adam’s Children’s Marriages Bracket His Death

We don’t really know if Adam was married once or twice.

If Walter is right and Adam Kirsch was married first to Ms. Greulich who died in 1706, daughter of Adam Greulich, and first child Michael Kirsch was indeed born about 1700, then Adam’s first child was by his first wife.

  • Johann Michael Kirsch’s first child was born about 1725, and his second unquestionably in 1726, so it’s unlikely that Michael was born after 1706. His birth year is approximated as 1700.

Adam Kirsch’s next children with Anna Maria Koob, born in 1680, were:

  • Johann Wilhelm Kirsch born about 1706, married Maria Catharina Spanier in 1727. This marriage entry does not say that Adam is deceased, and refers to him as the sibling of the mayor.
  • Maria Catharina Kirsch 1715-1778, married Johannes Neumann on May 5, 1739. In the marriage entry, it states that she is the daughter of the “late honorable Johann Adam Kirsch, former Palatinate Unterfauth.”
  • Peter Kirsch, born about 1716, married in 1736 to Maria Barbara Spanier, died before 1760.
  • Johann Jacob Kirsch, born about 1718, married Maria Catharina Schuhmacher in February 1740, his marriage also stating that Johann Adam Kirsch, Unterfauth, was deceased.

While we have no records, children were probably being born until about 1723. Any children who were born and died before 1726 would not have been recorded, as the church books either didn’t exist or have been destroyed.

It’s certainly possible that Adam’s first wife died in about 1703 or 1704 giving birth to their second child who also perished.

If Adam Kirsch remarried in about 1705, he and Anna Maria Koob would have had approximately 9 children, only 4 of which are accounted for. They likely buried 5 babies or young children. If Anna Maria Koob was his only wife and the mother of Michael, they likely lost two additional children.

Adam died sometime between March of 1734 when his wife passed away, and May of 1739 when his daughter married.

We know that in that five year window, the family was living in Fussgoenheim, the new church had been built, and his wife was laid to rest in the churchyard. Adam likely had more children than is reflected in the marriage records. If so, several probably passed as infants and are buried in the churchyard with Adam, most of his adult children, grandchildren and wife or wives. There’s a lot of sorrow and a lot of love buried there.

Lives celebrated by the minister at the funeral, and then, later, at the wine tavern, sharing memories that made everyone laugh and cry, perhaps at once.

We know so little about Johann Adam Kirsch’s life, yet it was obviously full of adventures and challenges – although the word adventure may not be at all how he viewed the situation.

Adam grew up as a refuge, became a young mayor by 1701 when there may have been few others to serve, and was clearly a respected elder by 1717. He buried at least one wife, if not two, and children. He may have died, a refuge one again, refusing to capitulate to an overlord, resting on principle. Willing to wager for “all or nothing.”

The 1753 “accounting” document that details further information about the descendants of Johann Georg, Jerg, Kirsch, in particular those expelled from the village in 1743 for a decade, may reveal more about Johann Adam’s life, and death – and perhaps details about his first wife, if she existed, as well.

I feel that we are just so tantalizingly close to disclosing more in the buried crumbs of records that remain about the quaint vintner village of Fussgoenheim. So close, but so far away.

A toast to you, Adam! A toast to you.



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8 thoughts on “Johann Adam Kirsch (c1677 – 1734/1739), Mayor, Elder and the Free Village Wine Tavern – 52 Ancestors #307

  1. Good Morning, Roberta, first, I really admire your writing style – have been a subscriber for quite a time. My question for you is this : when autosomal DNA was first presented commercially presented by the vendors you wrote a blog in which you advised creating a direct ancestral line for others to view publicly. That was then – many years ago. I did that with Ancestry and have used it there since (has 400+ individuals today). My private Ancestry tree is now over 20,000 and grows each day. I am curious whether your thinking has changed from then to now on this approach?

    • I have my direct line ancestors, their children and grandchildren now. That helps with the formation of ThruLines. However, I have some things that are in my tree from years ago that I know are incorrect. I fix them as I go forward, but I don’t want to contribute to a problem. My tree is more than 35,000 people, and it’s not a harvested tree from elsewhere. It’s just that it has been a work in process for 40 years now and I’ve learned a lot. So it’s up to the individual. I will never use Ancestry as a replacement for my own tree because I have gobs of notes with each person in my tree.

  2. Thank you for showing differences in language translations. I have plans to use a similar technique to research my husband’s Prussian ancestors. His grandmother was from Halle, Germany. Alan inherited a number of photographs of ancestors and homes. Thanks for well written family story. Hugs,

  3. Here’s what Wikipedia says about Carnival — Carnival is a Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide. Wikipedia

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