Digging up Dead Brobsts - Trip Notes
Bill Brobst travels to Kandel Germany
By Bill Brobst
From the Winter 1997 Issue, Brobst Genealogy News
Well, not actually digging up their bones, but digging up the
information in their records. In southwestern Germany. In the records of the
churches of Kandel and Minfeld.
Main intersection in Kandel
Just three hundred years ago, Christophel Probst and his wife, Christina
Hofmann, were living in the village of Kandel, The Palatinate, Germany. Kandel
lies just a few miles west of the Rhine, and just ten miles north of the border
of Alsace, France. Christophel, 36, and Christina, 27, had already started on
their family of eleven children. Johannes, Philipp Jacob, and Zacharias were 7,
5, and 2. Christina had just given birth to Maria Catharina. Johann Michael was
still four years away.
Christophel was already a master potter in Kandel, planning to teach his
male children that same skill. Four and perhaps all five of his boys actually
did go on to become potters. A native of Kandel, he was also the mayor of the
village and a respected citizen.
Philipp Jacob was my gg'g'g'g'g'grandfather. And
I wanted to see where he and his brother Johann Michael had lived. And so I
went. In November, 1997, I spent a week in and around Kandel, bicycling through
that area, and walking where he walked. It was a very emotional time for me,
and one of the real thrills of my lifetime.
I also bicycled to Minfeld, just a few miles away, where it is thought that
Philipp Jacob and his brothers may have set up their pottery shed. Except for
the cathedrals, which had been heavily damaged during World War II and later
rebuilt, I could not identify any buildings in either village that had existed
while they had lived there. But that part of Germany, in the Lower Palatinate,
is still known for its excellent pottery.
Kandel Cathedral where Probsts were baptized
Lying between Kandel and Minfeld on the north and the Alsation border of
France on the south is the Bienwald. The "Bee Forest". It is known as
the "Radwanderparadies", or paradise for bikers. The leaves had
turned and the entire forest was golden. It was interlaced with trails for
summertime mountain bikers and hikers and wintertime cross country skiers.
I rode through the Bienwald on my way to Oberseebach, Alsace, to where
Philipp Jacob had moved sometime in the early 1700s. Now called Seebach, it is
about 20 miles southwest of Kandel. The farmland is flat and the soil is rich.
It had already been tilled to plant winter crops. On my way back, I passed a
grist mill which looks very much like the Brobst Grist Mill in Pennsylvania.
Two of those days were spent in Speyer, about 30 miles to the north of
Kandel. The church records of Kandel and Minfeld are there, at the Central
Archives of the Palatinate Churches. Even though I read German, it was a
difficult struggle to poke through the church records, all on microfiche. But I
did find names, dates, and places of many of the Probst family members. What a
thrill that was!
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to search in Strasbourg, France, where the
Oberseebach church records are kept. Next trip!
If any of you are thinking of going there, let me know and I'll help you get
oriented. Karlsruhe is the nearest big city, and just a short train ride from
Kandel. Go for it!"
How many other Brobst genealogists have visited Germany in search of our
I remember my parents visiting Kandel and Minefeld in 1987, they biked
all over the area too! I have a box of slides of the area, each identified as
to what and where
Perhaps we can get a group of photos together for the
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