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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
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 g’g'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
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 ancestral roots??

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 reunion!

pkp


This page was last updated on Monday, 21-Feb-2011 18:18:30 MST
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