Thursday, December 11, 2014

On the search of two family histories in Bas Rhin - Alsace

Early in 2014 we were contacted by an American family from Dallas investigating the history of their catholic forefathers originating from Alsace. Interestingly enough, a couple being in their eighties who had met in America had both ancestors from and family in Alsace.

After meeting at the trainstation of Strasbourg we drove to our first stop; the mayors building in Reinhardsmunster.
We were very warmly greeted by mister Daniel Brandstetter. Mister Brandstetter knows a lot about the history of the area and had prepared our visit there. Via him we met the current mayor of Reinhardsmunster and Mrs Carline Buchel who let us in their office to look and copy some old documents and maps.
When I tell you that this all took place on a cold Sunday morning, we can not be else than very thankful of this kind cooperation in their spare time.

Among many handwritten documents in French and Latin we found some birth- and baptize certificates.

There had been a church next to the cemetry of Reinhardsmunster. It has been destroyed. Today there is just a small chapel. A little further in town a new church was built.
Parts, artefacts and building blocks from the old church were used in this church. An example is this baptismal font.

Knowing this came from the old church, we understood that this was the font used to baptize some of their family members.
People we just found some old baptize documents from. Amazing!

On the cemetry we found a lot of ancestors resting there. The family must have been numerous and important in the old days.

After lunch we drove to a village called Epfig. Now we focussed on the forefathers of Madame. Epfig has a very interesting and beautiful little church called the Chapelle Sainte Marguerite, a roman churh dating back to the 11-th century.
To me it was a mystical place. Outside in the cemetry on one side you will find a herbal garden.

In one wall of the Chapel sits a stack of bones and skulls of "unknown people" killed in a war near the village of Epfig. They are finding a last resting place in the church wall of the chapelle Sainte Marguerite.

On the cemetry we found lots of ancestors of the family. In the streets today there were still wineries that carried the name.
Interesting detail on the cemetry was a statue referring to people that got decapitated by a guillotine.

Here is a little video on the Chapelle
All and all we found lots of traces of the forefathers of both families.
For me as a guide it was an impressive experience and lovely day.
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