Visiting the Archivist in Radolfzell am Bodensee Germany

Taking a trip to explore your family past is exciting and can be a little overwhelming. When I’ve traveled here in the states for Genealogy I have been able to spend time taking in the information and studying the documents for every bit of information written on the document. But traveling to a country where I know almost none of the language the historical documents are written in, is intimidating. Prior to our trip I was in contact with an Archivist in Radolfzell am Bodensee. This was like a county records office here in the states. I had scheduled an appointment and was able to walk just a few minutes from our hotel to the record office. Due to Covid it was required that I wear a specific mask (FFP-2) for the meeting and only one person would be allowed in. I was inquiring with a local shopkeeper for the address I was looking for when Hilde hailed me from the building two doors down.
My sister and her friend had accompanied me for the walk and left to explore the area on their own while I followed Hilde into her office.

Radolfzell

Hilde, the Radolfzell archivist had gathered quite a stack of information for me. In our correspondence I had supplied the name of our immigrant to America, Martin Kornmeyer, who arrived in New York in 1850. 
Hilde started with the published book Böhringen, Geschichte diner Landgemeinde zwischen Untersee und Hegau. Böhringen, history of the rural community between Untersee and Hegau, by Peter Hirscher. This book is entirely in German, so Hilde went through the book and gave me the gist of what was written about Martin Kornmayer and his uncle Fidel Kornmayer and Martin’s father Philipp Kornmayer.

The first mention in Böhringen, history of the rural community.., the talks about Philipp Kornmayer and how he came to have the fiefdom of Reichenauer Hof in Böhringen and the indirect inheritance to Martin and Joseph upon Phillipps death.

The last bishop’s fiefdom for the Reichenauer Hof was issued on November 30, 1801 by the last bishop of Constance, Carl Daiberg. He enfeoffed Philipp Kornmayer with the Hof. During the secularization of 1802/03, the Reichenau possessions in Boehringen came to the Electorate, the later Grand Duchy of Baden. Philipp Kornmayer then received his last certificate on July 28 1818 from Grand Duke Karl. He [Phillipp] died in 1825, leaving 4 girls and 2 underage boys. Because of the lack of means and minority of the children, the fief could not initially be all modified, i.e. made freely hereditary. In 1828, the caretaker of the children, Fidel Kornmayer, applied for a division of the fief, so that the two brothers. Martin and Josef Kornmayer were able to inherit half of the fiefdom after they reached full-year age. The allodification took place in 1836; For which a ransom sum totaling 1288 guilders was set by the grand ducal chamber of Baden, half of which had to be taken over by the brothers.

On the Reichenauer Hof there was a two-story house with two barns, a stable and a carriage house under one roof. The property was in the east towards the Muhlbach, in the Westen towards the community path.

This accounting in the book has a source citation that indicates the information came from the state archives that are held in Freiberg. The book goes on to give citizen lists from 1817/18 that shows Fidel as a landlord (4160 Gulden) and Philipp as a farmer (8680 Guilden). Apparently Fidel owned what was a guest house. The building is shown in the book in an old black and white photo.

Starting in 724 a Monastery was established on Reichenau Island in Lake Constance by Benedictine monks. The Monastery held the rights to the land not only on the island but in much of the area on the western end of the lake and into the surrounding area. One of these properties in the Behringen (later known as Böhringen) area was referred to as Reichenauer Hof.

Hilde went through the book and showed the marked passages that spoke or showed the different members of the Kornmeyers information. We left the bookmarks in the copy of my book but the pages are also shown in the index.

Hilde continued to show me the records that are in the archives that showed:

  • 1833 Martin obtains full citizen “by birth”at age 22.
  • 1839 Martin Kornmayer’s signature on a document as a member of the Böhingen council committee.
  • 1839 list of citizens having tythe duties, #31 list Martin Kornmayer.
  • 1839 list number of cattle per owner in Böhringen. Martin Kornmeyer 10 cows.
  • 1840 contract with Martin Kornmayer’s signature as a member of the Böhringen council committee.
  • 1844 Labor duties, (general labor and turf digging) Martin Kornmayer – turf digging.
  • 1844 Martin Kornmayer’s signature on document dealing with citizens benefits.
  • 1846 voter list for either work or money for the new cemetery, most voted for work including Martin.
  • 1848 Böhringen Census shows Martin Kornmayer, Farmer and Widower with seven children ( Peter, Philipp, Martin, Josef, Gabriel, Theresa, and Mathilda), a maid Rosa Jerg von Gaienhofen, a servant.
  • 1848 Property (houses) Owners list shows Martin Kornmayer farmer and Widower.

Now we know that Maria Ursuela Uhl who married Martin Kornmeyer 20 May 1833 died by the 1848 City census. She never made it to the boat to America in 1850.

My next blog will tell about our visit to Böhringen,