More Locals Contribute to a Dream Experience in Böhringen

After a very full second day, we decided to spend the morning of day #3 visiting the “Monastery Island”,  Reichenau Isle. Our next appointment was not until later that afternoon. We all piled into the trusty van and headed out. It was beautiful sunny day and Roy, after trips back and forth to Zurich, was comfortable driving our plush rental van. A special shoutout to Teresa, our marvelous travel agent, for the splendid job in arranging all these details for our comfort.

Reichenau Island

Reichenau Island

About a 30 minute drive around the north side of the lake brought us to a lovely tree lined causeway that took us out to the island. As you can see from the photo above the island today has a good size population with lots of vegetable fields and green houses. The ”itinerant” bishop Pirmin founded the Reichenau Abby and the garden isle was developed by the Monks who came to the island about 724. By the middle of the 8th century about 100 monks were calling Reichenau Island home. As a result of donations and gifts the Abby had enormous landholdings. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and in the 800’s was considered the ”Cradle of Western Culture”. (Source: The Monastery Island of Reichenau in Lake Constance by Timo John)

Click on any image to enlarge.

It took a while but we finally found our way to the church of St. Peter and Paul. Once there we were able to explore the church dating back to about 1061. Sitting outside,in the sunshine, at St Peter and Paul museum while we were waiting for the others a German fellow joined us and struck up a conversation. He was vacationing on Lake Constance and had moored his boat at Reichenau Island. His english was excellent. We visited for several minutes as we waited for everyone to gather before moving on to see if we could find the monastery. We had our appointment back in Böhringen so after wandering around the Church, its museum, and then the grounds and surrounding buildings of the abby we left this garden island and its lush vegetable fields and white “green houses”. This is definitely an area I would love to return to and spend more time exploring.


Back in Böhringen at St. Nicholas church we met with the church volunteer archivist who had papers to share. I was thrilled with all that he had gathered on our behalf. So if you need a visual of who I’m talking about this little tree starts with my husbands 2x great grandfather Joseph.

As we learned earlier from my visit with the archivist in Radolfzell, Maria Ursula, Martin’s wife died prior to the family leaving Böhringen for North America. Today our church archivist had copied the actual 31 page document that was created and was on file at the Archbishop’s Archives in Freiburg (Erzbischöfliche Archiv nach Freiburg). This documented all of the family assets and their sale and the amount of money that had to be held for the children from their inheritance from their mother so if they returned to Böhringen they would not be indigents and a burden on the community.

Cover page from “Erzbischöfliche Archiv nach Freiburg”

Our researcher went through the document very thoroughly and tried explaining what the german document was telling us about Martin Konmeyer. Here again Martin is called a Widower and that this was the official audit of Martin Kornmaier’s debts. This could easily take me a year to complete a translation of this complete document.
From there we left the church and walked down Sankt-Nikolaus-Straße to Fritz-Kleiner-Straße, about 1/2 way our guide stopped to show me the map of the area. See below. Click on image to enlarge.

Old property map of Böhringen

The horizontal street in the middle of the map is Singener Straße. St, Nicholas Church (1) is on the upper side of Singener Straße just to the left of center. The street paralleling and above Singener Straße is Fritz-Kleiner-Straße. Here is the two story house, stable, and shed (2) that was most likely the Reichenau Hof that Martin Kornmeyer was able to acquire after his father Phillip died in 1825 and his uncle Fidel arranged (ransom) to secure for him and his brother Josef. To see the full story click here. Number 4 on the map is the Town Hall and number 5 is the property that Fidel Kornmeyer was noted as the landlord of in the city archives.

This is a picture of the possible Martin and Maria (Uhl) Kornmeyer residence as it stands today. The property just behind was the Josef Uhl property(3) in 1848. Maybe the location of Maria’s grandfather, uncle or maybe a brother’s home? Our guide then led us on around the block and back to Singener Straße giving us the highlights of the buildings in Böhringen.

I think I could easily live here.

I am very grateful for the archivist and locals who gave so freely of their time to a group of American tourists anxious to learn about the village the Kornmeyer’s came from. If you enjoyed please leave a comment below.