A Trip to Northern Alsace, France

 12-28-2001-01Our first stop was the town of Merkwiller-Pechelbronn, the birthplace of Jacob STAMBACH and his daughter Marie Barbara STAMBACH. We will have to go back to this town as I have learned that the house that once belonged to Jacob STAMBACH still stands in this village.

In May 1994 Mr. & Mrs. Ray B. Grove visited Merkwiller. He wrote: “Back on the road again we headed for Merkwiller to see the home of Jakob Stambach which had been sited on a plat plan dated 1717 which we had found in a Füenfrock genealogy. Sure enough, we were able to identify the structure from the plan and took several pictures of this very old but still lived in structure.”[1]

Marie Barbara STAMBACH, born abt. 1703 in Merkwiller, married (1) Johannes NONNENMACHER November 25, 1721. She married (2) Johann Michael FÜNFROCK on March 2, 1733/34, after the death of her first husband. FÜNFROCK emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1770 after his wife’s death in 1768.[2]

Marie Barbara STAMBACH and Johannes NONNENMACHER were the parents of Maria Barbara NONNENMACHER who married Johann Jacob RUPP, our immigrant.

12-28-2001-02
Musée de Pétrole in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn (Petrol Museum in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn)
12-28-2001-03
View of graphic on side of the museum building explaining the mining done in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn.

 

12-28-2001-04The white sign on the building reads: “1735-1965 Anciennes Mines de Petrole” (Old Petrol Mines) and is diagonally across the street from the petrol museum in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn

The bulletin board in the lower right hand corner of the picture is on the facade of the “Mairie” (city hall). (right)

12-28-2001-05

 Leaving Merkwiller-Pechelbronn we passed through Kutzenhausen-le-Haut (Oberkutzenhausen) and continued to Kutzenhausen, the birthplace of Maria Barbara NONNENMACHER RUPP. (left)

“La Maison Rurale de l’Outre Forêt” 

12-28-2001-06“La Maison Rurale de l’Outre Forêt”, the group of buildings on the corner, to the left, houses a living museum . It is one of the oldest fortified farms in the historical center of Kutzenhausen. Situated near the protestant church, it is made up of two buildings used as dwellings, a double barn, annexes, a garden and an orchard. Its history goes back to the end of the 17th – beginning of the 18th century when it was owned by the STAMBACH family. It remained in the hands of farming families until its existence was threatened. In the 1990s it was renovated and now brings about 12,000 visitors a year to the village of Kutzenhausen with its 800 inhabitants. The ways of our ancestors, their traditions, and events in their lives may be re-lived and discovered by the visitor. Our visit was too short to visit the museum but it will be on the top of our list when we go back.

12-28-2001-07The STAMBACH farm with its double barn on the left and one of the two houses on the right.

12-28-2001-08Front view of the protestant church in Kutzenhausen. It was built in 1765. The protestant parish dates back to before 1554 while records go back to 1714. There were a few old grave markers on the left side of the church. The living museum which once belonged to Felix STAMBACH is to the right of the church. On my next visit I will try to find out if the old church was on the same site as it is mentioned in Felix STAMBACH’s will dated 1730. The relationship of Felix STAMBACH (1643-1729) to our Johann Jacob STAMBACH (1657-1715) will have to be researched. Mr. Grove believes that he may have been a brother to Felix.12-28-2001-09Across from the protestant church is the former administration building of the Fleckenstein family (I need to confirm this). In the background is the newer catholic church. The building to the right I believe is the Ferme des Fleckenstein, an Inn owned by the MALL family. According to Mr. Grove, at the entrance and in the courtyard one still sees the remnant of the Fleckenstein coat of arms.12-28-2001-10Typical farm house in Kutzenhausen across from the STAMBACH farm/museum. The steeple of the catholic church can be seen in the background. On the street is the word “ECOLE” is a warning to slow down as the school is nearby.12-28-2001-11Another one of the typical old houses in Kutzenhausen.12-28-2001-12Side view of the catholic church in Kutzenhausen. It was constructed in 1905. From 1693 until 1905 both the Protestants and the Catholics worshipped in same building, the protestant church seen previously.12-28-2001-13Front view of the catholic church in Kutzenhausen.

12-28-2001-14Statues on the opposite side of the street from the Kutzenhausen cemetery on the way out of town.12-28-2001-15Entrance of Steinseltz on the main road. The older buildings are found only in the center of the village.12-28-2001-16Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg, the birthplace of our RUPPs. We drove through Steinseltz and Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg on our way to Wissembourg. We didn’t stop for pictures as it was raining.12-28-2001-17“Maison du Sel” (House of Salt) dates from 1450. The renovated old building faces the Lauter River in Wissembourg. The building has new windows and a new facade but the roofing gives away its age. The attic rooms, on four stories, have windows that open onto little balconies that are protected by the extended roof.12-28-2001-18The Lauter River runs through Wissembourg in front of the “Maison du Sel”.12-28-2001-19Lovely view of the dwellings in Wissembourg along the Lauter River taken from the little bridge next to the “Maison du Sel”.12-28-2001-20Hôtel de Ville, the city hall of Wissembourg, built between 1741-1752 in rose colored sandstone with its little bell tower and clock. This building is in the center of town on the Place de la République. Turning to the left into the rue du Marché-aux-Poissons (Fish Market Street) you reach the little bridge over the Lauter River next to the “Maison du Sel”.12-28-2001-21Coming back to Steinseltz after our visit to Wissembourg, we came in on one of the smaller roads leading into the village. An old sign at the entrance of Steinseltz is speckled with little holes from granade fire.12-28-2001-22We drove into Steinseltz and parked our car across from this building. SURPRISE!! The first thing we noticed was the street sign on the corner of this building.

12-28-2001-23
Close up of the street sign

The main street of Steinseltz is named after one of their former mayors, a RUPP.12-28-2001-24The little street to the left of the street sign “Rue du Maire Rupp” lead us to the Steinseltz cemetery. Inside the gate, to the right, was a row of very old grave markers. They were most likely taken from the churchyard in recent years. The very first stone was for a RUPP.

12-28-2001-25
Close up of the old grave marker

Hier ruht in Gott
Magdalena
RUPP
geb. Juncker
geb. 20 Januar 1819
gest. 29 Juni 1898

I am not sure about the last word in the first line. It translates to read Here rests in God, Magdalena JUNCKER, born 20 January 1819, died 29 June 1898, and she was married to a RUPP.
12-28-2001-27Tombstone for Albert RUPP (1906-1965) and his wife Elise ZIMMERMAN (1907-1996)
(dates are in dd-mm-yyyy format)
The row of old grave markers can be seen in the upper left hand corner.

12-28-2001-28
Grave of Georges RUPP, a former mayor of Steinseltz.

12-28-2001-30In front of the large grave site for Georges RUPP, the mayor, were five markers. The farthest to the right was this one:

Magdalena Rupp
geb. Herold (maiden name)
1846-1901
Lina Rupp
1896-1901

I believe that Lina may have been a granddaughter of Magdalena. To the left of this grave was another one that was very difficult to decipher:

Lina Rupp
geb. Greiner
1874-1917
Henri Rupp
Maire
1866-1921

Note that this Rupp was also a mayor of Steinseltz. It is possible that Henri and Lina were the parents of Georges.

12-28-2001-31This grave was to the left of one previously mentioned but not photographed (Henri and Lina):

Heinrich
Rupp
von Herold
1842-1903

Heinrich Rupp must have been the husband of Magdalena Herold Rupp. There were two more graves to the left of this one but they were so weathered that the names and dates could no longer be read.
12-28-2001-32

Typical old houses in Steinseltz that we passed while going up the hill to see the churches.12-28-2001-33

Front view of one of the two churches in the “rue des Eglises” (Churches Street) in Steinseltz. I have seen another photo of this church and if it is labeled correctly then this is the protestant church.

12-28-2001-34Monument in the church yard of the Protestant church in Steinseltz:

To our
dead
1914-1918
1939-1945

 

 

 

12-28-2001-35At the foot of the monument, the names of the men from Steinseltz who died during World War II including Charles RUPP.
12-28-2001-36

 

 

 

View of one of the older houses in Steinseltz. The stairs lead to the front door. The arched doorway to the right of the stairs is the entrance to the cellar. The large barn door can be seen behind the stairs. On the left is a house built most likely after World War II.12-28-2001-37

View of the main street, rue du Maire Rupp, in Steinseltz.

12-28-2001-38
Plaque on a building in the rue du Maire Rupp

In Memory of
Georges Rupp
1901-1962
Promoter of the
Agricultural Co-op

Hope you all enjoyed the pictures that we took of the area that our ancestors came from. We will be going back again when the weather is nicer. The fields were filled with melting snow and it was raining most of the time we were there. With warmer weather we should be able to get nice photos of the villages from a distance. Summertime is especially nice as the people there hang boxes filled with geraniums below all the windows. Steinseltz is especially well-known for their geraniums. Of course we will be sure to get plenty of photos of the inside and outside of the museum in Kutzenhausen as well as visit with Mr. René RUPP in Oberhoffen-les-Wissembourg.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions for our next visit.

Sources:
[1] Grove, Ray B. Stumbaugh Tree of Life (Our Roots). Online: http://www.robertfleming.org/rfes.htm . Last accessed January 1, 2002. This site is no longer online. The book is on FamilySearch.org > https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE973005
[2] Burgert, Annette Kunselman. Eighteenth Century Emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America. pg. 413.

© 2001 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

As a military brat I've lived in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, Texas, and Luxembourg. Married 39 years with two grown children. When I’m not doing genealogy, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful countryside in Luxembourg and surrounding countries.

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