Williams Family from Evansville, Indiana

 

Birthplace of Jacob Barth in November 1833,

Father of Louise "Lula" Barth Bollinger

We know very little about Jacob Barth. Lillian Bollinger and Don Bollinger obtained information from the Booneville Township, Warrick County, Indiana 1880 Federal Census that Jacob was born in November 1833 in Berkenfell, Germany and is buried in Tennyson Cemetery near Booneville, Indiana. He is listed as a teamster and farmer.

There is no Berkenfell in Germany. There is a Birkenfehl which is pronounced exactly as the Barth records show. There is a Birkenfeld and a Birkenfelde. We have to assume that the pronunciation leads to the correct one since verbal skills of immigrants were better than the written.

Birkenfehl is about 50 miles directly east of Koln (Cologne) Germany (Rhine River) and about 75 miles north of Frankfurt. So it is about 50 miles west of the geographic center of Germany. It is in west-central Germany. It is also in the middle of a huge belt of wooded hills that extend east of Cologne across the middle of Germany. The nearest city is Siegen where there is a major university. Birkenfehl is in a nature park called Rothaargebirge and in a mountain region called by the same name. It is in a valley near the Eder River. Pictures of the area are available on the internet. Birkenfehl is in the German District (state) of Nordrhein-Westfalen. Rainfall is about 40 inches per year. The lowest temperature is just below 0 deg F and from May to October it doesnít get below freezing.

In the early 80s Howard Williams (Jacobís great grandson) traveled to Germany by train from Liege, Belgium to Cologne where he took the train down the Rhine River to Switzerland. Cologne is famous for itís giant and ancient cathedral that was spared in the bombing of World War II. He passed within 50 miles of Jacob Barthís birthplace. He remembers the gruff ticket agent that had no patience for someone who spoke only English. He remembers the beautiful Rhine River and the wooded hills surrounding.

Much more research is needed on Jacob and his Birkenfehl. Census records will establish if we picked the right town. It would be easy to get there by flying into the major air hub of Frankfurt, train to Siegen and rental car to Birkenfehl.

 

Copyright © 2001 Williams Family from Evansville, Indiana