Born at the end of 15th century + 1658

CLAUDE ARNOLD’s Father- in- law

We have written already in our Bulletins about our ancestor Barthélémy SEUFFERLIN, Marie’s father, and we have published his inventory after his death that our cousin Lucienne LAPOINTE had masterly translated and we discovered  this man such interesting.

We want to publish again this document for our new cousins in order they discover the life of our ancestors during the 17th century in the Valley of the Thur.

Our cousin André Ganter discovered in the Archives of Saint Amarin the Inventory after the death in 1643 of the first wife of Barthélémy Syfferlin : our ancestor  Blaisotte VALDENAIRE, native from VENTRON and Barthélémy’s Inventory written 15 years later on the 14th of January 1658 where the second wife is named : Catherine RUEDLER.

At first in the document of 1643 we read that Barthélémy and Blaisotte had 6 children: Ursula, Barbara, Maria, Hans, Dorthe and Barthel. But there is the following mention « HAT BARTHEL DER VATER 2 KINDER ERERBT » which means that two of the children Dorthe and Barthel died after their mother but before that the Inventory was completely set up. Their portion will be given to their father.

Witnesses and tutors’ names are also interesting: by the side of the widower we read the name of the very respected Peter WYSSANT, Sergeant of the Fortress of WILDENSTEIN. And the children’ tutors were: Hans SYFFERLIN – burgess of ODEREN and Diebolt MUNSCHI, their uncle or cousin. Was also present the mayor « Meyer Herr Hans BOBENWÜRTH (BOBENRIETH).

The properties to divide between Barthélémy and his children were made of meadows and fields. Meadows were appraised in “fauchées” (manwerck) (1 manwerck = around 3600 square metres) they were more important than fields. If we are right meadows were around 11 hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres) of which 8 hectares and half were for children. Fields were only 3 hectares and 30 ares (1 are = 100 square metres) of which 2/3 were for Barthélémy. Meadows were in the named places « LEFFE » - « FALIER » - « FRENTZ » and « WINDT ». Fields were in the named places « FUCHSBÜHEL » and « FONTAY » (FAUTEN). Those appellations are always the same in the plans of Kruth.

In this first deed the farm is also evoked…

We hear that the farm was composed of a dwelling-house with its barns, an orchard and a kitchen-garden on 120 ares by the side of « L’AÜEBACH » (CLAUEBACH?) and near from the common. Were included 30 ares of fields in the « FALLIER » and 120 ares of forests in the « LEFFE ».


Kruth and its pasture-land….

Barthélémy was the owner but under conditions. He had to give to each of his children 30 ares of meadows coming from the property of their grandmother (unhappily we don’t know which one and we haven’t her name). The daughters will have 30 ares of meadows before the sharing. The son Hans will have also before the sharing 50 livres (1 livre = 1 pound from Basel or Stebler) his portion from the motherly division on the farm.

Furniture and copper utensils had been stolen by soldiers during the war. Yet, Barthélémy had to give 3 livres to each of his children.

We don’t hear anything about the cattle, or about assets or liabilities as the deed is stopped without any date and any signature!

When the inventory was open on the 14th of January of 1658 it shows that this father was a man very important as we can read in the title: « BARTHEL SYFFERLIN, GEWESTER BÜRGER ZU KRUTH, FÜRSTLICH MÜRBACHSCHER MEYER DER OBER ODEREN ST AMARIN THALS » that we translate by « The late Barthel SYFFERLIN, Seigniorial Mayor of MURBACH Abbey and of the High Valley of ST AMARIN ». He was a very important person as was too his grandson (Jean Jacques ARNOLD). His children and his second wife Catherine RUEDLER were present when the inventory was read, which helps us to establish all the family ties.

Hans had married with Apollinaire PURING’s daughter (PERRING) Burgess of WEYLER. Ursula had married with Gaspard WEGERICH, Burgess of KRUTH and Barbara had married with Thiébolt SCHILLING of BITCHWILLER and Town-Councillor of SAINT AMARIN.

Véronique, born of the second wedding, had as tutor her godfather Peter WUNSSANT, Town-Councillor. He may be the same one as the one on the first deed of 1643. And for our ancestor Maria we can read that she has gone to Switzerland 15 years ago, but we know she is Claude ARNOLD’s wife. Besides in spite of this « disappearing » it is said in the deed that if she came back each of the heirs will have to give her 20 Livres her paternal portion.  And we are very surprised to read in the list of liabilities the name of Claude Arnold who had lent 3 Livres to his father- in- law! So we suppose that between 1644 and 1658, Claude Arnold and his wife Maria living in MUNSTER entered into relations with Barthélémy.


The beautiful  town of Munster (Charles GRAD picture copyright)

But we have no documents to prove what we suppose.

More important than the first deed, as it contains a testament between the married couple dated on the 18th of February 1657  and the estimation of utensils and debts, - Barthel SYFFERLIN’s inventory is also without any signature.

What are the precise details about the testament?

At first, the Seigniorial Mayor ordered to his wife to give 5 Livres to the Church SAINT NICOLAS in order to celebrate a mass every year for his last sleep. Catherine RUEDLER becomes the owner of the dwelling-house, all the widow’s dowers and 45 ares taken in her spouse’s fields in the named places « FALLIER » and « SÜKH ». In equalization of the sale when she married of some fields which were her own she will get several « fauchées » (manwerck) in the named place « WINDT ». And about Hans, he will get before the sharing a farm named « DIE OBERE HOFREITH » and  45 ares of fields, in order to pay his  « LIDLOHN » which means the retribution of his work in the paternal farm.

Moreover, Catherine RUEDLER, will have to give to Hans 20 Livres in order to help him in the building of a small house. The both will get before sharing a cow and the half of Barthélémy’s chattels will go to Hans.

Then the inventory and assigning of lands are made on equal parts between the 3 children of the first wedding and the daughter of the second one. There are 7 and half hectares of meadows and nearly 3 hectares of fields: less than in the sharing of 1643.

Then there is the sharing of rye and épeautre (rustic corn).

We don’t hear anything about barley or corn or oat. Each of children will get an apiary; all together a cow estimated 22 Livres. The 2 sons-in-law SCHILLING and WEGERICH will get each one a hay horse-drawn carriage. Hans, will give to his sisters 5 Livres in exchange of a carriage, a plough and a harrow and 1 livre and 17 deniers for the dishes…

Barthélémy had no credit but debts for a total of 109 Livres. But in that sum of money there are 5 Livres for the mass and 26 Livres and 9 deniers for the account of Murbach Abbey…

Among creditors as we tell before we find Claude ARNOLD, one of the sons-in-law for a sum of 3 Livres, and another son-in-law SCHILLING for the same sum. And 3 Livres for a loan of 60 Livres bearing interest from the Church of SAINT AMARIN.

Several creditors are well known in KRUTH as MUNSCH – BURGUNDER and so on.

So in spite of his lands, his farm and his high responsibilities as Seigniorial Mayor, Barthel SYFFERLIN, as several ploughmen had no money after the terrible war of « Trente ans » (Thirty Years War). And we may wonder if heirs of Barthélémy could refund? As finally the widower will refund 36 Livres 16 deniers and children 73 livres and 12 deniers.

This inventory ends without any signature as the one of 1643. Signatures were interesting in several documents in Low-Alsace as it shows us the literacy of the country-people. We have no answer for our ancestor Barthel SYFFERLIN who had high responsibilities in front of a Lord so hard to please and sometimes in front of refractory country-men.

M.A.T. according to the text of Lucienne LAPOINTE 1985.

-           -          1 Fauchée = 1 manwerck = around 3600 square metres

-           -          1 hectare = 2.47 acres

-           -          1 are = 100 square metres

-           -          1 Livre = 1 Livre from Basel or Stebler (Pfund)

-           -          1 denier ( Pfennig) = 1 sou (Schilling)

-           -          20 sous = 1 Livre

-           -          Guerre de Trente Ans = Religious and political war in Europe from 1618 to 1648.