Most of my German Brenner ancestors come from a small area surrounding the current city of Eppingen in Baden-Württemberg. (see Map 1) Baden came into existence in the 12th Century and existed in a variety of forms until it was merged with Württemberg in 1948 (see Wikipedia).
2g-grandfather, Johannes (John) Brenner (who emigrated to United Stated in 1854) was born in the town of Adelshofen, Baden, in 1836. His father, Georg Friderich Brenner, was listed as a citizen (Bürger) of Adelshofen at the time of his marriage (in Adelshofen) to Johanna Catarina Venninger (1822). I have not been able to verify his birth place, but I believe it not to be Adelshofen.
Johanna Venninger’s father was born in Sulzfeld, Baden. He married Johanna’ mother (Elizabetha Fleck) in Adelshofen in 1789. Johanna’s Grandfather Fleck was born in Ittlingen, Baden, but married three different Adelshofen women (1843, 1762, 1768).
In addition to Sulzfeld and Ittlingen, other Brenner ancestors and collaterals came from Stettin, Kuernbach, and Neipperg. Map 2 indicates the relationship of all these towns to one another. (For the sake of this exercise, distances are measured on a straight line between the various communities and do not reflect the actual travel distance by roads)
As I review the information in my RootsMagic database, I find that I have 112 events (births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths) listed in Adelshofen. These are events in the lives of Flecks, Venningers, and Brenners. They are dated from 1716 to 1873.
Sulzfeld was the location for 53 such events; all for Venningers from 1729 to 1834.
Kuernbach was the location for 34 events (from 1550 to 1752). Families involved were Nasts, Samstags, Trauttlinns, Jaiches, and Ludwigs.
Neipperg was the location for 29 ancestral events (from 1664-1770) involving the Fabers and the Uhls.
Ittlingen was the location for 26 ancestral events (from 1665-1795) involving the Flecks and the Conrads.
Stettin was the loction for 16 ancestral events (from 1667-1689) involving the Stolzenhabers
My database for Baden residents includes 49 Venningers, 29 Nasts, 23 Flecks, 13 Uhls, 10 Brenners, 9 Conrads, 6 Fabers, 6 Stolzenhabers, 3 Samstags, 3 Ludwigs, 2 Trauttlinns, and 1 Jaich.
Interestingly enough, even though Eppingen was the central city in the area (a population of about 2750 in 1825) there is no indication that any of my ancestors came from Eppingen. I have wondered whether some regional events, shopping, other commerce or trade brought people of the region to Eppingen, giving rise to the possibility of some connections being made between families from the surrounding communities.
Fortunately, church records from the Evangelische Kirchen of the area are available on microfilm (Family History Library and Family History Centers) for our perusal. Those records are extremely helpful even though they require some practice at reading the old German handwriting.