How sweet it is...when I actually find a source I was looking for...when the information is presented by a well known genealogist not likely to make mistakes...and when it gives a glimpse into the lives of German ancestors, before they emigrated to Pennsylvania (or wherever). It is rare that we know more about these ancestors than when and where they were born and died. especially if they were not wealthy. In the case of these families, we know more. The NGS Quarterly of September 1973, issue 3 tells us about the ancestral family of Bernhard Kepner or Kepler, the subject of my last Harshbarger post.
Johannes Kepner , father of Johannes Bernhard,was the son of Andreas Keppner and his wife Anna. Johann was a sexton "under" the local monastery. His wife is believed to be named Barbara.
Andreas Kepner, our Johann's grandafther, was an innkeeper. He purchased the inn at Groslach from his mother Elizabeth, after the death of his father. There was a death tax to be paid before the transfer could be made. George's widow had to pay 40florins and Andreas paid 80 florins. Andreas was the owner of the inn for about 13 years.
George Kepner was originally a klostermetzger (monastery butcher). He apparently worked himself up in the world, by buying a farm in 1599. he then bought the inn at Grosshaslach, but it's not clear what happened to the farm. Grosshaslach is a very small village in Bavaria. It seems that the monastery referred to in this area was a Lutheran monastery, which means that it was likely not as cloistered as a Catholic monastery would have been.
Johann Bernard's wife, Anna Barbara Schlagman, also has her family traced back. Her father was Johann Peter Schlagman, his father was Peter Schlagman, and it is possible that Peter's father was Kilanius Schlagmann, donkey driver, who was buried at Sulzfeld, where later generations lived and died. There was a Rabensburg castle near Sulzfeld, and it is possible that Kilanius worked for the castle. From the sounds of it, this was a very humble job. Of course, if "donkey driver" actually meant "merchant or trader of donkeys", then he may have had more status than a mere donkey driver.
Either way, we can take these families back a few more generations, and get just a slightly bigger hint of what life was most of our German ancestors could have been like in the 1600's in Bavaria. It is more than we know about most of our German families, and I'm pleased to have this much to help "fill in the dash".