Village of My Berthold and Ullrich Ancestors

Interior of church
 Church rebuilt in 1850
To see a good picture of the church organ built in 1850 and newly renovated click here.

      In the Oberkalbach area, for most of its known history, small villages were either Lutheran or Catholic.  Villagers not of the dominant religion had to attend church in another village.  The Catholics in Oberkalbach attended church in Mittelkalbach.   For many years, Oberkalbachers were Reformed (Calvinistic), but in 1817 the emperor Frederick II  ruled that the protestant religions merge.  Thereafter, it was called the Lutheran or Evangelical church.
     In an area of trees and meadows, about 2 kilometers south of Oberkalbach past Kiliansberg,  is a large rounded stone.  It is said that this is the location of a prehistoric graveyard.  The rock is about 4 1/2  feet tall and has an indentation in the top.  As early as 1619, this rock was called the Frauenstein and was the mark of the borders between the territory of the Bishop of Wuerzburg and that of Fulda.   In the 19th century, the legend became popular that  St. Kilian, a missionary to the Franks, had used this rock as a baptismal font as he brought Christianity to this area.  The stone then received the title “Taufstein” (baptismal rock).
     Because the parish records were destroyed by fire in the 30-Year War, not much is known about the parish prior to those years.  The parish consisted of 3 communities - Oberkalbach, Heubach and Uttrichshausen. Some pastors served as little as one year but most served many years, the longest serving 49 years.  The pastor who began the parish records in 1654 was Henrich Appel.  He served from 1653 to 1658.
     For church services, men and women sat in separate sections of pews.  Young people were instructed in chatechism classes and then confirmed when they were about 13 or 14. In earlier times, church activity held a more prominent place in villagers' lives, but in the 1900's the majority of people were not regular churchgoers except during preparation for confirmation.  It is common for church members to be at church at their  baptism, marriage, and funeral and on special religious holidays, but today religion does not play a major part in their daily lives, except perhaps among  the older population. I've heard it said that some Germans have requested excommunication in order to avoid paying the church tax that the government  imposes on them.
     The numbers of Lutherans versus Catholics is less dramatic now than in former years.  Interfaith marriages are not uncommon.  For some years after WWII,  Catholic refugees from eastern Europe lived in Oberkalbach and were given permission to have the Catholic priest from another  village conduct their services in the Lutheran church . The Lutheran pastor even located a moped for the priest to use in commuting between the villages.
     Before the beginning of civil records, the churches were the official record keepers for births, marriages and deaths.  In the Oberkalbach area, civil records for births, deaths and marriages began to be kept in 1875.  However,  civil registration  of marriage  contracts began much earlier.
Copyright 2000 - 2008 by Sue Foster.  Please contact me for permission to copy.  I would like to know why you are interested in this information :-)