The Family

Family Origins

Our family records begin with Hans Georg Sedelmohr. By trade Georg was a tinker [Kessler or Kesselflicker]. According to the German-English Genealogical Dictionary by Ernest Thode (1992), "Kesselflicker" means a kettle repairman and was a person with no fixed residence; the term also included the soothsayer and medicine man. "Kessler" means a kettlemaker or coppersmith. Since both terms were used in German records to refer to Georg, he must have been a kettle repairman. It is likely that tinkers, who had to travel from place to place to find enough work, may have been away from home for months at the time.

Georg's first known wife was named Walpurgis (surname unknown) and they had three children:

  1. Elisabetha Sedelmohr, christened in Dorf Erbach on 26 Apr 1681; Michael Leib, who lived at the castle Erbach, was the godparent.
  2. Johann Philipp Sedelmohr, christened in Dorf Erbach on 27 Mar 1685.
  3. Philipp Ernst Sedelmohr, born and christened 22 Jun 1686 in Dorf Erbach.

Georg apparently made his home in Dorf Erbach, Kreise Erbach (Odenwald), Hesse, Germany.

Georg (this time called Zettelmeyer) next married Anna Maria Dörffler, a Lutheran, on 10 Jul 1699 and they also had three children:

  1. Maria Martha Zettelmeyer, born 18 Jun 1700 in Dorf Erbach.
  2. Johanna Ottilin Zettlemeyer, born 1 Sep 1703 in Dorf Erbach.
  3. Johann Jacob Zettelmeyer, born 7 Dec 1706 in Dorf Erbach.

The marriage record of his youngest child, Johann Jacob, refers to Georg as a Beysitzer. The record of Georg’s marriage to Anna Maria Dörffler and in the birth records of his two daughters by her refer to him as a Beysass, which is a form of the word Beysitzer. Possible meanings of these words include a landless peasant, as well as someone who rents from or lives with someone else. According to OLD GERMAN PROFESSIONS, OCCUPATIONS and ILLNESSES, translated from German into English language (courtesy of Oliver Weiss), Beisitzer means junior lawyer; juryman; inhabitant without land (e.g. a son living with his parents) and without citizenship rights or duties, Beysass(e) means rental inhabitant without citizenship, and Beysitzer means junior lawyer or juryman. These are the same definitions that Thode offers in his German-English Genealogical Dictionary

Georg was Catholic according to the first group of baptismal records as well as the record of his death. However, his burial is recorded at the Lutheran church at Reichelsheim, which is about seven miles northwest of Dorf Erbach. Those records list his age at death as 78, so he would have been born around 1636. His widow remarried on 23 Feb 1722 to Hans Philipp Hess from Hetsbach.

Assuming that Georg was born about 1636 it is likely that he had married around 1656 or shortly afterwards. So he may have had an earlier wife than Walpurgis or she may have been his first wife. It seems most likely that he had children who were born before the group in the 1680s. Perhaps he first made his home somewhere other than Dorf Erbach.

Last Updated Tuesday, July 09, 2002 07:34 PM