The Forster Family

The Pfalz area suffered through much turmoil and strife over the years. The Thirty Years War between 1618-1648 wrought the most hardship on the people through pillage, pestilence, rape, and other brutalities. It was a complex of wars combining dynastic with religious conflicts. The Pfalz had the misfortune of being directly on the path of the several campaigns. As a result, three fifths of the population perished. The depopulation of the area led to an influx of mostly Swiss, but also French, Dutch, English and Scotts.

Many of the Forster ancestors had Swiss origins. Immigrant Swiss ancestors include Hans Adam Eichacker, born 1667 in Steffisburg, Bern; Ulrich Born, born 1641 in Niederbipp, Bern; Nicolaus Lehmann, born 1716 in Signau, Bern; Jacob Brünesholz, born 1660 in Wahlern, Bern; Jacob Hundsecker, born in Schöftland, Aargau; Hans Sandmeyer, born  1677 in Seengen, Aargau; Hans Jacob Ringeisen, born 1653 in Erlenbach, Bern; Jacob Schmolzi, born 1645 in Gsteig, Bern; Hans Jacob Buchmann, born 1657 in Lunnern, Zürich; and Anna Maria Schwitzgebel, born 1667 in Gsteig, Bern.

A particularly harsh winter in 1708-1709, known as the Great Frost, was the coldest European winter in 500 years. Famine killed thousands and led to the emigration of the Palatines, as the residents of the Pfalz were called, to America. Between the years 1717-1732, 3000 Mennonites emigrated to the USA. During the French Revolution, this area was occupied by the French beginning in 1794. Administrative departments and civil registration were introduced and enforced for the first time. The area where our Forster ancestors lived became Mont Tonnerre.

Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 and it became administered by Austro-Bavaria, and then in 1816 was ceded to Bavaria. It became part of the German Empire in 1871.

After World War I in 1920 France again occupied the Pfalz. At this time, the area where the Hilpert family lived was separated and became the territory of Saarland. In 1935 it was returned to Germany. Following World War II, the French occupied the area again. Saarland finally joined the Federal Republic of Germany on 1 January 1957.

Limbach, where the Hilpert ancestors lived for many generations, exists since around the 10th century, originally on the other side of the Blies River. This part of the double town is now called Altstadt. As with many towns in the Pfalz, Limbach was destroyed during the Thirty Years War. It took decades to recover because of continuous disputes between the Germans and the French. Katharina Forster's ancestor Johann Bernhard Leibrock, who is the progenitor of three ancestral lines through his sons Georg Heinrich Leibrock, Christoph Leibrock, and Georg Jakob Leibrock, built a house, the so-called new house, 'neues Häusel', on the ruins of the vacant village of Volkerskirchen, which became the village of Neuhäusel around 1700.  Later he moved his family to Limbach.

In this database you can explore the ancestors of Katharina Elisabeth Forster, and many of their descendants.

Please contact me if you have any corrections or additions, or if you have found anything on this website useful for your own genealogy. I'd love to hear from you!

Icon Key for this Database

Ancestor of Katharina Elisabeth Forster
Indicates a photo for a person
Indicates an immigrant
Ancestral Couple confirmed by DNA testing