Letter

Trip to Niederlinxweiler
 
    Well guys, I just came back from Niederlinxweiler, our family's roots have been revisited. It’s a very small village that lies in the hills of the Saarland, Western Germany. I drove down to Luxemburg for a day and night to look around with my girlfriend Kerstin. She had never been there and I needed to get away for awhile. After our stay in Luxemburg we got in the car and headed South, right to the border of France, and then turned East heading into Germany. It’s nothing but very small two lane roads all the way through the Saarland (at least the way we drove). It took us awhile to find the town since the directions are so friggen confusing, leaving Niederlinxweiler (lower linxweiler) nowhere to be found on any signs. After asking five different people as we made our way throughout the region, we finally found it after passing through its sister city Oberlinxweiler (upper linxweiler) (weiler = villa). When we first got into town we knew it had two churches, one Evangelish (Presbyterian) and the other Catholic. 

     We first visited the Evangelish church and looked around. It seemed old enough to be the one Johanness Bager was the preacher (Pffarrer) at, but we visited the catholic one just to be sure, and it wasn’t old enough to be the one, so that made it easy for us. We then drove through town to see if we could find any kind of graveyards or something with the Bager name on it. The church didn’t have any writing on the outside of it and no graveyard old enough was there to be found. It was getting late (4:15 pm) and we knew that the city archive might be our only hope of finding something. We drove around and asked a few people if they knew where the city archive was at and they said it was in Sankt Wendel (St. Wendel) and was probably already closed. As a last ditch effort we saw a funeral parlor and went to see if we could get any kind of info, but they were an appointment only business. I guess it’s only a matter of time ..heh. There was a bicycle store across from the parlor, so we went in and asked for the last time. I asked a woman working in the store "Who's the preacher at the church across the street?" She gave me his name and told me where he lived which was right beside the church. I explained to her that I’m from America and looking for some information on my relatives, one in particular who used to be a preacher at the church across the street.  She said that she also knew someone who could probably help me out better though on genealogy than the city archive. She told me her brother is the Mayor of Niederlinxweiler and is more or less the walking city archive.
    She called her brother at home and got a hold of his wife on the phone, who promptly welcomed us over and said her husband would be home shortly. The Mayor’s sister then gave us directions to his house, around 600 meters away, and told us if we find out anything to give her an email. Very nice people in the Saarland, that should be noted. We drove to the Mayor’s house and his wife was expecting us and welcomed us in. She gave us some cappuccinos while her daughter pulled out a book that went back with names dating to the 1700’s. She thumbed through names and found the name Bager. As I was looking at the family tree and dates the Mayor came in and greeted us. He went to another room and came back with a book containing about 30 pages of info on our family. Unfortunately, there is no picture of the Niederlinxweiler Pastor Johann Georg Bager I. All Pastors that came after him had theirs made. I hope this doesn’t get confusing. The father of Pastor Johannes Georg Bager I (Niederlinxweiler Pastor)  was (as written in the family tree book) called Joh. Jakob Bager, who was by trade a Master Baker.  The only Bager who came to America was Johann Georg Bager II and I'm not yet sure, but from the German text it appears he worked as a roofer (Leyendeckerstocher), - basically he laid slabs of black stone used as shingles on roofs-  in the town of Giessen, where he then studied Theology, and then became a Lutheran Curate (Pastor) in the town of Simmern. He then put boarded the ship the “Rawley” and then put his trust in America on the date October 10th, 1752 in Philadelphia. Not sure what “put his trust” means yet, but I think it carries the same meaning as "betting all your money". I’ll have to read through the text I had copied from the original book to find our more details. I’m going to buy the original book, if I can get my hands on it. The Mayor has given me a tip where I can find another one at. I sat with the Mayor discussing these things for about 45 minutes. At the same time he showed me a picture of Johann Bager’s seal that he had used to mark his letters and documents. He gave me a gold color trimmed plate with the Niederlinxweiler Seal (coat of arms) along with new aerial photographs of the town that he had taken from a hot air balloon. He also gave me two old aerial photographs taken before WWII and pictures of the church that exist today.  He then called the pastor of the church and asked if he had some time to talk with us. We said good-bye to the family and then followed behind the Mayor in our car to met the preacher. The preacher took us into and around the church and told us of the history he knew of the Bager family and the church. The church that Johann I had doesn’t exist anymore. It stood where the Eastern part of the present church stands. It apparently fell apart from old age. Keep in mind though that the church that stands there today is only a one room church from mid 1700's (it was damaged in WWII, when a US bomber overshot its target -railroad tracks). The original had to have been very small and probably dated back to the 1600's or even further.

Take care all,

 Jon Baugher
March 1st, 2002

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