03 April 2012

The Beringer Brothers - of the winery fame

I will say at the very outset here that I currently have NO EVIDENCE that Jacob and Frederick Beringer, of the Beringer Brothers Winery from the Napa Valley in California are related to me. However, I am interested to see if I can find a link, as they are the most well-known Beringers I have come across, and were reputed to have been born in Mainz, Germany, which is not really very far from where my Beringers came from.

I came across this excellent article the other day, so I contacted the author, on the off chance he would be interested in the research I had done on other Beringers from the Rhine Valley region. In corresponding with him, I decided it was time to do some research on why my relatives Valtin and Dorothea Beringer were christened at the Saint Quintin Catholic Cathedral in Mainz, when the family later lived in Rauenthal, and at least one of Valtin and Dorothea's siblings was born in Rauenthal. I still haven't worked out what Lorenz and Eva Maria, their parents, were doing in Mainz. And I wondered if there might be a link between my Beringers and the Napa Valley Beringers because of the born-in-Mainz "coincidence".

FamilySearch seems to have much of the parish records for St Quintin's already transcribed, so I've been trawling through them today. It turns out that there were oodles and oodles of Beringers christened at St Quintin's. Would I find the births of the Napa Valley Beringers?

Of the Napa Valley Beringers this is what was known: Their parents were Louis and Marie Beringer née Gruber. Jacob had a middle name beginning with L, and his date of birth was 4 May 1845. Frederick was apparently born in January 1840. Not a lot to go on. "Louis" didn't sound like a terribly German name to me so I looked up the German equivalents of the French sounding Louis: Alois, Aloysius, Lutz and Ludwig. However, the parish records for St Quintin at this time were written in Latin, so a Latinised variation is Ludovici or Ludovicus. I have nothing to confirm that the wife of Louis Beringer was actually named Marie Gruber - she is rarely mentioned in information about the Beringer Brothers. And I also had nothing to suggest that they were christened at St Quintin's, as there were other Catholic churches in Mainz, but it was a place to start.

And I think I've found them!
Jacobus Fridericus Beringer was born 4 May 1845, and christened at St Quintin's on 10 May 1845. His parents were Conradi Ludovici Beringer and Catharinae Schuckardt.
Fridericus Ludovicus Beringer was born 28 January 1840, and christened at St Quintin's on 6 February 1840. His parents were Conradi Ludovici Beringer and Annae Catharinae Schuckard.
There were also siblings: Wernerus Beringer (c 31 Oct 1830), Jacobus Henricus Beringer (c 24 Jun 1834), Carolus Gottfriedus Beringer (c 30 Dec 1836) and Conradus Ludovicus Beringer (b 4 Oct 1841, c 13 Oct 1841, d 16 Jan 1842), and there may even be more.

So, its interesting that history records Jacob's middle name as being "L." when it was really Frederick's. And their mother wasn't Marie Gruber at all, but Anna Catharina Schuckardt.

I've ordered the microfilm for St Quintin's from FamilySearch to see what else I can find. It should have an occupation for their father at the very least. Plus it may give me a reason for why Valtin and Dorothea Beringer's family was in Mainz at the time of their births as well. Stay tuned!