Lineage Name: Bergenthaler
Common Names: (male) Jurgen, Junghans, Joachim, Jakobus, Johannis, (female) Emmelina, Ernesta, Eugenia, Eulanie, Else, Elbarathia
Social Class: Peasants (almost entirely)
Intermarriage with outsiders (from non-Sauber lands): Uncommon
Intermarriage with second cousins: Common
Typical number of children: 4-7
Home Town: Laatzen and its environs, chiefly in villages dotting the lower hills, and on the northern plains villages close to the hills.
Almost entirely in Sauber lands until the last generation. Now starting to look for settlements near Engel and Rosenberg lands, usually in hilly territories with sandy/rocky soil, good drainage, and plenty of exposure to south-easterly sunlight. Within Sauber lands, the Bergenthaler family can be found in around a dozen villages, with maybe six additional large specific farmsteads that are the homes of very large multi-family housholds (in the dozens of Bergenthalers, plus farmhands).
Little to none. The first written records of the Bergenthaler lineage go back approximately 150 years ago, when Jorgenmund von und zu Bergenthal is recorded as having purchased a plot of land in the hills surrounding Laatzen from a town magistrate. This record is kept in the town archives of Laatzen. Over the subsequent decades, little to no history exists outside of recorded land plot purchases, and debts owed and settled to the nobility or to Laatzen itself. At this time, curiously, Laatzen appears to be in contract with the patriarch of the family to purchase fifty barrels of wine at the start of every year — for the next decade.
Outsider History: “Busy little bees, all of them. Now, they appear pious, and they talk all humble, but it sure isn’t right now much coin they’ve made since Jaap Bergenthaler made a name for himself at Graff Sauber’s castle. He had an uncanny hand for growing grapes, Jaap – you can even tell now, even as he’s almost sixty. But he was barely twenty in those days, and he had a touch… well, I wouldn’t say it was witchcraft, never, but the things he did with them vines, and the effect the wine had on the highborn.. let’s just say I’ve never seen the likes of it. I don’t know how the old Graf heard of his simple peasant and his wine, but one day this boy finds himself pouring wine for knights, for ladies .. why, I think he was even invited to bring wine to the banquets. Now most men, they would’ve been content collecting the coin, and bowing on the way out, and telling the story to his grandchildren about how he was at the Graf’s court one year, and lived to tell the tale. But not Jaap. The sheer courage that little upstart had.. Why, it takes my breath away. As we all know, trade and merchants are not held in high regard at the court, but the Graf’s knights were always patrolling the borders and going to other towns for escorts. Jaap somehow gets some of his barrels brought into neighbouring towns, and gives some of the squires and men at arms a cut of the coin. Now they’re the richest peasants in the hills, all on the backs of that initial good bit of fortune, I tell you.”
The current patriarch of the Bergenthaler lineage is Joachim Bergenthaler, who is known to be in ill health. His younger brother – one of five siblings – Jaap Bergenthaler, parlayed an initial stroke of luck into expanding the family’s small production of wine and apple farming into a thriving business that is reaching regional fame for its sweet, quaffable products. A relatively pious family, at least one brother from each branch will seek to become a monk, or, if enjoying education by the church, enter the priesthood. However, this only extends so far – it is usually left to the eldest son to determine if the family can spare a full set of hands to the church, or if all are needed to help. Their relative wealth has allowed them to hire more farmhands and fieldhands, and the more ambitious young members of the family are known to have given longing looks to the city of Laatzen and the promises of a life without back-breaking toil.
Professions, Occupation & Family Life:
Almost all Bergenthaler men are farmers of one type of another, either supervisory laborers who specialize in their branch (such as viticulture or fruit farming), or specialists in animal husbandry who manage the livestock needed to operate farms. A few have sought out specialized education in irrigation and apothecary skills, believing it will improve their farming output, but the vast majority of agricultural production is determinedly traditionalist in method and approach. A large number of Bergenthaler women inter-marry with well-to-do farmers in neighbouring villages. An uncharitable observer might note that the relative wealth and promise of free-flowing supplies of fruit and grapes (and related items) have been remarkably successful in convincing some farmers to marry Bergenthaler women whom they would have normally considered below their station. A charitable observer will note that inter-marriage with the Bergenthaler lineage often leads to more inter-marriage, with mutually beneficial results from sharing farming expertise, crop rotation methodologies, and mutual labour cooperation. More than one new entrant into the Bergenthaler family has praised Benalus for the large number of new family members showing up during harvest time to help out, or to erect a barn. In terms of family life, the stout traditionalism of the Bergenthaler lineage helps them stay close and safe. Households are very large, with many siblings encouraged to stay with their families until they have enough children to strike out on their own. It is not uncommon for farmsteads to number in the dozens of Bergenthalers, with a dozen or more fully-grown men in good health ready to work the fields and defend the home.
Considered an unfortunate and rarely-discussed exception, Joachim Bergenthaler’s eldest son, Jurgen, was meant to lead the family after his father’s death. What happened to Jurgen is perhaps the best cautionary tale for commoners not to aspire above their station. Forty years ago, Jurgen – in his late teens then – set out to Laatzen with a group of brothers and friends. News of his uncle’s success at court has just reached his father’s farmstead, and Jurgen was determined not to be left behind. With his uncle’s help, he convinced the church to grant him additional schooling, and eventually a knight down on his luck agreed to take him on as a cup bearer first, with promises of becoming a squire down the line. The story gets unclear at this time, but shame and misfortune befell Jurgen Bergenthaler, and although it’s rumored that he must have perished, his father and uncle both insist that he is still alive. A very different fate befell another outlier, Ernestina Bergenthaler. Now in her twenties, Ernestina caught the eye of the local priests at a young age for her ability to decipher texts quickly that she should not have been able to reach. After much examination, the church finally concluded that Ernestina was not cursed, but in fact highly intelligent. She rapidly rose to become a scribe aiding the various monastic orders around Laatzen, displaying an uncommon skill at memorizing long passages from religious scrolls (and other writings), and replicating them in beautiful illuminated script. Some of her works have become favoured by the ladies at the Graff’s court, and it is surely only a matter of time until one of them brings Ernestina into her retinue.
Bergenthaler Family Line (highly incomplete)
Joachim Bergenthaler m. Hildrun Engel
Ernestine, m. Robert Landorf, 3 children (1 son, two daughters)
Egeline, m. Ungemar Weimers, 7 children (five daughters, two sons)
Jens, m. Lorelai Beilhand (5 children, all sons)
Janos, m. Heidrun Erdentopf (2 children, all daughters)
Jaap, m. Sibelia Walgrun
3 sons, 5 daughters
2 sons, 1 daughter
Jagrun, married Mine Hollseng
1 son, 1 daugher
Aunts, Uncles, Cousins
4 uncles, all deceased. 3 had children, all of whom have existing families, mostly settled near Hugeldorf
2 aunts, all deceased. 1 (Elbera) had a child. Records are spotty on her husband’s name.
Elise Bergenthal, m. Waldemar Hartstadt, settled near Knollenheim
Seven sons, two squired to House Sauber, one in service to the Chamberlain at House Sauber’s Court