Remembering Our Ancestors: Ilsa Bergner

Half of the stock we are descended from were farmers, the other half coal miners.  Ilsa Bergner was, as the name indicates, of the latter persuasion.  The village she spent her life in is called Clausthal, today grouped together with the neighboring village of Zellerfeld, and lies on a mountain top pretty much in the center of the West -Harz in Germany.  The street shown in the featured image actually goes down the hill quite steeply right after you pass the crossroad shown.

Coal mining in the Harz mountains began around 1000 AD.  The 16th and 17th century appear to have been the hay-day of coal mining in the area, and that is also the time we are going back to today.  The place below is a museum today where visitors can still experience what a coal miner’s life was like three or four hundred years ago.


Ilsa Catarina Bergner, our 7th (and 8th) great-grandmother, was born on 16 November 1672 in said Clausthal, which was one of the mining centers of the Upper Harz (Oberharz).  She married Georg Davied von Hindten, the oldest known ancestor in the von Hinten line, on 11 November 1695.  Chances are very good that he was a coal miner.  They had at least one child, our 6th (and 7th) great-grandfather Heinrich Andreas, but everyone called him Georg after his father, and guess how he earned his livelihood?  He was a coal miner.

When Little Georg was born in 1707, Ilsa was 34.  Unfortunately, her husband Georg Davied died only four years later.  We do now know when he was born, so there is no telling at this point how old he might have been.

Ilsa herself died last Thursday 282 years ago, on 18 September 1737 at the age of 64, 26 years after her husband.  If she ever married again, we do not know.



5 Replies to “Remembering Our Ancestors: Ilsa Bergner”

    1. Isn’t it? Especially that mining is such an old trade in the Harz. The Rammelberg mine in Goslar, for example, was active for almost 1000 years, from around 1000 AD to 1998, when they closed it and turned it into a museum. There is lots of interesting information out there about mining in the Harz.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Truth be told, I think they tended to marry again asap, especially if their parents couldn’t help or weren’t around, like on the frontier here. As for Ilsa, since she lived and died in the same place, maybe she had enough community around her to support her and the child, or children. But my best guess is that she would have looked for another husband soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. My mother was a vonHinten daughter of Wilhelm von Hinten nobody knows anything about the von Hinten from this side. I do know my grandfather came from same the regent you talk about.
    What happened?


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