|Photo of Goslar from Google showing buildings set in a heavily|
Heinrich was born at a time before there was a nation recognized as “Germany”. Prior to 1871 what is now Germany consisted of “about 350 independent entities – large, medium, and mostly quite small – kingdoms, duchies, principalities and such – existed, but with no umbrella government covering them.” Between 1871 – 1918 these independent entities were merged into the Second German Empire. So, this dramatic change began when Heinrich was 62 and may not have significantly impacted his life but it certainly would have impacted the lives of his children.
|Original marriage record for Heinrich Christian Menge and|
Joanna Prelle found by Thomas Henze who sent it to me, 1840
When he was thirty-one Heinrich Christian married Johanna Louisa Prelle, the daughter of Johann Christoff Prelle and Johanna Elisabeth Kratzenstein. That was on October 27, 1840. The wedding took place in Goslar where Louisa was born. Alfeld, where Heinrich lived, was a small village about thirty miles west of Goslar – a slightly larger village.
After the marriage the couple established their residence on Breite Street in Goslar, where Heinrich remained for the rest of his life. I have records for two different street numbers on Breite Street. In Heinrich’s son’s personal journal, from about 1930, he wrote that his parents lived at No. 4 Breite Street but the birth records for all of their children show that they lived a No. 88. In 2019 the street number was 4, so apparently the street addresses were changed at some point, which is not uncommon – my parents street address was changed from 8450 to 4570 sometime after 1950.
Heinrich and Louisa had twelve children between 1841 and 1863.
|Birth record for Heinrich Friedrich Menge, Henrich and|
Joanna's 7th child, showing their street address at
88 Breite Street in Goslar, 1852
Prior to the 1840s most workers were part of trade guilds. According to Wikipedia, “Guilds operated on the apprentice, journeyman, and master principle. A young man was assigned to work with a master for several years. During this time, he learned the basics of the trade. After the apprentice attained a certain level of knowledge and skill, he was promoted to journeyman. At this time, he was to travel the land in search of masters in his field for whom he could work and from whom he could learn the requisite skills to become a master himself. When he completed his journeyman time with appropriate skill and knowledge, he would be promoted to master. This was an important step. He could then set up his own shop and work in his field. The guild system ensured that learners attained a certain level of competence in their fields, as they had to pass certain levels with an accomplished master.”
Guilds were an important component of social life at that time but in 1848 there was a worker revolution, and the differences between classes of workers intensified. Fewer journeyman were given lodging and board in their master’s household, and gradually the relationship between journeyman and master evolved into a less personal one. Workers filed protests and went on strike, which led to social conflicts. Gradually the journeyman gained protections. These hostile relationships impacted the workers and small masters. Heinrich would undoubtedly have been directly impacted by these changes, though to what extent I do not know.
Heinrich Christian Menge died in February of 1880 at the age of 71 and is buried in Goslar.
|Map of Germany showing the location of Goslar in|
relation to Hannover
|Google Earth map showing Alfeld west of Goslar and south|
|No. 4 Breite Street, Goslar, Germany|
Sources for the Post: Marriage record for Heinrich and Joanna, birth records for their children, family history records recorded by Heinrich's son Heinrich Friedrich Menge, and online research.