My ancestor, 3x great grandmother Eva Catherina Kunkel nee Happ, was a descendant of a family dynasty which owned an inn in the Bavarian village of Dorfprozelten for at least 200 years. I would love to have lunch with her in her own inn, Das Goldene Fass. (I’m working on the whole time-travel-is-possible thing as the inn was demolished in the mid-20th century). She’s not really famous but in my family tree she is pivotal as she links the Australian branches and the Bavarian branches and could answer so many questions for me.
It was Catherine’s son, Georg Mathias, who emigrated to Australia in the 1850s and started our Australian line. I would love to get her insights into so many things that affected her family. Why did her son leave home? Was it truly because of the risk of military service? How did she feel to see him leave the village, knowing it was likely she’d never see him again? Was he jealous perhaps that his step-brother inherited the inn? Did Georg’s brother Philip Joseph Kunkel really emigrate to the United States? Or was that after her sudden death? Did Georg write to her after he left home and did she know that he had married an Irish woman and had a big, healthy family. Did he tell her if he was happy in his new country? I really hope he didn’t regret giving up so much and making his life here.
In Bavaria, the family inn regularly hosted tourists to their village and I wonder if her son spoke some English before he left home. I wrote a hypothetical story of his last day in the village. I’d love to ask her if this was just a romantic view of what might have happened or if he did any of these things? She was there when the 60+ men, women and children left Dorfprozelten for Australia. I wonder how the loss of these people affected the small village: she would be able to tell me this, and the gossip about all those who left.
I’d have so many questions she might regret that we were lunching together, but I hope not. Would she see any physical resemblance between me and her own family. My daughter says I have “big German hands”, so perhaps she would.
The local history of the village tells me something of the menu for the inn at other times, so I’d expect we’d drink the local white wine from its distinctive Bochsbeutel wine bottle. We’d likely have fresh pike cooked with cardamom and mustard, salmon prepared with lemon, special beer, home-made apple-wine, bacon, roast pork and varieties of home-made sausage. I’d love to tell her that George had brought those traditions with him, and that some had become part of his Australian family’s Christmas celebrations.
After a meal like that, and our lengthy conversation, I hope Catherine would let me stay overnight. It would be wonderful to sleep in the deep beds with their fluffy eiderdowns and feather pillows! And in the morning it would be wonderful to awaken to the smell of the freshly-baked bread and pastries from the neighbouring bakery. Or perhaps I’d awaken to discover it was all just a wonderful dream.
This post is inspired by Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog and her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.
 Veh, G. Dorfprozelten Teil II. pp. 193-195.
8 thoughts on “Fearless Females: Day 16 – Lunch with Catherina Kunkel in Das Goldene Fass in Dorfprozelten”
Pauline, I enjoyed this post. I have recently turned to research the family of my Late Cousin’s wife, as I promised I would for her descendants. I have gone over research I did in the early days, and am in complete awe of her ancestors – all migrants from Prussia. I so wish my Cousin’s wife was here, so she could share this journey.
Thanks Julie. Yes I looked at your story about the Prussians to Oz..I do hope you have success with this research. They’re not always easy to pin down.
This is one of my favorite topics of this series — and I like your intent of getting the most information possible from your lunch date. I wanted to interrogate my 2x great grandmother Mary Burns — but sadly, no answers.
they’re probably glad they are beyond our interrogative reach Joan!