On October 17, 1792 Georg Adam Völker was born in the German state of Bavaria. At the turn of the century there were several Germanic independent states including Bavaria which was caught in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, the period of 1792 – 1815 was a period of nearly continuous warfare throughout much of Europe. French armies had overrun and occupied much of Bavaria in 1795 but subsequent battles with the Austrians had turned it back over to their control, Bavaria was now a contested battleground in the war between Austria and France. In the war of 1805 Bavarians fought along side the French against the Austrians. Within four years Bavarian troops were once again fighting the Austrians along side the French and through various treaties the lands of the region routinely changed hands. By 1813 Bavaria had thrown alliance to the allied forces against Napoleon who met his ultimate defeat at Waterloo in 1815. Following Napoleon’s defeat tensions remained high with Austria over disputed territories with the 1819 Treaty of Frankfurt finally resolving most formal disputes.
Through this tumultuous period Georg Adam Völker lived in the rural village of Sailauf in the northwestern corner of modern-day Bavaria. Sailauf lies 50km east of Frankfurt, and 10km northeast of the town of Aschaffenburg in a region known as Lower Franconia or Unterfranken. The crest to the right is the official coat of arms of Sailauf. In this crest the water represnts the Main River which flows nearby, the wheel represents the electorate of Mainz and is very commonly displayed on many crests of the region, and the acorn and leaf represent the dense forests of the Spessart mountains. A small town to this day, Sailauf covers an area of roughly 5 square miles and todays has a population of about 4,000 inhabitants. The Sailauf home page which is automatically translated at this link, though not all translations read well, contains additional information and is an important link to our family heritage. One of my goals is to determine what information is avaialble in the churches and historical records of this city.
Little is known about Georg Völker during his early years other than the fact he married Gertraud Oberle in the early 1800’s. On October 8 in 1819 George and Gertraud gave birth to a son named Martin. An image of Martin’s baptism certificate shows that Martin was given the Christian name of his godfather Martin Oberle, an unknown relative of his mother Gertraud Oberle though possibly her father, and baptized into the Catholic faith of his parents by the Reverend Sambach in the Löhne parish. A formal birth certificate document from a later period shows that Georg had the profession of a cooper, someone who makes wooden staved vessles bound with hoops such as barrels, casks, butterchurns, etc… An interesting observation about this document is that it was dated 1864 which implies that it was sent to the USA after Martin emigrated in 1849.