From records written in early Protestant Churches located in three small Nahe Valley villages in the Rheinland Palatinate, we have records of the births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, occupations and deaths of six generations of our Meÿ family. Documents containing these facts, faithfully penned by local clergymen in their church registers, are publicly available. From the marriage records, additional facts about the families of the wives of the Meÿ men are also disclosed. The earliest records of the Meÿ family line can be traced back to 1567 in the Reformed Church in Meisenheim - during the period when the Protestant Reformation was at its peak. The spire of the church can be seen in this 1645 drawing of the walled village from "Topographia Palantinatus Rheni."
Hans Peter Meÿ, who lived with his family in the small village of Callbach about three kilometers from Meisenheim, is our first known family member and therefore can be thought of as the patriarch of our May line. In September of 1567, Hans Peter and his wife, Christina, brought their infant son Conradt to Meisenheim to be baptized, thus beginning this story of the Meÿ family. At this time the religion of the parishioners was no longer Catholic but, as decreed by the local duke, had been Lutheran for ten or more years. By the time Conradt reached the age of twenty-one, the succeeding duke decreed that the church was to follow the Reformed faith taught by the followers of Calvin.
The first four generations of the Meÿ family are known to have lived in Callbach and to have attended services at the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) in Meisenheim. Our information on these generations is taken from the register of this beautiful old church, which is now preserved in excellent condition. From these records we know of the birth and death of Heinrich Meÿ, a son of Conradt, and of the birth of Johannes Meÿ, Heinrich's son.
On December 24, 1638, Johannes Meÿ, destined to become the patriarch of our family in Alsenz, was born in Callbach. When he was born, his parents, Heinrich and Appolonia, were struggling to survive the Thirty Years' War that ravaged their homeland. The birth rate in the region, as recorded in the Meisenheim church register, was beginning to recover. However, the thirteen births recorded the year Johannes was born represent less than 25% of the average annual birthrate during the previous decade.
Johannes was ten years old when the war finally ended. He was a teenager during the period when the family was recovering from the devastation in the region, trying to put back together the shattered pieces of their lives. Eight years later Johannes' older brother, Hans Peter, married Maria Boshkert in Meisenheim. These scant records show that order was slowly being restored in the lives of the families in the lower Glan Valley. In 1665, Johannes was living in the village of Alsenz on another southern tributrary of the Nahe River, where he married Margaretha Lauers and lived another fifty-five years.