When doing genealogy, I like going a little beyond the gathering of simple vital statistics. I like to dig in and find journals, newspaper articles, family bibles, obituaries, anything that will tell me who and what drove these ancestors of mine. Sometimes there can be quite a surprise, such as the one I found when linked into a line that went way, way back.
Let me tell you a little bit about my ancestor, St. Arnold, the patron saint of brewers. Oh yeah, your eyes are not fooling you. There is indeed a patron saint of brewers.
“Saint Arnold was born to a prominent Austrian family in 580 A.D. in the Chateau of Lay-Saint-Christophe in the old French diocese of Toul, north of Nancy. He married, Doda, with whom he had many sons, two of whom were to become famous: Clodulphe, later called Saint Cloud, and Ansegis who married Begga, daughter of Pépin de Landen. Ansegis and Begga are the great-great-grandparents of Charlemagne, and as such, Saint Arnold is the oldest known ancestor of the Carolingian dynasty.
“Saint Arnold was acclaimed bishop of Metz, France, in 612 and spent his holy life warning peasants about the dangers of drinking water. Beer was safe, and “from man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.” The people revered Arnold. (I can’t imagine why.) In 627, Saint Arnold retired to a monastery near Remiremont, France, where he died on August 16, 640.
“In 641, the citizens of Metz requested that Saint Arnold’s body be exhumed and ceremoniously carried to Metz for reburial in their Church of the Holy Apostles. During this voyage a miracle came to pass in the town of Champignuelles. The tired porters and followers stopped for a rest and walked into a tavern for a drink of their favorite beverage. Regretfully, there was only one mug of beer to be shared, but that mug never ran dry and all of the thirsty pilgrims were satisfied.
“Saint Arnold is recognized by the Catholic Church as the Patron Saint of Brewers.”
The good St. Arnold is my 44th great-grandfather. How did I, descended from such an illustrious man, become such a devout Latter-day Saint? Thank goodness my great-great-great grandfather, Moses Harris, saw the light.