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German Localities

 
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:41 am    Post subject: German Localities Reply with quote

When tracing back the origins of the early families that settled in Concordia, one will eventually arrive back in Germany, particularly Northern Germany (Hanover or Westphalia). The town or village might be found either from family history or in various records such as death certificates, obituaries, or some immigration lists. Locating the community can occasionally be difficult because there were about a quarter of a million place names in Germany by the end of the 19th century.

Google Maps is very good at finding most of these names; however, there are some instances when the search may fail or one finds multiple locations with the same or similar name. The definitive guide for old German placenames is Uetrecht, E. Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs (Meyers Place- and Traffic directory of the German Empire). Fifth Edition. Leipzig, Germany: Bibliographisches Institute, 1912-3. One can find a good description of that document at https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Germany_Gazetteers. The problem with the voluminous work is that it was printed in German (Fraktur type) and uses abbreviations extensively. However, there is a much more convenient way to use this document; that is, via the website at http://www.meyersgaz.org/. First of all, this fantastic website is in English with a good help section. It provide full searching of the entire document. After entering a particular name, it gives a list of all locations with that name and full details of the information for the selected place, including locations where records for that area might be found.

The on-line website also provides a great mapping feature. When you switch to that tab, an old historical map of that area is displayed. In the upper right corner is a pull-down menu where nearby civil and church locations can be flagged. Clicking on that tab also toggles between the historical map and Google street maps. In Google Maps, you can also view the current overhead photography of the area by clicking on the 'Satellite' tab in the upper left corner.

The 'Ecclesiastical' tab displays the primary churches for the location you entered along with an extensive list of other nearby parishes. This provides locations where you might need to go to find the church records for a particular family.

If you are interested in homes of various ancestors, be sure to take a look at that website.


Last edited by roger.pape on Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:54 pm; edited 3 times in total
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roger.pape
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:00 am    Post subject: Ravensburg Atlas Reply with quote

I should have noted that the historical maps displayed on the meyersgaz.com website appear to have been taken from the Karte des Deutschen Reiches (Map of the German Reich) published in 1893. If you are not familiar with those maps, the following notes were posted by David Rumsey, who has copies of some of the maps posted on his website at http://www.davidrumsey.com/.

"Date estimated based on the apparent library acquisition date usually stamped on the back of the map sheet. Mounted on linen in 8 panels. Mounted on brown fragile linen. Comparing our sheets to those at the Library of Congress shows that most of our sheets were published 5 to 10 years before the stamped acquisition date. A few sheets are duplicated and placed under similar list numbers. This map series is remarkable for the level of fine detail. As a consequence, it was scanned at 800 PPI providing four times the resolution of the typical detailed map scan of 400 PPI. At least ten separate symbols for special buildings were utilized, a method enhanced by placing an abbreviation next to the symbol. Structures with special symbols include: churches, chapels, monuments, windmills, water mills, stamp mills, forester's lodges, watchtowers, ruins, forts, quarries, clay pits, lime kilns, and coke-ovens. Factories, brick works, powder magazines electric power plants, and many other important buildings are differentiated by means of abbreviation. Houses appear as black blocks, either rectangular or shaped like the ground plan of the building. Many other features are differentiated, for example there are four different qualities of roads plus bridle paths and footpaths. Vegetation is minutely classified including separate symbols for broadleaf trees, evergreens, underbrush, heather, dry meadows, wet meadows, swamps, orchards, gardens, vineyards, and parks. Relief is shown by hachures. Spot elevations are given in meters above sea level.

In an agreement dated March 4, 1878, the states of Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, and Wurttemberg (the areas of modern day Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, and Kaliningrad, and part of Lithuania) agreed to map their areas on a 1:100,000 scale in a common topographic grid survey consisting of 674 sheets. Each sheet covers about 30 minutes in longitude and 15 minutes in latitude. One centimeter on a map is equivalent to 1 kilometer on the ground. Average sheet size is about 35 cm x 28 cm. Each sheet covers about 1000 square kilometers and was engraved on copper. A polyhedral projection was used. Prime meridian was Ferro, later switched to Greenwich. The series is known as the KDR-100 (German General Staff map) and was surveyed beginning in 1878, although many sheets were simply drawn from pre-existing military maps, often of larger (more detailed) scale. The mapping continued until 1945, so most sheets were revised at least once. This collection strongly trends toward the earliest editions. They were published for the General Staffs of Bavaria, Prussia, Saxony and Wurttemberg by "R. Eisenschmidt, Verlags-Buchhandlung" (publishing bookstore). (Berlin). Key organizations indicated on the maps include (1) Topographic Bureau of Royal Saxony, abbreviated in German as "topogr. bureau des konigl. sachs." And (2) Royal Prussian General Staff, abbreviated in German as "Kgl. Preuss. Generalstab." Most sheets stamped with "The Library of Massachusetts, State House, Boston," and the apparent date of acquisition. Almost all of the sheets are trimmed to the neatline to allow for closer alignment of multiple sheets when viewing, apparently a common practice by publishers of the sheets. Therefore the printed publishing date has been removed and we are estimating the date based on the acquisition stamp date."
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roger.pape
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:18 am    Post subject: Finding church locations and photos Reply with quote

After finding the location of an ancestor's village, the next step is to find the location of the church where births (baptisms), marriages, and death records for the village were recorded. The Meyersgazetteer website is a good resource for determining church location. Using this gazetteer may require a bit of explanation. When the website is first opened home page contains a text box for entering the village name. If you are unsure of the exact spelling of the name you can insert a wild card (*) for the uncertain characters. Even if you enter the correct spelling the website will occasionally say that it cannot find the village. This occurs when there are several villages with the same name and they are distinguished by adding a digit at the end of the name, ‘nnnn1’, ‘nnnn2’, etc. After entering the name the second page contains a list of entries that match the name. Click on the village you are looking for based on the province, county name indicated below the name.

The next page is a summary of information about the village including a map, political boundaries and locations where civil records might be found. To find the church information click on the tab near the top of the page labeled ‘ecclesiastical’. This brings up another page that summarizes all of the churches within a 20 mile radius of the village. The number of churches/synagogues in each location is listed in one of three categories Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. [Note. Only one column is used for all Protestant denominations. This dates back to the time of the Prussian Union when Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm decreed that all Protestant denominations should be merged into a single denomination known as the ‘evangelical’ church. However doctrinal differences between churches continue to this day. This can be seen from the name of the church which include, for example, ‘Ev. Lutheran’.

Two examples of the information that is displayed are shown below, one for Buren and the other for Esperke. The listing shows the number of churches in each category for a given village. Note that the listing only includes churches that stored the vital records. One can see that there was a church in Buren because the village name is at the top of the list with a distance of zero miles. On the other hand, Esperke which has a small chapel is not included in the listing because its records were stored elsewhere. The first village in the listing is usually the location where the records were stored. In the case of Esperke the first village in the listing is Niedernstocken the parish where they were stored. The parish for the village is normally identified at the top of the page.

If you are interested in a photo of a particular church you can find a number of excellent photos in the WikiMedia website. See Church photos.This is an index of all Lutheran churches in Hanover for which pictures are posted. The index is arranged in alphabetical order by village name although occasionally it is listed by the church name. For example, the chapel at Metel is listed under J rather than M. If you are interested in another province or denomination try the page at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Churches_in_Germany
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