Mar 30, 2013

Just a quick update --

A while ago I mentioned that a friend in Germany was going to be translating a letter that Grandpa Berneburg gave to Grandma Sophie on the occasion of their 18th anniversary, the day before Grandma Walli's first birthday.

The letter itself

My friend Harriet, whom I taught with at San Francisco State, holds a Ph.D. in German and has moved to Germany -- she is working as a translator at a university in the former East Germany.  Because the handwriting in the letter is so difficult to understand, she has enlisted the help of two ladies:  her host mother from when she was studying in Germany and her mother's 77 year old friend.  Here they are working on reading the letter:

Note that they are fortified in their work with good German wine

I'm excited to learn what it says.  I'll let you know as soon as I find out.

Mar 27, 2013

We have documentation!

I'm very excited -- we have actual documentation of the Hugs in Heiligenzell!  I mentioned yesterday that I had sent an email to a group of genealogists in the Baden-Wuerttemberg area, and a nice man named Martin sent me some pages of a genealogy book taken from old church records.  And we're in there!

Here's the first page:

Klicken Sie, bitte!

The birth date for Blasius Hug is not there, and I assume it's because of the notation that he was "aus Wolfach," which is a tiny town up in the Black Forest.  This book is only for Heiligenzell, and it's a  record of marriages.  So it says that on the 6th of November, 1752, Blasius and Salome Bernauer were married in Heiligenzell, and again, here is the documentation that Landolin, their son, was born two months before they were married, in September.  Interesting.

I looked for some pictures of Wolfach, and it looks really beautiful there -- I think it sits within the borders of a national park, though I'm not sure about that. Here's a pretty picture of the houses along the Wolf River:

Beautiful, right? Here's another view:

And here's a Black Forest picture -- I don't know whether this is around Wolfach, but I think it's beautiful:

Wow.  I would love to have taken that picture (except I would have cropped out the white sky at the top).  And finally, here's a little video of Wolfach from YouTube:

I get so excited when I find these things, and I'm just thrilled to have the information from the actual book.  Here's the second page:

This page has information about Landolin Hug, his son Benedict, and EDC's great-great-great grandfather Wilhelm Hug, who is the one who came to America and who was the grandfather of our Grandma Mae Ortman.  Pretty cool, huh?

Now I will have to see if there's a way I can get copies of the records from Wolfach, where we should be back into the 1600's.  I wonder how people lived back then?  Maybe I should try to find out?

I'd love to hear what you think of this stuff -- is it interesting to anyone but me?  As our Grandma Sophie would have said, "I don't hear from you no more," and I would like to! :)

Mar 26, 2013

A little more on the Hugs --

I spent a loooong time this morning writing an email in German to a group of hobby genealogists (i.e. not professionals, just folks) in the area where the Hugs came from, Friesenheim, Heiligenzelle, Lahr, and so on.  It took me so long because 1)  I haven't used my German in many, many years, so I need a lot of help, and 2) when I try to get help from Google Translate, it isn't always as helpful as it could be.  I was looking up history on the St. Laurentius Catholic church in Friesenheim, and here's a sentence that they translated from German to English for me:

        "The parish was created in 1892 out of the church community as a game store to community Friesenheim." 

Huh?  The church was created as a game store?  I ran this through a great group of German translators -- it actually means "parish."

So . . . I found out a little bit more about Friesenheim, which is central to the Hug clan in southern Germany.  The town was founded by the Romans in 100AD, as they were building a road from Switzerland to Mainz, Germany.  I found some pictures on Picasaweb, taken by Susan Lorenz as she and her family explored their local history:

 This is the Roman road.  Maybe Blasius and his little son Landolin walked on it?

 Here is a reconstructed Temple to Diana that the Romans left behind:

Temple of Diana, Friesenheim

In 603, a monastery, the Schuttern Abbey, was founded at Friesenheim by a wandering Irish monk.  By 817, the monks handwrote the Schuttern Gospels manuscript (now in the British Museum) -- here's a page of that:

Pretty cool, huh?

I also found something that was so interesting to me, because I have a long-time interest in Marie Antoinette -- on her way from Austria to France to marry Louis XVI, she stopped for the night at the Schuttern Abbey on May 6, 1770.  This was probably a big deal, right?  Blasius Hug would have been in his late 40's then, and maybe would have been among the crowd that greeted her?

[Slight detour on Marie Antoinette -- she was 13 at the time, and when she crossed from Germany into France they stopped on an island where she was passed from the Austrians to the French.  They would not allow her Austrian clothes into France, so she had to take off all her clothes (in front of all those men from both countries!) and ceremonially be dressed in French clothes.  They took away nearly everything she had brought with her, including her little dog, which left her heartbroken.  Maybe being a queen isn't that great, right?]

So back to Friesenheim and the St. Laurentius Church, where I started.  The church was built in 1476 but was destroyed by the "Great Fire of Friesenheim" in 1638.  Still, part of the 1476 foundation remains under the steeple.  The interior part, though, was built in the 1700's, just when our family lived there.  It's incredibly beautiful, from the Baroque age, and we can imagine our ancestors going to church there!  Here's what it looks like on the outside:

Picture taken by Sebastian Schritt (trier 51) on Flickr

 Here's a beautiful picture of the inside of the church, taken by the same photographer:

Picture by Sebastian Schritt; click to see full size

One more picture and I'll let you go:

Klicken Sie to see full size!

I would really like to go there, wouldn't you?  Maybe some day --

Mar 25, 2013

Playing Catch-Up

Hey everybody, long time no blog!  Now that I've started teaching again, I remember how teaching only two classes tends to suck up every waking moment of your life.  But now -- it's spring break, so I get a week to breathe!

Update on the DNA thing -- my sample at the Genographic Project is 60% done; it's being analyzed right now and I hope that it will be complete very soon!  Seems like it's been forever.  And big news:  Grandpa Chris has sent in his sample too!  So we'll have a complete picture, as far as the Ortmans are concerned. (where I had my first sample analyzed) has decided to release the raw DNA data so that you can have it uploaded to another site and compare it with different people.  It's kind of complicated, but I'm exploring the possibility.

So I've spent my morning lost in the Hug branch of the tree.  The Hugs (a short form of Hugo, I think) come in through Grandma Mae Ortman, whose mother was Matilda Hug.  There's another researcher on who is related to us through our 4th great-grandfather (well, she and a bazillion other people are related to us), and she's done a lot of research on our mutual relatives.  I'm back all the way through the 1700's on them.

 Klicken Sie, bitte --

They are all from the area of Germany that is way in the southeast, close to the city of Strasbourg but also close to both France and Switzerland.  The area is starting to be mountainous and they are in the Black Forest, home to many fairy tales.  Here's a map:

The area where the Hug family was from.

In the Hug branch of the tree, we can go back as far as the early 1700's.  Blasius Hug (1725-1778), EDC's fifth great-grandfather, was from Lahr, Germany, a little town in the area I've marked.  He was a Metzger, or butcher.  Here's a picture of the town:

Lahr, where Blasius Hug was born.

Blasius got married in 1752 to Salome Bernauer, and they had several children.  There's a bit of a puzzlement here, because Blasius and Salome were married in November of 1752, but their son Landolin (1752-1825), EDC's 4th great-grandfather, seems to have been born in September of 1752.  Hmmmm.  Of course, the dates are completely unreliable -- I just discovered one of the ancestors was recorded as having been born in 1766 and died in 1765!  Obviously, that's wrong.  I'm assuming it was 1706, but then she would have been married at the age of 13 . . . possible, I guess.  The problem comes when you're picking up things from other people's family trees, and if one has a mistake, everyone else copies it.

Friesenheim/Heiligenzell, where Landolin was born.

Landolin's sons Benedict (EDC's 3rd great-grandfather) and Sebastian were born in the same town, and while we don't know much about them, we do know that Benedict stayed pretty much to home while Sebastian left, because at one point he was the mayor of Breisach, Germany, seen in this old photograph:

 Old Breisach

This is the Rathaus in Breisach, the city hall where the mayor would have served.  I haven't done enough research to find out whether Sebastian would have governed from this particular building, but I kind of doubt it because the whole town was pretty much burned to the ground in 1893 during the war with Napoleon.

 Breisach Rathaus

And finally, here's a nice little video I found of the town of Breisach -- while it's not Lahr or Friesheim, it does give you an idea of what the area is like.  It has nice music, too.  See if it gives you a feeling of "home," somewhere in your ancestral brain --

Video of Breisach, Germany

That's all for today!  See you again soon!

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