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Thread: Happy German-American Day!

  1. #26
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I'm eating kielbasa and sauerkraut right now.
    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    Which is polish...
    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    ....which is entirely consistent with where he's living.

    And keep in mind, German-American day was yesterday.
    I figured the kraut made up for it.

    I knew I should have posted in the What's For Lunch Thread.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  2. #27
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I may have some German in me, though its a little uncertain. Two sides of my family have Germanic surnames that could also be Dutch, further complicated by changed spellings and pronunciations upon arrival. Plus, as I understand it, some people came here leaving from Germany but they had actually gone there from their home country and so were not necessarily German at all.

    I do know that my earliest known American ancestor, Heinrich Younkin (Junkin, Youngkin), came from Germany in the late 17th century. Also, on the other side, a man named George Sornberger fought for the Good Guys in the Revolution. I also have some Hankins' in my family. I think they are Dutch, but I thought the Younkins were, too, only to recently learn that Heinrich came here from Germany.

    Altogether, I seem to be made from:
    Germans
    Irish
    Scotts
    French
    Dutch?
    English

    As far as food is concerned, they don't call 'em Hamburgers and frankfurters because they came from London...
    In the 17th through the 19th centuries, many Germans were called "Dutchmen" from "Deutchland". For example, the Pennsylvania Dutch weren't Dutch at all, but Germans, primarily from Anabaptist sects like the Ammish and Mennonites who settled in PA because of William Penn's open door policy on religion. The frequent "Dutch Hill Roads" or "Dutch Roads" that you find in Upstate NY refer to German settlements not Dutch settlements.

    Most Dutch Americans originally settled in NYC and the Hudson Valley prior to the English take over of the colony in 1664. Later, smaller groups of Dutchmen settled in the Hudson Valley and around the country in the 19th century. Where the Dutch settled in enclaves, they tended to establish a Dutch Reformed Church. Association with this church indicates that your ancestors are indeed Dutch. Association with a Lutheran or Catholic church indicates that your ancestors are most likely German.

    Oh, and complicating all this German heritage stuff is the fact that the 18th century through WW I maps of Europe were different. Germany didn't exist formally until 1870, so Germans coming before then might be from Prussia, Bavaria, etc. Germans also came to the US from Switzerland, Czechoslvakia, and Austria

    Also, around the time of WW I, because of the anti-German hysteria (akin to the anti-Japanese hysteria in WW II), many German families anglicized their names: Pfarners became Farners, Bauers became Bowers, Schmitzes became Smiths.

    No German in me, but lots of time prowling historical records, geneology sites, census records, and local histories has led to a certain amount of knowledge on the topic of immigrant roots.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    All four paternal grandparents had birth certificates that named them to be Austrian. I grew up to believe they were all polish, but when I would ask why they did not have polish last names I was told they were all polish. They lived in a Detroit polish ghetto, went to a polish church, and taught thier kids (my grandparents) to speak in polish. Did not find this out intil a few years ago when we were cleaning out grandma's house.

    So am I polish or am I austrian? In the grand scheme of things I know it don't really matter much.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #29
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    In the 17th through the 19th centuries, many Germans were called "Dutchmen" from "Deutchland". For example, the Pennsylvania Dutch weren't Dutch at all, but Germans, primarily from Anabaptist sects like the Ammish and Mennonites who settled in PA because of William Penn's open door policy on religion. The frequent "Dutch Hill Roads" or "Dutch Roads" that you find in Upstate NY refer to German settlements not Dutch settlements.

    Most Dutch Americans originally settled in NYC and the Hudson Valley prior to the English take over of the colony in 1664. Later, smaller groups of Dutchmen settled in the Hudson Valley and around the country in the 19th century. Where the Dutch settled in enclaves, they tended to establish a Dutch Reformed Church. Association with this church indicates that your ancestors are indeed Dutch. Association with a Lutheran or Catholic church indicates that your ancestors are most likely German.

    Oh, and complicating all this German heritage stuff is the fact that the 18th century through WW I maps of Europe were different. Germany didn't exist formally until 1870, so Germans coming before then might be from Prussia, Bavaria, etc. Germans also came to the US from Switzerland, Czechoslvakia, and Austria

    Also, around the time of WW I, because of the anti-German hysteria (akin to the anti-Japanese hysteria in WW II), many German families anglicized their names: Pfarners became Farners, Bauers became Bowers, Schmitzes became Smiths.

    No German in me, but lots of time prowling historical records, geneology sites, census records, and local histories has led to a certain amount of knowledge on the topic of immigrant roots.
    Great info! I grew up near the Pennsylvania "Deutch" of Lancaster County (I am from Delaware County) so I am familiar with that storyline and the often confused history. My possibly German or Dutch ancestors lived in SW Pa near West Virginia from the 18th century on and I have no idea of their religion, only that by the time they moved to Oklahoma in the early 20th century, they were protestants (Presbyterian). That may have been because the Murphy side was Protestant, but I visited the area last summer and I did not see any Lutheran, Catholic or Dutch Reformed churches in the area at all, though the Younkin name figures very prominently in the area's history and many around still have the surname. The mystery continues.

    The Dutch were also all over parts of Pennsylvania before the Land Grant to William Penn. The town I grew up in, outside of Philly, had two old Dutch homes still around at a place called "Hinkson's Corner." They were the original Europeans along with some Swedes to displace the Lenape that previously occupied the area and then they left in advance of the English settlers who were given 100 acre farms. Their presence is still felt with some place names. I grew up near Crum Creek and not far from Crum Lynne. Crum is evidently Dutch for crooked.

    That's a great point about Germany not being "Germany" until 1870.

    I guess its safe to say that I have some "Germanic" ancestry but not necessarily "German" ancestry. I have no relatives from any Old Country that I know of who came after 1870.

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    All four paternal grandparents had birth certificates that named them to be Austrian. I grew up to believe they were all polish, but when I would ask why they did not have polish last names I was told they were all polish. They lived in a Detroit polish ghetto, went to a polish church, and taught thier kids (my grandparents) to speak in polish. Did not find this out intil a few years ago when we were cleaning out grandma's house.

    So am I polish or am I austrian? In the grand scheme of things I know it don't really matter much.
    Poland has a very storied history as a country. It was partitioned several times by neighboring countries at different periods beginning in the 18th century, including Austria, Prussia, Russia, Germany and I don't know who else. It could be that your ancestors came from an area annexed to Austria such that the papers would say they came from Austria, but ethnically, linguistically, etc. they identified as Poles. And maybe that was the reason for the migration to begin with.

    My wife has a similar scenario. Her relatives were Jews who came in the latter part of the 19th century. At times they have called themselves Polish and at others Lithuanian or Russian. Indeed, these boundaries have at times shifted around and people living in one area may have been part of all of these counties in different periods. Complicating this is the issue of ethnicity, nationality and language all of which impact how people self-identify. Polish speaking Jews from Lithuania, German speaking Poles from Lithuania, Russian speaking Poles from Austria - its all so confusing. But also fascinating!
    Last edited by Maister; 07 Oct 2010 at 3:45 PM. Reason: sequential posts
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  5. #30
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    There are some good German places around Austin and the Hill Country, especially Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. However, most of those places are only German to the extent that our (read: Texans') "Mexican" food is Mexican. People talk of a few places in Boerne and one in some tiny town called Walburg as being true German food, but I've never been to either. Perhaps SuburbRepairman or Habanero have?
    There are 2 restaurants in Walburg - Dale's Essenhaus doesn't have German food that I know of, but awesome burgers. The Walburg Mercantile does have German food and it is great.

  6. #31
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I'm bumping this because it sheds some light on things being discussed on the 'btrage's Haus o Kraut' thread.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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