Topics

General question re: Germany

JAN Banevich
 

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

D.L. MacLaughlan-Dumes
 



On Jul 20, 2020, at 9:32 PM, JAN Banevich <janevich@...> wrote:

Hi everyone,
 
Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

Germany was unified in 1871. Before that it was a collection of regions, all of which had their own designation.

To be completely accurate, Germany can’t be used as a country of origin before that time, although some U.S. census records used that term to refer to immigrants from the region rather than use the actual regional name.

If you look at the original parish/vital records, they refer to the region where your ancestors came from (e.g. Hesse-Darmstadt, Hannover, etc.).

But some modern databases and family trees impose the modern term for the country (Germany) as an identifier of your ancestors’ place of origin.

Best,
Debra MacLaughlan Dumes






davidrli@...
 

Although Germany didn’t exist as a political entity or before 1871, the term was used in a general sense referring to the part of Europe where German was the predominant language.

 

Up to the very early 19th century, the “Holy Roman Empire” was the name for the political entity that covered most of what became the German Empire in 1871.

 

The same situation applies to the Kingdom of Italy which also only came into being in the latter half of the 19th century.

 

David Armstrong

 

Maylands

Western Australia

 

From: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io <main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io> On Behalf Of D.L. MacLaughlan-Dumes
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July 2020 10:00 AM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io; janevich@...
Cc: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

 



On Jul 20, 2020, at 9:32 PM, JAN Banevich <janevich@...> wrote:

 

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Germany was unified in 1871. Before that it was a collection of regions, all of which had their own designation.

 

To be completely accurate, Germany can’t be used as a country of origin before that time, although some U.S. census records used that term to refer to immigrants from the region rather than use the actual regional name.

 

If you look at the original parish/vital records, they refer to the region where your ancestors came from (e.g. Hesse-Darmstadt, Hannover, etc.).

 

But some modern databases and family trees impose the modern term for the country (Germany) as an identifier of your ancestors’ place of origin.

 

Best,

Debra MacLaughlan Dumes

Mike Gough
 

Many of my Southern Indiana German-speaking ancestors emigrated from Prussia which was basically "Northern Germany" and some Slavic regions such as Poland.  Prussia melded the other independent German-speaking Kingdoms, Towns, Duchies, Principalities, Bishoprics, etc into the German state.  Prussia excluded Austria from Germany because Prussia was an Evangelical state and Austria was Catholic.

Mike

On 7/20/2020 9:31 PM, davidrli@... wrote:

Although Germany didn’t exist as a political entity or before 1871, the term was used in a general sense referring to the part of Europe where German was the predominant language.

Up to the very early 19th century, the “Holy Roman Empire” was the name for the political entity that covered most of what became the German Empire in 1871.

The same situation applies to the Kingdom of Italy which also only came into being in the latter half of the 19th century.

David Armstrong

Maylands

Western Australia

*From:*main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io <main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io> *On Behalf Of *D.L. MacLaughlan-Dumes
*Sent:* Tuesday, 21 July 2020 10:00 AM
*To:* main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io; janevich@...
*Cc:* German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io
*Subject:* Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany



On Jul 20, 2020, at 9:32 PM, JAN Banevich <janevich@...
<mailto:janevich@...>> wrote:

Hi everyone,

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it
existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate
as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t
exist?

Germany was unified in 1871. Before that it was a collection of regions, all of which had their own designation.

To be completely accurate, Germany can’t be used as a country of origin before that time, although some U.S. census records used that term to refer to immigrants from the region rather than use the actual regional name.

If you look at the original parish/vital records, they refer to the region where your ancestors came from (e.g. Hesse-Darmstadt, Hannover, etc.).

But some modern databases and family trees impose the modern term for the country (Germany) as an identifier of your ancestors’ place of origin.

Best,

Debra MacLaughlan Dumes

http://sakionline.net/familypage

--
LtCol Michael J. Gough USAF(Ret)
mgough1449@...
(H) (601) 636-8213
(M) (601) 218-5218

JAN Banevich
 

David, thank you for the explanation. That makes sense now why I have seen Holy Roman Empire written on some records.

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: davidrli@...
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020 7:31 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Although Germany didn’t exist as a political entity or before 1871, the term was used in a general sense referring to the part of Europe where German was the predominant language.

 

Up to the very early 19th century, the “Holy Roman Empire” was the name for the political entity that covered most of what became the German Empire in 1871.

 

The same situation applies to the Kingdom of Italy which also only came into being in the latter half of the 19th century.

 

David Armstrong

 

Maylands

Western Australia

 

From: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io <main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io> On Behalf Of D.L. MacLaughlan-Dumes
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July 2020 10:00 AM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io; janevich@...
Cc: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

 

 

On Jul 20, 2020, at 9:32 PM, JAN Banevich <janevich@...> wrote:

 

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Germany was unified in 1871. Before that it was a collection of regions, all of which had their own designation.

 

To be completely accurate, Germany can’t be used as a country of origin before that time, although some U.S. census records used that term to refer to immigrants from the region rather than use the actual regional name.

 

If you look at the original parish/vital records, they refer to the region where your ancestors came from (e.g. Hesse-Darmstadt, Hannover, etc.).

 

But some modern databases and family trees impose the modern term for the country (Germany) as an identifier of your ancestors’ place of origin.

 

Best,

Debra MacLaughlan Dumes

 

JAN Banevich
 

Mike, Thank you for that information! Very useful.

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Mike Gough
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020 8:43 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Many of my Southern Indiana German-speaking ancestors emigrated from
Prussia which was basically "Northern Germany" and some Slavic regions
such as Poland.  Prussia melded the other independent German-speaking
Kingdoms, Towns, Duchies, Principalities, Bishoprics, etc into the
German state.  Prussia excluded Austria from Germany because Prussia was
an Evangelical state and Austria was Catholic.

Mike

On 7/20/2020 9:31 PM, davidrli@... wrote:
>
> Although Germany didn’t exist as a political entity or before 1871,
> the term was used in a general sense referring to the part of Europe
> where German was the predominant language.
>
> Up to the very early 19th century, the “Holy Roman Empire” was the
> name for the political entity that covered most of what became the
> German Empire in 1871.
>
> The same situation applies to the Kingdom of Italy which also only
> came into being in the latter half of the 19th century.
>
> David Armstrong
>
> Maylands
>
> Western Australia
>
> *From:*main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
> <main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io> *On Behalf Of *D.L.
> MacLaughlan-Dumes
> *Sent:* Tuesday, 21 July 2020 10:00 AM
> *To:* main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io; janevich@...
> *Cc:* German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io
> *Subject:* Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany
>
>
>
>     On Jul 20, 2020, at 9:32 PM, JAN Banevich <janevich@...
>     <mailto:janevich@...>> wrote:
>
>     Hi everyone,
>
>     Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it
>     existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate
>     as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t
>     exist?
>
> Germany was unified in 1871. Before that it was a collection of
> regions, all of which had their own designation.
>
> To be completely accurate, Germany can’t be used as a country of
> origin before that time, although some U.S. census records used that
> term to refer to immigrants from the region rather than use the actual
> regional name.
>
> If you look at the original parish/vital records, they refer to the
> region where your ancestors came from (e.g. Hesse-Darmstadt, Hannover,
> etc.).
>
> But some modern databases and family trees impose the modern term for
> the country (Germany) as an identifier of your ancestors’ place of origin.
>
> Best,
>
> Debra MacLaughlan Dumes
>
> http://sakionline.net/familypage
>
>

--
LtCol Michael J. Gough USAF(Ret)
mgough1449@...
(H) (601) 636-8213
(M) (601) 218-5218


 

Ernst Mettlach
 

Janice, 
German historiography starts with the establishment of the Roman-German Kingdom  (Römisch-deutsches Königreich) in the middle ages. The term rex teutonicorum ("King of the Germans") first came into use  around the year 1000. The term Regnum teutonicum or  Regnum Teutonicorum was used from the 11th ct on. From the 15th ct on the title „Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanicæ“ was used, which means Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.  An entry in the  Salzburg Annals in the year 919  records that "Baiuarii sponte se reddiderunt Arnolfo duci et regnare ei fecerunt in regno teutonicorum", i.e. that the Duke of the Bavarians was elected to reign the Kingdom of the Germans". The Sachsenspiegel, originating between 1220 and 1235, the most important law book and custumal of the Holy Roman Empire, describes the different people as "düdesch" (deutsch). The the term theodisk (deutsch = german) was used to differentiate from people who speak other languages (french, italians) 
Later, shortly after the end of the Holy Roman Empire of german nation in 1803 we had in 1815 the Deutscher Bund as confederation of the German states but the foundation of a modern and democratic nation failed in 1848. 1871 was the date when a modern, german nationstate was established under the dominance of one of the german states, Prussia. But it was not the birth of Germany, which existed as a complex complex of territories from the early middle ages on. There are various books about in german, the most famous "Die Geburt zweier Völker". 
Regards, 
Ernst from Trier (a town which existed for nearly 1000 years before we first speak of Germans...) 

Von meinem iPhone gesendet

Am 21.07.2020 um 03:32 schrieb JAN Banevich <janevich@...>:



Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

kimberly
 

Saxony


-----Original Message-----
From: JAN Banevich <janevich@...>
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io <German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jul 20, 2020 9:32 pm
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

Hi everyone,
 
Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?
 
Thank you,
 
Janice
 
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
 

John W. Kitz
 

Janice,

 

Maybe this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany#History section of a Wikipedia article on Germany answers some of your questions.

 

Regards, Jk.

 

From: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io [mailto:main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io] On Behalf Of JAN Banevich
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July, 2020 03:33
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

Hanneke Wood
 

I had similar questions when I started finding 'german' ancestors. A German friend  who teaches here in the UK recommended Germany, by Neil MacGregor as a really useful book to fill in my lack of knowledge of German history and I found it fascinating. It's still available in print and on kindle. Worth the read.

JAN Banevich
 

JK, very interesting! Thank you for sending that.

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: John W. Kitz
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 12:57 AM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Janice,

 

Maybe this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany#History section of a Wikipedia article on Germany answers some of your questions.

 

Regards, Jk.

 

From: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io [mailto:main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io] On Behalf Of JAN Banevich
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July, 2020 03:33
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

 

JAN Banevich
 

So, Germany was called Saxony?

 

Janice

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: kimberly via groups.io
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020 11:51 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Saxony

-----Original Message-----
From: JAN Banevich <janevich@...>
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io <German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jul 20, 2020 9:32 pm
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

 

John W. Kitz
 

Janice,

 

Maybe also worthwhile to read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_of_the_German_Confederation

 

Regards, Jk.

 

From: JAN Banevich [mailto:janevich@...]
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July, 2020 19:31
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: RE: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

JK, very interesting! Thank you for sending that.

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: John W. Kitz
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 12:57 AM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Janice,

 

Maybe this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany#History section of a Wikipedia article on Germany answers some of your questions.

 

Regards, Jk.

 

From: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io [mailto:main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io] On Behalf Of JAN Banevich
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July, 2020 03:33
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

 

JAN Banevich
 

JK, Thanks! I will read that.

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: John W. Kitz
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 12:51 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Janice,

 

Maybe also worthwhile to read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_of_the_German_Confederation

 

Regards, Jk.

 

From: JAN Banevich [mailto:janevich@...]
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July, 2020 19:31
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: RE: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

JK, very interesting! Thank you for sending that.

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: John W. Kitz
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 12:57 AM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Janice,

 

Maybe this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany#History section of a Wikipedia article on Germany answers some of your questions.

 

Regards, Jk.

 

From: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io [mailto:main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io] On Behalf Of JAN Banevich
Sent: Tuesday, 21 July, 2020 03:33
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

 

 

Bill Willis
 

A short answer: What we today call "Germany" was in the 1600's a mosaic of a great many separate states that were collectively part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Some of these states were fairly large, others tiny to the point of "why bother".  In many, if not most, of these Germanic states the state boundary was not continuous;  Typically a state was made up of a large core (more or less), but there would be separate components not connected directly to the state to which they belonged.  The common thread that united these states was that they spoke German, and shared a common cultural heritage.  Not all states (Spain for example) that were in the HRE shared that language and culture.  

What we know to day as Germany was the result of a unification process that eventually united most of these states into a single entity.  Some, such as Austria, went their own way.  

As to what you would call these predecessor states---the best you can do is probably to say HRE.

But if you are doing genealogy on your family and want to explain where they lived, that's not very helpful.  The HRE covered a lot of territory, not all of which were Germanic.  In this case you probably need to know which specific state they were living in.  If you're lucky, it's something large such  as the Rhein Pfalz which can more or less be still identified today.  If you are unlucky, it's something that has been repeatedly sliced and diced and recombined, and has no ready connection to any of the modern states of Germany---like the Duchies of Julich, Cleves, and Burg, which have been repeatedly combined with each other, disassembled, recombined in differing combinations,none of which exist as such today.

If your're doing 17th century GErmanic research, its a good idea to familiarize yourself with the geography of the time period.  WIkipedia, and in particular WIkiCommons, has a nice selection of Period maps.

Bill

Allison Kendrick
 


Yes, I was lucky enough to have a book about one German side of my family, Ansbach to America, which says that they came from Bavaria. Also, it’s good to know that borders with other countries fluctuated . For example the Alsace-Lorraine part of France was repeatedly part of Germany, mainly Bavaria, and then back to French. Many people who come from that region speak both French and German. Also, I was interested to find out that high German usually meant German and low German is Polish or one of the surrounding countries. For the language spoken. 


On Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 3:28 PM Bill Willis <onadayofwindandrain@...> wrote:
A short answer: What we today call "Germany" was in the 1600's a mosaic of a great many separate states that were collectively part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Some of these states were fairly large, others tiny to the point of "why bother".  In many, if not most, of these Germanic states the state boundary was not continuous;  Typically a state was made up of a large core (more or less), but there would be separate components not connected directly to the state to which they belonged.  The common thread that united these states was that they spoke German, and shared a common cultural heritage.  Not all states (Spain for example) that were in the HRE shared that language and culture.  

What we know to day as Germany was the result of a unification process that eventually united most of these states into a single entity.  Some, such as Austria, went their own way.  

As to what you would call these predecessor states---the best you can do is probably to say HRE.

But if you are doing genealogy on your family and want to explain where they lived, that's not very helpful.  The HRE covered a lot of territory, not all of which were Germanic.  In this case you probably need to know which specific state they were living in.  If you're lucky, it's something large such  as the Rhein Pfalz which can more or less be still identified today.  If you are unlucky, it's something that has been repeatedly sliced and diced and recombined, and has no ready connection to any of the modern states of Germany---like the Duchies of Julich, Cleves, and Burg, which have been repeatedly combined with each other, disassembled, recombined in differing combinations,none of which exist as such today.

If your're doing 17th century GErmanic research, its a good idea to familiarize yourself with the geography of the time period.  WIkipedia, and in particular WIkiCommons, has a nice selection of Period maps.

Bill

kimberly
 


yes

-----Original Message-----
From: JAN Banevich <janevich@...>
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io <main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io>; kadasup@... <kadasup@...>
Sent: Tue, Jul 21, 2020 1:36 pm
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

So, Germany was called Saxony?
 
Janice
 
 
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
 
From: kimberly via groups.io
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020 11:51 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany
 
Saxony

-----Original Message-----
From: JAN Banevich <janevich@...>
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io <German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jul 20, 2020 9:32 pm
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany
Hi everyone,
 
Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?
 
Thank you,
 
Janice
 
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
 
 

JAN Banevich
 

Thank you Kimberly.

 

Janice

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: kimberly via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 2:17 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 


yes

-----Original Message-----
From: JAN Banevich <janevich@...>
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io <main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io>; kadasup@... <kadasup@...>
Sent: Tue, Jul 21, 2020 1:36 pm
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

So, Germany was called Saxony?

 

Janice

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: kimberly via groups.io
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020 11:51 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Saxony

-----Original Message-----
From: JAN Banevich <janevich@...>
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io <German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jul 20, 2020 9:32 pm
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

 

 

JAN Banevich
 

Bill, thank you for all of that helpful information! I think I am lucky since, my ancestors were in Hessen/Hesse all the way back to the 1600’s. I will look up those maps you suggested. By the way, Can you tell me which is the correct name… Hesse or Hessen? I see it both ways as the name of the state, as in Langsdorf, Gießen, Hesse (and also Hessen), Germany.

Thanks,

Janice

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Bill Willis
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 1:28 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

A short answer: What we today call "Germany" was in the 1600's a mosaic of a great many separate states that were collectively part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Some of these states were fairly large, others tiny to the point of "why bother".  In many, if not most, of these Germanic states the state boundary was not continuous;  Typically a state was made up of a large core (more or less), but there would be separate components not connected directly to the state to which they belonged.  The common thread that united these states was that they spoke German, and shared a common cultural heritage.  Not all states (Spain for example) that were in the HRE shared that language and culture.  

 

What we know to day as Germany was the result of a unification process that eventually united most of these states into a single entity.  Some, such as Austria, went their own way.  

 

As to what you would call these predecessor states---the best you can do is probably to say HRE.

 

But if you are doing genealogy on your family and want to explain where they lived, that's not very helpful.  The HRE covered a lot of territory, not all of which were Germanic.  In this case you probably need to know which specific state they were living in.  If you're lucky, it's something large such  as the Rhein Pfalz which can more or less be still identified today.  If you are unlucky, it's something that has been repeatedly sliced and diced and recombined, and has no ready connection to any of the modern states of Germany---like the Duchies of Julich, Cleves, and Burg, which have been repeatedly combined with each other, disassembled, recombined in differing combinations,none of which exist as such today.

 

If your're doing 17th century GErmanic research, its a good idea to familiarize yourself with the geography of the time period.  WIkipedia, and in particular WIkiCommons, has a nice selection of Period maps.

 

Bill

 

Marsha Ensminger
 

No.  Saxony was part of what is now Germany.

Marsha L. Ensminger marshaensminger@...


On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, 10:37:05 AM PDT, JAN Banevich <janevich@...> wrote:


So, Germany was called Saxony?

 

Janice

 

 

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From: kimberly via groups.io
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020 11:51 PM
To: main@German-genealogy-ENG.groups.io
Subject: Re: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

 

Saxony

-----Original Message-----
From: JAN Banevich <janevich@...>
To: German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io <German-genealogy-ENG@groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Jul 20, 2020 9:32 pm
Subject: [German-genealogy-ENG] General question re: Germany

Hi everyone,

 

Can someone please explain what Germany was called before it existed as Germany? And why I have ancestors that records indicate as living in Germany as far back as the 1600’s if Germany didn’t exist?

 

Thank you,

 

Janice

 

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