Low German is not polish.

Mike Gough

Allison, Low German is not polish.  Low and high German are different German dialects which were spoken in different German speaking regions.  You might want to think about British English vs American English.  High German became primary after Gutenberg printed the Bible in High German.  To read the bible you had to understand High German.  Today, high German is the official language of modern Germany.   However, Low German is still spoken in some remote areas of the Netherlands and western Germany,  My ancestors who emigrated from Wessum and Vreden Muensterland (Westphalia) spoke low German.


On 7/21/2020 3:35 PM, Allison Kendrick wrote:

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@... <mailto: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

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.


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