Re: [germanroots] Question about German history
- Just a little general history of the Germanic area that we now call Germany.
It was not a country until 1872 and then only after many hundreds of years of
being many small principalities, kingdoms, city/states, dukedoms, etc.
Because the area was so splintered, many small areas sought the protection of
the larger, stronger rulers. Other countries also sought the area,
especially France and Sweden. From the 1500's through the 1800's there were
many wars which devastated parts of the "country". When this happened, the
rulers wanted the land occupied, so they would invite others to move into the
area. This was especially true of the Pfalz/Palatinate, Rhineland, and area
near France. Many came from Switzerland and then later became the
"Palatines" who began moving into England, Ireland and eventually to New York
and Pennsylvania. Of course, there was the other exodus from German areas to
Russia upon the invitation of Catherine, the Great. This was an agrarian
society so if people did not have an attachment to the land, they were
laborers who moved about to get work and feed themselves and their families.
They tended to stay in areas where they were able to speak the dialect and
because of having only "foot" transportation, they did not go long distances
until much later. The time period that you are talking about in 1899 is that
time period, but still they did not move great distances unless they had a
trade which was in demand or they were in the military. If you live near a
medium size library, there should be European and German history books in the
library. Also, university libraries should have some good books for history.
You can find them on line as most catalogs are now available. Through the
Denver Public Library, we have access to over 500 library catalogs. As you
local librarian. The libraries may have good German gazetteers which will
help you to locate the towns and to see the area where they lived.
Hope that this helps.