Beyond History Blog

How it all began

01. July 2022, Andrea Bentschneider - Anniversary, Birthdays, Genealogy, General

On 01 July 2004 I started my own business with my hobby, genealogy, and founded Beyond History. Looking back, this was one of the best decisions I ever made - even though it was not always sunshine and roses. I always like to remember the beginnings and would like to take you with me today on a short journey through the history of our company.

How it all began

Coming of age - then and now

24. June 2022, Heike Leiacker - Genealogy, General, Germany, Hamburg, Historical Documents, History, Knowledge

Finally being an adult and thus beeing self-determined! The age of majority is often longed for. In Germany, for example, you have then full legal capacity to conclude contracts of all kinds, the ability to legally buy alcohol and tobacco products, to go to nightclubs, to vote, to freely determine your place of residence, and to marry without the permission of your legal guardians or a family court. However, you also have to live with the consequences of your own actions.

To be considered legally as an adult has therefore advantages and disadvantages (even if there are still transition periods e.g. in the criminal law). In the last 150 years or so, the legal age of majority in Germany has been lowered several times. Today it is 18 years.

For genealogy the age of a person and especially the age of majority play a not unimportant role, too. Depending on the age of a person, other sources may become relevant for the research. Also additions like "volljährig" (of full age), “grossjährig” (of “great” age), "majorenn" (from Latin majorennis which comes from maior annis, meaning greater in years), "major" or, in contrast, such as “minderjährig” (minor), “halbwüchsig” (half-grown), "minorenn" or "minor" can also help to determine the approximate age of a person and thus, for example, to find out (or at least to find a hint) which of potentially several persons with the same names a particular one might be.

Coming of age - then and now

Hamburger Feuerkasse - the oldest existing insurance company in the world

30. November 2021, Heike Leiacker - Anniversary, Genealogy, General, Germany, Hamburg, Historical Documents, Historical Events, Knowledge

On 30 November 1676, the General-Feuer-Cassa - the world's first insurance company still in existence today - was founded in Hamburg. The city's pre-existing fire contracts were combined and a public insurance company was created, which still exists today under the name Hamburger Feuerkasse, albeit now as part of a large insurance group. The historical holdings stored in the State Archive Hamburg are also relevant for genealogical research.

Hamburger Feuerkasse - the oldest existing insurance company in the world

Charles Pfizer & Company - How two entrepreneurs from Ludwisgburg, Germany founded a global corporation

19. October 2021, Heike Leiacker - Emigration, General, German-American, Historical Events, Knowledge, Personalities

Memorial plaque at the birthplace of Karl Pfizer, photo by Florian Hoffmann, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en), via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gedenktafel_Pfizer.jpg)

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer is one of the largest in the world and internationally known - currently especially due to the cooperation with BioNTech in the development, production and distribution of the first vaccine against COVID-19 "Comirnaty" (usually better known under the company name BioNTech), which was approved in the US, Europe and many other countries. But did you know that the company was founded in the US in 1849 by two people from Ludwigsburg, Germany?

 

 

Charles Pfizer & Company - How two entrepreneurs from Ludwisgburg, Germany founded a global corporation

Literature tip: "Walter Ulbricht. Mein Urgrossvater" by Florian Heyden (publication in German)

27. September 2021, Heike Leiacker - General, Genealogy, Germany, Historical Documents, History, Knowledge, Literature, Personalities

Florian Heyden: "Walter Ulbricht. Mein Urgrossvater" (Walter Ulbricht. My great-grandfather) published on 09 September 2021 as a revised and expanded new edition.

On 29 September 2021, the revised and expanded new edition of the book by our client Florian Heyden is published in German: “Walter Ulbricht. Mein Urgrossvater” (Walter Ulbricht. My great-grandfather). It was an honor to be part of the research for this book.

Literature tip: "Walter Ulbricht. Mein Urgrossvater" by Florian Heyden (publication in German)

Sophie Scholl - Face of the Resistance

09. May 2021, Heike Leiacker - General, Anniversary, Germany, History, Knowledge, Personalities

Memorial for the White Rose on Geschwister-Scholl-Platz in front of Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, photo by Amrei-Marie, CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0), via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Denkmal_f%C3%BCr_die_Geschwister_Scholl_und_Christoph_Probst_als_Teil_des_Wei%C3%9Fe-Rose-Mahnmals.jpg)

Sophie Scholl is one of the most famous persons of the German resistance against National Socialism - worldwide. She was born Sophia Magdalena Scholl in Forchtenberg on 09 May 1921 and was executed in Munich on 22 February 1943 - aged only 21.

Sophie Scholl - Face of the Resistance

Dancing into May on Walpurgis Night…

30. April 2021, Heike Leiacker - General, Germany, Holiday, Knowledge, Old Customs, Traditions

Maypole in front of the Lutheran church in Rieseberg, district Helmstedt, photo by Kirchenfan, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rieseberg_Kirche.jpg).

The transition into the merry month of May in the night from 30 April to 01 May is until today celebrated in many places in Germany and Europe in different ways. The cold season is replaced by the warm season and "evil spirits" are supposed to be driven away.

Dancing into May on Walpurgis Night…

Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism

27. January 2021, Heike Leiacker - Anniversary, General, Germany, Hamburg, Historical Events, Judaism, Knowledge

„Stolpersteine“ (stumbling stones) in Hamburg on 27 January 2019.

Since 1996, every year on 27 January Germany commemorates the Day of Rememberance for the victims of National Socialism. Explicitly, in order to remember all victims of National Socialism. The commemoration day refers to the anniversary of the 27 January 1945, when the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Red Army. For the same reason the day was declared International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the United Nations in 2005. It is now commemorated in various European countries.

Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism

Sources for genealogy: Church books

24. January 2021, Heike Leiacker - Genealogy, General, Germany, Historical Documents, Knowledge, Tips and Tricks

German church books, Source and copy right: Archion.de (https://www.archion.de/en/). We would like to thank them for the permission to use the picture.

We did not forget our top 10 sources for genealogy. How could we? After all, we are working with them on a daily basis. Today we would like to share some information on church books in Germany.

Sources for genealogy: Church books

Florian Heyden - Walter Ulbricht. Mein Urgroßvater.

20. August 2020, Heike Leiacker - Archives, Societies, Museums, Family, General, Germany, Historical Documents, History, Knowledge, Literature, Personalities

Cover of the book „Walter Ulbricht. Mein Urgroßvater“ by Florian Heyden, copyrights by Eulenspiegel Verlagsgruppe.

Our job is very exciting and full of interesting stories: Long kept family secrets are uncovered, unknown family members found and many questions answered. A very special case was from the beginning the one of Florian Heyden. We have spent many years to search various archives worldwide for him in order to find new information on his famous great-grandfather - none other than GDR politician Walter Ulbricht. Today, a book written by Florian Heyden is published: „Walter Ulbricht. Mein Urgroßvater“ (Walter Ulbricht. My great-grandfather).

Florian Heyden - Walter Ulbricht. Mein Urgroßvater.

Stay clean (and most of all: healthy)!

25. May 2020, Silke Deeb - Anniversary, General, Germany, Hamburg, Historical Events, Knowledge, Personalities

A 500 ml bottle of the hand disinfectant Sterillium® Viruguard by the BODE Chemie company from Hamburg.

A birthday is usually a great opportunity to invite many guests, especially, if the inviting party has reached an admirable age. These days, due to the Corona crisis, these kinds of events are cancelled in large numbers. If people nevertheless get together, many are relieved if some disinfectant is available. It therefore makes for a nice change, if we talk about the birthday of something that would never invite anyone, but that is still worth celebrating - and especially in times of Corona.

Now, who or what is turning 55 years this June? Everyone here at our office is younger. We owe our age not least to the jubilee: the Sterillium disinfectant! It was the first marketable hand disinfectant worldwide and its name has become a generic term in Germany for any disinfectant just like the brand name Band-Aid is used generically for adhesive bandages or medical plasters.

Stay clean (and most of all: healthy)!

Emigration from Germany: Arrival in a new world – entering and arriving are two very different things

11. May 2020, Andrea Bentschneider - Emigration, General, German-American, Germany, Hamburg, History, Knowledge, Personalities

The immigration station on Ellis Island, New York, picture taken around 1896, source: unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ellis_Island_First_Bldg_Burnt_15-June-1897.jpg).

Departing from the German emigration ports Hamburg and Bremen resp. Bremerhaven, the majority of emigrants had in mind to reach North America. A significantly smaller number departed to Brazil, Australia, Argentina, Chile and various other countries.

Emigration from Germany: Arrival in a new world – entering and arriving are two very different things

International Workers’ Day and the role of a German immigrant

01. May 2020, Heike Leiacker - Emigration, General, German-American, Germany, Historical Events, Knowledge, Personalities

Photograph of August Spies from 1886. He is called a murderer on it.Source: unknown photographer, Public domain [PD-US-expired] via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:August-Spies-1886.jpg).

Every year on 01, May International Workers’ Day (or Labor Day) is celebrated in many countries in different ways. However, where does this tradition come from, why was a German-American in Chicago, Illinois (by the way a sister city of Hamburg) at least partly responsible for the introduction of this day and if this is so: Why does the US of all countries celebrate Labor Day on another day?

International Workers’ Day and the role of a German immigrant

Emigration from Germany: Going on a journey - costs, means of transport, and conditions of travel

24. April 2020, Andrea Bentschneider - Emigration, German-American, General, Germany, Hamburg, History, Knowledge

The passenger deck of the emigration ship “Samuel Hop“ on the journey via Rotterdam and Le Havre to the US in 1849, drawing by Leo von Elliot in “Leipziger Illustrierte Zeitung” from 10 November 1849, page 292, source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 137-041316 / Unknown / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_137-041316,_Auswandererschiff_%22Samuel_Hop%22.jpg).

Going on a journey can become adventurous! When talking about ship passengers of the third class and passengers in the times when a doctor was not necessarily on board, this can be taken literally. The conditions of travel were far from comfortable and safe. But let’s take one thing at a time; no one has gone on board yet.

Emigration from Germany: Going on a journey - costs, means of transport, and conditions of travel

Subscribe for new blog posts