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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Mount Tambora’s eruption in 1815 resulted in massive famines in the subsequent years forcing large numbers of the suffering German population to emigrate. Source: Jialiang Gao (peace-on-earth.org) / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Caldera_Mt_Tambora_Sumbawa_Indonesia.jpg).
Globalization is one of these words that have been on everyone’s lips for the past years. Currently the worldwide spread of the Corona virus illuminates once again the global interlacing between countries due to trade and tourism, or any other kind of traffic and its consequences.
That the whole world is linked and that events on the other side of the globe can have effects on other parts of the world is, however, nothing new.
After the new travel regulations have been announced, thousands of GDR citizens cross the border at Invalidenstrasse in Berlin on 10 November 1989, Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1989-1110-041 / Hirschberger, Ralph / 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_183-1989-1110-041,_Berlin,_Grenz%C3%BCbergang_Invalidenstra%C3%9Fe.jpg).
09 November is a special day in German history. In the year 1989 this finally meant something positive. On this day, the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) announced a new and long-desired travel regulation. People now could directly leave the GDR in the direction of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). This caused the fall of the Berlin Wall and finally led to the German reunification.
For genealogy, the division of Germany plays quite some role, too. The foundation of two separate states and especially the construction of the Berlin Wall and the closing of the inner-German border tore families apart and led to very different living environments in East and West Germany. Until today this affects the German society. On the occasion of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall we are having a look at the historic events and also discuss sources that can be useful for researching ancestors and relatives in the former GDR.
Election poster of the CDU with a portrait of Konrad Adenauer, artist/graphic designer: SI Klischees Entwürfe, source: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Archiv für Christlich-Demokratische Politik (ACDP), License: KAS/ACDP 10-001: 104 [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:CDU_Wahlkampfplakat_-_kaspl001.JPG).
Free elections are considered something normal in Germany. Every four years the public votes for our parliament – the Bundestag. Today, 70 years ago the first federal elections were held.
On 14 August 1949, the first free federal elections were held after the last ones happened on 06 November 1932. Before that, the public could only elect the regional and local parliaments where elections were already held in 1946. The first federal elections were only conducted on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), not on the territory of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which was founded on 07 October 1949.
Erinnerungszeichen plaque for Tilly and Franz Landauer in Munich, Königinstraße 85
09 November is a special day in German history. An especially sad chapter was written on 09 and 10 November 1938. Not only were synagogues and Jewish shops all over the then German Reich set on fire and destroyed, also thousands of Jews were abused, arrested or killed. The discrimination of German Jews since the seizure of control of the National Socialists became now a systematic persecution. Until today, the so-called “(Reichs-)Kristallnacht” (often used in international context, but a rather controversial term) or “Reichspogromnacht” is a symbol for the endless number of crimes against humanity that were committed by Hitler’s government and his followers.
We are helping many clients with their Jewish research in Germany. No matter how much you know about the Holocaust, it is always especially horrible and emotional to follow single family histories during this time - All the more important to maintain a social awareness and to commemorate especially individual fates. Since the year 2000, the project “Stolpersteine” (stumbling stones) of the artist Gunter Demnig helps to remember. In Munich there are no Stolpersteine on public grounds. However, since July 2018 there is an alternative, the so-called “Erinnerungszeichen” (reminder signs).
Colonel Friedrich Hecker, unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Colonel_Friedrich_Hecker.png).
Friedrich Hecker was one of the faces of the German revolutions of 1848-1849. Like many of his companions he emigrated after the failing of the revolution or single uprisings. On 20 September 1848, he boarded a ship to New York in Le Havre and became a farmer in Illinois. Later, He fought in the American Civil War.
The Thirty Years‘ War was one of the most destructive confrontations on German territory. Prior to the two world wars in the 20th century it was considered to be probably the most incisive event in German history. It also had an impact on today’s genealogy. The Thirty Years’ War was precipitated by the Second Defenestration of Prague on 23 May 1618.
On 25 April, people in Australia, New Zealand and Tonga commemorate the fallen soldiers of the battle of Gallipoli in the year 1915 (and by now all Australians and New Zealanders who served an died in wars etc.). On the first joint military campaign in WW I, forces landed on the Ottoman peninsula Gallipoli to prepare a way for the Allied fleets. They were hindered by the unexpectedly strong Ottoman troops though and both sides experienced an immense number of casualties.
Bike and briefcase of Rudi Dutschke after the attempt on his life on 11 April 1968. Picture by the police in Berlin [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:C_Polizei_Berlin_11.04.1968_Fahrrad_mit_Aktentasche_von_Rudi_Dutschke_am_Ort_des_Attentats.jpg)
Rudi Dutschke was probably the most known face and voice of the German student protests in 1967 and 1968. On 11 April 1968, he was shot three times in Berlin by the 23 year old laborer Josef Bachmann. Dutschke suffered severe brain damage and survived only just. Eleven years later, on 24 December 1979, he died of the long-term effects.
Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann, 1926. Photo [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aristide_Briand_and_Gustav_Stresemann.jpg).
If you haven’t noticed yet, our offices have moved within Hamburg in December 2017: From Cheruskerweg to Stresemannallee. That means, we are now just around the corner from the company Beiersdorf. In the first part of our series on street names, we already talked about its history. It is still located in Troplowitzstraße which is named after one of the owners of the company, Oscar Troplowitz.
Stresemannallee also commemorates a well-known person, the German politician Gustav Stresemann.