Tag Archives: Europe

Brussels is ground zero of European jihadism, say terrorism experts on NBC News.

It is in essence
the Ground Zero
of European jihadism
there is no question about that.”

— a former senior U.S. counter-terrorism official commenting on NBC about the area in Brussels where the terrorists operate

Hey, Europe, it’s well past time to take Islamic radicalism seriously.

Muslims who help terrorists are ENEMIES OF THE STATE, and the general public. Islamic leaders MUST publicly and vociferously DENOUNCE TERRORISM. There must be serious consequences for anyone refusing to do so, including deportation.

Obviously anyone helping and harboring terrorists — if taken alive — must be rounded up, arrested and charged. Yes, I realize our open-minded, tolerant friends would rather talk it out than resort to violence, but terrorists and their sympathizers must be scared out of the business, out of Europe altogether, or off the planet to meet Allah. There are no other options.

“ . . . the fact that [terrorist leader Salah Abdeslam] was able to evade authorities for so long demonstrates the high level of support for their network in the community.”

It’s a competency problem, says a former FBI and U.S. Army counter-terrorism operative.

“That they could sit for four months, not only in Belgium but in Brussels and especially in Molenbeek, and plot these kinds of attacks just four days after the arrest of such a high-level network facilitator — this is shocking to me because they should have been on the highest level of alert.”

The West must be proactive, vigilant and relentless. Waiting around for the next attack only kills, maims and terrorizes innocent civilians.

“It is hard to conceive that this would happen on such a large scale when it was so obvious that these guys were operating there. After [Abdeslam’s] arrest, you would have to assume everyone in the network was preparing to launch whatever they had.”

It’s time to scare the bad guys and their friends.

“I expect a lot of doors to be kicked in over the coming weeks.”

I sure the hell hope so.



I’ve submitted DNA samples to 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA. The above image shows data from 23andMe, based on a partial testing of my genome.

I already knew that I was of European stock, but it’s nice to see a scientific breakdown. My blood is very German, more than I realized even just a few years ago.

spockeyebrowMy Mom’s paternal side came from there, so that’s not surprising. What is a revelation is that my paternal side has a good amount of German, too. Dad’s mother, maiden name Hay, hails from the German countryside, too. Thankfully Grandma’s older brother submitted some check swabs for analysis.

Previous research led me to believe that the name Hay had probably been a combination of variants, slowly changing over time to be more American, more English: Hoh, Hoeh, and Höh.

This lead me to a close database match and a family tree: a distant cousin with the name Kettering had traced his family back to the Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany.

The name Hay had been adopted sometime probably in the late 18th century or the early 19th, though it was not universally used by family members. Some decided to use Hoeh instead.

The original surname, Höh, with the umlaut, was likely adopted from a place name or names. Near where the Ketterings hailed from are the towns of Höheinöd, Höhfröschen and Höheischweiler. They are clustered in the same vicinity in Südwestpfalz, near the border with France.


Those Crazy Continentals

Yesterday I wrote about horse and swine DNA found by food inspectors in “ground beef” for sale in markets throughout Ireland, Scotland and England.

Now some have assigned blame to folks on the European mainland.

Suppliers in continental Europe are suspected of being the source of the horsemeat.

I wonder what I have eaten unknowingly.

Will anyone ever be charged in this matter? I’d begin at fraud.


Fromke Family Origins

Years ago I came across some information on the surname Fromke. I had lost my notes if I made any at the time and had a hard time finding the material again, until 2006. I wrote about it back then, thankfully links included, in a message to the Fromke mailing list at RootsWeb.

The name Fromke is recorded on lists of residents and tax surveys in Pomerania in the 17th century. The oldest known document is from the year 1666, the year of the Great Fire of London. The possible variants Fromike and Frömike are listed as well.

Fromike: vor 1666; Frömike: vor 1666; Fromke: 166

In 1966, the lists were published in book form by the Historical Commission for Pomerania, which had been preceded by the Society of Pomeranian History and Classical Studies. The society’s benefactor was King Frederick William IV, then the Prussian Crown Prince.

The society began with the systematic study of the history and archaeology of Pomerania and these two directions dominated through its 120-year existence.

This interest in history led to the creation of the historical commission.

In 2005 I wrote to a relative about the family and what I had found.

I have sent email messages to Fromke “cousins” in Germany. Although I have received friendly replies, I’ve never received any genealogical or historical information. Recently I discovered a sister city partnership between Winona, Minnesota and Bytow, Poland, which is where Albert and Augusta were married. I have also often browsed the web for information on these places. . . .

Borntuchen is now Borzytuchom, Poland and Grabenzien (or Grobenzin) is now Rabacino, Poland. These little villages are not far from Bytow. Bytow is home to a Teutonic knight castle, designed by the same architect who built the more famous one at Malbork. This area, known to history as Pomerania, was on the German frontier and had been shifted between Poland and Prussia
for centuries. I’m not sure when the Fromkes moved there or from where. The first reference in surviving documents to the name and spelling Fromke is in 1666.

At the time I still hadn’t asked my uncle if he’d submit his DNA for testing, so I didn’t know that the Fromke male line was among the R1a1 haplogroup, indicating a high probability of Viking ancestry.

Since then, I am of the opinion, based on the genetics and the genealogy, that the Fromke family had been in Pomerania for some time. From the historical evidence, we know that they’ve been in the region for more than 350 years. The genetics provides some evidence that the male line goes back to Viking activity in some earlier age, perhaps originating in Sweden, which dominated portions of Pomerania for long periods.

Previously I’d found some background on how the name came to be.

In Lower Germany in old documents Vrome, Vromeke is translated as “a competent or valiant person” and honorable, trustworthy man. The root of this name is Fromm or Fromme. In Middle High German it developed into Frommel and in lower German became Frommke and Fröhmke. Another patronymic variation in Lower German is Frömming. In Middle High German it expanded to “vrumman”: which is Frommann or “honorable man, steadfast man”.

The ending on the name, the k and e, is of note. There are competing theories.

The ending “-ke” is typical of many surnames in German regions east of the river Elbe. Some say it has no meaning; others say, it’s origin might come from changing the Slavic ending “-kow” (pronounced “koh”) to a more German sounding ending “-ke”.

One newsletter argues that it may have a Saxon origin.1

Recent surveys have shown that the -ke German name endings, like in Radtke, far outnumber other German name endings like -ow and -itz. This is not surprising since the -ke name ending is an ancient name ending used by the Saxons from North Germany, around the Hamburg and Bremen area. As these Plattdeutsch speaking Germans moved east through Mecklenburg, Pomerania, and East Prussia, they took their names with them. Since the Baltic Sea area of Pomerania was heavily settled by Saxons, the -ke ending was common in that area. As the Pomeranians later settled in Wisconsin and other states, these states also have many German names ending in -ke.”


1. From the December 1994 issue of Pommerscher Verein Freistadt
, a newsletter published by the Pommerscher Verein Freistadt, P.O. Box 204, Germantown, WI 53022.

Stagecoaches in Pomerania in 1811

Heinz Radde, a man of German descent born in Pomerania who now lives in Switzerland, has just sent information on a map he recently discovered. The map is of the stagecoach (postkutschen) network in Pomerania in 1811, during the Napoleonic era.

Heinz is likely a distant cousin of mine. We are both subscribers to a mailing list about Pomerania and genealogy. He described the map as showing the “public transport by stagecoaches in Pomerania.”

It’s interesting that certain bigger towns, especially in Eastern Hinterpommern — for example, Rummelsburg —
had no connection at all.

I imagine this might be the way my great grandparents took to get to their ship in Bremen to immigrate to America in 1887. I don’t know if they would have had the money for a train nor if a passenger or other train reached some place nearby Kreis Bütow.

Anyone interested in this time period, with Napoleon on the scene, should read about Baron vom Stein.


Heinz lists his source as “Post- und Reisehandbuch für Deutschland…”, Verlag Steinersche Buchhandlung, Nürnberg 1811.

Clyde Drexler in London

Clyde Drexler, one of my favorite basketball players ever, foresees a NBA franchise in London within the next decade. Drexler is in England to promote the first regular-season NBA games to be played in London in March.

“If the demand continues, that could actually happen. We’re probably 10 years or so away, but that is not too farsighted to happen,” Drexler said.

The NBA has decided to emulate the NHL and NFL, both of which have played regular-season games in London.

“Basketball is a global sport,” said Drexler, veteran of the Portland Trail Blazers. “There’s a demand around the world . . .”

And the distance, Drexler said, won’t be a problem for anyone.

“Even games coming from Oregon to New York are far, but that never stopped anything,” Drexler said. “It’s about as far as New York to London. It’s all relative. Every team has a private charter. They can go all over the world.”

To raise the profile of the sport in soccer-loving Britain the NBA has sposnored Basketball Week, a series of youth-oriented events taking place throughout England, London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle, and culminating in the two games.

And a London team may just be the beginning.

“There are going to be some teams in Europe. There are going to be some teams in Asia. And they’re all going to be a part of the NBA umbrella, eventually,” Drexler said. “That’s the global plan.”

Let’s hope the NBA’s global plans fare better than NFL Europe.