Tag Archives: German

Albrecht Alt? Never heard of him. He was a German Lutheran scholar of the Old Testament.

Albrecht was born on September 20, 1883, so he was roughly the generation of my grandfather or great grandfather, whose name was also Albert.

As a German Lutheran scholar of the Old Testament, Albrecht authored a book, Biblia Hebraica, with a fella named R. Kittel which “became the standard critical text of the Old Testament for Bible students.”

ajh

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New & improved! A multilingual blog — in Polish, Arabic, German, Turkish & English!

Since there are many varied people involved with this story, I am providing multilingual translations within the blog post, a first for me. I may do it more, since I think a blog in different languages is a cool idea.

I’ve settled on four translations of my original tweet: German, Polish, Turkish, and Arabic.

ENGLISH
Poland refuses to take Muslim immigrants. Can you blame them?

POLISH
Polska odmawia przyjęcia muzułmańskich imigrantów. Czy możesz ich winy?

TURKISH
Polonya, Müslüman göçmenleri almayı reddetti. Onları suçlayabilir misin?

GERMAN
Polen weigert sich, muslimische Einwanderer zu nehmen. Kannst du sie beschuldigen?

ARABIC
وترفض بولندا اتخاذ المهاجرين المسلمين. يمكنك إلقاء اللوم عليهم؟
watarfud bulanda aitikhadh almuhajirin almuslimina. yumkinuk ‘iilqa’ allawm ealayhim?

ajh

I’ve been wondering about the name August, the Germanic form of Augustus. It is prominent among my maternal grandfather’s family.

533px-ac5adgust_mocny-_d090d19ed0b3d183d181d182_d09cd0bed186d0bdd18b_28h-_rodakowski2c_xix29
Augustus II the Strong (German: August II. der Starke) | His great physical strength earned him the nicknames the Strong, the Saxon Hercules and Iron-Hand.

My great grandfather was Albert August Fromke. His younger brother was August L. Fromke. Albert’s wife was Augusta Wilhelmina Lentz.

I am hoping to learn about why this was such a strong tradition in Germany. There is many a German prince with the name and a few princesses too.

There’s Augustus the Strong, born in Dresden and elected King of Poland. There’s Augustus the Third, son of Augustus the Strong who also became King of Poland.

Then, there’s Augustus the Younger. He had the largest collection of books and manuscripts north of the Alps. There is Augustus d’Este, a grandson of King George III of Great Britain.

It all goes back to Augustus, Elector of Saxony. And, of course, before him, there was Rome. The first Roman emperor is known as Augustus.

ajh

Well, I never. Ben Franklin wasn’t keen on non-British immigrants, particularly Germans into Pennsylvania.

Ben Franklin

Few of their children in the country learn English… The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages … Unless the stream of their importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious.”

…the language so vexing to him was the German spoken by new arrivals to Pennsylvania in the 1750s, a wave of immigrants whom Franklin viewed as the “most stupid of their nation.”

ajh

The Origins of Easter

Besides the Jesus Part, Of Course

Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Ēostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing donned by people who were baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English.”

ajh

The origins of my grandmother’s paternal line has been lost to later generations — until now.

The German Connection

hay_catechism_book_edit

Using a multidisciplinary approach, including DNA and a family religious artifact, helped me confirm that my grandmother’s paternal line had its origins in Germany.

The artifact is a book, printed in Philadelphia in 1814 with text in German. This alone is significant. The language is not American English. This is German.

When I first saw this, after a copy of it was reproduced in a book on the family history called Michael Hay and His Descendants, I knew that I had to pursue this. I had to unravel this story.

One of the compiler’s of the book, Lucy Bayley, lived in Oregon. And one day years ago my grandmother, her brother Everett, and I made the short road trip to her home. She was welcoming, but when I began asking questions about the family, she was reticent to give much information.

She was publishing a book and did not want to share, as if I was a competitor. It was a strange experience. I certainly had no intentions of publishing a book. But she treated me like a spy. So I was frustrated. Grandma said that I should just let her handle it.

Funnily, when the book was finally released, many in our branch of the family were disappointed. It was a typical genealogical book, with a bunch of names and dates, but little else. And there were some errors. I much prefer a narrative format, rather than the routine one.

This is not to say that the book is without merit. The first few pages are worthwhile and quite informative. These include maps and photographs, of land where our ancestors farmed and the long-neglected cemetery on private land where many were buried, more than a century ago.

Lucy was convinced of a Scottish connection, that the family had been in Scotland, part of the Hay clan apparently, but had then relocated to Germany. She was obsessed with this theory. To this day I have no idea if there is one. But I have seen no evidence of it.

However, the link with Germany is solid. I convinced my great uncle, the same one who made the journey to visit Lucy, to submit his DNA, and the results proved a link to a man named Kettering, who had traced his line back to a particular place in Germany.

So now I am working on a translation of this catechism book. I don’t know if I can do it on my own, using online translators such as Google Translate. But I am gonna try.

ajh

Fasnachts! Kinda like donuts & from Pennsylvania Dutch country!

Hot cooking grease bubbles as fasnachts float to the top of the skillet during “Fasnacht Making Day” in 2006 at the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.courtesy of Denise Bachman of the Observer-Reporter

Another food of choice on Shrove Tuesday are fasnachts, a yeast-raised, fatty doughnut-like treat traditionally eaten in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Fasnachts are made from potato dough and are fried. They became popular in the southeastern part of the state when Pennsylvania Germans started to make them as a convenient and easy way to use up the fat and sugar in their pantries before Lent. Fasnacht is German for ‘fast night.’”

ajh

Fascinating

23andMe
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.

ajh