Tag Archives: Germans

Gotthilf!

His complete name is Gotthilf David Siegfried Lentz.

Recently I visited a friend, a retired Methodist minister, who has been visiting her daughter in Seattle.

For years she lived and worked in Seattle. The family is from Vermont, and she spent much of her youth in Switzerland, where her father was stationed with the State Department, I think.

While we talking one evening, she mentioned my tweet. She was curious about the name. We figured out the God part, but didn’t get farther than that. So later I decided to use the Google, specifically Google Translate, and after learning the meaning of his name, I sent off a note to her.

Just learned that Gotthilf is ‘God’s help’ in English.”

And she promptly replied, after her return home to Portland via the Bolt Bus.

“That is fantastic…nice name.”

Get thyself on Twitter, Hager-Smith! And then ye may tweet me directly.¹

ajh

1. She is, or was, on Twitter, but hasn’t updated her account since 2014.

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Ludwig of Gröbenzien

ludwig_lentz

I’m so glad I’ve finally found a record of my great-great grandfather, Ludwig Lentz of Gröbenzien. Gröbenzien was a village in Germany, near the Polish border.

The images are from the Borntuchen church book, known in German as Kirchenbuch. This is the first time I’ve found Ludwig in any historical records. And there’s another unknown, his son Eduard. Most other surviving records from this branch of the family are in other church books.

I’ve included links to the image files of the complete record and the key at the top of the page.

_323ludwig_lentz

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

At one point, the world witnessed fifty thousand deaths a day in World War I, totaling seventeen million by its end.

“ . . . the Great War, as it was initially called, sucked up lives at rate of almost 50,000 a day at one point. The Germans committed atrocities against civilians in Belgium, and reduced the Cathedral of Arras to rubble. The soil of Northern France, pockmarked with war craters, is all one big burial ground for lost souls — the graveyards you see, 410 military cemeteries, and the graveyards you don’t see.

When the war ended, after 17 million deaths worldwide, a headline in Britain’s Daily Mirror proclaimed: ‘Democracy Triumphs Over the Last of the Autocrats.’”

My great-great uncle was one of those 17 million.

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