Tag Archives: Language

Einwohner? Notes on German society in 1883, using my great grandpa as a case study.

GERMAN, A CHANGING LANGUAGE

Hmm. The only record that I’ve found of my great grandfather in Germany, which is a compliation of many sources I believe, lists his occupation in 1883. The German word is Einwohner.

Upon reading the word, I immediately began probling the tubes that make up the Internet to translate it, using everything from Google Translate to a hashtag on Twitter.

Not satisfied, I tried a mailing list on genealogy, geographic-specific, hosted by Yahoo and recvieved this wonderfully descriptive answer from Piotr Mankowski, resident of Nowogard, Poland, which was Naugard, Germany until World War II.

“Einwohner was a status and meant a person who rented or leased a flat or house in the village or town. In some cases, the person had to pay for the roof over his head by, for example, working for a day for the owner, especially if residing in the farmer’s house.”

Heniz Radde, who was born in a place called Gross Tuchen, which isn’t far from where my ancestors lived, and now lives in Switzerland, wrote a concise explanation.

“Today Einwohner means inhabitant and nothing else. But in the past, the word was in use for day laborer and very small farmer as well. Sometimes it was written Einlieger for the same.”

ajh

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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

Lime or Lime?


Barbarian tribes, particularly the Gauls and Celts, used lime to bleach their hair and to hold it in place.”

Hmmm. I can’t imagine there was much of a lime trade — the fruit — in Europe at the time. Do they mean lime, as in carbonates and limestone?

Celtic warriors have been described as resembling the Roman god Pan, for the way they lime their hair and make it stand up and pull it back to the nape of their neck. This was probably a battle tactic to make themselves look frightening to the enemy.”

The Greek historian Diodorus wrote a vivid description of the Celts.

“Their aspect is terrifying … They are very tall in stature, with ripling muscles under clear white skin. Their hair is blond, but not naturally so: they bleach it, to this day, artificially, washing it in lime and combing it back from their foreheaads. They look like wood-demons, their hair thick and shaggy like a horse’s mane.”

ajh