Tag Archives: Prussia

Catastrophic consequences


One hundred and fifty years ago, on January 18, 1871, the German Empire was proclaimed in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, which the troops of the German states had just captured in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.”

“The choice of January 18 for the proclamation that marked Germany’s birth as a unified nation was not accidental: it was the anniversary of the coronation in 1701 of the first king of Prussia.”

Tsar Alexander II of Russia warned Wilhelm, the Prussian king, that if the Germans forced France to concede long-held territory it would instill “a hatred between peoples that will have no end and know no borders” with “catastrophic consequences for all of Europe.”


What the…? A coffee mug with the face of a Prussian general? Von Moltke!? Why would anyone want a mug with his mug on it?


Anything for a buck, I guess. In this case, it’s anything for a pound. About £9. Seems rather steep for this bizarre knickknack.

To read more about Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Google or Bing or Wolfram him. (Wolfram is my personal favorite.)



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


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

Ludwig of Gröbenzien


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.



The Missing Fromke Brothers | Friedrich Wilhelm, Carl August & Emil Gustav

In my pursuit of learning more about the family history, I discovered the names of three siblings — three brothers — of my great grandfather, a farmer born in Prussia who settled in South Dakota named Albert Fromke, which for some reason had been lost and not been passed down.

On this chart, Albert continues to be listed as the first born, a detail which I’ve always ignored for some reason.

The second born, another male, is new to me. His name was Friedrich Wilhelm Fromke. He was born in 1861 Borntuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Prussia. He died two years later, in 1863.

The next child unknown to me was Carl August Fromke, born in 1866 in Borntuchen. That’s all the information recorded.

The last brother, new to me, was Emil Gustav Fromke, born in Borntuchen in 1875.

Oddly, another brother who also immigrated to America, August Ludwig Fromke, isn’t included on this family tree. He was born on 1873 and died in South Dakota in 1909. He relocated to California for a while, but did not like life there and returned to South Dakota.


Fantastic! Discovering details on my great-great grandmother.


I wasn’t sure I’d ever find more information than what had been collected before me.

I began asking questions and taking notes on the family history in 1989, my first year of high school.

But the only info my mother had on her father’s grandparents were their names, and one was misspelled.

My maternal grandmother had them recorded as Carl Fromke and Caroline Rabe. Later, I learned that Rabe was incorrect. Her maiden name was Radde.

And now I know when she was born and when she died.


Name: Caroline Fromke
Maiden Name: Radde
Death Age: 49
Event Type: Sterbefall (Death)
Birth Date: 22 Januar 1830
[abt 1830]
Death Date: 27 Jul 1879
Death Place: Borntuchen, Preußen (Germany)
[Polen (Poland)]
Civil Registration Office: Borntuchen, Krs Bütow
Father: Michael Radde
Mother: Eva Radde
Certificate Number: 22

Albert, Duke of Prussia

My great grandfather was named Albert, and I’ve been wondering where the name originated — within German society, culture, history. In looking through famous Germans with the name I came across a Duke of Prussia named Albert.

The family was steeped in Lutheranism, so learning about Duke Albert has been eye-opening. He was the first ruler in Europe to adopt the Lutheran faith and thus introduce Protestantism to the masses.

Hence, the name Albert makes a lot of sense. Grandpa Albert’s parents, Carl Fromke¹ and Caroline Radde, must have been devout Lutherans too.

Of course, it may well be that another Albert is the source, such as Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, or perhaps multiples.

The name “was repopularized in the 19th century by the German-born Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.”



1. Carl’s name may be spelled Karl, with a K, not a C.

From Prussia To Los Angeles

Albert Lentz, older brother of my great-grandmother Augusta. He was born in 1842 in Prussia and died in 1921 while living in Los Angeles.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn, after someone sent me a response to a query I made, that someone had uploaded an image of a man I thought likely to be a brother of my great-grandmother. Unfortunately, the pic didn’t make it as a PDF attachment via email, only the very left portion of it. So, I went hunting for it myself on Ancestry. Thankfully, it didn’t take much effort.

Sure enough, he certainly looks like her, though I have yet to get a decent photo of her uploaded for posterity. Those eyes and the nose. So alike. I am convinced the two are brother and sister based on their photos alone.

Yet, another clue is the family tree attached to his obviously poorly photocopied image of a photograph. It lists his parents as Henry Lentz and Marie Schenovsky, precisely the same name of the mother of Augusta my grandmother had jotted down years ago.

Henry, however, is something different. Our branch of the family has Augusta’s father listed as Ludwig Lentz, not Henry. I tend to think that Ludwig is probably the correct one. That’s not a common name to confuse. But who knows for sure until we can get more documentation.

The Schenovsky name, however, is a mistake that must flow from a common source. The actual name, after years of including Schenovsky in drafts of the family tree, I learned is Scharnofske. It’s easy to see how the name was bastardized.


The Prussian Royal Family

In 2006 I was taking an upper level class at Portland State on the history of imperial Russia. In an email to my professor, I wrote about my surprise about discovering that the Prussian royal family still existed. I was considering something to do with Prussian-Russian relations as the subject of my major paper for the class. It was a bit broad a subject, but a good starting point.

Friday, 27 January, 2006 8:38

It’s amazing and fascinating, but in my early research I’ve found that the Prussian Royal Family still exists. Thought you might be interested.



His response wasn’t mean, but there are many royal lines in Europe which continue. My naïvety must have amused him.