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German genealogy in historical context
Posted by: Christopher Smith (ID *****8034) Date: September 22, 2006 at 17:39:36
  of 1151

I often hear from people who haven't any conception at all of German history and, some is needed for German genealogy:
a few basic facts:
Germany wasn't always just the modern country as we see it today within its present boundaries or, even a unified state always! For over a thousand years, into quite modern times, it was the First Reich or Heilige Romische Reich...into the early 1800s! So, during MOST of the time you will be doing genealogical research, until one hundred years ago, there was the First Reich which, consisted of 314 independent states + 1.475 estates held together ubder the absolute rule of the emperour and his troops. The emperour was NOT even a strictly hereditary position within one family but, was elected from among several royal families of Electors.
This siuation was dissolve in the early 1800s, about a hundred years ago, and, about sixty years later--during the 1870s--a Second Reich was unified with the Electors of Brandenburg=Hohenzollern kings of Prussia as the strictly hereditary Kaisers of the Second Reich.
Even in my own youth, Germany was East Germany and West Germany;but, I talk to young adults in their twenties who do not even remember THAT;because, it was re-united when they were still children.
It really helps you to do German genealogy, having these basic facts. Not all Coverts--or other German families--were in the same kingdoms as even other branches of their own family! They sometimes had relatives, with the same last name, who, were living in another Germanic kingdom.


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