Hi Carol Sue

My comment is in reference to the spelling of WALTER on Henrietta's

The spelling may be WALTER to you, but it may have been something else to the
person who wrote it, after all it was written many years ago.

I spent some considerable time looking for my great grandmother's nonexistent
family, because I was looking for the family name I saw, not the one that was
written. There are many letters in old German script which many of us
interpret to be another letter because it looks similar to one we use today.
In my case I saw a capital "H", which later turned to be a capital "N".
When I started looking for the name starting with the N, I found the family
with little effort.

There is a spiral leaf book (booklet) ISBN 0-9615420-0-4 by Edna M. Bentz,
which may help you (and others). It is titled: "If I can You can Decipher
Germanic Records."

As I said it "May" help you. She has over 20 variations for each letter for
each the high and low cases. She also has a separate section for the areas
influenced by Danish and another section influenced by Latin. The Latin
influence was of course in Catholic churches. Now, I can add another
problem. Many early records in the U S were written in English, but using
old German script, as a result the writing did not appear to be German or

On the other hand, it may really be WALTER, after all, anyone can spell their
name anyway they want to.

In reading this e-mail over for errors, it appears that I have been less than
helpful. In other words disregard this, scan the document and sent a copy to
a professional.

Gale Bosche
Sunny CA

Thank you Gale, for your thoughtful reply. I am somewhat
familiar with German Script. The document clearly shows
Henrietta WALTER, (written at the Lutheran Church in
Aurich). Also subsequent letters to the family and from
the family use the WALTER surname. In addition, the town
of WALTERSBURG was established in southern Illinois. All
of the U.S. Census records spell WALTER.

They say mostly they are from Aurich, Ostfriesland, Germany. The
problem I am having is that their surname is not accepted as
a genuine or legitimate Ostfriesan name. It is possible that once I can
clear up their origins that I will find a different spelling variation,
in fact I am sure of that. However, from the time they were born,
baptised and left Germany, their surname used was WALTER.
I am trying to find documents that they existed in that location
or close by.

Thanks again, I appreciate your assist.

Hi Carol,

Just a thought--you said the father was a pastor? If so, he may have been called there from some other part of Germany--i.e., was not necessarily East Friesian at all. He may have recorded the sacraments (baptism, confirmation etc.) for his family in a personal log he kept only for the family (I have heard of ministers who did this) and for that reason their names would not appear in the parish register.

Has someone from Aurich written you and said that "Walter" cannot be East Friesian? I find that too funny! "Walther" is another spelling, and North Germans were into patronymics, so an alternate could be "Walters" (the "s" implying "of Walter"). Just some thoughts to consider. Wasn't Aurich also an "Amt"--i.e., they could have been from a parish near, but not directly in, Aurich? Were the letters addressed to/from Aurich?

Another thought is that he was called to Aurich after his children were already christened, so that the children's earliest memories might have been of Aurich but their birth/christening place was actually somewhere else. For Baden and the Pfalz (and probably for Ostfriesland), there are wonderful books which have been published which are biographical dictionaries of clergy and even of church musicians which have helped me trace some of my family lines back into the 1500's. I'm guessing the Archiv or the Bibliothek in Emden or Aurich must have this kind of resource.

Is anyone out there who lives in the Emden/Aurich area who can check on this?


My goodness!! I am a little teary eyed and overwhelmed at
the friendly help given here. I have been searching for
about 25 years...a promise I made to my father about the
Walter family he never knew. I gave it up about 2 years ago
when I was told by a different list that the WALTER family did not
belong there. It's not a big thing, I suppose, but it has taken a
little bit of courage for me to post this. I am really encouraged
by the response you have given me. Thank you!

Barbara......I am in an extremely remote area of NW California.
However, there is an LDS library about 70 miles North (Oregon).
I will for sure call them and ask about the Aurich microfilm. I tried to
do a volunteer look-up project there, but the fires prevented me from
completing it. They were very helpful to me. Thanks for this suggestion,
I can't wait to call them, and I did not know about it. Yes, the Passenger
Lists are tragic and if we can only depend on them, we are lost.

Gary......I have thought that perhaps John Henry "Daniel" Walter, could
have been a travelling Minister for the Lutheran Church. Do you know
if that was customary in the early 1800s? It seems to have been a
common practice in the U.S. in the later 1800s. Lutheran ministers
visited the church in Waltersburg, IL from outlying areas, at least
until one wanted to make a home there. I assume he held some kind of
Theology certification or degree, especially in Germany. I can find no
record of him and his wife ever emigrating. They may have died about
1850, since his five sons emigrated shortly after that. I do believe there
are still family that remained in Germany....especially sisters who were
married. Yes, I had several letters from a different list years ago that
dissuaded me from thinking that WALTER is a qualified Ostfriesian name.
I have not done much since then because I did not know where to turn.
We do have a WALTER, marrying into the WALTHER family in the same
region of Illinois.

I am not sure about the postmarks.......they are in my bank safe deposit box.
I believe two were from Aurich (or so I was told), one from Oldenburg, and
two from the RENKEN family in Ostersander addressed to "Almuth Harms
(RENKEN) WALTER". My grandmother told me they were written in Low-German.
The letters concerned mostly with the travel arrangements for the family
still planning to come across. I have a list of Almuth's siblings, but no
parents names. Almuth is my gr gr grandaunt...married to my gggrandfather's
brother. ahhh! Her husband died within two months of arriving here.

Gary said:
"For Baden and the Pfalz (and probably for Ostfriesland), there are wonderful books which have been published which are biographical dictionaries of clergy and even of church musicians which have helped me trace some of my family lines back into the 1500's. I'm guessing the Archiv or the Bibliothek in Emden or Aurich must have this kind of resource."

Would you know, Gary, where I could begin to access this information?

With my sincere appreciation,

The Walter in this group sheet was from Rieste, Germany which is by
Osnabr�ck, the Feldkamps and the Klues family both ended up in Cincinnati
in the 1840s or 50s the family below were in the Catholic Church registers,
I also have a Walther family that are from the Sonderhausen area of Germany
and they are also part of my family that came to the USA, they were very
much Lutheran, I will also put there group sheet on the list for you to see.

Family Group Sheet

Family Group Sheet

Have you posted to the Ostfriesen list? If not send a subscribe to this address. <OSTFRIESEN-D-request@rootsweb.com>
And good luck. Yvonne

Gale, you have not only been helpful, but thoughtful as well.
This book (from Amazon, I hope) is on my Christmas list from Santa. :slight_smile:

Thanks for you great suggestion.

THEBOSCHBOSCHE@aol.com wrote: