Hi Tom, you asked:-
If a family was living in this area in 1800, would they probably have been
there for hundreds of years?
The answer to this has to be 'yes', unless there was a land clearance by the
nobles to graze sheep on the land, as happened in Scotland, for instance.
Even if some members of the family moved, there will be others left behind.
I quote an English cemetery I found in 1960 one hundred miles from my home
town - which had gravestones dating from the 1900's back to the 1600's. I
was intrigued that the names were nearly all of the same few families. Only
one mile down the road in another churchyard/cemetery, the gravestones were
of similar age and surprisingly not one of the local family surnames
compared with those just a mile down the road. I am originally from an
English town where the Vikings from Denmark settled and ruled for 500 years,
so all the surnames in the cemeteries were new to me.
I agree there are local German dialects and I give an example. In the '60's
I lived in Beke, Limburg, a part of Holland which looks like a finger placed
between Germany and Belgium. Our Dutch neighbours were from Rotterdam,
northern Holland. Apparently they could not understand the local language
which was more German than Dutch due to the fact that this area used to be
part of the old German empire. You could have fooled me because the locals
said 'donke' (wrong spelling) for thanks, as opposed to the German "danke".
I did notice that the Scots (Scotia), Germans & Dutch all used the same verb
"kennen" 'to know' and more or less the same phrase for 'going home',
As to noticing the difference in the appearance of people living in
different localities. I don't think you would notice it so much now with
the advent of the motor car, etc., but generally speaking travelling from
area to area, as I have, it can be noticed that the locals have similar
facial features (long,short noses, broad cheek bones, etc) are tall or
short, or have long trunks and short legs, or the women have narrow hips
large bosoms, or vice versa (unfortunately I'm vice versa!). Dentists will
tell you that the shape and set of teeth can give a clue to origins. I, and
my children, certainly have European mainland teeth and not the overbite
prevalent in England. As a general rule Saxons had fair hair and blue eyes.
If you use the English language, any word ending in "ant" (restaurant,
descendant) is French from Normandy; and so are most words associated with
food, pork (porque) , mutton (mouton), beef (boef), etc. Any word ending
in 'i' (agri-culture) or 'us' is Latin (Roman/Italian). Although 'strasse'
and 'street' are similar words for 'road', the Romans brought the word
"street" to England.
Rena in sunny England.