West Prussian organizations - why not in English?

There is also another aspect on it all.

1. English is not the problem, as for a native German it is an easy to
learn language, if you are not willing to use such an elaborated English
like Charles Dickens did. But elder people, who are warmly welcome in
this list, because they often know about things apart from only dates
and names, often have difficulties with English or are even not able to
understand it. Moreover the documents that you are looking are written
in that German.

2. Why should WE speak English? There were times when scientists studied
German to be able to read the most important publications in their
discipline. That is just 100 years ago, and was over with the First
World War. YOUR ancestors turned their backs to their fatherlands and
even fought as soldiers against Germans, and even if it was only to
proove that they were true Americans, like in Philadelphia where still
today US uniforms worn by them are exposed in local museums.
You won those wars, therefore you now have the ability to declare what
was wrong and who was right, because in the end of all doubts justice is
just bound to power and not to philosophy. I mean: the winner writes the
history books. You destroyed Prussia, let East Prussia be divided by a
ballpoint pen line (that's how it was made on a rough map in Yalta) and
let it be exploited in any means so that there is hardly anything to
find today, you Americans even yourself exploited Germany (e.g. look
into the Washington's galleries) while we today are searching in the
remnants of East Prussia and our Prussian culture. And now we shall
speak your language?

We are friendly enough when we answer English questions, and that is
what has always been done here.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Th. Salein

Thomas makes many valid points...

Sadly though he is many ways too generous. Today's Americans and Canadians often think that their German ancestors were Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, etc because the 'land' from which they came is today controlled by Poland and/or others. It is a very sad state of affairs when those researching their past do not have the interest or energy to discover where their forebears lived and learn the language(s) they spoke.

For those who have interest on this complex set of issues, I published a third party article on these topics (It is also in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the loss of my mother's Heimat):
http://www.many-roads.com/2015/03/13/70-years-on/

Mit freundlichen Grüßen und viel Glück beim Forschen!
Pax vobiscum,

Pax vobiscum,
...mark

True, but that was not my point. I was just frustrated in this age of technology and world-wide use of the web and genealogy information not being put out in multiple language formats and my own families going "Germans under cover".

The Norwegians are very good at putting up sites with other languages.

My internal German superiority buttons got pushed, that's all.

I'm also a little offended about your comments that immigrating Germans turned their backs on the fatherland
.
It was not a choice that was made easily, but it was a matter of survival in the USA. People got harassed for making sauerkraut for goodness sakes. Very ugly, ugly dark times here.

It was only because the German's were white skinned and too large of a population that saved them from interment. It was not feasible to lock them up in interment camps like they did the Japanese. Ironically neither grandfather qualified for combat even though they were both fluent German speakers.

Prior to the WW's huge German fraternal organizations, schools, social clubs, newspapers.

Kelly Simons | Technical Liasion, Child Care Assistance Program
Minnesota Department of Human Services
651-431-4036 (w) | 651-431-7483 (Fax) | Kelly.Simons@state.mn.us

Healthy People, Stable Families, Strong Communities | mn.gov/dhs |

Very funny, those Americans and Canadians must truly be disconnected or far removed from their relatives and ancestors then. Even when German's made the hard choices of going undercover during the WW's , their families knew for damn sure that they were German and not Polish, Lithuanian or Russian. Another reason we went from Saiewicz spelled Sayewitz in the USA. Grandpa got sick to death of being called a Bohunk, rude term for Bohemian.

I do know that Americans think that anyone with a last name of witz or wicz is also Jewish. Our family was Lutheran from way back, and is what I have not be able to verify with church records. I have a copy of the church record for marriage needed for immigration and that is it.

A church in Mareinwerder verifying the marriage of Karl Saiewicz and Wilhelminia Bennische and immunization records in Mareinwerder for one child, and another town for another child. But family lore says they were from Gorlitz or Posen, left from Konigsberg.

All other records were destroyed in a flood in PA in the 1970's, prior to me the great granddaughter and a younger one at that started bugging the relatives in PA for information.

Kelly Simons | Technical Liasion, Child Care Assistance Program
Minnesota Department of Human Services
651-431-4036 (w) | 651-431-7483 (Fax) | Kelly.Simons@state.mn.us

Healthy People, Stable Families, Strong Communities | mn.gov/dhs |

Hi Kelly,

I do understand your point, as well as messages by Thomas and Mark. I got the impression, that you mix up two different ways of communication. The OWP list is just exchanging pieces of information on a daily basis. As an example I receive some 50-60 such genealogy messages each day, written in German, English, Swedish, French and sometimes in Polish. It is not possible at all to translate every single text message into "all" languages, list members are belong to. In some way, OWP is similar to a web forum. A web forum doesn't translate single messages neither.

The example you choose, "The Norwegians are very good at putting up sites with other languages.", is most likely a web page, which has some "static" information. I can't assume nor believe that such a web page does translate such a large volume of incoming messages every single day into some other languages.

These are my two cents.

Greetings from Berlin, Germany
      - Juergen (Spoida)

Kelly and other members of the forum:
Just a comment about why or why not to communicate in English:

Let's try to leave political issues out of .this forum and focus on family
research.
About language: I am a German-American who was naturalized inthe USA in
1957. My ancestors originated in East Prussia. They had to leave everything
behind to begin a new chapter of their life elsewhere. The lesson learned
is that it is of prime importance to learn the local language to assimillate
However, that does not mean you have to deny your roots. Sadly, this was
not the case for the majority of European immigrants whose children did not
continue to learn their language of origin.
I was fortunate because my mother encouraged her children to be bicultural,
if not multicultural, to learn foreign languages to be able to communicate
whereever they ended up.
My grandmother had survived both "great wars" and always stressed that
speaking foreign languages was essential to survival, not only in war-time.
Of course, she lived in the border area of East Prussia (Masuren) and Poland
where speaking a few words of Polish was probably part of growing up and
could have saved lives in times of conflict..

Hopefully my comments will end this string of conversation with regard to
the language used for researching our common roots. Google and other
on-line language translation tools should suffice to overcome the language
barrier.

This forum is intended for family research and should not become a "sounding
board" for more general issues.

Jutta

Jutta, you are absolutely right. There is an additional aspect: speaking
foreign languages allows for a better understanding of your neighbour --
something that obviously Th. Salein never learned. Reading his unbearable
fascist statements let me apologize in the name of the huge majority of
post-war true Germans.

Rainer

Thank you, Jutta and Rainer - I struggle with German, even though my roots are from East Prussia. I grew up in various part of Africa - reading the comments before yours made me actually want to withdraw from the group rather quickly.
But you are right, Jutta, genealogy is the focus and the reason I joined.

Dankeschoen.

Nicole

I'm so sorry I started such a fire storm with my venting about German genealogical web sites not having an English language option, like the Norwegians tend to do. I can't even tell you the site right now but it seemed well organized and potentially very helpful.

My sincere apologizes and I did not intend to bring politics into the discussion other than I felt like I had to defend my relatives for "abandoning the fatherland" and myself for not being a fluent German speaker/reader at some point along the line.

I could certainly handle my own getting around town, and ordering delicious German food and drink. Beyond that I'm hopelessly lost.

I so appreciate all the very kind offers of assistance as I continue my quest to locate my Otto, Saiewicz/Sayewtiz, Meier, Sommers, Kasube and Bennische/Bannische ancestry.

Vielen Herzlichen Dank!

Kelly

Kelly Simons | Technical Liasion, Child Care Assistance Program
Minnesota Department of Human Services
651-431-4036 (w) | 651-431-7483 (Fax) | Kelly.Simons@state.mn.us

Healthy People, Stable Families, Strong Communities | mn.gov/dhs |

Kelly,
I did not follow from the beginning. Can you specify the locations for the
above referenced ancestors?

An die Liste: Ich habe die Anfrage nicht von Anfang an verfolgt. In
welchen Orten sollte man die Vorfahren suchen?

Jutta

My Gustav Ewald Otto born 1858 (Johann Otto and Wilhelmine Meier) was from Jankendorf and Emilie Kasube born (Ludwig Kasube and Julian Sommer) were from around Posen in Neu Stadt. Emilie and Gustav knew each other, she came to the USA after her mom died to marry him. Her brother settled in Michigan, so I'm related to Michigan Kasubes.

My Karl Sayewitz( Daniel Saiwet) born in 1846 (Saiewicz,Saiwet) and his wife Wilhelmina Bannische(?) were married in Marienwerder in the Lutheran church. Family lore says they are from Gorlitz and or Konigsberg and even Posen. He supposedly was a prisoner of war during one of the Prussian wars, was not about to be drafted again so they left the country. We cousins think they were Jewish, all dark, dark hair and eyes. they arrived in 1888, my grandpa was born in 1891 and his dad died when he was 8 from working in the coal mines. So not time or memory to remember any details. I heard grandma Minnie was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

We have a copy of a church in Mareinwerder verifying the marriage of Karl Wilhelm Saiewicz father Dan and Wilhelminia Bennische and immunization records in Mareinwerder for one child Mary Sayewitz born in 1888, and another town for another child. But family lore says they were from Gorlitz or Posen, left from Konigsberg.

Kelly Simons | Technical Liasion, Child Care Assistance Program
Minnesota Department of Human Services
651-431-4036 (w) | 651-431-7483 (Fax) | Kelly.Simons@state.mn.us

Healthy People, Stable Families, Strong Communities | mn.gov/dhs |

Kelly,
Have you checked the Ellis Island.org immigration records? You might be
able to find members of your German ancestors in the passenger lists.
None of your ancestors' names surface in my records.
As far as Goerlitz is concerned, this is a border town on the (now)
German-Polish border. At the time it was Lower Silesia, or Niederschlesien.
If you have church records, it would help if you listed names, dates and
places of birth, marriage or death. This will make it easier for other
researchers to search their data base.
Try to list as much detail as possible: Last and first name; date and place
of birth; date of baptism or marriage, if known.
Have you tried researching Mormon (Church of Latter Day Saints) records?
(MyHeritage.com) You might be able to find a trace there.
I hope this helps a little to point you in the right direction.
Jutta

The Sayewitz came in through Castle Garden from Bremen with poorly filled out documents. Karl was a shop keeper or a shop owner not able to determine. I will do that.

Thank you!

Kelly Simons | Technical Liasion, Child Care Assistance Program
Minnesota Department of Human Services
651-431-4036 (w) | 651-431-7483 (Fax) | Kelly.Simons@state.mn.us

Healthy People, Stable Families, Strong Communities | mn.gov/dhs |