Fun in Germany
A Few Tidbits of Germany History


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Humming Bird Vine


*From a document from the Stade Archives, West Germany, dated 1935

"The origin of the first family names goes back to the 12th century. Until then, each person had only one name like Heyne, Hinrick, Titeke, etc. This was sufficient because the population was still small and rural, and trade was unimportant. Originally, all names were German. They go back far into old high German times and relate to the way of life of our ancestors, to their gods (with the exception of the Highest) and to animals sacred to them (Wolf, Raven, etc.), to battle and victory, armor, weapons and war, strength and bravery, wisdom, possession, state and law. In the 13th century, foreign names began to creep in, such as Biblical names and names of saints like David, Soloman, Abraham, John, Peter, Andrew, James, Michael, Christopher, George, etc.

As the population grew in the course of time, and commerce and trade began to increase, especially as a result of the crusades, the old method of naming people, no longer sufficed, A more exact method of identifying individuals became necessary. In this way, a surname was added to the given name, which designated an individual by adding his father's name to his own, or indicated his place of residence, or his calling, or some unique attribute. At first, this surname designated only an individual and died out with him. After the 12th and 13th centuries, however, its importance increased and by the 15th and 16th centuries, became the more important one, and was inherited by the descendants as their family name.

The names which indicate origin, relate either to the place of residence, the city, the country, or the tribe of the persons bearing them. Many family names which originally were place names, are difficult to interpret. Some places have disappeared in the course of time and can no longer be located, or the names have become so corrupted, that the place name behind them can no longer be identified. In addition to this, so many places have the same name that it cannot be determined which one was meant. If the place is small, or if it is unimportant, the closest one is probably indicated. A stranger who came from afar, was usually called by the name of his tribe, or the country from which he came.

A special kind of names are the so called house names. In the course of the 12th and 13th centuries, the custom of placing special signs on houses, which was current in southwest Germany, gradually spread to the north. Houses were called by these signs and other marks and these names gradually became the names of the families living in them. (Remember Micheels Hus in Anderlingen, Germany? At one time, a family by the name of Micheels had lived in that house, before the Behnkens, I was told. It is called Micheels Hus to this day.)

Such names are: Blohm, Engel, Koenig, etc. Among the names which designate a calling, there are many that refer to a person's trade. The following belong to this group: Bohmann, Fischer, Kramer, Kroeger, Meyer, Moeller, Rademacher, Schmidt, Schroeder, Schulte, etc. Names referring to unique attributes of the first owners are: Blank, Kruse, Lange, etc.

Finally, not a few family names are borrowed from words the designate articles, plants and animals. The reasons for giving such names vary greatly and generally can no longer be determined. Some seem to refer to the person's career."


*Translated from German into English by Lutheran Pastor John Domsch,
retired Professor of German Languages,
St. Paul's College, Concordia, Missouri, April 8, 1979
*The source of the above document: "(Familienkunde der Alten Amtes Harsfeld)"
by Heinrich Borstelmann


Louis and Hilda Hellbusch spoke the German language and did have the opportunity to visit the villages and towns in Germany where the Hellbusch family had their roots. They visited and stayed with relatives while they were in Germany.

They spoke German at various times when the children were young, such as when the conversations were something that they did not want the children to understand.It was effective.
For a bit a humor, maybe the following would have been a solution that could have been understood by the children.

The development of "Euro-English"

The European Commission has just announced an agreement where English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotions, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spellinghad some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would be known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, 's' will replace the soft 'c'. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard 'c' will be dropped in favor of the 'k'. This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have one less letter.There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome 'ph' will be replased with the 'f'. This will make words like 'fotograf' 20% shorter! In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expected to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double leters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent 'e' in the language is disgrasful and should go away.

By the 4th year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing 'th' with 'z' and 'w' wiz 'v'. During ze fifz year ze unesesary 'o' kan be droped from words kontaining 'ou' and similar changes vud of kurs be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After ze fifz yer ve vil hav a rali sensible ritn styl. Zer vill be no mor trubl or difikultis and evriun vil find it ezi to undrstand ech ozer.

Zen Z Drem Vil Finali Kum Tru!!!!!

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Daughter of Louis and Hilda Hellbusch

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