Thursday, 12 April 2007

It’s all in the name

I have just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to track down appropriate names for my family. It is late in the evening and I thought I would set myself a relatively easy task. I would do a preliminary web search looking for family names from Marburg, or more generally from Hessen-Kessel.

My first block was that almost all records require a name to start the search. I was hoping somewhere might have a list of family names, out of which I could pick something euphonious (and not related to any of my current neighbours who might take exception to having a perceived fictional embodiment).

I do know that I have to look at archives for “Evangelisches” or Protestants because most German settlers in the Rosewood Scrub were Lutherans. Rosewood has the closest proper (that is, full-time rather than circuit) Catholic church because it is on the plains and near the railway, hence favoured by the Anglo-Irish. The hills were settled by the Germans whose favourite religious pastime seemed to be church factionalism, judging by the number and variety of Lutheran churches.

Back to names, I shall have to devise a strategy to find my way through the web of genealogical information available. Apparently, most people are researching ancestors, rather than attempting historical veracity for a work of fiction. Maybe this is in my favour.

1 comment:

Amy Briggs said...

Interesting problem. Have you thought of looking at city documents -- of the current city or some kind of historical one, like the phone list from 1900? And then moving back in time from there. I know the MN historical society had telephone listings -- although whether they are on line is another issue. And perhaps the people who had telephones in 1900 were vastly different from those who emigrated 40 years earlier.

Enjoying your blog -- Amy