Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Finding a German Hometown


This is the town of origin for Herman Lutter, one of my great great grandfathers.  Thank you TP for figuring this out!

The above image is from the 1888 certificate of marriage for Herman Lutter and Clara Uhl in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, United States.  All of Herman's other records that I have located do not provide a town; instead, his birthplace is given as Thuringia or Germany.

My other clue for locating family in Germany is from Herman's 1924 will, where he names a sister, Ottillia Michel "of Neuhaus, Thuringen, Germany."

During Herman's lifetime, Germany was unified and World War I was fought.  After he died, World War II was fought, Germany was divided, then unified again.  Place names, political control, and borders changed.

The next trick:  Where are Scheibe and Neuhaus today and what are they called?

Scheibe-Alsbach is municipality in the German State of Thuringia, Sonneberg District.  Neuhaus am Rennweg is nearby.  There are a few places in Germany using the name Neuhaus, though.

I found a map of Thuringia dated 1905.  Two towns named Scheibe and Neuhaus are next to each other.  This looks promising.

Neuhaus and Scheibe are in Rudolstadt.  Just south, in Sonneberg, is another town called Neuhaus.

The 1905 map of Thuringia has latitude and longitude grids.  When plugged into a modern-day map, the location of Neuhaus and Scheibe in Rudolstadt is now Neuhaus am Rennweg in the Sonneberg District of Thuringia.  This is where I need to look for records.  The area is in a forested mountain region, which impeded travel.  The Czech Republic is fifty miles to the east.  I hope to discover how this geography shaped the family history.

Archives for Thuringia has a website!  But in German, naturally.

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