Historic place name conventions for Germany, using Hallgarten as an example

+7 votes

According to the wikitree wiki:

Applied to locations, this means using place names in native languages and using the names that people at the time used, even if they now no longer exist.

I've been entering a lot of profiles for Hallgarten (Rheingau) this week. To apply the above I should use:

Hallgarten, Nassau-Weilburg, Heiliges Römisches Reich (up to 1806) (I think - not 100% sure about the Nassau-Weilburg part)

Hallgarten, Herzogtum Nassau (1806-1866)

Hallgarten, Rheingaukreis, Hessen-Nassau, Königreich Preußen (1866-1870)

Hallgarten, Rheingaukreis, Hessen-Nassau, Königreich Preußen , Deutsches Kaiserreich (1871-1918)

Hallgarten, Rheingaukreis, Hessen-Nassau, Freistaat Preußen, Deutsches Reich (1919-1943)

Hallgarten, Rheingaukreis, Nassau, Freistaat Preußen, Großdeutsches Reich (1944-1945)

Hallgarten, Rheingaukreis, Groß-Hessen, Alliierte Besetzung Deutschlands (1946)

Hallgarten, Rheingaukreis, Hessen, Alliierte Besetzung Deutschlands (1947-48)

Hallgarten, Rheingaukreis, Hessen, Deutschland (1949-1976)

Which is all an interesting journey into history, but is it actually useful or helpful? Is it actually preferred? Is it even pragmatic, given most people won't take an hour out of their day to work it all out? The familysearch placename dropdowns are very helpful overall, but not helping here.

What do people with a lot of experience in German research actually do in practice?

(please excuse weird formatting, for some reason the copy paste text refuses to be altered)

in Policy and Style by Mark Dorney G2G6 Mach 4 (49.7k points)

Other people gave actual helpful answers but I wanted to add my response to your question "What do people with a lot of experience in German research actually do in practice?", Cry.

If you gave this as an answer I'd be very tempted to assign you best answer status.
DITTO, Mark!  To Leilani. (I really try, but I'm stymied by many things that could lead to easy accurate answers to whatever needs a "solution."  Blessings to you both!
Thanks for your  excellent questions, Mark.

And: I'm deciding that since I have no "Hallgarten" entries, the list above wouldn't be useful to me. (It seems "so obvious" but I could be very wrong. Please inform me about that.)*

* How do we use your finding above, Mark??
Roberta, I think your question highlights just how difficult historically accurate placenames are in Germany. The country designations might be useful, the province for a place name in that province, but essentially each village in Germany needs one of these lookups.

(and THANKS ANYWAY, Mark.)

4 Answers

+8 votes
The time from 1871-1945 is formally seen not completely correct:

The German Reich (official name of the German national state) officially existed from 1871 to 1945.
It was divided into three periods:
- 1871 - 1918 German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich)
- 1919 - 1933 Weimar Republic
- 1939 - 1945 Third Reich (period of National Socialism); official state name in Germany from 1943: Großdeutsches Reich
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
From my readings (just on Wikipedia), both the Weimar Republic and early Nazi regime both referred to themselves as Deutsches Reich.
+8 votes
During Prussia time, I usually type "Hallgarten, Hessen-Nassau, Preußen, Norddeutscher Bund (or Deutsches Reich, depending on timeframe)

The "Alliierte Besetzung Deutschlands" is in my profiles "Amerikanische Besatzungszone" or in other places "Britische/Französische/Sowjetische Besatzungszone", depending on location.
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I think Preussen without the Konigsreich or Freistaat in front makes sense.

It's not  like I use Commonwealth of Australia for my home country.
+9 votes
  • Before 1803: Hallgarten, Erzstift Mainz, Heiliges Römisches Reich
  • 1803 - 1806: Fürstentum Nassau-Usingen
  • 1806 - 1866: (Amt Eltville), Herzogtum Nassau, Deutscher Bund
  • 1867 - 1871: (Rheingaukreis), Provinz Hessen-Nassau, Königreich Preußen, Norddeutscher Bund
  • 1871 - 1918: (Rheingaukreis, Provinz Hessen-Nassau, Königreich Preußen, Deutsches Reich
  • 1918 - 1944: (Rheingaukreis), Provinz Hessen-Nassau, Freistaat Preußen, Deutsches Reich
  • 1944 - 1945: (Rheingaukreis), Provinz Nassau, Freistaat Preußen, Deutsches Reich
  • 1945 -1946: (Rheingaukreis), Staat Groß-Hessen, Office of Military Government for Germany (U.S.)
  • 1946 - 1949: (Rheingaukreis), Land Hessen, Office of Military Government for Germany (U.S.)
  • 1949 - 1990: (Rheingaukreis), Land Hessen, Bundesrepublik Deutschland
  • since then (Rheingaukreis), Land Hessen, Deutschland

I put the counties (Kreise) in brackets because I consider them of less importance. If you want to add them consider that administratively Germanyhas another layer between the counties and provinces, lands etc: Regierungsbezirk.

From 1949 until 1990 there were two German countries, the Bundesrepublik Deutschland and the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, the official name was shortened to Deutschland only after reunification.

by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (553k points)
Awesome! You seem totally across this. Is this what you do with your own profiles?

But didn't the Deutscher Bund only commence in 1815?

And if we were being really pedantic, wasn't it interrupted by Deutsches Reich in 1849?

Also Rheingaukreis was merged and renamed in 1977.

I'm just going by Wikipedia here.
I think Rheingaukreis could possibly be useful from a database perspective, allowing searching for a surname within a relatively small area.

Mark, you are certainly right about the Deutscher Bund. The highest political entity from 1806 until 1813 should have been Rheinische Bundesstaaten. And from 1813 to 1815 nothing.

As for 1848/49: The Frankfurter Nationalversammlung declared on 28 Jun 1848 the Bundesrat, the only governing institution of the Deutscher Bund, dissolved but not the Deutscher Bund itself. That happened only in 1866. There is certainly a question whether a political entity continues to exist if there is no governing body.

+5 votes
You will probably find these 2 threads of interest

From Chris Whitten


and the thread that led to the one above  

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (713k points)

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