How can Heinrich Kolb be the father of Dielman when Heinrich died in 1645 and the birth of Dielman is listed as 1648?

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WikiTree profile: Henrich Kolb
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2 Answers

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Time travel is one option.  Another is cryogenics.  I am serious here.  Someone is toying with history.  By: Charlane Meyer, all rights reserved, without prejudice, sui juris, void of fealty.
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I'm not convinced that this Henrich is a real historical person with real historical details.  I've seen him in trees, but never with any sources.
by Dan Culp G2G Rookie (200 points)

John L. Ruth, Maintaining the Right Fellowship: A narrative account of life in the oldest Mennonite community in North America, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Aug 5, 2004 appears to be well sourced, although I have not had a chance to evaluate the quality of the sources for Heinrich Kolb. The book does mention him as father of Dielman and places him in Wolfsheim, Kurpfalz (not Baden-W├╝rttemberg as WT profile does), but does not give any dates.

If Ruth wrote it, I do take it as gospel.  He is quite the authority. I heard him speak at a reunion 10 years ago. I would tend to think, without looking myself at the book, that he probably did not assert his name with that spelling, though. At his speech at that reunion, he made a great point to say that Dielman's son was Henrich as opposed to Heinrich,  and I would be willing to bet that would be true for his grandfather as well.
In the book he spells him Heinrich throughout. Henrich for Dielman's son may very well have been the result of spelling changes after emigration. Heinrich is the correct German spelling but regional dialects could affect the pronunciation or it could have been from the Latin form Henricus.
Interesting.  He said at the reunion, as I remember it, that "Henrich" was his name, as the Kolbs were Plaatdeutsch speakers, and would have found the High German "Heinrich" awkward and pretentious.  This was in summer 2007.  If I remember right (correct me if I'm wrong), the book was already published by then, so I guess that must have been a realization Dr. Ruth came to after publication.  I'd like to contact him to clarify, but can't seem to find contact info for him.

That was in regards to this man's grandson who immigrated, but I would think the standard Plaatdeutsch name wouldn't have changed in a couple generations.
I would also be interested in his sources for the claim the Kolbs spoke platt. Plattdeutsch is a niederdeutscher dialect, spoken way north of the Palatinate. The local dialect would have been mittel-, ost-, or s├╝drheinisch and if they were in any way related to the Swiss Mennonites migrating to the Palatinate even hochalemannisch.
It is possible I was too specific by trying to prove that I speak a little German. He probably only said "Low German,"  which I was under the impression was synonymous with Plaat.  If it refers to a specific low German dialect, then I think I may have overstated.  

I have read some theories that the Kolbs were  of Swiss origin at some point not long before they appear in the records,  but I don't think there is any evidence for that proposition that I am aware of.

"Low German" has 2 meanings:

  • Low German as opposed to High German meaning dialect vs. the written language (what the Amish refer to as the "language of the book").
  • Low German/Niederdeutsch, Middle German/Mitteldeutsch, and Upper German/Oberdeutsch as the three main strata of German dialects with Low German being in the North, Middle German in the middle, and Upper German in the South.

It is fair to assume the Kolbs spoke dialect but perhaps the Henrich comes from a conflation of the two meanings of Low German. Henrich in Germany is considered the Frisian and Low German/niederdeutsche form of Heinrich, but the local dialect in the palatinate is Middle German and the Swiss immigrants brought with them their Upper German dialect. 

As to the Swiss origin theory it's generally accepted that most Palatinate Mennonites were of Swiss origin. No documentary proof, though. The 30 Years' War was particularly brutal in the Palatinate with almost 80% of the population killed or expelled. Some of the main sources for the repopulation of the area were Mennonites from Switzerland and Huguenots from France.

I actually think I may have a copy of his will in my files. That should shed some light, if I'm not mistaken. I'll investigate so I have something to offer other than impressions off the top of my head.

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