Was there such a place as Ginsteach in 1816?

+3 votes
It is suposed to be his place of birth. It's location varies with the sources; Germany (1850), Saxony (1860), Prussia (1870), Germany (1880), and Russia (1884).
Any help pin pointing where this place was will be much appreciate.
WikiTree profile: Herman Schambach
in Genealogy Help by James Applegate G2G6 Mach 5 (54.0k points)

4 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer

The overlap of Germany/Prussia/Russia suggests he could come from Ostpreußen and a place like Kaliningrad (a.k.a. Königsburg pre-WWII), which was historically part of the German Empire. As David pointed out, the name Ginsteach doesn't look outwardly Germanic. It sounds more Slavic, and I could envision an alternative spelling ending in -tic or -tich.

This is a scenario where the Meyers Gazetteer could be a useful tool. I searched their database of historical towns for "Gin*". Of the results the name that most resembled Ginsteach was the town of Ginnischken in East Prussia (now the province of Kaliningrad, Russia) just south of the river-border with Lithuania, near the modern-day town of Gorodkovo. Looking at the satellite maps on Google, there's really not much there now. Most of the ethnic Germans that lived in this region were deported by Stalin.

Can't say with certainty that Ginsteach is Ginnischken. I don't believe this area was ever part of Saxony and it became part of Russia long after 1884, so it seems curious that his death records would have already reflect that transition. Possibly a false match?

Is Herman's death record the only mention of a more specific birth location? I would try to get a copy of the original record to see if the handwritten name could be interpreted differently.

by Marta Johnson G2G6 Mach 1 (17.4k points)
selected by James Applegate

Different idea, same tool. Let's take Russia off the table for the moment and imagine this was a transcription error of Prussia.

I tried searching the Gazetteer for "Gän*" which can vaguely sound like Gin (hard G, not like the alcohol). One location, Gänseteich (literally: "geese pond") could be a different lead. The town is currently in the state of Thuringia, but according to the Gazetteer it was historically part of Saxony and Prussia.

+6 votes

Was Herman born in Saxony before Prussia took it over?  There were a lot of boundary changes when the Holy Roman Empire collapsed in 1848.  Eventually, the northern part was replaced by the Netherlands and Germany (which was previously called Prussia).  The southern part of the HRE had previously been split off into Switzerland, Austria, the Vatican City, etc.

I don't know if it existed in 1815, but Germany didn't.  The people spoke German.  The individual provinces in the HRE confederacy survived on their own before they were taken over by Prussia.  Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and Russia had previously carved up Poland.  Each was vying for more control of Central Europe and eventually Prussia took it over.

It wasn't till after World War I when Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) got carved up

I've not been able to find a reference to the "town" of Ginsteach, but the spelling of its name isn't very Germanic.

by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+3 votes
How about "Ginthieden"?  Ginthieden was a small rural community in the Königsberg region of East Prussia.

Pretty darn obscure.

by Brett Donjon G2G3 (3.8k points)
+3 votes
Its most likely possible/probable that the name was changed when it became part of another country such as Germany in 1850 if it was part of another Country prior to that.  If it wasn't, then somewhere along the way when it became part of Saxony, Prussia or Russia the name more than likely changed.  The only way you're going to narrow it down is to contact a genealogy expert in Germany and/or Russia as they can search old maps and land records there that you won't be able to find on the internet.  I would stay mostly with Germany since it was part of that country in 1850 and 1880. If it was part of Prussia, that area was also part of Austria so you may want to look into Austria as well.
by Anonymous Heuer G2G Rookie (290 points)

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