Verifying the proper way to specify a German city

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When I was growing  up my mother said her paternal line, Stock, came from Lippe-Detmold. When I lived in Germany for a couple years and wanted to visit I couldn't find such a place on the map, though I did find Detmold and learned that Lippe is the region (or district or state). Since then I've seen documentation with "Lippe, Detmold." In German place names does the district come first? I'm used to the American custom of the state placed second, such as Detroit, Michigan.
in Genealogy Help by Paul Kinney G2G6 Mach 1 (11.0k points)

1 Answer

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Best answer
Lippe-Detmold was an alternative name for the Grafschaft, later Fürstentum, later Freistaat Lippe used to distinguish it from holdings of other branches of the ruling house, especially Schaumburg-Lippe. Lippe lost it's independence in 1948 and was incorporated into Nordrhein-Westfalen where it's territory now roughly approximates the Kreis (county) Lippe in the Regierungsbezirk (next higher administrative unit) Detmold. The city of Detmold is also the administrative seat for the Kreis Lippe. Using Lippe-Detmold does not mean somebody was from the city of Detmold but from the land.

It is not common to use the county in giving locations in Germany, Detmold would just be listed as "Detmold, Nordrhein-Westfalen". If there is a need to distinguish between towns with the same name most commonly some natural feature is used, for example Frankfurt am Main and Frankfurt an der Oder. Very rarely, when there is no widely known natural feature is available, the Kreis is used, for example there are over a dozen Weißensteins in Germany, one of which not having any other distinguishing feature used to be listed as Weißenstein, Kreis Göppingen.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (544k points)
selected by Pip Sheppard
The ancestor in question was born near Detmold in the 1820s and left for America in the 1860s. How would Detmold be designated then?
Fürstentum Lippe, Deutscher Bund (1816-1866).
Discovering Lippe-Detmold refers to the region rather than the city clarifies what my mother was saying. The family had a farm near the village of Kirchheide north of Detmold. Thank You.

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