19th century geography categories

+6 votes

So far, I have mostly been trying to add migration and location categories to my ancestors who migrated to Australia from the United Kingdom. I also have quite a few migrant ancestors from Europe. I have given then geography categories in South Australia and the ship/voyage they arrived on, but I am not so good on 19th century European geography nor any language other than English.

For example, Carl Wilhelm Klingner (Klingner-4) is currently described as Born 12 Jul 1826 in Semmelwitz, Silesia, Prussia in the data. I doubt they are the words he used for his place of birth. I expect it was more like Schlesien, Preussen.

A bit of exploring in Wikipedia suggests that Semmelwitz might be the place that is now Zębowice, Lower Silesian Voivodeship.

So my questions are what are the correct geography and migration categories to find his family and fellow migrants? Secondly, should the data fields for his birth be changed too?

Should I put him in [[Category: Prussian Immigrants to Australia]] or is that the old name style that is being phased out? Does he belong in [[Category: German Immigrants to South Australia]] at all, or would he be considered Polish and not German (or even Silesian and neither Polish nor German)? He appears to belong in a subcategory of [[Category: Immigrants to South Australia]] that doesn't exist yet, and I don't know what names should be used to create it.



WikiTree profile: Carl Klingner
in Policy and Style by Scott Davis G2G6 Mach 2 (25.1k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
The question would first be, how many migrants from that area to Australia are there?  Are there a sufficient number to warrant creating a category for them?  

You can narrow down the category for his birth place also, looking at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silesia makes it appear as if there are parts under one country and parts in another, so you would have to narrow the location down to determine which part it was in.

Carl was on a ship to Melbourne (Victoria) with 500 migrants on board before moving across the border to South Australia.

There are 68 ships listed in https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:German_Immigrants_to_South_Australia so even if they only had 200 people on each ship on average and only 10% came from Silesia and Oostmarche (sp?) of Brandenberg, there would be over a thousand. I think it should be substantially higher than that.

How many people, and how many profiles make it worthwhile? How do I categorise my ancestors so they end up in the same categories as their non-migrant (or migrating to somewhere else) siblings and parents?

I have his birthplace narrowed to Semmelwitz, Silesia, Prussia. If that is the same place as Zębowice, it's a village of about 500 people at present. That is plenty narrow enough, but doesn't answer what the proper category name(s) is/are.


ok, with those numbers sounds worth making a category, just have to determine what it should be called.  

As far as the category to cover the whole family, migrant or not, that would be the place of birth presumably, they will then all show up there.

For the proper name, can't help you there, not my languages, tag German roots also, since Poland kept bouncing from one country to another over time.

I have edited the question to add German_roots.

There are not presently any categories with either Semmelwitz or Zębowice in the name, and I don't know what the next larger administrative unit was called in the second quarter of the 19th century.

There is a [[Category: Lower Silesia Voivodeship, Poland]], but that seems wrong for someone who left the area over 100 years before it was created.

2 Answers

+2 votes
Ok I am going to chime in despite knowing very little about the history of that area because I can tell you that here at Wikitree we put it in as they would have - we use the name of the place as it was when the event (birth, marriage, death or whatever) happened so you use what it was called then - for clarity you can put the current name or even the steps that went on between then and now in the narrative of the Biography so if someone wants to look on a map they can find that place and see how far or near it is to whatever.
by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (151k points)

Thank you.

How do I find out what he called it to fill in the data field more appropriately, and what is the right name for the categories for his birthplace and migration? The family history book I have says he was born in Semmelwitz, Silesia, Prussia. He might have used the word Semmelwitz, but I doubt he used Silesia (rather than something like Schlesien) or Prussia before he came to Australia.

OK now there you are going to have to look at the history of that place to see when what name was used - now for North America - well Canada and the US we had some people put together a spreadsheet with what colonies and province and what ever was then when it changes and when it later becomes a state or province - I do not know - History sites or old maps is where I would start on that and I bet it will be fun figuring that out
+4 votes

from what I could find out, you narrowed his birth location down right. Semmelwitz is now called Zębowice, a small village close to the city of Jawor in Poland.

In 1826, when Carl Klingner was born, Semmelwitz belonged to Landkreis Jauer, Provinz Schlesien, Königreich Preußen. Back then the population of the area was about 80% German-speaking, so there is a good possibility Carl was also speaking German.

I am not sure about the categories, but there were Old Lutherans in Silesia, who were opressed so badly, that they decided to leave the counrty and try their luck in Australia. The first group left Hamburg in 1838, but there were more to follow. Here is an article about this, but it is writen in German: http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Australische_Auswanderung_der_Altlutheraner_aus_Preu%C3%9Fen#cite_note-26

Here is also a website with shiplists from Germany to Australia (maybe you already know about this one though) http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/SAgermanindex.shtml
by Yvonne Anderson G2G Crew (520 points)
I know it's outrageous of me to make this suggestion, but why bother with categories and any of the possible ways to "see" the data above. Seems to me its mostly a frontal view of the actions that end by seeming overtly picky and fundamentally more like bookkeeping and not humane family history.
Hi Roberta.

I guess it's the same reason as any categorisation. I have been tagging as many ancestors as I can with the towns they lived in, the ship voyages they migrated on and the cemeteries that hold their remains.

I have found this relatively easy for the ones in the same country as me (Australia) and not too bad for the ones who spoke English before they migrated, and have a fairly simple administrative structure that is well-documented in English Wikipedia or elsewhere.

I am finding it is much more difficult for me when the place they came from has changed name, state, country and dominant language, is not well documented in English, and I don't know any of the other languages. I seem to have quite a few German ancestors from what is now Poland, and a small number of Wendish/Sorbian/Slavic ones from what is now Germany. I might even find some Germans from Germany! My wife has ancestors from Hanover - I don't think they were from either Germany or Prussia in the 19th century!

I am interested in what things you think I should concentrate on instead of correctly understanding the social geography of the places my migrant ancestors came from? I'd love to be able to dots and lines on a map, but that is several steps beyond where I am at so far.
Thank you Yvonne. I will read up on what you have provided (I had seen The Ships List, but not the German language one). I am looking forward to having enough information to make a serious visit to the lands of my forebears sometime in the future. The English and Welsh lots look far simpler to sort out than the Prussians. I have a handful of books about them once they reached Australia, but since they were mostly written before the internet contained much to help, they generally don't go far beyond a  placename for where people came from to get here.
To really move ahead with your research in most places here in Europe, it is indeed helpful to come and visit the lands of your ancestors. The online resources are sadly not as far developed as in other parts of this world and you still have to look up evidence in person or ask (and pay) someone to do so for you. But I am sure the online archives will grow here in time as well.

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