New European Nobility Sub-Category: Baltic-German Nobility

+3 votes
239 views

Dear all,

Seeing its absence, I've created a new European Nobility sub-category covering the nobility of the historic Baltic-German territories at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Baltic-German_Nobility .

I'll be tagging and populating this momentarily, but am also aware that I'm still fairly new to Wikitree so thought I should flag this for more seasoned editors to double-check, just to make sure I've followed guidelines appropriately.

Many thanks!

All the best,

Kelsey

in Policy and Style by Kelsey Jackson Williams G2G6 Mach 1 (11.8k points)
retagged by Maggie N.
Kelsey, I've added tags to alert the category project team.
Many thanks!
I have added German Roots tag to alert the German Roots folks.
Thanks so much!

There are a few of us with recent connections with it.  Interestingly some of the geni content on it is done by actually recognized historians.

Like the British lines that I have (I’m first generation born North American on my dad’s side (although his mother is long time Nova Scotian where I live now.

I’m particularly lucky that my family matriculated under a unique heroic rather than geographical name  and also had a pre matriculation last name and it has been handed down as a middle name as is our family custom also from the Irish gentry and nobility side.

I think somewhere I had posted a list of online resources but I can refresh that if required

Online resources are VERY accessible both for nobles and “commoners” though typically you have to dig for dates as the interest is sometime in the males emerging from the house as Urkundl (knight).

There are also books floating around on the history of the houses within the families- for example, the story of the houses of my 5th great grandparents is online in German including property acquisitions, family witnesses to it, marriages and yes even the sad summary of their divorce (I have the whole judicial report

I believe in the last couple of months a fresh new one has come out in Lithuanian for the houses there.

It is interesting how many zu’s appear giving you also the house which is very critical information given repeat names and geography.  I note for example that

There is also great troves in the Latvian archives from which I have considerable first hand research thanks to collaboration with a Russian cousin and family historian who first helped me find the connection.  It’s like having Richardson’s in house and fully and directly accessible.

Thanks again

Dear Lloyd,

Thanks for writing.  I'd been meaning to get in touch with you, actually, having seen that you're one of the few other active Anglophone genealogists with an interest in Baltic-German families.  It's nice to make the acquaintance of someone else descended from that rather small minority.

You're right about the high accessibility of relevant resources.  With the GHBR digitised and the massive online archives at Saaga and Raduraksti available, it's possible to trace many Baltic-German families back several hundred years or more.  Indeed, I've noticed that the urban patrician families, in particular, are ripe for much more extensive study than has seen print so far.

Out of curiosity, who are the historians who've contributed to Baltic-German profiles on Geni?  I've noticed that the quality and quantity of relevant profiles there is overall very good.

Thanks again for responding.

All best wishes,

Kelsey

Hi Kelsey 

Thank’s so much for connecting with me.  Yes there are few of around in the English world and perhaps more who don’t know it.

Here is one of the best around and understand that he has some things at around Rundale and the Courland Museum. The brother of EJ and his wife are memorialized at Struteln as she became my 6th step grandmother 

http://briai.ku.lt/darbuotojai/mokslo-darbuotojai/ernestas-vasiliauskas/

My own first contact is with Artem Vasiliev, who is a descendant of Emile v Pfeilitzer, great Courland scholar as well who facebooked messaged me from Moscow to announce that we were distant cousins.  

While we had the name handed down - there are so many reasons that we had lost contact and my dear George was “Where’s Waldo” of the Hanoverian world.

Anyhow, Artem and I recently spent about 4 days almost 24 hours a day (this is the problem when coffee, time zones and his relative youthfulness and our Pfeilitzer obsession of getting our arrows on target just takes over and I forget I am also Irish lol.

Additionally, I have corresponded with this 5th cousin whose family line continues at Struteln and he is evidently a brilliant academic and philosopher  and has done much work before his focus has to be his work and health 

https://schmied-kowarzik.net/?page_id=5

Here is my George 

https://www.geni.com/people/Colonel-the-Baron-George-Friederick-Wilhelm-von-Pfeilitzer-gennant-Franck/6000000020910455560?through=6000000080207614430

Do you have your tree here or elsewhere?

As an aside, I am seeing that we likely have a lot of relatives spread throughout Eastern and Northern Europe - of course outside of our origins for obvious reasons and am seeing tons of smart matches that way as well as a few DNA possibilities.  

Additionally we are a unique people from those lines because it is its own ethnicity and really it’s own family where geni can only propose one relationship but their are many others.

I did have one mistake in my tree once and fixed it - the Pfeiltizer line remained intact and so in detaching my 5th great grandparents, and reattaching the male about 80 percent of the names seemed still be there and they all flooded back when attaching my correct 5th great grandmother 

As a last comment, I find it funny that we have such English names for who knows what is under a name.  And records have been a comedy of errors for us and the sources of resolution.  My most recent brick wall was in South Africa - my grandfather’s cousin had fought and died for them in WW1 and the extended family was advised that he had a daughter named Erie Pfeilitzer Hunt.  But for years, we were unsuccessful in finding “her.” 

On Nov 11, there was a lot of free stuff, while looking for another line of the family, I stumbled on a marriage certificate for Eric Hunt - who had originally signed his name correctly as Pfeiltizer- but perhaps the Afrikaner minister  Phfeilitzer - which doesn’t match either on google soundex.

To close this story, he had s daughter named Margie Lillian Hunt  - who I find according to an unphotographed archive of Sports Illustrated that she aims her doubles partner were part of a new breed of pretty and athletic women that was changing the nature of tennis  She and her second husband had centre court tickets at Wimbledon for a couple of decades.  I imagine that this was a real first for the game with someone of partial Baltic blood.  Like George, she penetrated another typical English structure 

As a final aside, I think I have a couple of people with v Korff in their background  

Looking forward to collaborating with you ! 

Lloyd 

Dear Lloyd,

I can certainly relate to the 24 hour days of research.  By profession I'm a lecturer in early modern history and literature - incidentally, I find it intriguing just how many members of the Baltic-German diaspora have become academics - and the kind of obsessive research focus that work requires very easily spills over into genealogy.

The story of your research is wonderful and you're lucky to have come across such skilled and kindly kinsfolk along the way.  In terms of Kurlandish sources, you're probably already aware of this, but did you know that the Geschlechtsregister of the kurlandische Ritterschaft has been digitised on familysearch.org?  You have to dive into their catalogue to find it, but it's fully reproduced and a great aide, especially if, like me, you've found the citations to it in the Erik-Amburger-Datenbank tantalisingly frustrating before now.

I don't have my own ancestry fully online at the moment.  I've begun to put things up on Wikitree, but so far have mostly focussed on the Anglo-American side of my family.  Hopefully in the next few weeks I can start to add more material on the Stenbocks, von Breverns, von Rosens, Zoege von Manteuffels, etc., as well as expanding on the Baltic-German families - like the Oldekops and von Roths - I've already started to add.  Most of my immediate ancestors were in Estland and Livland rather than Kurland, but I presume that we'll find common links somewhere in the thicket of the knighthoods' pedigrees.

And, yes, it is funny that so many descendants of the Baltic-Germans - us two included - should have such decisively un-Germanic names.  We should probably be glad on a practical level, though - most government entities find a double-barrelled surname hard enough and I can't imagine what they'd make of "Zoege von Manteuffel" . . . .

All the best,

Kelsey

1 Answer

+3 votes
Be sure to identify on the category page the time period you're looking at.  A number of Euroaristo subprojects use 742 (the birth year for Charlemagne) as a cut off as a beginning date.  The ancient royalty and nobility sub project covers everyone up to 742.  You don't have to use this date, but if you have a begin date and end date (if applicable) it will avoid some level of confusion!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (338k points)
Thanks, Jack.  I've clarified that this applies to a period beginning in the later medieval period and ending (at least for legal purposes) at the beginning of the twentieth century.

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