Sunday, October 26, 2014

Are You a GESCH?

In 1894 Jean's great-grandfather August GESCH brought his wife and 6 children to Pilger, Nebraska. I have yet to find his grave site or the site of the grave of his wife Augusta (or possibly Louise Augusta).  Once I find that information we will, hopefully, know a lot more about this couple and even their lives in Germany.

August Fredrick Gesch,
center, with his 5 older boys
I DID FIND, a August Frederick GESCH who was baptised on 5 Nov 1943 in Schmargendorf, Herzsprung, Angermunde, Brandenburg, Germany.  I know that my grandfather aka August Frederick GESCH hated Hitler and said he was born in Berlin.  This was confusing because previously we had heard Gruenburg, etc but it didn't fit and family members who visited there were told that no one with the GESCH name ever lived there.

Now, the immigration papers do mention Brandenburg AND I learned that this area (state), which was once part of Poland, was later annexed to Berlin.  So let's learn a bit more about this area......

Anermunde is a town in the districe of Uckermark in the state of Brandenburg, Germany loncated on the Mundesee, 43 miles northeast of Berlin on the Berlin-Szczecin railway.  The population is about 10,000 people but the population has been dwendling rapidly.  It is Located in the gave filled forests of the Uckermark, and has has many lakes in the area.

Court House Schmargendorfer
Schmargendorfer is a south-western locality (Ortsteil) of Berlin in the district(Bezirk) of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. Until 2001 it was part of the former district of Wilmersdorf.  The village in the Margraviate of Brandenburg was first mentioned as des or’s Margreven Dorp (literally English: the Margrave's Village) in 1354, contracted to Low German Smargendorp and later adapted to High German standard as Schmargendorf.[1] It was probably established about 1220 by German settlers in the course of the Ostsiedlung under the co-ruling Ascanian Margraves John I and Otto III of Brandenburg, after the former Slavic territories had been conquered by their great-grandfather Albert the Bear.
During the growth of the City of Berlin after the 1871 unification of Germany, many peasants profited by the real estate speculation, when Schmargendorf on the eastern rim of the Grunewald forest became a popular residential area. In 1899 the former village was separated from neighbouring Wilmersdorf and received municipal rights within the Brandenburgian Landkreis Teltow, whereafter the residents had the lavish Neo-Gothic town hall erected in 1902. On 1 October 1920 Schmargendorf was incorporated into Berlin by the "Greater Berlin Act". (from Wikipedia)
Now curiously the people from this area all spoke LOW GERMAN.  This language is pretty much extinct except for the Germans from this area and those who migrated to Russia and then to other areas in the world and expecially included German Mennonites.

Low German or Low Saxon(Plattdüütsch, Nedderdüütsch;Standard German: Plattdeutsch orNiederdeutsch; Dutch: Nedersaksischin the wider sense, see Nomenclaturebelow) is an Ingvaeonic[8] West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is descended from Old Saxon in its earliest form.
The historical Sprachraum of Low German also included contemporary northern Poland, the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia, and a part of southern Lithuania. German speakers in this area were forcibly expelled after the post-World War II border changes. The former German communities in the Baltic states also spoke Low German. Moreover, Middle Low German was thelingua franca of the Hanseatic League, and it had a significant influence on theScandinavian languages.
Dialects of Low German are widely spoken in the northeastern area of the Netherlands (Dutch Low Saxon) and are written there with an orthography based on Standard Dutch orthography.
Variants of Low German were widely (and are still to a far lesser extent) spoken in most parts ofNorthern Germany, for instance in the states ofLower SaxonyNorth Rhine-WestphaliaHamburg,BremenSchleswig-HolsteinMecklenburg-VorpommernSaxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg. Small portions of northern Hesse and northernThuringia are traditionally Low Saxon-speaking too. Historically, Low German was also spoken in formerly German parts of Poland as well as in East Prussia and the Baltic States of Estoniaand Latvia. The language was also formerly spoken in the outer areas of what is now the city-state of Berlin, but in the course of urbanisation and national centralisation in that city, the language has vanished. (The Berlin dialect itself is a northern outpost of High Germanand typologically a Missingsch variety,[citation needed] although rarely recognized as the latter.[citation needed]) Under the name Low Saxon, there are speakers in the Dutch north-eastern provinces of GroningenDrentheStellingwerven (part of Friesland), Overijssel andGelderland, in several dialect groups per province.
Today, there are still speakers outside of Germany and the Netherlands to be found in the coastal areas of present Poland (minority of ethnic German Pommersch speakers who were not expelled from Pomerania, as well as the regions around Braniewo).[citation needed] In the Southern Jutland region of Denmark there may still be some Low German speakers in some German minority communities, but the Low German and North Frisian dialects ofDenmark can be considered moribund at this time.[citation needed]

Low German outside Europe and the Mennonites[edit]

Main article: Plautdietsch

There are also immigrant communities where Low German is spoken in the western hemisphere, including Canada, the United 
StatesMexico,BelizeVenezuelaBoliviaArgentinaBrazil,Paraguay and Uruguay. In some of these countries, the language is part of the Mennonite religion and culture.[10] There are Mennonite communities inOntarioSaskatchewanAlbertaBritish Columbia,Manitoba, and Minnesota which use Low German in their religious services and communities. These Mennonites are descended from primarily Dutch settlers that had initially settled in the Vistula Deltaregion of Prussia in the 16th and 17th centuries before moving to newly acquired Russian territories in Ukraine in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and then to the Americas in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The type of Low German spoken in these communities and in the Midwest region of the United Stateshas diverged since emigration. The survival of the language is tenuous in many places and has died out in many places where assimilation has occurred. Members and friends of the Historical Society of North German Settlements in Western New York (Bergholz, NY), a community of Lutherans who trace their immigration from Pommerania in the 1840s, hold quarterly "Plattdeutsch lunch" events, where remnant speakers of the language gather to share and preserve the dialect. Mennonite colonies in ParaguayBelize, and Chihuahua,Mexico have made Low German a "co-official language" of the community.
Pommersch is also spoken in parts of Southern and Southeastern Brazil, in the latter especially in the state of Espírito Santo, being official in five municipalities, and spoken among its ethnically European migrants elsewhere, primarily in the states of Rio de Janeiroand Rondônia. Pommersch-speaking regions of Southern Brazil are often assimilated into the general German Brazilian population and culture, for example celebrating theOktoberfest, and there can even be a language shift from it to Riograndenser Hunsrückisch in some areas. In Espírito Santo, nevertheless, Pomeranian Brazilians are more often proud of their language, and particular religious traditions and culture,[11] and not rarely inheriting the nationalism of their ancestors, being more likely to accept marriages of its members with Brazilians of origins other than a Germanic Central European one than to assimilate with Brazilians of SwissAustrianCzech, and non-Pommersch-speaking German and Prussian heritage – that were much more numerous immigrants to both Brazilian regions (and whose language almost faded out in the latter, due to assimilation and internal migration), by themselves less numerous than the Italianones (with only Venetian communities in areas of highly Venetian presence conserving Talian, and other Italian languages and dialects fading out elsewhere).
I believe this picture if of August and August Gesch and their 6 children.
I don't know who the one man is holding the child, another mystery to solve.
Alternately this could be a picture of Gustav (August F Jr's brother) and the elder
man could be the senior August F. GESCH

IT DOES APPEAR that this August Frederich GESCH who was baptized in this area is indeed the same August Frederich GESCH who is the father of my Grandfather August Frederich GESCH.  His father appears to be Joachim Friedrich GESCH and his mother is
 Wilhelmine Bohn.  We will hold this information in reserve until we can get a Death Certificate for the elder August F GESCH and can make confirmations.  If this is indeed him we also can get information on his brothers and sisters from these Parish records also.

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