Sunday, November 09, 2008

Halle Revisited

Dear Ms. Keller,

Thanks so much for your reply to my inquiry. The Personnenregister database indicates there were several doctors of theology named Olearius associated with the formation of the Franckesche Stiftungen. Johann Georg Lubach lived to be eighty years old and could have known all of them. I am curious to know which one of them he might have eulogized.

There are several people named Lubach listed in the school's student and faculty database. Godofr(oy) Lubach from Wriezen was born in 1713 when Johann Georg was 41 years old. His father's occupation is listed as unknown.

Daniel Andreas Lubach was born in 1741. Gottfried Lubach was born in 1744. Both were born in Gartz an der Oder and are listed as Waisen and sons of a Cantor, a position apparently held at one time by Johann Georg Lubach, who was about 70 years old when Daniel and Gottfried were born. Place of birth and father's occupation suggest that they could have been brothers. Another Lubach, Gotthilf, is listed in another database, matriculating around 1796. He was probably born about 1780 when Daniel Andreas and Gottfried were not quite forty years old. This suggests to me the possibility of four generations of one family associated with the Orphan School at Halle.

Records indicate that my ancestor, Wilhelm Lubach, was born in 1827, although it's not clear yet where exactly he was born. He and his wife, Marie (Ebert) Lubach registered to emigrate to America in 1856 in a village called Wrechow east of the Oder. They were married on June 6, 1852 by a Reverend Melitz in nearby Zehden. The birthplace of their first son, Carl, appears on the Hamburg shipping manifest to have been a village called Carlshoff, less than five miles east of Wriezen. Both Wrechow and Wriezen are listed as Heimatort for a number of Waiseschule students.

My ancestor and his wife settled in Wisconsin with his wife's parents, two brothers, two sisters, a brother-in-law, a niece and a nephew. Marie's parents and her siblings emigrated in 1855. Wilhelm and Marie followed a year later, delaying their departure until after the birth of my great grandfather. Wilhelm died serving the Union army in 1865 during the American Civil War. Marie remarried two years later in 1867 at a church that was planned but not actually built until 1871. That church is still standing and in use. It was registered as a national landmark in 1987.

Wilhelm Lubach's grandson was ordained as a minister in 1916. He died in 1932 at the age of forty-eight when my father was five years old. Two of my grandfather's sisters, Emma and Louise, were schoolteachers in Wisconsin. A third sister, Elsie, taught school for a number of years in Alaska, long before it achieved statehood, and she later taught in California. It's not clear to me what if any training they ever received as teachers. Teaching seems to have been something innate with them; they simply understood how it was done as part of growing up on a family farm.

Both of my father's sisters married ministers and one of them also taught school for many years. My father holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, a field that for him represented a viable alternative end to an orthodox upbringing. He retired about fifteen years ago after a career that included government sponsored research, two decades pioneering the concept of community mental health, a stint as a college professor and more than a decade in private practice.

I've recently translated three Civil War poems written in German by the officer who organized and commanded the regiment in which my great great grandfather served during the war. Publishing poems-in-translation often requires a short statement regarding the translator's background. I'd like to make sure that I'm really qualified to translate poems about things that happened long before I was born.

Am I correct in assuming, from what I have seen in the online database, that Johann Georg Lubach may have been one of the original orphan school orphans? How much is known at this point about how the school functioned in those early days? Would it have been unusual for several generations of a family to attend the school? On what basis were prospective students selected from the many far flung towns and villages within the purview of the institution's outreach efforts? Was it seen as odd for children in Brandenburg to go away to Saxony Anhalt to attend school? How did this schooling differ from what they might have received otherwise? I guess those are the questions that come to mind for me.

When I first visited Germany seven years ago in November of 2002, I knew nothing of my father's family history beyond the fact that my grandfather had been a minister in Wisconsin who wrote sermons in both German and English and that his father was a farmer who had arrived in Wisconsin from Germany as a small child. I wasn't told until about two years ago that my great grandfather died in an industrial accident at a sawmill and that my grandfather had inherited his father's job at the sawmill when he was fourteen years old. He apparently finished high school after he had enrolled at the seminary. I learned that my great great grandfather died in the Civil War from bits and pieces of data I was able to glean from the internet during the past five years.

I think my great great grandfather was a blood relative of the Lubach family that attended and/or taught school at Halle in the 18th century, but I don't yet have conclusive proof for that assertion. The period from 1800 to 1830 was an era marked by playing host to Napoleon and his followers. The established order of things in that region underwent significant turmoil as a result. When the dust finally settled my ancestors were on a ship sailing from Hamburg to New York.

Earlier this year I visited the churchyard cemetery near Milwaukee where my great great grandmother is buried along with her second husband and her parents. Construction of the church was completed the year that her father died. My guess is that a few of the people who worship in that church today may know more than they are telling about who he was and that one of the secrets he took with him to his grave was the relation of his oldest daughter's first husband to a long and distinguished line of educators who devoted some small portion of their lives to an august institution, still standing and very much in use at the University of Halle.

Best Regards,

Craig Lubach,

----- Original Message -----
From: C.Keller
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 5:45 PM
Subject: WG: Lubach

Sehr geehrter Herr Lubach,

leider sind über Johann Georg Lubach keine weiteren Informationen in unserem Archiv zu finden. In unserem Bestand ist lediglich eine Handschrift von ihm vorhanden, in der er sich zu einer Predigt von einem Doktor Olearius äußert.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Carmela Keller


Franckesche Stiftungen

Studienzentrum August Hermann Francke

- Archiv -

Franckeplatz 1 / Haus 22-24

06110 Halle
Tel.: 0345 21 27 426


Sunday, November 02, 2008


It came to my attention a month or so ago that my webpage has been cited as a reference in a recent online revision of an older scholarly article in print called The Story of Union Forces In South Texas During the Civil War. The article was revised by Norman Rozeff of the Cameron County Historical Commission in Texas for their website. My URL for my webpage is listed in the references at the end of the article as the online location of a document cited by Rozeff as 'Fredrich Buker. Memoirs of a Union Soldier.'

I'm not ordinarily the nitpicky sort. The fact is that the rules and conventions for citing online work are still pretty much up for grabs. Writings that are only available online can't really claim to have actually been published in anything but a virtual sense. Vast amounts of 'published' materials consist of information assembled or compiled by individuals and donated to local historical or genealogical societies. Many such documents are one of only a handful of copies made for the benefit of the dozen or so people in the world who might one day want access to that particular information. Sometimes the material is invaluable to the people to whom it pertains, but the chances of its finding a wider audience are so infinitesimal that there is no percentage in investing in publishing costs that won't ever be recouped.

The internet makes it much easier to 'publish' such material. All that's required is one hard copy, access to a scanner, a computer and a server address where the document's URL can be accessed online by remote computers. Anyone with a blog could put the entire content of most local historical societies' libraries online at very little expense beyond the time it takes to scan in the pages. What that means is that scholars, particularly historians, now have to contend with an exponential growth in the availability of primary historical sources.

The item Norman Rozeff referenced to my web address is actually only a 'dead link', one that a reader can find if they take the trouble to read through my entire webpage, a page that was written more than five years ago when the link was still current. Rozeff is actually referencing my summary of a translated memoir of a German-immigrant Union soldier who was in South Texas at the end of the Civil War.

A current link to Buker's translated memoir can be found in the sidebar of this blog under the heading Friedrich Buker. At some point during the past five years, probably less than a year ago, the State of Wisconsin took enough interest in Buker's diary to host the document on their own server and spare Buker's descendants the cost of paying a server to host the document.

I'm not convinced, based upon Rozeff's excellent and highly detailed and documented article, that he's ever actually seen Buker's translated memoir, a primary historical source. My summary of Buker's memoir is a secondary source and it should have been cited as a secondary source under the title of my webpage, Pinnacled Dim In The Intense Inane, which can also be found on my left margin sidebar.

As a memoirist Buker rambles a bit and he tends to assume that readers of his rendering are already well acquainted with the newspaper accounts of his regiment's activities. That may have been true in his time. The State of Wisconsin, for the benefit of 21st century readers, recently began hosting the online edition of an unpublished book by Mark Knipping, A History of the 27th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment During the War of the Rebellion. Summarizing Buker's memoir would have been far easier for me and required much less close reading if Mr. Knipping's book had been published online five years ago.

Nonetheless, I am deeply grateful and feel highly complimented that Mr. Rozeff took the trouble to acknowledge my work, however obliquely, for the online revision of his print article.