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Germanic History - A Brief Look

"A number of different tribes formed the German race more than a thousand years ago - the Franks, Bavarians, Saxons, and Swabians..."1, and Germanic tribes from the Nordic Bronze Age or Pre Roman Iron Age2.

It didn't happen overnight. It took many centuries of social and political alliances to form what is today the country known as Germany. The word "Deutsch" was first used in the eighth century, but even then it referred only to a group of people in eastern Franconia - in what is now northern Bavaria3. The Franconian empire was ruled under Charlemagne, the western part becoming modern-day France, and the eastern part becoming modern-day Germany4. The phrase "German Nation" wasn't used until the 15th century, and it was during the period of the 10th to the 15th centuries when German tribes overran most of the original Roman Empire5. Germany was first united in 18716, but the first census was taken in Wurttemberg in 1821, and in Baden in 1852.

Baden-Wurttemberg was originally two separate regions: Baden (previously called Baden-Baden and which goes back to the 12th century), and Wurttemberg (first recorded in the eleventh century). They merged as recently as 19527. The point being that though we often say our ancestors came from the Baden-Wurttemberg area of Germany, the two principalities were still separate back then. It should also be noted that according to John Mahey, longtime genealogist and the one who influenced me greatly on the importance of documentation, the earliest record of any Klugh (then Kluge, and whose descendants came to and setteled in the Lancaster, Pa region) was Peter Kluge (with an "e")8. John was really big on documentation and was forever challenging anyone who stated this-or-that without providing documentation to prove it. John's records point out that the ancestors of the Lancaster Klughs (Kluge) came, not from the Baden-Wurttemberg state of Germany, but from Pegau, Saxony9 (see map below). How the Baden-Wurttemberg idea came about I honestly don't know. I think a little more research needs to be done in that area.

German states

1. In Search of Your German Roots - A Complete Guide to Tracing Your Ancestors in The Germanic Areas of Europe, p10.
2. Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany.
3. In Search of Your German Roots - A Complete Guide to Tracing Your Ancestors in The Germanic Areas of Europe, p11.
4. Ibid
5. Ibid
6. Ibid, p16
7. History of Baden-Wurttemberg - http://www.genealogienetz.de/reg/BAD-WUE/hist.html.
8. Descendants of Peter Kluge - by John A. Mahey - September 2000, p1.
9. Ibid

(c) July 4, 2011: (All rights reserved)