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Old 10-16-2017, 11:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
How does your family identify themselves? Sounds like Slovak to me.

Put it this way. Does someone whose family came from Ireland identify as British since the British colonized Ireland all those years? How about Scottish?
That's a really good way of looking at it.

Of course, in Ireland, there WERE people who thought of themselves as British before the Irish Republic was formed in 1916, so you do have to be careful about jumping to conclusions.

Researching the history of the countries and areas where your ancestors lived (or might have lived) is really the key to sorting it all out, I think.

In fact, it's not a bad idea to BEGIN your family history research that way: research the history of the country, city, area, and even the U.S. state where you know (or think) your family might have lived.

If I had done that first for my father's family, I could have shaved 10 years off of the time I spent looking for information for that branch of the family.

Also, I have since gone back and done this sort of research on the history of the areas where other branches of our family lived and it was very, very helpful. I have stumbled across information about their lives from doing this broader research that I would never have found if all I'd done was looking for their names on Ancestry and census records.

Last edited by RosieSD; 10-16-2017 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Towns and cities becoming part of other countries in Europe doesn’t just apply to the Austrian Empire.

My maternal grandfather’s line left Germany for Russian-controlled Poland in the 1830’s. Then they moved to Russian-controlled Volhynia in 1859. In 1892 they moved to Canada.

My grandfather was born in Volhynia. In the 1911 census, his place of birth was listed as Russia. By 1921, Volhynia was Polish so he listed his place of birth as Poland. After WWII, Volhynia was split between Poland and the Ukraine (just like Galicia had been). If he had been alive in 1951, he would have listed his place of birth as the Ukraine.

~~~~~~

Oh, and if you can trace your German-speaking ancestors to the province of Burgenland in Austria, don’t search Austrian records prior to 1922. You need to search Hungarian records for the province of Vas instead.

The village in Burgenland where my father was born was founded in the 1600s and the residents at that time were half Croatian/half German. My grandparents spoke German but I recently discovered that my surname is Croatian in origin. I was surprised.

~~~~~~

I should also mention that I use the word Germany loosely. Germany only came into existence as a country in 1870. So when I talk about Germany pre-1870, I am talking about areas that are part of Germany today.

Last edited by cdnirene; 10-16-2017 at 01:28 PM..
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
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I agree with the other posters. My wife's family is Greek by self-identity and language, but their official immigration documents say "Turkey" because the island they were from was part of the Ottoman Empire until after WWI (and not a part of Greece until after WWII.)

In the general sense, Eastern Europe in the first part of the 20th century was a very diverse place. It would not have been unusual for the townspeople to be Germans, the rural peasants to be Slavs, and the landowners to be Hungarian, or many other such combinations depending on the area. Population exchanges after the World Wars pretty much put an end to this era and created the mostly uniform nation-states that exist today.
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:28 PM
 
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I have an ancestor who was born in Alsace, and his birthplace was listed as France or Germany depending on which country ruled Alsace at the time of the census. In fact in one year, the census person wrote one country and then crossed it out and wrote in the other one to reflect recent history.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:47 PM
 
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Like Rosie, my family is German and the town where my grandfather was from is now in Russia. A Teeny tiny part of Russia next to Poland. And my DNA search from Ancestry also says that I have 25% of my DNA from that area which they call East Europe but when my grandfather and his family were there that was part of the German Empire. They identified as German and I identified as German until I got that DNA report and then I started self identifying as English, which makes me happier. It explains a lot.
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Old 10-16-2017, 07:22 PM
 
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With just about every war Austria became smaller and smaller... at one time it had a navy and sea ports... now landlocked.

There are still areas of Northern Italy that consider themselves Austrian and German is taught in the public schools but the region belongs to Italy
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:47 PM
 
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This is a great free site to search your ancestor's names in old Eastern European city directories.
Genealogy Indexer - Searchable Directories
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daliowa View Post
This is a great free site to search your ancestor's names in old Eastern European city directories.
Genealogy Indexer - Searchable Directories
Great site. I think I may have just found a lead on my grandmother's "lost" brother. Thanks for sharing this, daliowa.
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Old 10-17-2017, 02:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozarknation View Post
You should read more about the House of Habsburg.
At one point, and under the House of Habsburg, Spain ruled Europe, including Austria, Holland and Italy.
Exactly
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Ozark Mountains
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maepelone View Post
Exactly
That's why most European Monarchies are blood related. Because the House of Habsburg ruled most of Europe. The Austrian Habsburg are blood related to the Spanish Habsburg. The British Monarchs are blood related to the Spanish Monarchs as well. Queen Elizabeth is a cousin of King Juan Carlos. And Prince Phillip is a cousin of the Spanish Queen. Prince Phillip of GREECE and Queen Sophia of GREECE. (same families)
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