How to Research Your German Ancestor
GTHS Sunday Speaker Series
Liz Hicks -“How to Research Your German Ancestor” with focus on Texas Germans and helpful websites.
Elizabeth “Liz” Nitschke Hicks is a 4th generation Texans descending
from German immigrants of Travis and Austin Counties. Her great grandfather was a Cabinet Maker, Trustee of the German Free School, and Austin City Sexton.
Liz has been the genealogist for the GTHS for over 15 years. She contributes
a genealogy section to the society’s quarterly.
Liz originated the “Angel” Program for Clayton Library, Center for Genealogical Research, Houston in 1999, and serves as manager of that program. Liz assists patrons with their research when serving as a volunteer on Clayton’s microprint desk once a month. Liz is a member of the Texas State Genealogical Society, Clayton Library Friends, and other genealogical organizations.
Sunday, May 19th, at 3pm
The German Free School Building
507 E. 10th St, Austin, TX 78701
Parking available on 10th street or limited on GTHS parking lot – accessible through Neches Street.
Refreshments will be served.
In her three exciting historic novels, Barbara Ortwein tells the story of the Engelbach family from Hesse and their many compatriots who emigrate from Germany to Texas:
Starting in 1844 with the difficult journey through a divided Germany, whose impoverished population lacks individual and political freedom, and finally reaching the wilderness of South Texas on the other side of the world .
(BETWEEN WORLDS, NEVER TO RETURN)
Continuing with their difficult struggle for survival in the Texas Hill Country from 1847 to 1861, and threatened by their failure to find acceptance during the Civil War years from 1861 to 1865 . . .
(DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS BUT NOT YET AT HOME)
Facing new challenges after the war during the lawless times of the Wild West from 1865 to 1898 and finally achieving social and economic success in a tamed Texas at the end of the century.
(AT JOURNEY’S END: TEXANS FOREVER!)
Having done extensive research in Germany, Texas, and the former Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma), Barbara Ortwein has her fictional main characters from the Engelbach family interact with historic persons including a large number of actual immigrants involved in the history of the German settlements in Texas. These historic novels can really claim to be historic!
All three books are also available in German:1. ZWISCHEN DEN WELTEN UND NIE MEHR ZURÜCK (ISBN 978-3-95632-113-9) · 2. MITTEN IN TEXAS UND DOCH NICHT AM ZIEL (ISBN 978-3-95632-271-6) 3. AM ENDE DES WEGES: TEXANER FÜR IMMER! (ISBN 978-3-95632-590-8).
GTHS Sunday Speaker Series – Preserving German Texan Identity: Reminiscences of William A. Trenckmann
Walter D. Kamphoefner, a fifth-generation Missouri German, has been teaching immigration history at Texas A&M University since 1988, when he also joined GTHS. His latest book, co-edited with Texas German Walter Buenger, is Preserving German Texan Identity: Reminiscences of William A. Trenckmann, 1859–1935 (Texas A&M University Press, 2018). Valedictorian of the first graduating class of Texas A&M, Trenckmann after a decade of schoolteaching, established a weekly newspaper, Das (Bellville) Wochenblatt, which he published for four decades, moving it to Austin so that his daughters could attend the university.
Kamphoefner will introduce the book and read some excerpts from the memoir, by one of the most influential Texas Germans of his era. The GTHS library is named in honor of his son William Trenckmann, a major benefactor of the society, who with his sisters translated the memoir, originally serialized in German in Das Wochenblatt.
Sunday, February 24th, at 3pm
The German Free School Building
Ute Carson – Reflections
A writer from youth and an M.A. graduate in comparative literature from the University of Rochester, German-born Ute Carson published her first prose piece in 1977. Colt Tailing, a 2004 novel, was a finalist for the Peter Taylor Book Award. Carson’s story “The Fall” won Outrider Press’s Grand Prize and appeared in its short story and poetry anthology A Walk Through My Garden, 2007. Her second novel In Transit was published in 2008. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines in the US and abroad. Carson’s poetry was featured on the televised Spoken Word Showcase 2009, 2010 and 2011, Channel Austin, Texas. A poetry collection, Just a Few Feathers was published in 2011. The poem “A Tangled Nest of Moments” placed second in the Eleventh International Poetry Competition 2012. Her chapbook Folding Washing was published in 2013 and her collection of poems My Gift to Life was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Award Prize. Save the Last Kiss, a novella, was published in 2016. Her new poetry collection Reflections was out in 2018.
Ute Carson resides in Austin, Texas with her husband. They have three daughters, six grandchildren, a horse and a clowder of cats. www.utecarson.com
Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 3pm
The German Free School Building
Deb Fleming about Texas Dance Halls
Texas dance halls are as diverse and vast as Texas itself. The photos in this exhibit illustrate this and serve as a reminder of what we have and what we are at risk of losing without preservation efforts of this precious resource, which is also a reminder of our collective history as Texans.
A presentation will be given covering Texas dance halls with German influences. A photo exhibit will be in place at GTHS for the month of October highlighting German Texan dance halls.
Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 3pm
June 2018 Speaker Series
Suzann Thompson will talk about “What to do with Oma’s Doillies”. There will be an exhibition at the German Free Schoo all through the month of May!
In 1995, Teresa Schwausch-Chavez and I co-curated an exhibit at the German Free School called Oma’s Attic, which included knitting, crochet, and needlework from members and their families. The display was well-received, because so many members have a family history of needlework. I think Celebrate Doilies will have a similar reception. Let me tell you more about it.
The exhibit has two parts. First, it has stories from people in my area of Texas and beyond, about their family crochet. These stories are presented on posters, with photos of the crochet. I have several stories from German-Texan families.
The other part of the exhibit is doily-inspired textile art by me, also a German-Texan, with some accompanying poems from Sandi Horton of Waco. Included will be a wall hanging called “Winterling,” after the chinaware factory in Schwarzenbach an der Saale, where my Groβoma worked. You can see more of my artwork at www.textilefusion.com/
Barbara Ortwein, a historical fiction writer has three novels about the German migration to Texas and other areas of the US. Her presentations feature sing-a-longs with the audience.
In her three exciting historic novels, Barbara Ortwein tells the story of the Engelbach family from Hessen and their many compatriots who emigrate from Germany to Texas:
Starting in 1844 with the difficult journey through a divided Germany, whose impoverished population lacks individual and political freedom, and finally reaching the wilderness of South Texas on the other side of the world…. (Between Worlds, never to return)
Continuing with their difficult struggle for survival in the Texas Hill Country from 1847 to 1861, and threatened by their failure to find acceptance during the Civil War years from 1861 to 1865… (Deep in the heart of Texas but not yet at home)
Facing new challenges after the war during the lawless times of the Wild West from 1865 to 1898 and finally achieving social and economic success in a tamed Texas at the end of the century. (At Journey’s end: Texans Forever!)
Having done extensive research in Germany, Texas and the former Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma), Barbara Ortwein has her fictional main characters from the Engelbach family interact with historic persons including a large number of actual immigrants involved in the history of the German settlements in Texas. The historic novels can rally claim to be historic!
All three books are also available in German.
James Woodrick “The Millheim and Cat Springs Pioneers”: German Immigrants Building a New Life in Texas.
This book is a continuation of an effort that began in 2015 by a handful of individuals with an interest in the history of the German settlements at Cat Spring and Millheim in Austin County, Texas. Three of the early literary works by Millheim settlers have been republished — Experiences and Observations and A History of Austin County by William Andreas Trenckmann, and A Boy’s Civil War Story by Charles Nagel. Obscure books, newspaper and periodical articles, literary novels and plays written about the area by former residents a century or so ago have been identified. An inventory of all such documents and their current status as to public availability has been developed. This book presents a brief history of the extended Cat Spring—Millheim community in western Austin County, along with reproductions of several articles written by early area pioneers such as Robert Kleberg, Rosa von Roeder Kleberg, Caroline Ernst von Hineuber, Adalbert Regenbrecht and Ottilie Fuchs Goeth. We provide brief biographies of many of the early settlers including Elemenech Swearingen, Ludwig von Roeder, Robert Kleberg, Carl Amsler, Friedrich Engelking, Andreas Trenckmann, Robert Kloss, Gustav Maetze, Dr. Herman Nagel, Adalbert Regenbrecht, Rev. Arnost Bergmann and Louis Constant. Also summarized are the significant literary works created by early settlers in the area, including William Andreas Trenckmann, Charles Nagel, Johannes Christlieb Nathanael Romberg and Adolph Fuchs. Several of these long out-of-print works are reproduced herein. Sunday, March 25th, 2018 at 3pm
The Austin Dam Disaster of 1900
The Austin Dam Disaster of 1900 recreates the era of Gay Nineties Austin, then as now – a city on the rise and on the make. In 1891, at the behest of ambitious city fathers, the little city of just 15,000 people gambled its future on a project of breathtaking size – a massive hydroelectric dam across the Colorado River. This book follows the epic construction project and the brief golden era of the pleasure of resort at Lake McDonald. Though troubled and controversial from the get-go, the dam embodied all of Austin’s dreams. Then, on Friday, April 6, 1900, it began to rain…
About the Author
Author Elizabeth H. Clare is a lifelong Austinite, a freelance writer, she has authored numerous works on Texas history, including organizational histories of pioneering Texas businesses, state parks, the Texas prison system, and the Texas Highway Department. Under the pen name Frances Hunter, she is the coauthor of two award-winning historical novels about Lewis and Clark. The rare photographs displayed in this book are from the archives of the Austin History Center as well as the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Texas State Library and Archives, and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.
Sunday, February 25th, 2018 at 3pm
WHAT IS FORGIVEN
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Want to get a head start? Read up and click on the link below:
Sunday, January 28th, 2018 at 3pm
The September 2017 Speaker Series was about the Captured by Scott Zesch
The July 2017 GTHS annual conference was kicked off by April Garner of the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Heritage Tourism Program. Garner shared exciting news about the Texas Historical Commission’s new travel guide across the state with a large emphasis on Germans in Texas. Garner has a Bachelor of Arts in Art from St. Edward’s University in Austin and a Master’s degree in Art Education with a museum education concentration from the University of Texas in Austin.
As the State Coordinator of the Texas Heritage Tourism Program, Garner leads a team in developing statewide thematic mobile app tours and travel guides, and assists communities with new tourism product development. Garner also serves as primary liaison with other organizations and agencies involved with heritage tourism such as the National Parks Service, develops methods of increasing the heritage tourism potential of existing THC programs such as the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program, Texas Main Street and the Historic Highways programs. You will enjoy being among the first to hear about the September launch of this new travel App!
GTHS is invited to the Ascension Lutheran Church’s Parish Life Center located at 6420 Hart Ln, Austin, TX 78731, for a Power Point Presentation and Lecture by Johannes von Sachsen-Altenburg of Hannover, Germany. History Researcher, Writer and Academician visiting in Texas.
1517: Power, Popes and Politics – Why did it happen?
The Reformation in a historical context
The lecture will not be anti-Catholic nor pro-Protestant
- April’s speaker was Jan Jarboe Russell, Author of The Train To Crystal City.
- Our March speaker Dr. Hans Mark about the Berlin Blockade and the Airlift.
Though this is a free event, donations to GTHS are greatly appreciated. Thank you.