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flag  History of Germany

Journey back in time to Germany

(German States) (German Empire)

Visit Germany. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

Do You Have Germany Roots? Share MY Ancestral Story!

 Germany - The Harz

In 1889, Gottlieb Daimler of Germany invents the automobile.

Fun fact: Wishing someone Happy Birthday before their birthday is considered bad luck in Germany. Germans celebrate sixteenth birthdays with flour thrown on their head. On the eighteenth birthday, the flour is replaced with eggs. If a German man reaches age 25 before being married, friends hang socks (sockencranz) outside the person's house as a symbol of his old age.

In Germany, a Christmas pickle ornament is the last ornament to be hung on the Christmas tree. It looks like a pickle and is usually made of glass. It is hidden in the tree. The first child to find it on Christmas day receives a special gift along with good luck for the following year.

As in many other European countries, on the eve of Dec. 6th children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, their shoe is filled with twigs. worldholidaytraditions.com



There is MUCH more to discover about Germany. Read on!

Germany Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

The Harz
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The Harz
Porcelain Pipes Brought from Westphalia, Germany to Genoa, Nevada in 1864 by August Dangberg
Germany

Douglas County Historical Society Courthouse Museum, Genoa, Nevada
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Porcelain Pipes Brought from Westphalia, Germany to Genoa, Nevada in 1864 by August Dangberg
German Moustache Cup, late 1800s
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Found at The Way It Was Museum, Virginia City, Nevada
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German Moustache Cup, late 1800s
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Discover Germany : History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
(1618-1648) Thirty Years' War (Germany)

www.worldatlas.com/ webimage/ countrys/ europe/ germany/ detimeln.htm
1701 - King of Prussia crowned

www.worldatlas.com/ webimage/ countrys/ europe/ germany/ detimeln.htm
1705 - January 8 - George Frideric Handel's 1st opera "Almira" premieres in Hamburg

www.onthisday.com
1717 - January 14 - German mob leader "Sjako" sentenced to death in Amsterdam

onthisday.com
(1740-42) The Silesian War (Germany)

www.worldatlas.com/ webimage/ countrys/ europe/ germany/ detimeln.htm
(1756-63) The Seven Years' War

www.worldatlas.com/ webimage/ countrys/ europe/ germany/ detimeln.htm
1817 - The bicycle is invented (Baron Karl de Drais de Sauerbrun, Germany)
"... The first known bicyclist was the Comte de Sivrac, who was seen riding a two-wheel 'wooden horse' in Paris in 1791, the Smithsonian reports. Among its many drawbacks was that it was impossible to steer.

On had to lift, drag or jump the front wheel to change direction.

Baron von Drais or Sauerbrun, chief forester to the Grand Duke of Baden, solved that problem in 1817 - and added a padded saddle, too. He took his design to Paris where it became known as the velocipede..."
Waukesha Daily Freeman
Waukesha, Wisconsin
May 26, 1977

Read more about Karl Friedrich Christian Ludwig Freiherr DRAIS VON SAUERBRONN photo of ancestor
1849 - April 2 – Revolutions of 1848 in the German states end in failure.

wikipedia.org
April 2, 1849
1857 - The Kiss as an Elevator
In a German tale, published some time since, is a description of 'The First Kiss' in the following sensation style -

'Am I really dear to you, Sophia?' I whispered, and pressed my burning lips to her rosy mouth. She did not say yes; she did not say no; but she returned my kiss, an the earth went from under my feet; my soul was no longer in the body; I touched the starts; I knew the happiness of the seraphim!'


Pittsfield Sun
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
June 4, 1857
"German Toast" - An 1858 Breakfast Treat!
Two eggs, one pint of milk, and flour enough to make a thick batter; cut wheat bread into very thin slices, and soak them in sweetened water; cover each side successively with the batter, and fry brown in lard. Eat while hot, with butter and white powdered or brown sugar.
Pittsfield Sun
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
January 21, 1858


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1867 - Why Do German Women Make Good Wives
The culinary art forms a part of the education of women in Germany. The well-to-do tradesman, like the mechanic, takes pride in seeing his daughters good housekeepers. - To effect this, the girl on leaving school, which she does when about fourteen years of age, goes through the ceremony of confirmation, and then is placed by her parents with a country gentleman, or in a large family where she remains one or two years, filling what may also be termed the post of a servant and doing the work of one. This is looked upon as an apprenticeship to domestic economy. She differs from a servant, however, in this: she receives no wages; on the contrary, her parents often pay for the car of her as well as her clothing. This is the first step in her education as a housekeeper. She next passes, on the same conditions, into the kitchen of a rich, private family, or into that of a hotel of good repute. There she has the control of the expenditures and of the servants employed in it, and assists... Read MORE...

1868 - It is said more books are now published in Germany than in any other country.

St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
April 18, 1868
(1870-71) Franco-Prussian War

www.worldatlas.com/ webimage/ countrys/ europe/ germany/ detimeln.htm
1870 - Twenty four thousand emigrants left Germany during the first four months of the present year.

St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
June 4, 1870
1871 - Treaty of Frankfurt ends Franco-Prussian War; German Empire recognized and France loses Alsace-Lorraine

1871 - Preserving the Flavor of Butter
The German Agriculturalist says that a great portion of the fine flavor of fresh butter is destroyed by the usual mode of washing and he recommends a thorough kneading for the removal of the buttermilk, and a subsequent pressing in a linen cloth. Butter thus prepared, according to our authority, is pre-eminent for its sweetness of taste and flavor, qualities which are retained a long time. To improve manufactured butter we are advised by the same authority to work it thoroughly with fresh cold milk, and then to wash it in clear water; and it is said that even old and rancid butter may be rendered palatable by washing it in water to which a few drops of a solution of chloride of lime have been added.

Pittsfield Sun
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
September 7, 1871
1886 - January 29 – Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline-driven automobile, the Benz Patent Motorwagen (built in 1885).

wikipedia.org
January 29, 1886
1888 - Frederick III was on the 12th formally proclaimed Emperor of Germany, and he issued a proclamation to the people in which he declared that the policy of the dead ruler should be continued.
A fortune of three hundred million marks in cash was left by the late Emperor William, of Germany.
St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
March 17, 1888
1888 - Fire on the 29th at Huenfield, Germany, destroyed two hundred houses and made fifteen hundred persons homeless and destitute.


St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
November 3, 1888
1889 - The automobile is invented (Gottlieb Daimler, Germany)
THE NEW MOVING POWER
DAIMLER'S WONDERFUL MOTOR AND ITS PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS.
The Various Vehicles That Can Be Seen Moved by It at Stuttgart - Daimler's Gas or Petroleum Motor - Combustible Air the Chief Ingredient - Its Portability - The Thorough Test That Has Been Made.

While in our age of steam and electricity nature's mysterious forces are made more and more subservient to the use of the general public; while railways have shortened distances wonderfully, as compared with the older methods of travel and transportation; it has still been the apparently unattainable desire of many to have the effect of these natural forces placed at the disposal of the individual in a manner than anyone might be independent of railroad or steamship transportation "en mass," using his own vehicle after his own liking, whether it be boat, carriage, wagon, bicycle or tricycle. The apparent impossibility of making so small a motor of sufficiently lasting power of effect, combined with minimum... Read MORE...


Read more about Gottlieb Wilhelm DAIMLER (DÄUMLER) photo of ancestor
1890 - December 25 - The German Government has concluded the arrangements as to the manner in which the future preparation and distribution of Prof. Koch's lymph is to be carried on.

Adams and North Adams, Massachusetts Directories, 1887, 1889-90, 1890-93
The Toronto Daily Mail
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
December 25, 1890
1891 - January 1 - Paying of old age pensions begins in Germany.

wikipedia.org
January 1, 1891
1895 - Germany / German Empire
Ger’many, or German Empire, an empire of Central Europe, comprising 26 states, in which the German race and lan guage prevail, between lat. 45° and 55° 30' N., lon.6° and 22° 50' E. It is bounded N. by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic, E. by Russia and Austria, W. by France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and S. by Austria and Switzerland. The German empire comprises the following states:

Prussia, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Saxony, Baden, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Hesse, Oldenburg, Brunswick, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Saxe-Meiningen-Hildburghausen, Auslt, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Altenburg, Waldeck, Lippe, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Reuss-Schleitz, Schanmburg-Lippe, Hamburg, Lubeck, Bremen, Alsace-Lorraine...
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
1895 - March 30 – Rudolf Diesel patents the Diesel engine in Germany.
DR. RUDOLF DIESEL,
Invented one of the most useful of engines—and died a bankrupt.

...Rudolf Diesel, one of the greatest inventors Germany has produced, fell or cast himself from the deck of a ship on which he was a passenger. He was a broken-hearted bankrupt, a genius without business sense. His engine, the most economical ever conceived by man is in use In every quarter of the globe. Next to Watt he will be ranked as the greatest human figure In the development of power for all the good he did in the industry, his reward was small indeed. Harassed by creditors, his soul tortured by his urgent needs, his life had been one of misery for years.
Morning Express
Buffalo, New York
1913
1897 - Aspirin is invented (Felix Hoffmann (Bayer), Germany)
Aspirin Discoverer Dies an Unknown Man

"CHICAGO (UPI) - In these days of deadlines and taxes and other headaches, offer a cheer for Felix Hoffmann, one of the world's great painkillers.

Hoffmann solved a problem and narrowed the odds in mankind's fight with misery He developed our most popular drug - acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin.

By whatever name, its annual worldwide production is in the millions of pounds, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. And despite recent price increases, it's still the world's cheapest drug.

Aspirin is not regarded as a cure for anything, but throughout the world, and especially America, the little pills are downed at an ever increasing rate to combat a vast assortment of pain, with headache and arthritis at the top of the list.

It was relieving the pain of the latter that brought Hoffmann the distinction not only of developing the drug but also of being the first person to give someone an aspirin tablet.

This happened when ... Read MORE...


Read more about Felix HOFFMANN photo of ancestor
1899 - March 6 – Felix Hoffmann patents aspirin and Bayer registers its name as a trademark.

wikipedia.org
March 6, 1899
1900 - Population of Germany - 56,367,178

1900 - July 2 - The first zeppelin flight is carried out over Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.
The first Zeppelin airship was designed by Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin, a retired German army officer, and made its initial flight from a floating hangar on Lake Constance, near Friedrichshafen, Germany, on July 2, 1900. Beneath the 128-metre (420-foot) craft a keel-like structure connected two external cars, each of which contained a 16-horsepower engine geared to two propellers. A sliding weight secured to the keel afforded vertical control by raising or lowering the nose, while rudders were provided for horizontal control. The craft attained speeds approaching 32 km (20 miles) per hour.
britannica.com
July 2, 1900
1910 - Germany Enjoys a "Fat" Christmas
Year of Immense Prosperity Ending, and People are Spending Lavishly.

BUT WEATHER IS ABNORMAL

April-Like Drizzle in Berlin and Hardly a Flake of Snow in All the Empire - Bad for Hotels.
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
BERLIN, Dec. 24. - Germany is celebrating a "fat" Christmas. The Fatherland has rounded out another year of very great prosperity, and the Yuletide is characterized by corresponding generosity and good cheer.

The Christmas shopping has taken place on an extraordinarily lavish scale. The great stores in the Leipzigerstrasse and Unter-den-Linden have been overrun for a fortnight with throngs of men, women, and children with well-filled purses. It has been necessary for the police to intervene on numerous occasions to regulate the traffic int he streets and on the sidewalks. Every once in a while the big department stores had to be closed to the public in order to avoid dangerous overcrowding. Merchants with depleted shelves and salespeople with weary legs... Read MORE...

1913 - Christmas in Germany
Cakes weighing from one to twelve pounds are made in Friedrichstadt. They place them in exalted position and play to them, representing, as they say they do, St. Nicholas. Of rye bread they make a boar or hog, six or seven inches high, with gilt snout and tail, with gold rings around its knees. The business men put good they have exhibited for sale on a revolving disk and raffle them off.

Klingeest (King of Jesus or Child Jesus) presides over all Christmas celebrations in Schlewsig-Holstein. He is supposed to bring presents to the children, and sometimes punishes the naughty ones.

On Christmas day in Ditmarsh the cattle get an extra allowance of fodder. The cats and dogs, too, get better meals. At times the cattle are admitted to the higher joys to the extent that a candle is placed above the trough from which they feed, just as each member of the family has his own candle, made by himself. Those candles must be heavy and big, for the one that goes out first will die... Read MORE...


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1914 - August 1 - World War I begins: Germany declares war on Russia and France and invades Belgium
August 1, 1914 - Germany declares war on Russia. France and Belgium begin full mobilization.

August 3, 1914 - Germany declares war on France, and invades neutral Belgium. Britain then sends an ultimatum, rejected by the Germans, to withdraw from Belgium.

August 4, 1914 - Great Britain declares war on Germany. The declaration is binding on all Dominions within the British Empire including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa.

August 4, 1914 - The United States declares its neutrality.

August 4-16, 1914 - The Siege of Liege occurs as Germans attack the Belgian fortress city but meet resistance from Belgian troops inside the Liege Forts. The twelve forts surrounding the city are then bombarded into submission by German and Austrian howitzers using high explosive shells. Remaining Belgian troops then retreat northward toward Antwerp as the German westward advance continues.

www.historyplace.com/ worldhistory/ firstworldwar
August 1, 1914
1919 - June 28 - The Treaty of Versailles is signed, blaming Germany for World War I and creating a League of Nations
World War I (1914-1918) was finally over. This first global conflict had claimed from 9 million to 13 million lives and caused unprecedented damage. Germany had formally surrendered on November 11, 1918, and all nations had agreed to stop fighting while the terms of peace were negotiated. On June 28, 1919, Germany and the Allied Nations (including Britain, France, Italy and Russia) signed the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war. The United States did not sign the treaty, however, because it objected to its terms, specifically, the high price that Germany was to pay for its role as aggressor. Instead, the U.S. negotiated its own settlement with Germany in 1921.
www.americaslibrary.gov
June 28, 1919


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1926 - Germany is admitted to the League of Nations

1934 - Adolph Hitler succeeds Hindenburg as leader of Germany

1935 - Nuremburg Racial Laws limiting Jewish rights announced at Nazi Party Rally (Germany)

1937 - Hindenburg disaster
The Hindenburg disaster took place on Thursday, May 6, 1937, as the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst, New Jersey, United States. Of the 97 people on board (36 passengers and 61 crewmen), there were 35 fatalities (13 passengers and 22 crewmen). One worker on the ground was also killed, making a total of 36 dead.
1939 - September 1 - World War II begins: Germany invades Poland

September 1, 1939
1961 - East Germany begins construction of the Berlin Wall

1989 - In response to massive protests, the East German government allows East Berliners to cross into West Berlin. The dismantling of the Berlin Wall begins shortly after.

1990 - German reunification officially completed according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany

2023 - Whether you're into history, nature, or just want to enjoy some delicious food, Germany has something for everyone. Here's a list of places to go and things to do:
1. Explore Berlin: Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany, and it's full of history and culture. Visit the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and the Reichstag building. Don't forget to explore the vibrant neighborhoods like Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg.

2. Visit Munich: Munich is known for its beer gardens, historic architecture, and vibrant arts scene. Make sure to visit the Marienplatz, Nymphenburg Palace, and the world-famous Oktoberfest if you're there in September or October.

3. Discover Neuschwanstein Castle: This fairy-tale castle in Bavaria inspired Walt Disney and is one of the most picturesque castles in the world. It's a must-see for any traveler.

4. Take a Rhine River Cruise: The Rhine River offers stunning views of picturesque villages, vineyards, and historic castles. You can take a cruise or drive along the scenic Rhine Valley.

5. Explore the Black Forest: The Black Forest is a region known for its dense forests,... Read MORE...

German Surnames
There are about 1,000,000 different family names in German. German family names most often derive from given names, geographical names, occupational designations, bodily attributes or even traits of character. Hyphenations notwithstanding, they mostly consist of a single word; in those rare cases where the family name is linked to the given names by particles such as von or zu, they usually indicate noble ancestry. Not all noble families used these names (see Riedesel), while some farm families, particularly in Westphalia, used the particle von or zu followed by their farm or former farm's name as a family name (see Meyer zu Erpen).

Family names in German-speaking countries are usually positioned last, after all given names. There are exceptions, however: in parts of Austria and Bavaria and the Alemannic-speaking areas, the family name is regularly put in front of the first given name. Also in many – especially rural – parts of Germany, to emphasize family affiliation there is... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Germany Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Germany

We currently have information about 980 ancestors who were born or died in Germany .

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Ancestors Who Were Married in Germany

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Our Germany Gift Ideas


Buy it NOW!Frohe Weihnachten für Dich und Deine ganze Familie! - Ceramic Mug 11oz

Introducing our festive 11-ounce ceramic coffee mug, the perfect companion for your cozy holiday mornings. Embrace the spirit of the season with our special edition mug featuring the heartwarming caption, "Frohe Weihnachten für Dich und Deine ganze Familie!" which translates to "Merry Christmas to you and your entire family!"   Pinterest   

Buy it NOW!Frohe Weihnachten für Dich und Deine ganze Familie! - Ceramic Mug 11oz

Introducing our festive 11-ounce ceramic coffee mug, the perfect companion for your cozy holiday mornings. Embrace the spirit of the season with our special edition mug featuring the heartwarming caption, "Frohe Weihnachten für Dich und Deine ganze Familie!" which translates to "Merry Christmas to you and your entire family!"   Pinterest   

Buy it NOW!GERMANY - German Heritage Deutschland Delights - 11oz Ceramic Genealogy Mug

"My ancestors came from Germany. That explains a lot about my love for beer, sausages, and cuckoo clocks!"   Pinterest   
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Updated: 6/6/2024 4:46:28 PM