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Wewelsfleth, Holstein, Germany
A Family Heritage

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North Sea



n the Stör River, just upriver from its confluence with the Elbe River, lies Wewelsfleth. Founded about 1238 A.D., this town in southwest Holstein is located northwest of Hamburg and Glückstadt, not far from the North Sea. Wewelsfleth takes its name in part from "fleth," a natural watercourse of the marshes. The marshlands of this lower Elbe River region have been reclaimed for farmland with dikes and ditches.

People from Wewelsfleth, Holstein, Germany, emigrated to America, including to New Holsein, Wisconsin. Here are resources on the history, environment, culture and industry of Wewelsfleth and its area. To translate Web pages in German, use free Babel Fish Translation.

GO TO: Introduction | Location | Environment | CultureIndustry | Genealogy

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Introduction    [ Top ]

Wewelsfleth is pictured on the Stör River, showing the shipyard, village and surrounding farmland [text in German]. This page is a part of the Trinitatis Kirke [in German] or Trinity Church Web site [in German].

The town of Wewelsfleth is located on the north bank of the Stör River on its final big curve before it joins the Elbe River not far from where the latter enters the North Sea beyond Cuxhaven.

Use adjustable map to view town, both rivers.

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Globe Trekker:

Wewelsfleth: The town name may combine to the Saxonian family name Wibil plus "fleth," a natural watercourse in a marsh.  It is the smallest in size, but highest in population, of the Wilstermarsch towns. Ship building traces to 1740 when ship carpenter Siemen Falck started a ship repair firm. The coat of arms -- with a farmhouse and ship under sail -- symbolizes the town's two economic pillars. See mayor and special events. [Link is to a Babel Fish translation. Note that the Stör River translates as "those disturb." Click for German original].

Wewelsfleth entry in Wikipedia, describes geography, culture, politics and more [in German]. Ship-building is historically important.

History, size, and industry of Wewelsfleth are described in English on a page in the Blasorchester Wewelsfleth Web site [in German]. A blasorchester is a "blowing" or primarily brass orchestra.

Wewelsfleth inhabitants [pdf format] were traditionally employed in fishing, farming and shipbuilding, according to an article on the laying of the keel of the new vessel "Euro Solid" in the main shipyard there.

Wewelsfleth locator map, postal zip code, official license code letters, nearby towns, links plus Wewelsfleth map showing its relationship with Krempe, Borsfleth, more, plus telephone book online search tool

Wewelsfleth is on the Stör River, the 3rd-longest in Schleswig-Holstein. Discover the state's geography, with marshland, moorland or geest, and hill country.

An in-depth look at the history, culture and maps of Schleswig-Holstein.

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Within Context of Germany    [ Top ]

Wewelsfleth is in the Amt or collective municipality of Wilstermarsch, which in turn is located in the Steinburg district of Holstein, the southern of the two historic duchies, Schleswig and Holstein, that are located on the Jutland Peninsula just to the south of Denmark.

Today, they are today officially linked as the state of Schleswig-Holstein, one of the 16 states that make up the modern country of Germany. This continues the long tradition of linking the two regions, even when governed by Denmark.

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Map of Germany
Education Art
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Locations & Maps    [ Top ]

Photo map shows Wewelsfleth on the Stör, with Uhrendorf up river. Use down arrow to see Borsfleth, then Glückstadt to the south.

Maps of towns in the Steinburg district include Wewelsfleth with nearby Borsfleth, Beidenfleth, Itzehoe, with businesses identified by number. Uhrendorf is rural with no businesses.

A map shows the village of Uhrendorf on the Stör River to the east of Wewelsfleth with Borsfleth and Ivenfleth to the south, across the Stör. This winding river is a tributary of the Elbe River.

Wewelsfleth is in the Wilstermarsch Amt or collective municipality.

Wewelsfleth is in the Steinburg district of Schleswig-Holstein.

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A Handbook for

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Map showing Wewelsfleth in relation to the Stör and Elbe rivers, Borsfleth, Itzehoe, Glückstadt, Wilster, more

Towns north of Glückstadt -- with distances -- include Beidenfleth, Borsfleth, Dammfleth, Hollerwettern, Uhrendorf, Wewelsfleth, and south of Gluckstadt Deichreihe near Kollmar. And many more.

Itzehoe -- the capital of the Steinburg district -- is the oldest town in Holstein. A map of Itzehoe shows it located up the winding Stör River from Wewelsfleth, a distance of 7 miles [11 km] as the crow flies.

A map shows how the Stör enters the Elbe River just north of Glückstadt, 7.5 km from Wewelsfleth and about 30 km or 18.5 miles from Brunsbüttel. From Brunsbüttel to metropolitan Hamburg is 88 km or 54 miles.

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Travel Guidez:
VHS:  Hamburg,

Interactive satellite map with Glückstadt pinpointed on the Elbe River, other towns to the north such as Ivenfleth, Borsfleth, Wewelsfleth, Uhrendorf, Krempe, more. Agricultural fields are visible.

Maps for Wewelsfleth and for towns and villages within 10 miles in any direction. Choose M for Mapquest, G for Google Maps and more.

Map of the mouth of the Elbe River up to Hamburg, showing Glückstadt, Wewelsfleth, Itzehoe, Wilster, and Heide in Dithmarschen at the top, and more 1910 Baedeker maps of Northern Germany

Map of the Elbe River, highlighted in yellow, running from the Czech Republic across Germany past Hamburg to the North Sea, and a map of the Elbe River, showing land elevations on its course.

Map of the Elbe River, North Sea to Hamburg, showing 13 nautical chart segments. Enlarged map has tributaries Stör, Krückau, Pinnau

Maps of Schleswig-Holstein south of Denmark, with North Sea west, Baltic Sea east, and Hamburg south on the Elbe River. Click to enlarge and see the Stör River north of Gluckstadt. View a Schleswig-Holstein
interactive map with Gluckstadt and Wewelsfleth near the bottom.

Environment & Photos    [ Top ]

A photo gallery for Wewelsfleth has 10 photos of ships, the shipyard, the yacht basin, a lighthouse, the sky, the river and Holstein cattle grazing.

Peaceful Stör River in winter & another view.

The Elbe River marshes --  Wilster and Kremper located to the north and the south of the Stör River -- were drained for farming, thanks in part to farmers from Holland brought there to reclaim the land in the 16th century. See a detailed look at the landscape of the area near Wewelsfleth.

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Bildatlas Nordseeküste / Schleswig- Holstein

Picture Atlas
North Sea Coast

Wilstermarsch - a photogallery showing 24 views between Glückstadt and Brunsbuettel with windmills, churches, marsh with sheep, and more.

Wilster, its old town hall built in 1585, is at the heart of Wilstermarsch. Thatch-roofed cottages, lush pastures and friendly people are typical.

Maps of the Wilstermarsch and Krempermarsch regions south of Southern Dithmarschen and north of the Elbe River, and of communities including Gluckstadt, Borsfleth and Brunsbuettel. Unnamed, Wewelsfeth is the town area shown just north of the confluence of Stör and Elbe rivers.

The Stör River, just 54 miles [87 km] long, begins east of Neumünster. It flows through Itzehoe as shown on this map, also through Wewelsfleth.

Winding Stör River and terrain near Itzehoe, and a tour along the river in 22 photographs from Arpsdorf at km14 through Kellinghusen km 32, Itzehoe km 53, Beidenfleth km 69 to storm barrier km 80 and the Elbe.

Stör River is the the largest right tributary of the Elbe River in Schleswig- Holstein. See picture and interactive map of the river and tributaries such as the Krempau that flows through Borsfleth and the Wilsterau that flows through Wilster among them [in German].

Stör River tributaries, pictured, range from Der Aalbek to Die Krempau that flows through Borsfleth to Die Schwale to Die Wilsterau. See also the  fish types in the Stör [in German].

Stör Storm Surge Barrier was inaugurated in 1975 to protect the Stör  River interior region during high water, with photos. Another view plus one of the moveable bridge that is part of the barrier.

Stör Hole Borsfleth Yacht Club, with a view of the water, the flat terrain,   narrow strip fields, and the Stör River and surge barrier, in 5 photos.

Stör River once had rope-based ferries or Seilfähre, but now just one, says this profile of Beidenfleth, near Wewelsfleth. There Störkringel, an area favorite, is still baked, a hard, pretzel-shaped pastry. Learn more about Beidenfleth [in German] and Beidenfleth [translated].

Die Seilfähre or ferry in Wewelsfleth operated until 1976, just after the opening of the storm surge barrier and its bridge.

Panoramas: Wintergarten and Winter StraBe near Wewelsfleth

Tour the beautiful Steinburg district in 50+ photographs from the Rathaus Glückstadt to the Stör River to colorful farm fields to a town scene in Wilster and the Honigfleth windmill. Also see wild flowers, landscapes, museum exhibits, churchs and more.

Explore Kreis Steinburg and things to see in Kreis Steinburg

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Kreis Steinburg Coat of Arms

Picture of Itzehoe with its historic St. Laurentii-Kirche or church and half-timber buildings plus modern structures. More pictures for Itzehoe, which is the county seat of Steinburg

Pictures and history for the Steinburg district include the town Krempe, the town Wilster, Glückstadt, and a water-scooping-mill in Honigfleth.

Glückstadt: click British flag for info in English, photos of town, river

Pictures of Wilstermarsch:  Elbe and Stör rivers, windmills and historic structures such as Wewelsfleth's Die Fahrradscheune [Bicycle Barn]. See also the Wilster old town hall.

Photos of the Elbe at Kollmar south of Gluckstadt and near Deichreihe provide a vivid sense of the landscape. Select  the link Bildergalerie for panoramas of the region and photogalleries for each month.

Maritime Elbe River area tours include one starting at Ivenfleth, including Borsfleth [See Der Gemüsetörn, tour 14], showing a photo of Borsfleth church and an historic half-timbered house

Lighthouses of the Elbe and Hamburg, including those of Gluckstadt, Wewelsfleth, more, with photos including lighthouses and landscape.

Photo of the Kiel Canal or the North Sea-Baltic Sea Canal, with the Elbe River in the background and showing the countryside near Brunsbüttel, not far from Wewelsfleth. Learn more about the Kiel Canal.

The lower Elbe River landscape shows its maritime heritage, with ships, old harbors, warehouses, more. A look at the Elbe River.

Photo of icepack on the Elbe River near Hamburg, January 2006, and a sunset at Hamburg Harbour and photos of Elbe River in Hamburg

Maps, weather -- including temperature, cloud cover and precipitation -- plus nearby communities and airports for Wewelsfleth

Weather in Wewelsfleth, from Yahoo, and Wewelsfleth weather

Culture, School, Language & Church    [ Top ]

Regional coats of arms and their symbolism reflect the culture of farming and sailing. For Wewelsfleth it is a farmhouse and a river sailing ship or ewer; for nearby Beidenfleth, it is two sheaves of grain, a ship and river; for Steinburg, it is three shields, three castle towers and water for the marshes and the Elbe River. However, for Schleswig-Holstein overall, there are two lions and a nettle-leaf, from Schleswig and Holstein coats of arms.

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Wewelsfleth Coat of Arms

Grundschule Wewelsfleth, the town's primary school with 130 pupils and the special project featuring Common School Magazine

Trinitatis Kirke or Trinity Church in Wewelsfleth, with photographs of the lovely interior and the exterior. It was built in 1503 A.D. Click the link Termine at left to see dates of church and community events and contact names for organizations that partner with the church on events.  [Babel Fish translation. See German original],   Trinitatis Kirke home page.

Depiction of Wewelsfleth in 1975 when the famous 20th century German author Günter Grass lived in a restored 17th century building there. Evokes the look and feel of the town. Article by Craig R. Whitney.

Günter Grass in 1979 married Ute Gunert, an organist, in Wewelsfleth, and in 1985 donated Wewelsfleth's Alfred Döblin house [in German] to be a place for Berlin authors to have writing time. Here's how to apply for this distinguished residence scholarship [in German].

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The Life and Work
of Gunter Grass: Literature,

History, Politics

Pictures of 1698 Alfred-Döblin-Haus in Wewelsfleth bought by Günter Grass, as well as the Gluckstadt harbor, typical marsh region houses, other images from the Gluckstadt area. View of Alfred-Döblin-Haus.

Low German or Plattdeutsch is the spoken language of this area . Compare words in English, Anglo-Saxon, Plattdeutsch and in  Deutsch or German. Plattdeutsch was the lingua franca of the Hanseatic traders in the Middle Ages who ranged from Scandinavia to northern Germany, the Baltic region, Russia and England.

Map showing where Low German is spoken, north of the Benrath Line [in red], and other map showing Low German or Niederdeutsch as well as Middle and High German.

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Der neue Sass. Plattdeutsches Wörterbuch.

Schleswig-Holstein has the North-European tradition of adding -sen or -so(h)n to a father's name to make surnames: Claussen, Petersohn, etc.

Cultural monuments in Steinburg from Honigfleth to Beidenfleth to Glückstadt to Wewelsfleth: city halls, churches, farmhouses, barns, windmills, more [in German]. The house Günter Grass bought in 1970 was from 1859 the home of the Junge family, Wewelsleth shipbuilders.

Typical buildings and landscape in or near Brokdorf, Glückstadt and Wewelsfleth are pictured [scroll down]. In addition, two varieties of the typical massive farmsteads roofed with reeds [see Section 3.2 here] are known as the Barghus, for example the Haubarg in Eiderstedt, and the Husmannshus, such as this one in Dammfleth, near Wewelsfleth.

Pictures and diagrams of the traditional hallenhaus, the north German farmstead building encompassing the family home, stalls for cows and horses, and the central hall for threshing or other activities. Variations were known in the region from Holland and Holstein to Prussia.

Das niederdeutsches Hallenhaus had storage for hay and straw up under the roof and stalls for cows along the edge. Eventurally the dwelling space for people was divided by walls from the barn area.

The 1683 school building in Borsfleth [in German] also shows the area's typical building style. Borsfleth is 1.8 miles   [2.9 km] from Wewelsfleth, across the Stör River as seen on this map.  More pictures of Borsfleth with its traditional half-timbered houses, streets.

Folk art, pictured, from the Schleswig-Holstein art and culture museum includes a farmhouse room, Borsfleth, Kremper Marsch, about 1750, and a piece of 19th century faience pottery from nearby Kellinghusen.

One picture of a Borsfleth church, another of a Glückstadt market and a map showing these two towns and Wewelsfleth.

A windmill from Borsfleth [in German] is now at Der Hessenpark, an open-air museum of the history and culture of Hesse, Germany.

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The German
Family Album


SPD Wewelsfleth has a welcome from the burgomeister or mayor with town details, the local council and more. SPD is the social- democratic party of Germany.  [Babel Fish translation. See German original]

Volunteer Fire Brigade in Wewelsfleth, with photos

Die Fahrradscheune or the Bicycle Barn in Wewelsfleth -- a beautiful barn with historic bicycles such as a velocipede (1870) and high wheeler (1880).  Pictures including one of the barn with bicycles, and a photo of one of the historic bicycles. [All sites in German].

Drachenfeste Wewelsfleth, or Kite Fest, and more photos.

Stör River news shows the Störschipperfest in 2007 with traditional river transport ships or ewers, the moving of the ship or Störewer "Hermann," the 2006 launch of the new rope-ferry Else at Beidenfleth and flooding on the Stör River near Kellinghusen in 2004.

Weinkontor or wine bar in the heart of Wewelsfleth, with directions from Hamburg or Husum [in German].

Land Hotel Lüders, Wewelsfleth, is located in a specialized hall typical for the Wilstermarsch and its restaurant offers regional food specialties. Another view plus Cafe Uhrendorf [in German].

Agriculture, Food & Industry    [ Top ]

History of Agriculture includes the history of farming in Germany and the influence of Holland on north German agriculture and dairy farming, especially after 1550. Britannica, 104 pages.

In the 1600s, Anabaptists from the Low Countries are said to have introduced dairy farming in southwest Holstein near Wewelsfleth. The famous black and white dairy cow known as the Holstein or the Holstein-Friesian, originated in northern areas of the Netherlands.

Gardens of village families included vegetables, fruits, herbs and on occasion flowers. In northern Europe as early as 1500, foods grown included kale and cabbage, peas, leeks, onions, garlic, sage and other herbs, and strawberries, apples, cherries and plums.

Potatoes were first grown in Germany in 1620. Widespread cultivation only occurred by the late 1700s.

Food dishes of Schleswig-Holstein are shaped by fisheries and the dairy industry. A typical dish is a soup of kale with sausages and potatoes. Others: Old German potato soup, kale and pork chops, more.

Schleswig-Holstein has a tourists' cheese route for sampling.

Northern German recipes: various soups, stews, Holstein sauerbraten, numerous dishes with pork, veal, fowl or fish, pancakes and desserts, as well as  old recipes from North Germany taken by immigrants to Iowa

German cuisine is known for meat, sausage, and cheese.  Potatoes, sugar and rice were widely available by the 1700s. Horseradish and mustard are noted condiments. Pumpernickel bread is from Northern Germany, its foods influenced by Scandinavia.   Recipes are provided.

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German cuisine is outlined, with regional specialties given such as aalsuppe and labskaus from the Hamburg area

Pork and beer, favored by ancient Gauls, are still important  in German cuisine, which is also influenced by religion and region,  the south being typically Catholic, the north Protestant.

History of shipping [pdf] and shipbuilding in the lower Elbe River, with a focus on Wischhafen, a town located on the left or south side of the river, across from the city of  Glückstadt, and on ewers or flat- bottomed transport lighters

The harbor at Glückstadt in the 1880s, filled with sailing ships of various kinds, and other photographs, including an aerial view of the city and the herring fishing fleet that operated for 100 years.

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The Guide to Wooden

Boats: Schooners,
Ketches, Cutters,
Sloops, Yawls, Cats

The J. Junge Shipyard of Wewelsfleth once built small ships, including the flat- bottomed Anna constructed in 1910 to transport foodstuffs, peat and coal on the Lower Elbe. Anna [in German] with photo.

Johanne, formerly called Meteor, and the Berta are other river vessels or ewers built at the J. Junge shipyard, Wewelsfleth, 1905 and 1910. As early as 1875, the Johann Junge shipyard was the first to build a new model of ewer for use as fishing ships [in German] . See photos of models of these Besanewers from the Johann Junge shipyard.

Ship Hermann built in 1905 at shipyard of Claus Witt, Wewelsfleth, one of some 1,000 ewers or river vessels that carried goods to Hamburg.

Die Peterswerft und ihre Schiffe: this book is the history of Wewelsfleth shipyards such as von Harm Stelling (1800-1871), Johann Junge (1859-1918), Marcus Saß (1860-1868), Johann Hein (1868-1887), Jürgen Peters (1871-1907) and Claus Witt (1900-1918)

Peters Schiffbau [in English or German] is the key ship building and repair business today. The shipyard and town are pictured, and the history of shipbuilding in Wewelsfleth from 1757 is told. At one time four shipyards existing side-by-side in the town. Driving   from Hamburg to the shipyard is a journey through small towns.

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Order from Germany
Peterswerft and their ships. 125 years of Peterswerft,
250 years of shipbuilding
in Wewelsfleth

A profile of Peters Schiffbau notes that in its early days it built wooden vessels that were herring luggers, pilot boats, galleasses [fighting ships], and kuffs [two–masted freight sailing vessels].

An interview with a worker at the Wewelsfleth Dockyard, by students

A few of the many vessels built at the Peters shipyard in Wewelsfleth are:
·  Cuxhaven, pilot schooner built in 1901, now the Atalanta, also here
·  Warturm, 1968, anchor-handling tug supplier
·  Sinbad, 1981, and Polarwind, 1983, cargo vessel; Elisia, 1984,
    multipurpose,  and container vessels Freesia, 1983, and Tertia,
   1985, and Ida, 1986, shown discharging timber.
·  Cargo ships Fri Sun, 1980; Fri Sky, 1981; and Fri Star, 1981
·  Fehn Moon, 1990; 23 more hard-working ships; Patriot, 1994; and
   Frieda, 1995

Kusch Yachts, founded by Claus Kusch, has been building mega yachts in Wewelsfleth for 25 years. Jan C. Wolf worked awhile.

People & Genealogy    [ Top ]

Christian Stengel, full name Otto Christian Stengel, was born March 3, 1795, in Wewelsfleth. He had a 60-year career as doctor to the mining district of Røros, Norway.  He has descendants in America.

Carsten Conrad Kohrs was born in 1835 in Wewelsfleth, a fishing village in Holstein and left in 1850 for a life of adventure. He  became a U.S. citizen in 1857, built a cattle empire and was Montana's Cattle King. Tthe National Park Service today runs the Grant-Kohrs ranch near Deer Lodge, Montana, as a National Historic Site  Johann H. L. Kohrs, his brother, settled in Iowa and ran a pork packing business.

Dettleff Kracht, born about 1805 in Wewelsfleth, came to America and settled about 1838 in Millstadt, Illinois, where he was one of many German settlers.

Peter Egge married Elsabe Wilkens in 1820 in Wewelsfleth, Holstein, Germany and they had five children including Heinrich Egge, born 1830 in Wewelsfleth, the latter coming to Nebraska, then marrying and also having five children.

Conrad Banck and Gretje Behrens were married in 1846 in Wewelfleth's Trinitatis Church, and their sons John and Henry were baptized there. The sons came to America in 1868.

Johann P. G. Strenge born 1865 in Wewelsfleth, Holstein, Germany

Some surnames found in Schleswig-Holstein locations -- including  Borsfleth, Itzehoe, Neuenkirchen, and Wewelsfleth -- are listed, all of which are Evangelical Lutheran.  Wewelsfleth surnames include Albers, Brandt, Ehlers, Hein, Hellmann, Hoffmann, Schmidt and Wessel.

Genealogy Work Group for Schleswig-Holstein with emigrees, census transcriptions such as the 1803 census for Wewelsfleth with Tonner and Suhr families, many more

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Finding Your

German Ancestors:
A Beginner's Guide


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Pickled Herring and Pumpkin Pie: A Nineteenth-Century Cookbook for German Immigrants to America

Lutheran Church parish records for southern Schleswig-Holstein, noting that Wewelsfleth records go back to 1650.

Population of Wewelsfleth and other towns north of the Elbe River, in the left column, with small number and percentage who are Catholic

Wewelsfleth page in We Relate Genealogy site, to be developed

Schleswig-Holstein Genealogy including a large emigrant database, a timeline of the complex history of this area fought over by Denmark and Germany, maps, towns, names, more

Schleswig-Holstein Genealogy including those who emigrated abroad to America and elsewhere

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Holstein Heritage Society Newsletter


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Germans in

(Ethnic Series)

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on the

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Address Book
for Germanic
Genealogy 6th ed.

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Germans to America
December 1849



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