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Talk:Eastern Europe Workshop

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Historical Research[edit source]

I'm not sure if there's an article explaining the origins of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that could help amateur genealogists to find the actual origin of country by their ancestors.

For years I could not find my grandparents connection to Germany because they were "ashamed" of anti-German sentiment in America during WWI and WWII.  Not even their three boys (my two uncles and my father) knew really where they were from.  Finally one day, I remembered my tight-lipped grandmother had a deceased brother who lived about an hour's drive from my hometown.  So I contacted his wife who was my great aunt, and which she happily invited me and my parents for dinner.  So after dinner, I impatiently waited and waited until my aunt put away all of the food and dishes.  Finally my eyes nearly popped out as if I was starved and ready to inject myself with a dose of narcotics (spirit of Elijah) when she handed me his old papers.  I was astounded to find his passport and birth certificate were written in Croatian saying he was born and baptized in Kutina, Hungary but there was also a German citizenship document from a town called Wallern, but could not decipher whether if it was Germany or Austria.

My grandmother said they moved to different lands... "Different lands?"  I thought, then I dived into my family's enyclopedia books and read every detail I could find...the internet was not available then in 1986, but slowly, by and by, I was able to decipher a huge mysterious puzzle and once I understood the significant historical events that influenced the political geographical boundaries of Europe, I was able to pinpoint many genealogical sources since then.

As it turned out, my German ancestors came from what is now the Czech republic, was formerly a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.  In the 1880s, my German ancestors emigrated from Bohemia (Austrian Crownland) to Hungary of what is now the Republic of Croatia but before the time of the establishment of Yugoslavia in 1919. Then my grandparents were born there in Croatia and later they immigrated to America in 1907 and 1912.   I finally learned there were "colonies" of Germans living in Croatia and else where throughout in Eastern Europe.  My grandmother finally leaked one word about Wallern where her German ancestors came from, was in Austria.  Like a pirate running off with a bag of gold, I plunged myself into many maps of Austria and could not find it except a Wallern with another name with it which didnt make sense.  It took me several years until I finally cracked the hard nut of mystery through my grandmother's younger cousin, saying that Wallern is now called Volary.  I went back to the map of Czechoslovakia and indeed did find Volary.  After studying the history of this region, I finally realized it was called Wallern since the 1500's but was changed to Volary in 1946 when nearly three million Germans in the Sudentenland/Bohemian Forest regions were ethnically cleansed and driven out to Germany and Austria from then communist-dominated Czechslovakia because of the severe consequences resulting from the grotesque ideology of Nazism and its aftermath.

So knowing the histories and how the geopolitical boundaries were affected are very, very, instrumental in determining and tracing our genealogies instead of just beginning with Germany which would have led me to finding my ancestors in vain, and worse of all, abandoning the efforts to seek after them.  Hope this helps.  regards, Eric Spanbauer - call2eric@gmail.com

Thank you for the information. Parrisl 05:46, 25 May 2015 (UTC)