Timeline of Nordrhein-Westfalen

Timeline of Nordrhein-Westfalen

Coat of arms of North Rhine-Westphalia


Year Event Discussion
500BC People of Celtic Origin At the earliest historical period, the territories between the Ardennes and the Rhine were occupied by the Treveri, the Eburones and other Celtic tribes, each drawing a level of influence from their Germanic neighbours. On the eastern bank of the Rhine, between the Main and the Lahn, were the settlements of the Mattiaci (a branch of the Germanic Chatti) and the Usipetesand Tencteri, further to the north.
200BC German Tribes The Celtic people were displaced by German Tribes who carried on with the craft and skills of ironworking. The Cimbri and Teuton tribes began a migration southward from their northern homeland, now Denmark and Sweden, probably because of the encroachment on their land bythe sea. They fought their way against the Romans into France and, in 102BC, a Roman army led by Marius defeated them an pushed them across the Rhine River. The Teutons consisted of the Alamanni, Cherusci, Saxons, Frisians, Jutes, Goths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Visgoths, Angles and Franks amoung others.
49BC Roman Occupation The Rhineland is occupied by the troups of Julius Caesar. Intensive  sellement and cultural change begins.
ABT 0 Vetra I Vetra I, the first military fortress was established on the Fürstenberg  as a base for the conquest of Germany east of the Rhine.
9 The Battle of 

Teutoburger Wald

The Germanic Cherusci tribe led by Arminius (Hermann) wiped out three  Roman legions.
69 Vetera II During the revolt of the Batavians Vetera I was destroyed. The new  fortress, Vetera II was established at a new site. A legion was stationed  there until at least 270.
98 Germania Tacitus publishes Germania, the first historical work describing  the Germanic Tribes.


The Vetera II civilian settelment was elevated to a colony (Xanten)


ABT 200 Saxons Invade Saxons pushed their way into the area between the Rhein and Wesser  rivers. They came from the Cimbrian penninsula. Other tribes joined them either voluntarily or by compuslion. They formed a large confederation which became known as Saxons. They were divided into three main groups: Wespphalians (Westfalen), Angrians (Engern) and Eastphalians (Ostfalen).
700 Westphalians Settle The Westphalians who had settled in the area of the Ems and Hunte rivers, spread south almost as far as Cologne.
768 Charlemagne, King Becomes king of the Franks.
772 Saxon Wars The Franks considered the Saxon tribes to be devil worshipers and fierce. There were murders and thefts. Therefore, the Franks waged war against  the Saxons. The Westphalians resisted the Frank advance and the region retained its identity in spite of the rise of the more powerful aggregated Saxon stem duchy.
800 Charlemagne Crowned by Pope Leo III.
804 Saxon Wars End The subjecton to Carolingian rule brought about the partition of the land into Counties (Grafschaften).
1077 Henry IV Submits  In the struggle between emperor and church King Henry IV is obliged to go to Canossa and submit to Pope Gregory VII.
1079 Siegen First Mentioned It was mentioned in a record along with some other surrounding communities.
ABT 1100 Westphalia The distinction between Westphalians and Angrians fell into disuse and all Saxony west of the Wesser River became known as Westphalia.
1180 Dutchy of Westphalia The archbishops of Cologne received Westphalia as a duchy, confined mainly to the area just north of Cologne. Numerous other political entities were formed around it: Bishoprics of Münster, Paderborn, Osnabrück, and Minden; countships of Waldeck, Schaumburg, Lippe, Ravensberg and Mark (with Limburg); the imperial city of Dortmund; and the Abby of Essen.
1190 Frederick I Dies Emperor Frederick I Barbarosa dies in Asia Minor on the Third Crusade.
1224 Siegen the Town Siegen officially embodied as a town.
1226 Teutonic Order The Teutoic Order of Knights establishes itself in Prussia.
1273 Habsburg Rule The election of Rudolph I, first Habsburg emperor.
1348 First German University Founded by Charles IV in Prague.
1356 Golden Bull Charles IV promulgates the Golden Bull, whereby seven electors will choose the emperor.
1456 Bible The Gutenberg Bible is printed.
1512 Kreis Westfalen the Lower Rhine-Westphalian circle (Kreis) was formed.
1517 Lutheranism Sprouts Martin Luther posts his 95 theses on the door of castle church in Wittenburg.
1521 Luther Outlawed His writings are banned by the Edict of Worms. He takes refuge in the Wartburg Castle, where he translates the New Testament .
1555 Peace of Augsburg Sanctions the co-existance of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in the German Empire. The following year Charles V abdicates.
ABT1600 Hohenzollern Influence In the early part of the 17th century Hohenzollern rulers of Brandenburg – Prussia begin gaining territories in Westphalia.
1613 Houses of Stuart and Lorraine United Fredrick of the Palatinate married Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I of England.
1618 Thirty Years War Begins Fredrick of the Palatinate accepts the crown of Bohemia, offered to him by that countries rebellious nobles. He seems to have had “Rosecrucian” influence incurring the wrath of the Holy Roman Empire. Ferdinand II (1619 – 1637) strengthened by the Catholic Reformation fought against Protestant forces in the Empire.
1630 Peter Aumer born Progenitor of all Ohmers, Peter Aumer, is born in Steinweiller, Pfalz, Bayern, Germany. His birthyear is estimated as about 50 years from the birth of earliest knowngrandchild in 1681.
1648 Thirty Years War Ends Over 300,000 had been killed in battle. Millions died of malnutrition and disease. Wandering troups robbed, burned and looted.
1677 William Penn Visits He visited the Palatinate and encouraged the people to go to Pennsylvania where there was religous freedom.
1701 Kingdom of Prussia The Electoral prince of Brandenburg proclaims his realm the Kingdom of Prussia.
1756 Seven Years War Begins Prussia is under Fredrick the Great.
1763 Seven Years War Ends Prussia emerges as a major European power.
1700’s German Settlements in Virginia In the late 1700’s Germans had settled on the land which is Lovettsville, VA and built a German Reformed Church.
1775 American Revolution 


German settlers arrived from Pennsylvania between 1745 and 1760. A group of Loudoun residents met in Leesburg in 1774 which adoped the “Loudoun Resolves” and protested the Stamp Act. A number of Loudoun residents fought in the war.
1783 American Revolution 


1803 Acquisitions of Westphalia Hohenzollerns acquire Paderborn and most of Münster; Hesse – Darmstadt acquires Cologne’s part of Westphalia; Hanover acquires Onsabrück; Oldenburg acquires the remainder of Münster.
1806 War of 1812 Begins Napolean excludes British goods from “fortress Europe”. American ships are caught in the middle as the British respond with a blockade. The British seize 1000 US ships and the French about 500.Napleon assigns most of traditional Westphalia to the Grand Duchy of Berg.
1815 War of 1812 Ends The Congress of Vienna restored most of old Westphalia to Prussia which then established a province of Westphalia with its capital at Münster. Lippe and Waldeck remained under soverign princes. The west-bank (Rhine) posessions were joined with Prussia’s east-bank possesions to form Rheinprovinz (Rhine Province) in 1824 The Battle of New Orleans: Jackson’s forces defeat the British. 700 British were killed, 1400 wounded. US losses were 8 killed, 13 wounded.
1820 Streets of Lovettvile The street plans were laid out by Daniel Lovett after whom it was named. It was also called Thrushers Store and New Town.
1824 Rheinprovinz A new Palatinate was constituted for Bavaria. Northwest of this were some exclaves of other German states and northwest of these, the whole left (west) bank as far as Kleve, together with Jülich and Aachen in the west and Trier and Saarlouis in the south, became Prussian and were united with Prussia’s other possessions on the right bank to form Rheinprovinz.
1861 American Civil War 


1865 American Civil War 


1866 Seven Weeks War With Austria, removed from leadership in the Germanic states. The North German Confederation was established; all German lands north of the Main River. It is at this point that we have German lands rather than Germanic provinces, states, duchies, etc.
1871 German Empire Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismark orchestrated the unification of the Northern German Confederation with the southern Germanic states to develop the German Empire. What was Prussia accounted for two thirds of the Empire’s size and population. German identity to a large part became Prussian identity.
1914 World War I Begins
1918 World War I Ends The German Empire was forced to give up the Danzig Corridor (western part of Prussia) to Poland.
1939 World War II Begins Berlin becomes Hitler’s Nazi headquarters which was consiquently blitzed by the Allies.
1945 World War II Ends
1946 Nordrhein- Westfalen is Created The British government combines the former Prussian Provences of Westfalen and Rheinprovinz into a new protectorite on August 23. The principality of Lippe-Detmold was added six months later.
1947 The End of Prussia The Allied Control Council officially proclaimed the dissolution of Prussia.
1949 Northrhein-Westfalen becomes a State Nordrhein-Westfalen is now a member state of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).
1991 Germany united Nordrhein-Westfalen now a State (Land) of Germany.

What’s New

Announcing the arrival of Sagan Michael OHMER!!
                On Thursday, September 14 at 1:45 AM, we welcomed into this world our new son Sagan Michael Ohmer. He tipped the scales at 6 lb 7 oz, and was 20″ long. Mom, big brother and baby are all doing fine, as am I. You can visit this page and see photos and more info.

New OHMER announced!!!
                WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!  I am VERY PLEASED to announce that my beautiful wife Michelle and I are expecting a NEW OHMER BABY!!!!  Her due date is September 7th, 2000.  Look HERE for updates and ultrasound photos.  You can also visit THIS PAGE and VOTE whether or not you think it’s going to be a BOY or GIRL.  Results to follow!

Alaskan OHMER info UPDATED!!!
                I am EXTREMELY excited to let you know that Dave OHMER and his sister Katelyn OHMER Markley have provided me with some updated info on the Alaskan string of the OHMER family!  Thanks SO MUCH, guys!  Click HERE to check out that new info!

Search Engine added
                I DID survive the “puter” problems (see 6/99 below) and yet ANOTHER lightning strike took out my Acer FM56 modem.  I am back up and running with a U.S. Robotics 56K.  But, throughout all of the confusion, I WAS able to configure and install a search engine (found beneath the toolbar on the left).  The service is free and provided by FreeFind.  Try it out!

                I’ve been having some minor problems with the “puter” lately, and I’m FINALLY back up and running.  First, the hard drive crashed and THEN a lightning bolt hit my uncle’s nearby house, and the surge temporarily (very luckily, it was temporary) knocked out my modem!  Anyhoo, I’m just getting back up to speed and getting settled!  Check back soon!

NEW OHMER family tree from Germany ,dating back to 1600’s
                I recently received an e-mail from Michael Ohmer of Nürtingen, Germany offering a GEDCOM of his family tree dating back to the 1600’s!!!  You can access his information HERETHANKS SO MUCH, Michael, for taking the time to further our OHMER information!!!

Searching for Tobias Ambre OHMER’s ship
                Got word from the University of Baltimore’s Steamship Historical Society of America Collection that they were UNABLE to locate a photograph or any info on the Ship Carrack.  They did, however, include several addresses for other Maritime Collections, such as The Mystic Seaport MuseumThe Mariner’s Museum and The Peabody Essex Museum.  The Mariner’s Museum DID indeed have photos of TWO ships named Carrack, so I am sending off the $20.00 research to find out more.  I’ll keep you posted!

TRIBUTE to Nicholas OHMER added
                The Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library in Ohio had in it’s archives, a scrapbook belonging to James O. Arnold, which contained a touching tribute to Nicholas Ohmer.  This tribute was written by the Montgomery County Horticultural Society, which he himself formed some 40 years prior to his death.  Also included is a poem about Nicholas Ohmer, and a personal history.

HAM RADIO page being re-vamped
                Okay, I’ve FINALLY gotten around to re-vamping my Ham Radio web site.  I’ve toyed around with several new logo designs and color combinations, and it’s finally hit me!  (owch!)  Anyway, check it out!

OHMER surname meaning
                Today I spoke with Gerard Ohmer, author of the forthcoming OHMER book, and he gave me some exciting news on the MEANING of the surname OHMER.  He gave me a brief description over the phone, and promised something in print in his next letter.  I also received some info to be added to the OHMER Origins web page.

OHMERs in Germany section added
                I’ve recently added an OHMERs in Germany section to the site.  This section shows the distribution of OHMERs in Germany based on data gathered from online German phone directories.  It has given us many clues on which to base where research should be done in Germany to further trace our roots.  Created with German Surname Distribution Mapper Shareware.

CHRISTEN Connection!
                I’ve recently made contact with Mr. Cliff Treadaway who is researching the CHRISTEN surname. John Christen was the son-in-law of Tobias Ambre OHMER, my 3rd great grandfather.  Mr. Treadaway’s lineage goes back to John Christen by way of John’s son, William Christen.  His data will hopefully shed some light on Tobias’ daughter, Catherine and her descendants.  Click HERE to check out Cliff’s home page.

                I’ve been considering for some time to acquire the domain name www.ohmer.com.  I’m currently researching the cost, and the ease of forwarding traffic.  The price I’ve found is $25.00 per year for a domain name.  Any comments or help locating a more cost effective option would be welcomed.  Join the OHMER mailing list and I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Searching for Tobias Ambre OHMER’s ship
                Today I sent off to the University of Baltimore’s Steamship Historical Society of America Collection to *hopefully* find a photo of the ship Carrack, which is the vessel my 3rd Great Grandfather, Tobias Ambre OHMER, traveled on from Harve, France to New Orleans, LA in June of 1851.  The University houses approximately, 200,000 photographs of passenger liners, cruise ships, lake and coastal ships, river steam boats, tugboats, cargo vessels, military transports, and work boats are arranged in this collection by ship name.  Built dates for these ships span from the mid 1800’s to present.

Naturalization Record of Tobias Ambre OHMER added
                Found in the vault of the Assumption Parish Courthouse in Napoleonville, LA, this paper from 1892 describes my 3rd Great Grandfather’s intention to become a citizen of the United States of America.

Mortgage Papers of John Christen, son in law of Tobias Ambre OHMER added
                Okay, I’m not sure WHAT these papers mean, but there are about 10 or 15 other ones listed in some books labeled “Chattel Mortgages.”  It seems that John Christen owned a sawmill, and bought the lumber rights to several tracts of land in and around Napoleonville, LA.  The land described here is believed to be the same land that my father continues to pay taxes on.  Anyone understand this legal gobbledygook?  I sure DON’T!

OHMER Family Documents

Tribute to Nicholas OHMER 
                The Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library in Ohio had in it’s archives, a scrapbook belonging to James O. Arnold, which contained a touching tribute to Nicholas OHMER.  This tribute was written by the Montgomery County Horticultural Society, which he himself formed some 40 years prior to his death.  Also included is a poem about Nicholas Ohmer, and a personal history.

Naturalization Record of Tobias Ambre OHMER
                Found in the vault of the Assumption Parish Courthouse in Napoleonville, LA, this paper from 1892 describes my 3rd Great Grandfather’s intention to become a citizen of the United States of America.

Mortgage Papers of John Christen, son in law of Tobias Ambre OHMER
                Okay, I’m not sure WHAT these papers mean, but there are about 10 or 15 other ones listed in some books labeled “Chattel Mortgages.”  It seems that John Christen owned a sawmill, and bought the lumber rights to several tracts of land in and around Napoleonville.  The land described here is believed to be the same land that my father continues to pay taxes on.  Anyone understand this legal gobbledygook?  I sure DON’T!

A Brief History of the Pfalz

A Brief History of the Pfalz

(through 1815) by CAROL SAINT-CLAIR


The area referred to as the Pfalz (or Palatinate, in English) stretches today from Bad Kreuznach in the north to the French border in the south.  It is bounded on the east by the great Rhine River, and on the west by the smallest German state, Saarland.  The Pfalz, which after WWII was joined with a larger area called the Rhineland to make the modern German state of Rheinland- Pfalz, lies in the warmest and sunniest corner of Germany, and half of it is made up of the fertile Rhine River Basin, where famous German wines are made, and even tobacco is grown.  The Pfalz has probably always seemed like God´s little acre.  At any rate people have been living here for the 100,000 years, according to relics and shards that are found everywhere here.  And the history of the conflicts that arose because of the desirability of this land is a complex, and a long one, stretching back as far as recorded history.


Those of us whose ancestors sprang from this soil can count on coming from sturdy stock, because our genes come from the survivors of wars, pestilence, and the misery and hard work of serfdom.  Many emigrants from the Pfalz left in the 1700´s, after the devestations of the Thirty Years War, and the War of the Spanish Succession.  These people were largely Protestants, leaving to find the freedom of religion in the New World.  140 years later, the next wave was leaving because times had gotten good again, and the population was swelling in unprecedented numbers.  This time it was the second sons (and third and fourth) who were leaving to seek their fortunes in America.  And we can point with pride to their successes – even if their successes “R” us!

Les Grandes Misères de la guerre (The Great Miseries of War) by Jacques Callot, 1632

Let us begin this history with the some of the first names and tribes that appear, and then hit the high spots.  I hope this little taste will whet your appetite and send you all burrowing into the history books for more detail. I have taken my info from the Encyclopedia Britannica 1997, and my own translation of a short history of Hayna, the village near Speyer from where my ancestor came, and another history of the equally small village of Ottersheim, where distant cousins originated. Exact quotes are clearly shown.

Coat of Arms – Ottersheim bei Landau

The Pfalzers of the early, middle and late Stone Age, and the Bronze Age have left us much evidence of their presence and life styles.  The first written historical reference, though, comes from the Romans.  Julius Caesar conquered Gaul in the years 58 – 52 B.C. and from then until the year 406 A.D., the left side (looking at a map) of the Rhine was part of the Roman Empire.  The Romans, as they did everywhere, built forts and laid roads, and civilized the peoples whom they conquered (according to their point of view, anyway).  At this time there were still Celts living here, but the Germani, as the Romans called the various tribes that lived in the germana libera (the part of Europe on the right side of the Rhine that Julius Caesar claimed was unconquerable, and only worth ignoring) were waiting for any chance to move in and take over.  The history of the Roman occupation of the Pfalz is full of skirmishes and battles of the Romans with the Germani, specifically the Franks, and the Allemanni.  And in 406 A.D. the Germani finally succeeded in crossing the Rhine.  In the summer of 451 A.D., as the Roman´s Western Empire disintegrated, Attila and his Huns (actually a collection of many tribes and peoples) rolled across the Rhine near the mouth of the Neckar, a massive ocean of riders, scorching and burning as it came, ending Roman rule in the Pfalz.

Attila with Goat Horns 16th c. medallion at Palvia, Italy
Attila with Goat Horns
16th c. medallion at Palvia, Italy

The Huns´campaign left the area of the present day Pfalz almost completely depopulated. The  Allemani and the Franks began to move in, simultaneously.  Warfare was the result.  As Fritz Steegmüller describes in his history of Ottersheim, “The deciding battle occurred near Zülpich in the year 500.  During the bitter fighting the king of the Franks, Chlodwig (Clovis) (481-511 A.D.), remembered the God of his Catholic wife, Chlothilde, and swore he would become a Christian if he won the battle.   Sure enough, the fortunes of war gave him the victory.  Soon after, Chlodwig had himself baptised, along with 3000 Frankish nobles, by the Bishop Remigius from Reims. The conquered Allemani were pushed back to the south.”

Clovis statue at the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis
Clovis statue at the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis

German recorded history really begins in these times, with the Frankish Merovingian kings, followed in 751 by the Frankish Carolingian kings – the most famous of whom was Karl the Great.  We call him Charlemagne.  This was the beginning of the time of the Holy Roman Empire (which, as someone said, was neither holy, roman, nor an empire).  The Pfalz remained under Frankish rule until 919, when Henry the Fowler, a Saxon, was elected king.  After the Saxons, came the Salic emperors, whose seat was in Speyer for many generations.

Charlemagne, or Karl the Great
Charlemagne, or Karl the Great

How the ruling system in medieval Germany emerged with its dukes, counts and eccessiastical princes of the Church, is an long, but fascinating chapter, which I must for brevity´s sake leave out here.  (It makes great reading, though.  Look for it in your encyclopedias and history books!)
The Encyclopedia Britannica 1997 has this to say about the formation of the Pfalz (the Palatinate).  “By the 10th Century, the counts palatine were serving as stewards of royal territories in the absence of the Holy Roman emperors. In the 12th century the lands of the counts palatine of Lotharingia (Lorraine) were formed into the separate territory of the (Rhenish) Palatinate. In 1214 the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II granted these lands to Louis I, Duke of Bavaria, of the house of Wittelsbach. This ancient Bavarian dynasty, in one or another of its branches, was to rule the Palatinate through its subsequent history. In 1329, in an internal dynastic settlement, the North Mark of Bavaria was detached from the Bavarian Wittelsbachs and given to the branch of the family which also held the Rhenish territories. The North Mark thereafter was known as the Upper Palatinate . In the 14th and 15th centuries, the counts palatine brought firm rule and prosperity to their lands. They fought for the rights of the German princes against the universalist ambitions of popes and emperors. They won the right to participate in the election of the emperor, a right confirmed by the  Golden Bull of 1356, which made the elector palatine the chief secular prince of the Holy Roman Empire.”  The German name for his title was Pfälzischer Kurfürst .

Map of Bavaria highlighting the Regierungsbezirk of Upper Palatinate
Map of Bavaria highlighting the Regierungsbezirk of Upper Palatinate

The word “palatine” comes from French (and originally Latin), meaning “of the palace”.  As you will read when you look into the development of the ruling classes in Germany, there was the king, or emperor (König or Kaiser), and under him the dukes (Herzog), and under them, the counts (Graf).  However, some counts gained enough power and prestige that they were also at court – in the palace, so to speak.  The German variation on this was Pfalz- Pfalzgraf, to be exact.  The land they ruled took its name from their title.

From here we skip to a brief description of the Thirty Years War.  From the EB again, “The Palatinate…adopted Calvinism in the 1560s under Elector Frederick III…(and) became the bulwark of the Protestant cause in Germany.  Elector Frederick IV became the head of the Protestant military alliance known as the Protestant Union in 1608, and led it for two years until his death in 1610.

His son Frederick V’s acceptance of the Bohemian crown in 1619 contributed to the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War, a war that proved disastrous to the Palatinate. Frederick V was driven (by the Catholic forces) from Bohemia in 1620 and, in 1623, was deprived of his German lands and electoral dignity (which were given to Maximillian of Bavaria). Catholic troops (French and Spanish) devastated the Rhenish Palatinate. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) restored the Rhenish lands, as well as a new electoral dignity, to Frederick’s son, Charles Louis. The Upper Palatinate, however, remained with Bavaria thereafter.”

The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 15 May 1648 (1648) by Gerard ter Borch
The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 15 May 1648 (1648) by Gerard ter Borch

The history of Hayna reports, “The Thirty Year´s War did have a destructive effect on Hayna, as this quote from the beginning of the 1700´s shows, ‘The village of Hayna was totally ruined in the Thirty Years War, and its population almost wiped out.  The fields are overgrown with trees and bushes.  It was a long time before a few families resettled.’  But this resettlement did not begin until after the end of the war (in 1648) and then progressed very slowly. The new bishop, Lothar Friedrich, Freiherr von Metternich, elected in 1652, issued an public call for refugees to return to their homes and for foreigners to come and settle around Speyer.  This call was repeated in 1660 and apparently had an effect.  In 1667 Hayna had 77 inhabitants again, of whom a third came from somewhere else.

Lothar Friedrich von Metternich-Burscheid
Lothar Friedrich von Metternich-Burscheid

Unfortunately this positive development did not last very long.  Louis XIV of France declared war on the Elector of the Pfalz in 1673 and the Pfalz once again became the scene of battles and pillaging.  Listen to this moving report from the Bishop written January 9, 1679.  ‘The town of Lauterburg, and the villages around there are in such a desolate and pitiful state that the people don´t even have anything to wear.  Some have run away, and those who remain do not even have bread to eat.’  That this description also applied to Hayna can be seen in the fact that at that time there were only 7 households left.”

King Louis annexed the Pfalz and other lands, extending France´s eastern boundary to the Rhine, reclaiming them as part of the old land of the Gauls.  The next hundred and forty years is another chapter of complex, political manoevering.  It saw the rise of France to the position of being the dominating country in Europe.  With Napoleon at its head, France controlled everything that went on. (That this in the end had a very positive effect on Germany was actually visible to some of the people at the time, though most only “chafed under foreign rule”.)  This period saw the formal end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.  The incessant levering for power between the emperor and his vassals, and among the vassels themselves,  which had kept Germany virtually in the Middle Ages, was thus brought to a halt.  Plus, the institution everywhere in Germany of the Napoleanic code brought an end to many of the feudalistic laws that had made the life of the common people such a misery.  In the history of Hayna, the author wonders at the fact that in the 1700´s Hayna begins to bloom, and grow in population.  Many of the half-timbered houses that still grace the main street of this quaint village (one built in 1717 by my ancestor) were built in the first half of that century.  Perhaps it was the rule of the French, perhaps just a reaction to the emergence of a stability unknown for hundreds of years.

This era,  like the rest of German history, is replete with complex twists and turns.  But if you were to read only one part on your own, read about this part.  It makes the rest that follows clearer, even into this century.

In 1815 Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo.  Austria, Prussia, Russia, Great Britain and France redivided Europe along new boundary lines at the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815).  Many of the small principalities, duchies, and grandduchies became part of the great kingdoms of Prussia and Bavaria.  In an exchange of territories between Austria and Bavaria (the exact nature of which I have as yet been unable to ascertain), the Pfalz was given to Bavaria, to whom it belonged until the restructuring that occurred after the First World War.

I have to admit that my knowledge of the history of the Pfalz does not go much beyond this last sentence.  My ancestor left in 1847, calling himself a Bavarian (which confused me as much as the same phenomenon with your ancestor probably confused you). And my genealogical research has only brought me to this point in history.  I have tried to touch the main points of Pfalz history, especially as they pertain to our immigrant ancestors.  I hope this helps and that you will look further on your own.  Before I close with a short list of the highpoints, this quote from H.A.L. Fisher, who once said that history is “one damn thing after another”…


The Years, the Names, the Places

  • 52 B.C. Conquest by Julius Caesar east to the Rhine
  • 451 end of Roman rule in the Pfalz.  Attila´s forces “clear” the area.
  • 500 the Franks beat out the Allemanni for control of the Pfalz
  • 12th Century the Pfalz as such is formed into a separate territory
  • 1214 the Pfalz is given to Louis I, Duke of Bavaria, a Wittelsbach
  • 1329 the North Mark is added, and called Oberpfalz
  • 1560´s the Elector of the Pfalz , Frederick IV, adopts Calvanism
  • 1623 his son, Frederick V, loses the Pfalz to Max. of Bavaria in 30 Yrs. War
  • 1648 the Pfalz is restored to his son, Charles Louis, but the Oberpfalz remains from then on a part of Bavaria
  • 1652, 1660 the Bishop of Speyer issues a call for people to come and resettle the war-devastated Pfalz
  • 1673 Louis XIV declares war on the Elector, and unofficially annexes the Pfalz, to extend his realm to the Rhine River
  • 1789 French possesion of the Pfalz is formally recognized
  • 1815 after the defeat of Napoleon, the Pfalz is given to Bavaria

– Osnabrück, Germany
December 8, 1998
revised January 2000

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Ohmer/Babin Family Crest

This  is a family crest that i designed for my immediate family – that is, my wife and IOhmer-Crest-3. The quaterered crest contains the crests our families of origins. The top half is my family – the top left quadrant contains my paternal crests (top two crests in the upper right quadrant) and the lower row is my maternal line (the bottom two rows in the upper left quadrant.) The upper right is the Ohmer crest, denoting my surname. The bottom two quadrants are my wife’s paternal and maternal lines (bottom right quadrant) and then her surname, Babin, in the bottom left quadrant.

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History of Bavaria

 History of Bavaria/Bayern


Bavaria (German Bayern), a state in southeastern Germany, is bounded on the north by the states of Thuringia and Saxony, on the northeast by the Czech Republic, on the southeast and south by Austria, and on the west by the states of Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. Munich is the capital and largest city. Other important cities are Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Regensburg. Bavaria is the largest state of Germany. It is drained by the Main River in the northwest and by the Danube River and two of its tributaries, the Inn and Isar rivers, in the southern and central regions. North of the Danube the land is a rolling upland. Along the border with the Czech Republic is the Bavarian Forest, which reaches an elevation of 1457 m (4780 ft). South of the Danube the land is a rising upland cut by numerous river valleys. In the extreme southern part of the state are the Bavarian Alps, the highest mountains in Germany. Area, 70,546 sq km (27,238 sq mi); population (1990 estimate) 11,448,800.

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Emigration Records from Neupotz, Germany [Translation]

The following is a chapter from the “Neupotzer Heimatbuch” by Alfred Boltz which deals with emigration from the village of Neupotz in the 19th century. This english translation, was provided by a kind soul from a the GENEALOGY subreddit on reddit.com. The original German text can be found HERE.


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