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Welcome to the Wendish Research Exchange's WendBlogs section. Here you will read the musings and advice from one of several Wendish Blogmeisters whom have generously volunteered their time to participate. Please recognize that responses to your comments may or may not be forthcoming, but you are certainly encouraged to comment.

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Eleanor Schreiner… (The Wendish Crusa…): Thanks for that very early history of the Wends. . . and I want to study it very carefully. . . Much…
Kathe Richards (Wendish DNA): GEDmatch certainly is daunting at first glance. It offers very little explanation. The best thing …
Ron Roggenburk (Wendish DNA): Thank you all for responding so quickly and with so much detail. It will take me some time to diges…
Richard Gruetzner… (Wendish DNA): (continuation of previous response) Not present Southeast…
Richard Gruetzner… (Wendish DNA): Hello Ron, Kathe’s comments and suggestions are spot on. I also recommend uploading your results …
Kathe Richards (Wendish DNA): Good Morning, Ronald! It is certainly possible that some or many of your ancestors are Wendish or …

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The Wends and the Nazis

Thursday 14 May 2015 at 04:09 am

Than you to John Jacob for providing a source of relatively new research into the struggle of the Wends/Sorbs during the Nazi regime in Germany.

Burleigh, Michael and Wolfgang Wippermann. The Racial State: Germany, 1933-1945. Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991, pgs. 133-135.

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Wends in Texas by Helmuth Esau and Sylvia Grider

Wednesday 01 April 2015 at 01:45 am

This paper was first presented by Helmuth Esau (deceased) and Sylvia Grider (Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University) as follows:

Helmut Esau and Sylvia Grider, "The Wends: A Case Study of Ethnic Variables" in Wolfgang Wölck and Paul L. Garvin (eds.) The Fifth LACUS Forum1978 [Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States], (Columbia, S.C. : Hornbeam Press, 1979), 383-96.

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Serbin: Where Lutheranism in Texas Originated by Linda née Rubke Kennell

Sunday 29 March 2015 at 11:42 pm

This article appeared in The Junior Historian magazine of the Texas State Historical Association, Austin, Texas in March 1967. Here is how it happened.

My family moved to Austin, Texas when I was just 16. (My dad, Walter Rubke, had accepted the position of President at Concordia College in Austin.) I had no idea how different Texas and California could be. I felt like an immigrant! Before I could graduate from high school, I was required to take Texas History. (Really?) The course required a research paper, using first person sources whenever possible. So, one lovely Saturday morning my dad drove me out to see St Paul Lutheran Church in Serbin, Texas to learn about how immigrating Lutherans began their lives in Texas. We touched the 3' thick walls of the church, climbed upstairs to the balcony where men sat during worship, and stood in the pulpit above the altar. We wandered through the cemetery and took a rubbing from one of the tombstones. A Serbin resident translated the inscription for us, since it was written in Wendish. It was a memorable adventure. I hope you enjoy revisiting it with me.

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The Prussian Wends and Their Home

Sunday 29 March 2015 at 11:34 pm

This article was first published in 1877 in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, volume LIV, March 1877.

Wendish History by Mrs. Marata Ornaf-Nawka, daughter of Prof. Dr. Michel Nawka

Tuesday 10 March 2015 at 10:35 pm

Mrs Marata Ornaf-Nawka (in Sorbian Marhata Ornafowa-Nawkec) was born on 28 Jan 1915 in the village Radibor (Radwor) near Bautzen (Budyšin). She was later married in the United States and died on 25 Feb 2008 in Flushing, Queens, New York. She was the daughter of the well known Sorb Michał Nawka.

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A Minority Problem in Germany by Roy Mellor

Saturday 29 November 2014 at 01:59 am

This article appeared in The Scottish Geographical Magazine, a publication of The Royal Scottish Geographical Society, 10 Randolph Circle, Edinburg. (Vol.,  79, No. 1; April, 1963, pg. 49 ff.)

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Lusicki Srbi by a Yugoslav Correspondent

Saturday 29 November 2014 at 12:45 am

This article appeared in The Scottisch Geographical Magazine, a publication of The Royal Scottish Geographical Society of Terrace, Edinburgh. (Vol., 58, No. 1 March 1942, pg 31 ff.)

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In a Wendish Country by Dr. Maria Beate von Loeben

Wednesday 26 November 2014 at 07:16 am

This article was written in February 1989 by Dr. Maria Beate von Loeben who was born in the village of Kuppritz in 1927 and lived there until 1945. Kuppritz is about five miles east of Bautzen in former East Germany. Dr. von Loeben is an instructor of English at Wurzburg University. In November 1989 the Wall came down and East and West were unified. This article gives a unique view into life as it once was. It was submitted to the TWHS Newsletter by George Boerger who travelled in Germany in the summer of 1990.

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The Wends and the Reformation by Rev Robert Koenig

Sunday 23 November 2014 at 08:49 am

In observance of Dr. Martin Luther's 500th Birthday Anniversary, Nov. 10, 1983, Rev. Robert Koenig was asked to present this Essay at the Nov. 13, 1983 meeting of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society at Serbin.

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Sorbian Proverbs - Serbske přislowa

Thursday 25 September 2014 at 07:17 am

In 2004 Susanne Hose, PhD, of the Sorbian Institute in Bautzen  and Wolfgang Mieder, PhD, of the University of Vermont collaborated on a book of Sorbian Proverbs. Copies of the book were shipped to Serbin and quickly sold out. What follows is the introduction to that book. It is a very concise and well written history of the Sorbs as well as an introduction to the world of proverbs. - Weldon Mersiovsky

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The Wendish Crusade of 1147

Thursday 30 August 2012 at 6:02 pm

“The longer you look back, the farther you can look forward”  Winston Churchill

My interest in my Wendish heritage has been piqued over the last few years, and recently in a course on Christian History at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I wrote this paper to explore my long-lost roots.  Perhaps you will discover yours too!

The topic was on the Crusades of the Middle Ages, and I found out to my surprise that there had been a so-called “Wendish Crusade” back in 1147!  So my paternal heritage went back to before the 10th century!  Now I wanted to learn more about this group of people so long ago, and about this crusade. (My great-great grandfather, Mathias Wukasch, was on the Ben Nevis ship as a little boy when the group of Wends emigrated to Texas in the mid-19th century.)   Herein is an edited version of my paper for that course.

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Wendish Patriots

Monday 14 November 2011 at 1:19 pm

This is a portfolio of 16 images of Sorbian patriots with short bios, which was published by the German Democratic Republic (DDR) Ministry / Department of Sorbian Issues, in 1957 in Bautzen. This could serve as informational and educational material.

For an English translation continue reading.  If you want to see images of the patriots and their bio in Wendish and German, click the name of each patriot.

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Bread and Salt (Brot und Salz)

Sunday 13 November 2011 at 10:21 pm
We learned of the custom when touring Saxony in'08.  Two restaurants and a Wendish Museum greeted all attendees with either a loaf of bread which was sliced or chunks pulled from it and dipped in salt. 
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Through The Spreewald

Sunday 13 November 2011 at 12:51 pm

An interesting view of the Spreewald through the eyes of J. P. Peters (in spite of an unflattering observation or two). This article is one of many which comprised the monthly magazine The Californian during 1881 and 1882.

Some questions answered in this article:

  • What is the only day of the year that married Wendish women were permitted to dance?
  • Who was Cantor Post?
  • What is the celebration of Whitsunday? May 27, 2012 was a recent date of celebration.
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Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

Thursday 03 November 2011 at 10:25 pm

I received this book from my mother Erna Schmidt Mersiovsky.  It was given to her by her first cousin, once removed, Carolyn Walther, the daughter of Anna Blasig.  Anna Blasig, the daughter of Rev Herman Schmidt is also the author who wrote The Wends of Texas.  No one knows how Pastor Schmidt came to be the owner of the book other than he was the third and last Wendish speaking pastor of the Texas Wends and he either inherited it from someone or was a gift from someone.

If you would like to see the book and pages from it, click here.

Friedrich Wilhelm Gotthilf Matuschka

Sunday 30 October 2011 at 8:03 pm

As the Ben Nevis set sail from England for Texas a young passenger boarded the ship who was not an immigrant.  He indeed was Wendish and could speak both Wendish and German, but he also spoke English.  This young man was an interpreter who was employed to assist the Wends on their journey.

We do not know who hired the interpreter, the shipping company or the Wendish leaders.  Nor do we know when he was hired.  The plans had called for a direct voyage from Hamburg to Galveston.  But when the migrants arrived at Hamburg, there was no ship large enough for the group, and the Wends insisted on traveling together.  The solution was to go by ship and train to Liverpool where the Ben Nevis was unloading its cargo, most likely cotton for the textile mills.  He was either hired earlier to sail on a German ship from Hamburg and help in Texas, or he was hired at the last minute when the decision was made to use an English ship so that he could help with communication on board ship and then continue his services in Texas if they were needed.

Because he was not an immigrant, his name was not on the Ben Nevis passenger list and no reference to his presence on the ship or in the Serbin community has been found in any of Kilian's records.  The only references to his work with the Wends are found in his obituary in Der Lutheraner and in the Matuschka family tradition.

 

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Ghost Riders

Sunday 30 October 2011 at 3:45 pm

        Pastor John Jacob Trinklein, a Frankenmuth native, was fresh out of the seminary when he received his first call in 1881 to serve as a “circuit rider” missionary in Texas.  His assignment was to seek out the scattered German Lutherans in Texas and try to gather them together to form congregations.  His travels were mostly by train.  But in more isolated places where there was no train, he either had to walk or go by horseback.  In later years, he told of a strange experience on one of these trips by horseback.  His young grand-daughter who heard this story later wrote it up and send it in to have it published in the Guidepost magazine.  This is her story.

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Ben Nevis and The Hamburg Passenger Lists

Sunday 30 October 2011 at 12:32 pm

During 1853 and 1854, someone, who most logically would have been a representative of the V. L Meyer Shipping Company, went to Lusatia to collect names and deposits of Prussians and Saxons interested in going to Texas with the group of "old Lutherans" from the churches of Klitten and Weigersdorf.  As he went to and fro he accumulated the names and the fares and recorded them on a document heretofore known as the "Ben Nevis List."  This list accompanied the Wends to Texas and was used by Pastor John Kilian as a resource to document the birth and death events in the lives of his parishioners.  In 1953-1954, Anna Blasig relied on these lists to write her masters  thesis, "The Lusatian Wends Who Came to Texas" which was published as the book, The Wends Of Texas, and upon completion of her research deposited these lists in what was then named Barker Library at the University of Texas.  Today the "Ben Nevis Lists" are in the same place, now named Dolph Brisco Center for American Studies, Sid Richardson Hall, University of Texas, next to the LBJ Presidential Library.

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Delaplain League and Johann Dube - and his papers?

Monday 21 March 2011 at 09:08 am

Johann Dube and Carl Lehmann set out from Houston in advance of the oncoming Wends to find land to buy.  After several dry runs they settled on what came to be known as the "Delaplain League," a little over 4000 acres around the St Paul's Lutheran Church in Serbin.  Forty of the 41 tracts were sold to the church and Wendish families at a dollar per acre based on the amount of money each family had.  They started living on it right away.  It took a period of time to get it surveyed and a longer period of time for the titles to be transferred from Dube, as the grantor, to each respective grantee.  The deeds can be found in both the Bastrop and Lee County Courthouse.

Who kept the books and where are they now?

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