Sunday, July 08, 2012

Germans in Toledo- The Newspapers

As in most of America the German population played a important factor in the population growth in Toledo, Ohio.  The language barrier provided a opportunity for the establishment of German newspapers to cater to the local population.  This leads to a new place to locate information on your ancestors.

When searching our family history the general assumption is the information about our ancestors will appear in the English speaking newspaper in their community.  For recent immigrants and non English speaking ancestors this is not the case.  We often overlook researching our ancestors in the local ethnic newspapers.  In the history of Toledo there were five German newspapers.  These papers played a important part in the lives of Germans in Toledo as well as staying in touch with their German homeland.  It is here that you will find the records of births, marriages and deaths.  They often did not get covered in the English speaking paper.  It often took generations to learn the English language.  Blending into the English speaking population often took decades.

The newspapers that were published in German, time period and location of copies are as follows.

Toledo Express- 1856- 1913  Toledo Public Library Local History Room microfilm
Toledo Freie Presse- 1888-1889 Toledo Public Library- Local History Room microfilm
Toledo Herold- 1907 Toledo Public Library- Local History Room microfilm
Toledo Volksblatt- 1907-1910- Toledo Public Library- Local History Room microfilm
Wochenliche Expree- 1867-1873- Toledo Public Library- Local History Room microfilm- 1918-1936, 1937-1943 Bowling Green State University- Great Lakes Archives microfilm

The information you will find in these newspapers could be the key to locating origins of your German families back in Germany.  Remember that the term German often applied to the language and not the place of origin.  Included in these groups would be people that came from Alsace-Lorraine, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Russians.  The common denominator between all these groups is that they spoke some form of German and were often lumped together with the people that came from Germany proper.  They were often identified by the area within Germany they came from as well.

The language barrier for us can be difficult, but many language word translators exist on the internet.  They identify the common words like birth, marriage and death in German and translate to English.  By no means do you have to know how to read German.  Just like the English written newspapers of the time the events of the time appeared in the same sections and often the same pages from day to day.

In the upcoming weeks I will be working on the other language groups and the papers that existed in this area.  As always I look forward to your input.  Don't be afraid of leaving comments.

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