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0 In this comment, we make reference only to the actual Romanian Banat [Timis and Caras-Severin Counties and a little part in southern Arad County]. The historical8 Banat was divided [after WWI] between the western part of Romania [18.966 km2 or 66,5%], northern Yugoslavia [the eastern part of Vojvodina, which is part of Serbia; 32,5%], and eastern Hungary [a very small part of the north Banat; 1%].
1 In 1889 the remainder of the Banat Imperial Administration Archive [1716-1735] was transferred to the National Archive in Budapest. Few archive funds for the 18th-19th centuries were taken to Yugoslavia during the Serbian domination [1918-1919] of Banat.
2 I am referring to the Roman Catholic parish church books [KB's]. The Schwaben's religion was mainly Roman Catholic. As a matter of fact, until Joseph II's Edict of Tolerance issued in 1781, the Protestants were not allowed to immigrate to Banat. But at FHL4 you will find also some parish registers for the Evangelische Kirche [for the villages Ferdinandsberg/Nandorhegy/Otelu Rosu, Liebling, etc. It is interesting to note that initially the Ferdinandsberg records were filmed in 1944 at Kronstadt/Brasov-Romania].
3 Available also through the Family History Library [FHL] of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For all the existing FHL microfilms for the Banat area please check the FHL Catalog at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints WEB Site.
4 This information derives from Josef Schmidt’s book: "Die Banater Kirchenbucher, eine Bestandsaufnahme der verfilmten Banater Kirchenbucher in der Bibliothek des Instituts fur Auslandsbeziehungen Stuttgart" / Filmed Banat church registers owned by the Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen, 1979, AkDFF, Sindelfingen. 86 pages, Stuttgart-Germany.
5 It seams that the term Donauschwaben was created around 1920 by Robert SIEGER [* 8.03.1864, Wien; + 1.11.1926, Graz], head of the Department of Geography at Graz University between 1905 and 1926. Under Sieger's leadership the Department of Geography shifted it's focus from the typical physical geography issues (lakes, glaciers, geomorphology) and regional geography to human geography. The circumstances in which SIEGER used the term Donauschwaben for the first time are shown probably in the article "Robert Sieger, Präger der Stammesbezeichnung Donauschwaben" published in "Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Donauschwaben. Gedenkschrift für Friedrich Metz den Freund der Donauschwaben", (Herausgeber unter Mitarbeiter von) Dr. Josef SCHRAMM, 1972, Stuttgart, Landsmannschaft der Donauschwaben in Baden-Württemberg, 175 pages, Donauschwäbisches Schrifttum; 16. Robert SIEGER's works. The term was assumed also by Hermann RÜDIGER [1889-1946]. The first of his numerous study trips brought him in Banat in 1922. He was both in Romania and in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes / future Yugoslavia. The resultants of this visit were made publicly for the first time on 19.02.1923 during a conference held at the München University. In the same year, Hermann RÜDIGER published the text of the conference as a study entitled "Das Deutschtum an der mittleren Donau: (Ungarn, Südslawien, Rumänien)" and bearing the dedication "Den Donauschwaben und ihren völkischen Organisationen, dem Schwäbisch-Deutschen Kulturbund in Neusatz, dem Deutsch-Schwäbischen Kulturverband in Temesvar, der Deutsch-Schwäbischen Volksgemeinschaft im rumänischen Banat". In 1923, Dr. Hermann RÜDIGER was appointed as head of department at "Deutsches Ausland-Institut" / DAI and chief editor of the bimonthly "Der Auslandsdeutsche", the official publication of DAI between 1918-1938. "Deutsche Ausland-Institut" / DAI [i.e. German Foreign Institute] was founded in 1917 in Stuttgart as an academic think tank for cultivating and maintaining connections with emigrant Germans and people of German descent in foreign countries. DAI's name is to be found as Institut für das Deutschtum im Ausland / Deutsche Ausland-Institut / Deutsches Auslandsinstitut / Deutsches Auslands-Institut on Internet [more on DAI in Ernst Ritter's "Das deutsche Ausland-Institut in Stuttgart: 1917-1945: ein Beispiel deutscher Volkstumsarbeit zwischen den Weltkriegen", Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1976. - VI, 163 pages (Frankfurter historische Abhandlungen; Bd. 14)]. DAI's activity ceased in 1945 but will be resumed in 1949 by "Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen" / IfA from Stuttgart. From these leading positions inside DAI Hermann RÜDIGER could easily promote the new Donauschwaben concept to mark the Ethnic-Germans other then the Transilvanian Saxons [i.e. Siebenbürgen Sachsen / Erdélyi Szászok / Sasi]. Hermann RÜDIGER's works. Some authors - as Josef BEER und andere in "Leidensweg der Deutschen im kommunistischen Jugoslawien, Band II: Erlebnisberichte über die Verbrechen an den Deutschen durch das Tito-Regime in der Zeit von 1944-1948" [Donauschwäbische Kulturstiftung, München / Sindelfingen, 1993, 1032 pages], at page 16 - give wrongly full credit to Hermann RÜDIGER for coining the term Donauschwaben in 1923. Even Rüdiger declared in 1938 that: "Als ich nach meiner ersten größeren Reise in den Südosten 1922 eine zusammenfassende Bezeichnung für die Deutschen am Mittelaufbau der Donau suchte, prägte ich zusammen mit dem … Geographen Robert Sieger in Graz das Wort Donauschwaben ...". It's still a mystery how they "coined / shaped" [in original prägte] together this term! More probably, Hermann RÜDIGER just borrowed the term from Robert SIEGER. In 1935 the term is used also in "Handworterbuch des Grenz- und Auslandsdeutschtums" [herausgegeben von Carl PETERSEN, Paul Hermann RUTH, Otto SCHEEL, Hans SCHWALM, vol. II, Breslau, 1935, pages 290-305]. The concept/name Donauschwaben was/is used only/mainly in scientific works. Until the end of the WWI the term Ungarländische Schwaben was used for the Germans living in the countryside and Deutschungarn for those living in towns and cities of the former pre-WWI Hungary. In the 1930's the term Volksdeutsche was introduced by the Nazis to designate the Germans who were not citizens of the Third Reich. During the time this term became a terminus technicus in scientific historiography.
6 The manuscript was printed in 1988 under the title: "Die Auswanderung aus dem kurkolnischen Sauerland im Zuge der theresianischen Banatbesiedlung 1763-1772", 270 p. [ISSN 0177-8153] and was published, with a short presentation made by Erhard Treude [Friedhelm Treude son's] by Kreis Olpe-Kreisarchiv Kurfurst-Heinrich - Str. 34, D-57462 Olpe, Biggesse [now, it seems, out of print].
7 According to David Dreyer: "Apparently the camera was set up in Timisoara and the KB's [church records] were brought in from the country churches for the filming. Treude's main goal was to document the origin from Germany of as many of the original German colonists as possible; therefore he only filmed the KBs up until the last settler died. While they would finish that book they did not then film any subsequent books for a given locality". David Dreyer made a much more comprehensive account on how the Banat Roman-Catholic KB's where filmed and what happened with these films after WWII in a post on rootsweb's Banat-List on 29.11.2001. [the same post with some minors completions and explanations from our part]
8 In the historical Banat Region existed approximately 800 villages. Not all the parishes existing in Banat during the time were covered by Friedhelm Treude's enterprise.
The historical Banat Region was almost a perfect square of 28.526 km2 and had the following boundaries: at N the Mures/Maros/Mieresch River; at E the foothills of the Transylvanian Alps/Carpati Mountains ; at S the Danube/Donau River; and at W the Tisa/Tisza/Theiss/Theiß River.
9 The information's on the microfilms existing at IfA / Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen in Stuttgart-Germany are taken from "Die banater Kirchenucher. Eine Bestandsafnahme der verifilmten Banater Kirchenbucher in der Bibliothek des Instituts fur Auslandsbeziehungen" written by Josef Schmidt in 1979.
FHL copied microfilms also from other German sources: in 1959 from Staatsarchiv in Speyer, in 1971 from Staatsarchiv in Ludwigsburg, or from Deutsche Zentralstelle fur Genealogie in Leipzig.
10 Sometimes it is difficult to locate quickly the right records as they where spread in different locations during the time. A good example is the case of Maureni [Moritzfeld/Moriczfold/Moritfeld]. The village is located in Caras Severin County-Romania, at 40 km SSE of Timisoara. Maureni was founded in 1783-'84, under King Joseph II, in the III period of colonization of the Banat. The Roman Catholic parish was raised in 1785-'86 and endowed by the Exc. Cameram Reg. Hung. The Roman Catholic Church was raised in 1819 in honor of Saint Martinum Martyr Bishop. In 1875 the church burned and was rebuild. The existing church was blessed in 1928. The Roman Catholic Church books started to be kept in 1786; this is a fortunate situation because the village had its own parish from the start. In most cases, until the establishment of the parish, the village was a filial parish of another surrounding village and the records must be searched there.
Genealogical Records for Maureni [Roman Catholic church books]:
a] Church records available at FHL [microfilm no. 1190317, 1190395] & IfA:
b] Church records available at National Archives in Caransebes:
-B for the period 1854-1907;
-M for the period 1.08.1852-17.07.1913;
-D for the period 5.01.1852-6.04.1856 and 1.01.1858-15.03.1889.
In June 2000, GenealogyRO Group members discovered these M and D records, as well as a church register covering the B 1883-1907, at Maureni Mayoralty, where nobody knew about them. Now the records are deposited at the National Archives in Caransebes.
c] Records available at Gataia's Roman Catholic Parish [today, Maureni is a Roman Catholic filial of Gataia parish]:
-B starting 1907 [and up to date];
-M starting 2.04.1919 [and up to date];
-D starting 1917 [and up to date].
d] At Maureni Mayoralty:
-civil registration for the period after 1895 [and up to the present];
-the church book covering the D in the period 15.03.1889-1917 is still here.
e] In this case we have also some good secondary sources: the school registers, found at National Archives in Caransebes, the graveyard or some books [unfortunately only in German language!] already written for this village:
-Dr. Anton Peter Petri's "Heimatbuch der deutschen Gemeinde Moritzfeld im Banat", ed. 1986 [with the list of the first settlers with their place of origin];
-Wilhelm Kremmer and Ernst Friedrich's "Geschichte der Gemeinde Moritfeld 1786-1936", Timisoara, ed. 1936.
In general, you must check every possibility - FHL or IfA, The Romanian National County's Archives, village Mayoralty, today Parish, etc. - in order to identify the exact location of all the records as a premise to success in your family research.
11 This is the official explanation found in the book: "Guide to the Banat State Archives", vol. I, Department of State Archives, Bucharest, 1965. The church books were used in the 1950's by the village's mayoralties at the release of the new identity cards and ten years later were gathered by the National Archives of Romania. The registers are now deposited at the Romanian National Archives branches existing in each romanian county.
12 Please note that we are not analyzing today's situation from Serbia / Yugoslavia.
13 The Archives of Bishopric-Bishop's Office in Timisoara are closed for public access and it's impossible to do research there. We even know a case when access to some records was deny - using a bunch of lies! - to a writer even if he had an official request for help from the "Democratic Forum of the Germans" from Banat. Anyhow, everybody declare that in this archive are only the "second" copy of church records for the period generally after 1895 [when the civil registration started and there exists good records at mayoralty].
14 The research for ancestors of Roman Catholic believe in Timisoara [Temeswar/Temesvár/Temeschwar/Temeschburg], the main town of Banat, today's capital of Timis County/Romania, is one of the most difficult of all because you must search trough several distinct RC parishes [each quarter had his own parish] and the town was big even at the end of XIX Century.
At FHL are to be found only the records for the "core" of the city [the CETATE/burg/var part of it also known as Innere Stadt/Belváros] under the name Temeschburg/Temesvar [microfilm no. 1190343 to 1190357]: RC Church records for B 1717-1852, M 1718-1861, D 1719-1835.
Also at FHL are to be found the RC Temeswar's Cathedral/Domkirche records [microfilm no. 1190358]: B, M, D 1739-1871.
In the romanian archives exists records/RC church books covering the period B 1717-1941; M 1717-1915; D 1717-1906 [but the research is forbidden for the period >1901]. Using the civil registration, it is possible to check also this period of time.
But there are also the Roman Catholic parishes for the following quarters:
- IOSEFIN /Maierele Noi/Józsefkülváros/Josefstadt: B, M, D 1774-2000;
- ELISABETIN /Maierele Vechi/Erzsébetkülváros/Elisabethstadt: had his own RC parish starting 1919. Until then the genealogical events [C/B, M, D] are in the Iosefin church books;
- FABRIC /Gyárkülváros/Fabrikstadt: B, M, D 1726-2000;
- MEHALA /Ferenckülváros/Franzstadt [starting 1.01.1910 a Timisoara's quarter] had his own RC parish starting 1919 when separate church books were kept also. Until then, the genealogical events are to be found in Iosefin's church books.
- FRATELIA /Chisoda Noua/Tesöld/Ujkissoda/Neu Kischoda's separate church books are to be kept starting 1932. Before that date the genealogical events are to be found in the Freidorf and Elisabetin [probably between 1919-1932] church books.
- FREIDORF /Szabadfalu/Neudorf/Freydorff [starting 1950 Timisoara's VII quarter] at FHL records: Freidorf, Szabadfalu [microfilm no. 0858370]: B 1723-1823, M 1730-1823, D 1728-1730, 1736-1823 [FB for this period of time].
The period 1723-1902 is covered by RC church records existing at National Archives in Timisoara. For the period >1895 there exists also the civil registration's records.
In fact, lots of Timisoara's inhabitants were living in rented houses and were moving a lot [each year?] because the houses were rented on a yearly basis. So, a thorough research means that you must search in all these parishes covering all the periods of time. Please remember that in 1900 Timisoara had already ~56.000 inhabitants.