This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Herman, the German/English Dictionary

We Heschs have unwittingly found a delightfully goofy new friend.  Her name's Su, and she lives in and researches from Gloucester, England.  You'll recall her account of finding the blog/realizing the link/living happily ever after, right?

Having found her husband's relatives in the same villages Heschs came from, she's looking into who they were.   We know an early Wanek was the miller, for sure, but we're debating whether he owned it or just worked, as everyone else did, for the landowner.

Su found this notarized birth certificate in her husband's family attic.  It was copied out of the church book from 1892 by the priest in Schamers in 1921...and  there's an odd phrase used:
it says that Karl Wanek's father Matthias was the "Muellermeister im Neiderschlagles #1,  Pfarre Plate..."
So, what's a Pfarre Plate?  We determined that "Pfarre" means Parish, but "Plate" didn't translate, so here's what our Su did...

 I decided that what I really need is a good German-English dictionary so when I went to Tewkesbury on Wednesday I had a good rummage around in the junk/antique and second-hand bookshops...... Most of these shops are narrow and piled high with just about anything you can think of and quite a few you can't, so getting in among the tottering piles with my stick and rucksack is not that easy.  I was deep in the bowels of a particularly interesting shop when I espied a pile of science and technical books.  In amongst them was an old physics book written by an old physicist, which Rob was particularly delighted to acquire. This looked hopeful, so we explored further and began to feel that a pick and a miner's lamp might be useful aids but under a pile of mixed trashy novels and foxed piano scores I found a gem.  It was a book of the sort even junk shop owners use as a doorstop: a huge German-English dictionary with the German bits printed in Blackletter Gothic!  This star find was mine for the noble sum of one English pound and we bore it away in well-disguised triumph for fear the owner might suddenly increase the price.
It was printed in the Second World War and since GCHQ  (our equivalent of your National Security Agency) is at Cheltenham, not far from here, we rather like to think it might have been used for deciphering codes and message.  It was written by a german Professor of German at Cambridge University and contains all sorts of useful things like lists of abbreviations etc. and has now become my favourite bed-time reading but woe betide  if you nod off while reading it as it is heavy enough to do serious damage if you drop it.  Herman, as it is now called, has proved invaluable.  I looked up Pfarre and still came up with Parish but things became more interesting when I looked up Platte.  With an umlaut over the 'a'  I found ironing, flat iron and as Platten I got flatten, level, or one who flattens and levels iron - a Smith!  I know that the usual word for a smith is Schmit but that's in Standard German.  We may have a local variation here- after all modern Austrian is slightly different to Standard German both in use of tenses and in vocabulary see here: ...............

So, I think it possible that Pfarre Platte may mean Parish Smith.  I'll have to check by looking at the baptisms of other of his children to see if the same thing is written in a different way or with different words.  I don't think this is incompatible with being a landowner - he may have owned a Smithing business rather than wielding a hammer himself.

We know that Ober means Upper and Nieder means Lower but have you wondered what a schlagel was?  Well I did so I looked it up.  Schlängel is something that twists or winds or meanders. Oberschlagles is on a bend in the river and is north of Neiderschlagles, which is also on a bend in the river!  All power to Herman and if I can only find a Czech equivalent I shall be a Happy Bunny indeed.  He is ready and willing to provide the answer to any puzzling word you may have.
Love, Su
YAY, and thank you, Su! I think having Herman around will be a HUGE help.  The connection from Bohemia to WWII is there in Herman, and 
1940's definitions are easier for us, certainly. 

Oh, and maybe Herman's definition of "ironing, flat iron" might mean, alternately,  that  
 Herr Wanek's household did the laundry and ironed linens for the parish?  Certainly, the miller had easiest access to lots of water.  Either's possible, huh?

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