People of Allen County, Indiana

German Heritage in Allen County, Indiana

Jump to: Germanfest, WWI Restrictions, Dutch or Deutsch, Most German Town, Germania Park, World Wars, Newspapers, Männerchor, 1851 Constitution in German, German Clubs, Records.

June 9, 2023 post by Genealogy Center on Facebook:

It's #flashbackfriday! This 1914 postcard shows Concordia German Luth. Church in Ft. Wayne along with St. Paul's German Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, IN.

View this images and many more in our Community Album: http://contentdm.acpl.lib.in.us/

Genealogy Gems: News from the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne, No. 227, January 31, 2023 https://lists.friendsofallencounty.org/.../msg00222.html

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FBI Case Files on Fold3
by Elizabeth Hodges
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Fold3, a subscription-based database that can be accessed for free on-site in the Genealogy Center, is home to 596,318,073 total records. This database is considered the go-to resource for military records, but due to the “Russian-doll-like” nature of Fold3, most people don’t realize the non-military gems waiting to be uncovered! One interesting non-military record collection on Fold3 are the FBI Case Files. This collection comprises 2,313,321 digitized records from 1908-1922. Beginning in 1908, the Bureau of Investigation (which became known as the FBI in 1935) kept files on millions of Americans. Even if you believe your ancestor was a law-abiding citizen, there is still a possibility that they might be mentioned in a case file.

The case files on Fold3 are divided into four distinct groups: Bureau Section Files (1920-21), Mexican Files (1909-21), Miscellaneous Files (1908-22), and the Old German Files 1915-20. The Bureau Section Files are composed of more than 240,000 investigative reports and correspondence from other areas of the Department of Justice, whose functions were eventually absorbed into the Bureau of Investigation. The Mexican Files are records relating to Mexican neutrality violations. The records include reports, memorandums, and other documents relating to investigations of persons believed to be operating against U.S. interests during the Mexican civil wars. The Miscellaneous Files are arranged by file numbers corresponding to dates on which the investigations began. These files contain investigative reports, correspondence, and memos pertaining to alleged violations of federal laws. The Old German Files, the largest of the four groups, contains 400,000 records (1.8 million individual documents) relating to investigations on German immigrants and German-Americans who were considered politically suspicious before and during World War I.

What is particularly interesting about the Old German Files is that the investigations were not limited to those who were German or German-American. A deeper dive into these files shows that anyone who was suspected of having the potential to be “pro-German,” socialist, communist, or simply anti-war between 1915-1920 was being watched by the Bureau of Investigation. For example, anyone suspected of being involved with the International Workers of the World (IWW) was being watched. The Bureau of Investigation investigated a former Fort Wayne resident and freight handler for the Wabash and Nickel Plate railroads, James Gilday, because he was accused of being “a detective working in the I.W.W. ranks.” Essentially, the Bureau of Investigation wanted to track down Gilday, so his file details primarily where he worked, where he lived, who his neighbors were, and where he moved to when he left Fort Wayne in May 1917. The Bureau investigated another Fort Wayne resident, Captain Edmund Van Buskirk, for “disloyalty” after allegedly making pro-German statements while he was stationed at Base Hospital at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, and because they believed he was “of German descent.” The summary of this investigation is a gold mine of genealogical data! It details where he was from (as well as his parents and grandparents), his educational background, his employment history as the Allen County Health Officer, how many children he had, and that he was a Scottish Rite Mason.

The easiest way to find these records on Fold3 is to scroll towards the bottom of the homepage and click “Non-Military,” then click “Publications,” and search FBI in the Publications search bar. While Fold3 is a subscription-based database, certain record sets (including the FBI Case Files) are free. As with many records in Fold3, the organization of the records is convoluted, so don’t make the mistake of limiting your search to the Old German Files or the Mexican Files because there are records for both filed under Miscellaneous. Despite the disorganization and difficulty of using Fold3, these records are fascinating and can offer great information to add to your family’s story.

FBI Case Files on Fold3: https://www.fold3.com/publication/74/fbi-case-files

For more information on the Investigative Files of the Bureau of Investigation: https://www.fold3.com/pdf/M1085.pdf

Fort Wayne Germanfest

Essen, Trinken und Gemütlichkeit! Food, drink and coziness!

Fort Wayne Germanfest began in 1981 as a project to bring a German folk festival in early June in celebration of German heritage in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Since then, Germanfest has continued to grow, and has now become a highlight of the summer festivals in Fort Wayne. Germanfest is brought to you by the four local German Clubs; Fort Wayne Sport Club, Fort Wayne Turners, Fort Wayne Maennerchor/Damenchor and German Heritage Society. Each of these entities was founded by German immigrants, celebrates German-American culture and welcomes new members of any heritage. Dankeschön mit herzlichen Grüßen! Thank you with warm regards!

  1. Germanfest website: https://germanfest.org/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Germanfest/ . Visit Fort Wayne has many blogs on Germanfest.
  2. Fort Wayne Sportclub: https://www.fortwaynesportclub.com/ The Club was founded in 1927 by a group of soccer players who had come to Fort Wayne, Indiana from Germany. Their goal was “The Promotion of Soccer Football and German Culture.” It has since established itself as one of the most successful Soccer Clubs in the Midwest. Read more on their About page.
  3. Fort Wayne Turners, is a German Social and Sports Club located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Organized in 1865 as the Turnverein, with a focus on gymnastics. Today the Turners have many physical education and civic programs, as well as many social events. From a May 31, 2022 post by Germanfest on Facebook. Read their archived History from their  website: http://fortwayneturners.org/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fortwayneturners.org/.
  4. Fort Wayne Maennerchor/Damenchor is a Men's and Women's choir dedicated to the preservation and promotion of their German heritage as expressed in choral music. On October 4, 1869 the first German male chorus, established by German immigrants, was organized in Fort Wayne under the name of the Fort Wayne Sangerbund. Since its origin the chorus has been dedicated to the preservation and promotion of their German heritage as expressed in choral music. Read more of their History on their Website: https://fortwaynemaennerchor.us/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/118049268314366/.
  5. German Heritage Society - Founded in 1986, the German Heritage Society (GHS) is the youngest of the Fort Wayne German clubs and is focused on the preservation of the German History of Fort Wayne, Indiana. While each of the other German clubs have a specific focus (e.g. music or sports), GHS is intended to be a place for anyone with ties to or curiosity about: German culture, their German heritage, or the effects our local German history has had on the Fort Wayne Area. It is a welcoming club whose goal is to support, encourage, and stimulate education concerning German cultural traditions, German language, German-American immigration and German-American cultural development. Read more World of GHS on their website: http://www.germanheritagesociety.com/or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GHSFortWayne/.

30 days from today the 40th Germanfest will begin in Fort Wayne, IN! video on Facebook.

Sounds of Germanfest Vol. 2 by GermanfestFortWayne

Early German Settlers of Fort Wayne starting on page 386 - page 28 in the back of the book in the section Biographical Sketches of Early Settlers of Fort Wayne of History of Fort Wayne, from the earliest known accounts of this point, to the present period. Embracing an extended view of the aboriginal tribes of the Northwest, including, more especially, the Miamies ... with a sketch of the life of General Anthony Wyane; including also a lengthy biography of ... pioneer settlers of Fort Wayne. Also an account of the manufacturing, mercantile, and railroad interests of Fort Wayne and vicinity by Brice, Wallace A . Publication date 1868 on Archive.org.

Laws Restricting German Activity

February 25, 1919 Indiana Governor James P. Goodrich signed into law State Senator Franklin McCray's anti-German language act, which forbade elementary schools from teaching the language.

An April 6, 2022 post by The History Center on Facebook.

On April 6, 1917, exactly 105 years ago today, the United States declared war on Germany and held that all German citizens, natives and denizens were enemy aliens. In Allen County the process of registering all “enemy aliens” began under the guidance of the local police department. Residents (all men, women and women married to German men) were initially given until June 9, later extended until June 18, to register. This task was immense, given the large German population in Fort Wayne. All residents filled out a four page document, which included their place of birth, time of emigration, current residence, employer, family (including those still in Germany), mug shot, fingerprints and physical description. In response to these new restrictions and identifications, attitudes towards our combined German heritage began to change. Most churches, schools, businesses and governmental proceedings dropped their use of the German language, adopting a more Anglo-American stance. #sociallyhistory

 

The photos on the are from The Enemy Alien Registration Files created by the Fort Wayne Police Department in 1918 as a four page form titled "United States of America, Department of Justice, Registration Affidavit of Alien Enemy." You can search for names from the forms in the Genealogical Records of German Families of Allen County, Indiana, 1918 Index at The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


June 17, 1918 News Sentinel
The Alien Enemies Act of 1917

The Alien Enemies Act of 1917 A disturbing chapter in the history of Allen County nearly wiped out the city’s rich German heritage published August 8, 2016 in the Fort Wayne Reader by Jim Sack.

The Alien Enemies Act of 1917

The Alien Enemies Act of 1917 A disturbing chapter in the history of Allen County nearly wiped out the city’s rich German heritage again November 5, 2018 in the Fort Wayne Reader by Jim Sack.

World War I Enemy Alien Records  at The Library of Congress.

Some background information is at The WWI Home Front: War Hysteria & the Persecution of German-Americans on Authentic History.com.

Alien Registration Records 23-page report on the Manatee Genealogical Society of Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida.

See the lengthy July 23, 2020 History Note #29 – Ban on German with images by Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church (Soest), Fort Wayne on Facebook. We have more on the Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church (Soest) on our Church page.

June 3, 2023 post by Historic 07 District - Fort Wayne on Facebook:

Exactly 106 years ago this week, the City of Fort Wayne was dealing with an “enemy alien” problem. It was the height of World War I, and in April 1917, the U.S. entered the war. One major problem was that German-born Americans were one of the largest groups of immigrants, especially in Fort Wayne. As we enter Germanfest week, today’s story begins with Henry Rudisill and ends with the Americanization of Fort Wayne’s German roots. Read on for more.

Henry, a U.S.-born German, came to Fort Wayne on Christmas Eve in 1829 when only 150 people lived there. Some were French, some were Indians, and Henry had been hired by U.S. land agents John Barr, and John Mccorkle, to develop the area. At the time, there weren’t many Germans in America. He helped relocate thousands to Fort Wayne by being Lutheran and being able to speak both German and English.

When Rudisill passed away, there were 30,000 residents in Allen County, but a significant portion were German. By the early 1900s, the German population might have been as much as 60%. Our local bank was known as the German American National Bank, there were two German public elementary schools, two German-language newspapers, Germania Park sat on the St. Joseph River, the Germania Café was a classy seafood restaurant, Main Street was also known as “Haupt Strasse” and Berghoff Brewery’s tagline was “A real German brew.” Even the Chicago Tribune would call Fort Wayne “a most German town,” but then WWI happened, and it all changed.

In 1917, for the most part, American sentiment was more neutral, especially amongst German Americans. But as we entered the war, Woodrow Wilson drafted the Alien Enemy Presidential Proclamation of 1917. These regulations required German-born males over 14 to register as aliens. In addition, the City of Fort Wayne and other cities created zones where German-born males could or could not travel without their registration cards.

Across the country, this spurred unrest where restricted travel, work, and even arrests became commonplace. In addition, thousands were incarcerated in camps in Utah and Georgia for the duration of the war. This ultimately led to the Americanization of what was a German town. Schools no longer could teach in German, sermons at German Churches transitioned to English, German street signs were removed, the German American Bank became the Lincoln Bank (think Lincoln Tower), and even the Berghoff Brewery changed its tagline.

As you enjoy Germanfest this week, remember the deep roots of German culture in Fort Wayne. Speaking of Rudisill, if you happen to be in the Historic 07 District - Fort Wayne today, it will be yard sale city, and Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood has their fantastic Porchfest event today!

Dutch or Deutsch?

We often hear folks claim Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry when their German ancestors lived in Pennsylvania saying that Dutch is a mispronounciaton of Deutsch the German word for German. It is actually a bit more complicated than that. This December 16, 2011 article Why Are People From The Netherlands Called Dutch? on Dictionary.com explains there is a common origin for the words Dutch and Deutsch. Another article discussing this is Deutsch or Dutch? Common misconceptions, meanings and origins by Naina Pottamkulam published 17 April 2020 on a German website imexpat.de. (.de is the web reference for a German website).

A light hearted energetic explanation by a German woman named Feli from Germany is shown in the video below:

German Reacts to Pennsylvania Dutch | Feli from Germany by Feli from Germany uploaded Jun 16, 2022 on YouTube
Over 300,000 people in the world speak Pennsylvania Dutch. But wait... does this mean they speak Dutch? Or German? And can a native German speaker understand this language at all? Let's find out! This video references another video: Why do we say DEUTSCHLAND instead of GERMANY? #askagerman Series Pt. 1 | Feli from Germany uploaded November 24, 2021 on YouTube. What did you always want to ask a German? In this mini-series, I'll be answering your questions! Why do we call Germany Deutschland? And why does Germany have so many different names in different languages? She has an #askagerman play list of more videos on YouTube.

Fort Wayne "a most German town"

German immigrants had been settling in Fort Wayne and the surrounding region since the 1830s, in the days of the Wabash and Erie Canal. The Germans had established churches and had taken their places in political, social and economic life.

By the 1890s, the Chicago Tribune typically characterized Fort Wayne as "a most German town" whenever it reported the news here. Three daily German-language newspapers were hawked in Fort Wayne; the mayor, Charles Zollinger, was a German immigrant, as were most City Council members; and German breweries such as the Berghoff offered some of the finest beer in the Midwest. German was the language commonly used in church sermons and classroom lessons, and it was the most often-heard tongue on the streets. German clubs of every type and description, from the brotherhoods of veterans of the Kaiser's army to the sports clubs and singing fraternities, were the staple of Fort Wayne social life. There even was a Germania Park on the east bank of the St. Joe River. (Today it is a housing development). Photos of Berghoff beer information was posted April 8.2022 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook.

Copied from CITYSCAPES World War II camp had impact on city by MICHAEL HAWFIELD from the archives of The News-Sentinel. December 15, 1990.

1913 Freie Presse=Staats=Zeitung German newspaper

Advertisement for the Freie Presse=Staats=Zeitung newspaper in The Griswold-Phelps handbook and guide to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 1913-1914 stated Fort Wayne's 78,000 population Is Sixty per Cent. German. At Archive.org.

Fort Wayne - A Most German Town WFWA-TV39 PBS Fort Wayne Special | 57m 22s The rich history of German immigrants and culture in Fort Wayne. Aired: 03/20/98 Rating: NR. VHS at Allen County Public Library.

Fort Wayne "a most German Town” front page article in the 20-page Indiana German Heritage Society & IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center Newsletter Volume 27 Number 2 Spring 2011 of the Indiana German Heritage Society website.

April 8, 2019 post by The History Center on Facebook:

A most German town is an apt description of Fort Wayne during the late 19th century and along with that heritage came the demand for German beer. One German family to answer this demand was the Berghoff family. The Berghoff Brewery was established in April 1887 by the Berghoff brothers: Gustav, Henry, Hubert and Herman. They brewed German beers with the names, Dortmunder, Salvator and Bock, that reflected their Germanic homeland. Berghoff survived the era of Prohibition by making soft drinks, but by the time beer production resumed in 1933, the Berghoff family had sold most of their interests in the business. The Falstaff Brewing Corporation of St. Louis purchased the brewery in 1954; in December 1988 it was acquired by the S&P Company of California. In January 1990, the brewery closed its doors for the final time. The closure of the former Berghoff plant, Fort Wayne’s last major brewery, brought an end to the tradition of large-scale beer production in our city. #sociallyhistory

Germania Park

1907 Berghoff Brewery Bartenders Union members at Germania Park

Berghoff Brewery Bartenders Union members at Germania Park, Fort Wayne, IN, about 1907 from the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library. Photo discussed February 29, 2024 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook.

Germania Park

Germania Park — Large, wooded private park on bank of St. Joseph river about 6 mi. n. of city. Reached by drive and by Robison Park car line. Suspension bridge connects trolley station with park. Robison park car at Transfer Corner. Page 95 in The Griswold-Phelps handbook and guide to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 1913-1914 on Archive.org.

Germania Park, in the late 1880s and early 1900s was located on the east bank of the St. Joe River in what was a housing development in 1990 from the end of the paragraph above. Copied quote: a newly annual "German Day" celebration held in Germania Park which was owned by the Berghoff Brewing Co. This celebration ceased with U.S. entry into the war [World War I], and with it the park which was sold to the Elks. from page 32 of Chapter 16 in the book Becoming American at one time on the former Hoosier German Heritage website.

Wir Trinken und Tanzen in Germania Park: Fort Wayne German-American Society and the National German American Alliance during World War I 1 Jan. 1994, 34 pages by Mark A Rogers, 977.202 F77ROG at the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (Author) for History Studies Seminar at Indiana University - Purdue University in Spring 1994 Old Fort News, vol. 59, nos. 1-2 (1997): 1-20. Good background on Fort Wayne's German Community (page 130 at The History Center.

"Rogers, Mark A. “Wir Trinken und Tanzen im Germania Park: Fort Wayne
German American Society and the National German American
Alliance during World War I.” Old Fort News, vol. 60, no. 1 (1997): 1- 30." page 113 of 294 page Historical Sources of Fort Wayne, Indiana by John D. Beatty on Archive.org.

"Rogers, Mark A. “Wir Trinken und Tanzen im Germania Park: Fort Wayne
German American Society and the National German American
Alliance during World War I.” Old Fort News, vol. 59, nos. 1-2 (1997):
1-20. Good background on Fort Wayne’s German community." page 130 of 294 page Historical Sources of Fort Wayne, Indiana by John D. Beatty on Archive.org.

"Rogers, Mark A. Wir Trinken und Tanzen in Germania Park: Fort Wayne German-American Society and the National German-American Alliance during World War I. Fort Wayne: Mark A. Rogers, 1994./977.202 F77rog/ Important history of the German community in Fort Wayne before and after World War I, including the history of Germania Park. Includes some photographs." page 204 of 294 page Historical Sources of Fort Wayne, Indiana by John D. Beatty on Archive.org.

From page 188 in Notes to Pages 68-69 and page 193 in the Bibliography of Hard News, Heartfelt Opinions A History of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette By Scott M. Bushnell · 2007.

1907 Berghoff Brewery Bartenders Union members at Germania Park

Maennerchor at Germania Park, 1913 from the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library.

July 28, 1912 Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana)

Posted by Indiana News 1 on Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 24, 2014 post by the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook:

July 28, 1912
Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana)

World Wars

For people in Fort Wayne, World War I was fought on two fronts: against Kaiser Germany in Europe and against themselves at home. Between 60 and 70 percent of Allen County's population was of German descent during the war years of 1914 to 1919. But even strength in numbers couldn't protect them from the effects of wartime propaganda and pressures of Anglo-cultural conformity. Before the war, German was the primary language in the homes, churches and parochial schools of these German-American settlers. Many street signs were in German. (Main Street, for instance, was Haupt Strasse.) A large portion of local industry and commercial enterprises had at its roots German tooling and emigres. (An entire German town was moved to Fort Wayne when Wayne Knitting Mills opened.) Mayors, judges, firefighters and other community leaders had strong German ties. Social and sporting clubs and Germania Park in St. Joseph Township provided outlets to engage in traditional German activities. Copied from WWI altered the German accent of Allen County by Cynthia Moothart O'Bannon in 1910-1919: THE INDUSTRIALIZATION ERA of The News-Sentinel newspaper. Also found as The Germans of Fort Wayne, Indiana prior to WW1 on German American National Congress.

I have not read this 153 page THE 1901 FORT WAYNE, INDIANA CITY ELECTION: A POLITICAL DIALOGUE OF ETHNIC TENSION by Nancy Eileen Brown published as her Master’s Thesis in May 2013 that may discuss this era. Submitted to the faculty of the University Graduate School in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in the Department of History, Indiana University. Posted at CORE a not-for-profit service delivered by the Open University and Jisc.

Registration of German alien enemies by United States. Dept. of Justice Publication date 1918 on Archive.org

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The Registration of Alien Enemies in The pictorial history of Fort Wayne, Indiana : a review of two centuries of occupation of the region about the head of the Maumee River by Griswold, B. J. (Bert Joseph), 1873-1927; Taylor, Samuel R., Mrs, publication date 1917, page 582, The Registration of Alien Enemies. on Archive.org

1940-1949: IN THE SHADOW OF WAR has German POWs curious but non-threatening Prisoner of war by Bob Caylor of The News-Sentinel newspaper. See Camp Scott for more information.

The 1980 Federal Census ranked Indiana ninth among the 50 states in the number of people claiming German ancestry. (p 147 Peopling Indiana - sourc p177) Need more recent research.

German ancestry is claimed by a majority of Americans in 2000. Germans were attracted to America for open tracts of land, religious freedom and their contributions to the nation included establishing the first kindergartens, Christmas trees, hot dogs and hamburgers. From The map that shows where America came from: Fascinating illustration shows the ancestry of EVERY county in the US September 2, 2013 on dailymail.co.uk.

  1. German-American National Bank (1906) - in 1918 during World War I became Lincoln National Bank, in 1990's became part of Norwest Bank, then in 1998 merged to become Wells Fargo Bank.
  2. Following the end of World War I, in February and March 1919 the Indiana legislature passed two laws banning German from being taught in any public, private or parochial schools. Read more on September 27, 2013 Friday Fact on Indiana Genenealogical Society on Facebook.

German Language Newspapers

By 1890, more than 1,000 German newspapers were being published in the United States. Read more on Chronicling America’s Historic German Newspapers and the Growth of the American Ethnic Press by Leah Weinryb Grohsgal published July 2, 2014 on National Endowment for the Humanities.

See the German Language section of our Newspapers page.

Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor

Website: fortwaynemaennerchor.us. Their About pages states: On October 4, 1869 the first German male chorus, established by German immigrants, was organized in Fort Wayne under the name of the Fort Wayne Sangerbund. Since its origin the chorus has been dedicated to the preservation and promotion of their German heritage as expressed in choral music. Eventually, there were eight singing societies in the city: the Sangerbund, Eintracht, Concordia, Teutonia, Germania, Frohsinn, Lieder Tafel, and the Manner Gesangverein. In 1899 these eight choruses combined under the name of Concordia Gesangverein, which consolidated with the Saxonia Gesangverein in 1922. Four years later this consolidation became the Fort Wayne Männerchor. A Ladies’ Auxiliary was organized in 1938, but the ladies only began singing in 1974. In 1997 they became full members of the chorus and it became known as the Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor. The Indiana German Heritage Society states Fort Wayne is "Indiana’s second largest city. Part of its growth stems from Fort Wayne actively recruiting Germans with skills needed by area industries. By the late 1800’s approximately 80% of the population was German! Fort Wayne remains a stoutly German city with about 50% of the residents claiming German ancestry. The Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor Is the second oldest German Singing society in Indiana. It seeks to preserve and promote German choral music. It still sings all of its music in German. German's believe that physical fitness leads to a sound mind. This is the basis for the Fort Wayne Turners Society. They have a planned recreational and social program for all members of a family. The Fort Wayne Sport Club was started in 1927. The members were soccer players who had come from Germany to Fort Wayne. The Sport Club today continues its soccer program and includes German culture in their social events." See also Choir celebrates 150 years of German tradition by Megan Knowles -published March 25, 2019 on inFortWayne.com.

November 16, 2023 post by Friends of Wyneken on Facebook:

Our latest newsletter is out! You can read (and subscribe) to the newsletter here: Friends of Wyneken Newsletter

The article includes updates on many projects around the house, information about our upcoming annual meeting, and a history of the Fort Wayne Sängerbund, the city's first German singing group.

(Pictured: the Sängerbund in the late 1800s) 

The November 2023 newsletter Historical Article The Fort Wayne Sängerbund contains a link to fourteen-page Fort Wayne's Place in the Music World. Bulson Eugene L-No Date-0004 at the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Librarywith more information on the Sängerbund and early music history of Fort Wayne back to the early 1800s.

Henry Rudisill was one of the most influential people in encouraging German immigrants to come and stay in Fort Wayne. Read about more than Germanfest in More than Legs and Lederhosen by Carmen Doyle published June 18, 2014 in History Center Notes & Queries blog.

The popular Germanfest started in 1981 as a project to bring a German cultural festival to Fort Wayne according to Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor who since 1936 has participated in district conferences involving approximately 350 singers which are held each year in April or May maintaining a German singing tradition which dates to October 4, 1869. German Heritage Society formed in 1986 to promote German heritage and culture in Fort Wayne, to keep German traditions alive in “this most German city” and was instrumental in establishing our Sister City relationship with Gera, Germany.

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Journal of German-American Studies

Ten pages on page 9-18 of the HOOSIER KULTURKAMPF: ANGLO-GERMAN CULTURAL CONFLICTS IN FORT WAYNE, 1840-1920 Clifford H. Scott from Journal of German-American Studies, Vol. 15, No. 1 (1980), 9-18.

Fort Wayne Sister Cities program with Gera, Germany started June 6, 1992, Plock, Poland in March 1990, and Takaoka, Japan in 1977. "The National program for Sister Cities International was created in 1956 by President Eisenhower to foster citizen diplomacy and create a more peaceful world. Fort Wayne Sister Cities International, Inc. (FWSCI) was established in 1976 and organized in 1983 as an Indiana 501(c) (3) Corporation, and is affiliated with Sister Cities International, based in Washington, D.C." From City of Fort Wayne. They also have a Fort Wayne Sister Cities page on Facebook.

1851 Constitution of the State of Indiana
10% were printed in German

November 1, 1851, the new Indiana Constitution went into effect. A little know fact is 10% of the copies were printed in German! Shown on the last page after a mention on page 10 of Indiana Constitution by the Indiana Historian A Magazine Exploring Indiana History all at IN.gov it shows 10% of the copies were printed in German! - Before the convention adjourned, it ordered 50,000 copies of the Constitution printed in English and 5,000 copies printed in German (Dunn, 496). The new Constitution was also published in many newspapers throughout the state. (Barnhart and Carmony, Indiana, 99).

Gesetze des Staates Indiana : passirt in der Extra-Sitzung ... Indiana flip book from HathiTrust.

FRIDAY FACT: Because of Indiana's large population of German immigrants, in March 1879 the Indiana legislature passed a law allowing legal notices to be published in German-language newspapers, in addition to English-language newspapers. From December 20, 2013 Facebook post by Indiana Genealogical Society.

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In 1897, at Robinson Park on the north side of Fort Wayne on German Day, 10,000 people came for a singing competition. Mentioned in City Scapes Trolley whisked thrill-seekers to park June 20, 1994 by Michael Hawfield from the archives of The News-Sentinel.

December 24, 1909 Fort Wayne News had a Christmas dividend check newspaper advertisement from the original Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana page on Facebook. Lincoln National Bank and Trust was chartered as The German American National Bank in 1905. Their 1906 book has officer photos and details on Archive.org. AntiqueBankNotes.com has examples of German-American National Bank of Fort Wayne National Currency Notes. During World War I, anti-German sentiment was running high and therefore on May 31, 1918, the German American National Bank became Lincoln National Bank. From Wikipedia.

In April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany. German was the second most commonly spoken language in America. Read a national level perspective in America’s war on language by Dennis Baron published September 37, 2014 on The Web of Language Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news at blogs.illinois.edu.

When Indiana Banned the German Language in 1919

February 11, 2022 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

On February 25, 1919, three months after the armistice that ended World War I, the Hoosier State banned the teaching of German to children, one of 34 states to institute English-only requirements by the early 1920s. Learn more at the blog: When Indiana Banned the German Language in 1919

 

Similar post WHEN INDIANA BANNED THE GERMAN LANGUAGE IN 1919 by Stephen J. Taylor published August 26, 2015 in the Indiana Historic Newspaper Digitization, Labor History, World War I on Hoosier State Chronicles Indiana's Digital Historic Newspaper Program.

Challenging Economic Borders Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Chemnitz, Germany by Nancy Brown in issue 112, March 2016 Indiana Magazine of History journal in the archives at Indiana University Scholarworks. Brown, N. (2018). Challenging Economic Borders: Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Chemnitz, Germany. Indiana Magazine of History, 112(1), 1–32. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/imh/article/view/24710

Winning the Vote in Fort Wayne, Indiana: The Long, Cautious Journey in a German American City PEGGY SEIGEL, Indiana Magazine of History journal in the archives at Indiana University Scholarworks, Vol. 102, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER 2006), pp. 220-257 (38 pages).

Look for "Fort Wayne German-Americans in World War I: A cultural flu epidemic," written by Clifford Scott, associate professor of history at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The Lincoln Tower is one of tallest buildings in Fort Wayne and had a big German Immigrant influence in its formation. Construction of the Lincoln Tower started less than a month before the stock market crash of October 1929 that signaled the beginning of the Great Depression. Completed in November 1930, the 312-foot Tower was for many years Indiana's tallest building. From the Lincoln Tower plaque on Waymarking.com.

A City of Immigrants: a brief overview of immigrants in Fort Wayne through 1920 published December 19, 2011 in the History Center Notes & Queries blog.

German Immigrants’ Outsized Role in Development of Fort Wayne Still Wields Influence by Joshua Schipper | Oct 4, 2022 | on  Fort Wayne Media Collaborative.

German Clubs

  1. The Fort Wayne Männerchor/Damenchor is the second oldest German Singing society in Indiana, founded in 1869 by immigrants who wanted to preserve and foster the tradition of German choral music.
  2. The Fort Wayne Sport Club grew out of the German's love of soccer. In 1927, the club was started by the many soccer players who came to this area from Germany after WWI.
  3. The Fort Wayne Turners were organized in 1865 as the Turnverein, with a focus on gymnastics. Today the Turners have many physical education and civic programs, as well as many social events.German believe that physical fitness leads to a sound mind.
  4. Germanfest began in 1981 formed from the 4 local German organizations. Jim Sack started the festival as well as founding the German Heritage Society and the Gera-Fort Wayne Sister City program from his August 2019 email.
  5. The German Heritage Society formed in 1986 to promote German heritage and culture in Fort Wayne. Sponsors many cultural events, provides scholarships to study German, and promotes travel to Germany. Was instrumental in establishing our Sister City relationship with Gera, Germany. The GHS goal is to keep German traditions alive in "this most German city".
  6. Indiana German Heritage Society - states "By the late 1800’s approximately 80% of the population was German! Fort Wayne remains a stoutly German city with about 50% of the residents claiming German ancestry." Recorded Presentations on YouTube.

Fort Wayne is a city where Embassy Theatre’s Grande Page pipe organ is practically a local celebrity and where scores of people drive from church to church just to hear their outstanding pipe organs demonstrated as part of “Follow the Pipes” during the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival. The Rev. Paul Grime, dean of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Kramer Chapel at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, traces part of that interest to the city’s German Lutheran roots. It’s a denomination that spawned arguably the most virtuosic organ composer in history, Johann Sebastian Bach, and in which traditional hymn-singing still plays a central role in worship. Quote from the newspaper article Instrument has many local fans by Rosa Salter Rodriguez of The Journal Gazette newspaper on February 7, 2013.

Hoosier Germantowns and Their Fates posted Apr 18, 2022 by Allen County Public Library on YouTube
Jasper native Don Flick will present on the many Indiana towns and villages named "Germantown." This includes the curious town on the National Road in Wayne County with two names: Pershing/East Germantown. Presented by Don Flick.

Books

German and Irish Immigrants in the Midwestern United States, 1850–1900 by Regina Donlon 2018 mentions Fort Wayne.

German Records

A September 15, 2022 post on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebookwith photos shows Wright's Ague Cure stating: An 1878 advertisement, available in both English and German: "Compounded and sold at 71 1/2 Calhoun Street." (Even the addresses of those giving testimonials were shared!) - Broadsides Collection, Indiana Historical Society.

October 24, 2022 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:

Sara Allen, Senior Librarian – Roger Minert's "German Immigrants in American Church

October 21, 2020 post by the Genealogy Center on Facebook:

Family History Month Genealogy Tip - "German Immigrants in American Church Records" by Roger Minert

September 19, 2023 post by Family Tree Magazine on Facebook:

"Are you among the 50 million Americans with German ancestry? Have you traced your line back to an immigrant? Take the next step and continue your research across the pond in your ancestor’s homeland. Your first target: German church records."

A Genealogist’s Guide to Researching German Church Records

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