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August 29, 2004

Leaving family houses behind...

DSC00079It seems that every now and then, our families have to let go their original properties, usually known as "family houses'. A number of reasons can be invoked: difficulties in dividing the property between the heirs (leaving it to the eldest child seems less rational nowadays), financial difficulties, move from country side to city life, emigration, etc.

The latest - sad - news is that our family house in the south of Chile is up for sale: Las Hortensias (picture here shortly) was a property acquired by my great-grand-father Max Hannig Ulriksen (I once found an old who's who in Santiago that mentions his original ownnership. Does someone own a copy of that book (early 1940s)?). It is located in camino a Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Region del Bio Bio, Chile.
My grand-father Otto Schulz Jara bought part of the property from his father-in-law and expanded it considerably during all his life. My mother was raised there, and I used to spend my holidays there as a kid with all my cousins: there were rooms with 2 to 5 beds all over the place, and my grand-parents kept expanding the house, and adding buildings. Well all good things I suppose have to come to an end.

rojach_startResearching the Internet, you'll find a number of properties that used to be in the family and that are now gone. Rojachhof, in southern Carinthia, Austria was the property of my wife's family for over 200 years, the von und zu Leobenegg branch. It is now a delightful hotel... There are even traces of the original Leobenegg castle, now in total ruins, not far from there.

schloss__drauhofenDavid von Dietrich was born at Drauhofen, a property bought by Thomas von Leobenegg to give to his daughter, David's grand-mother. It is now a state agronomy school in Carinthia for girls... Well, at least people are taking care of the properties, and the many descendants of the original owners can go and visit.

Do you get as emotional with the different appartments you have lived in ? Probably not. Hence, let's just realize that moving on is part of life.

ps: picture on the top left was taken this summer at a friend's family house. Hopefully they'll be able to keep their house.

Family names researched in this post: von DIETRICH, HANNIG, von und zu LEOBENEGG, SCHULZ, ULRIKSEN

August 29, 2004 at 09:14 PM in Austria, Chile | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Research French civil records in Algeria - CAOM (Aix-en-Provence, France)

Part of my wife's family lived in hte neighborhood of Sibi-bel-Abbès, province of Oran, Algeria, between 1860-1960. The lived in a number of places including Sidi-Bel-Abbès, Boukanéfis, Maison Blanche, Sidi Ali ben Youb, and for some branches, in Oran and Mostaganem.

The Sidi-bel-Abbès area was the home town of the French Foreign Legion and the whole area was considered military territory. Sidi Ali ben Youb was first the location of the local military penitenciary, and then little village was renamed for a while Chanzy by one of my wife's forefathers, David de Dietrich, when he became mayor, in hommage to General Chanzy under which he served at the Solferino battle, Italy, 1859. (Solférino had a major witness, journalist Henri Dunant, who later founded the International Red Cross, remembering the atrocities he saw on the battle field.)

Finding information in Algeria seemed to me quite complicated, and I was stuck for a long while. Some family members had christening records from the Eveché d'Oran, but I lacked the birth, marriage and death certificates. To some extent, for recent information you could try to ask them at the Archives for French people living in foreign territories. It is located in Nantes: the service is free, rather fast (7-15 days), and you can order certificate copies through the web. The only problem is that you need to provide them with the exact information you are looking for (names, parents, dates, places, etc.) which makes it very incovenient if you are trying the expand branches in your family tree.

Fortunately, the Franch National Archives (more on how to use them in another post) have a division called 'Centre des Archives d'Outre-Mer'. They are located in Aix-en-Provence, in the Southern part of France. Access there from Paris is pretty easy: it is now only 3 hours by high-speed train. The center is then located at a 15min walking distance from the bus stop, travelling from the train station to the city center. Beware: they are only open on week days, but you only need an ID card to get in. You can have up to 2 free visits per year there.
They have a new service allowing to view digitized records of most of what was in the Algerian Archives. The process of digitization should be finished by the end November 2004. Most of what you can get there is available online, although you can't access the documents online; you will have to go there, and they have more that doesn't show online. You can research very quickly, as they have spent lots of time entering the document's data (dates, places, names) into the database. You can print screen copies very easily (0,30€ / copy: make sure you bring enough change in coins, 5€ or 10€ notes to recharge your printing card).

I prepared a list of all the people I was looking for, checked with what was available online, and got almost 100 screencopies of documents. I even researched new people that I didn't know about. Expensive trip (train + photocopies), but a must to fast-forward in your research. Make sure you get there early, as there are only about 16 computers connected to the digitized database (with large screens). You can also bring a digital camera to take shots at the screens.

Final words: I didn't have time to got through some of the micro-films there (because there were some documents I couldn't find in the database, and I know for sure they should be, because locations and dates fit), nor the other types of archives (contracts, land records, etc.).

Good luck if you're into genealogy with Algerian connections.


August 29, 2004 at 01:00 PM in Algérie, France | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 02, 2004

Omama turns 80 - big HANNIG family reunion in Santiago

IMG_0060My maternal grand-mother, Nelda HANNIG KORTWICH turned 80 last week. My mother, Doris SCHULZ HANNIG organized a party last Saturday in Santiago, Chile, with over 40 family members, including cousins to the 3rd degree. My grandmother's young cousin Alex HANNIG ANDERSON was there taking some pictures.
You will find them on http://www.hannig.cl/fotos/.
Update on 11/08/04: Selection of those pictures plus more are available in the photoalbum to the right, including captions.

The HANNIG clan family tree is here, but you will need a password to access the full names here (names of living persons born less than a 100 years ago are masked, unless they are public figures).


August 2, 2004 at 01:07 AM in Chile, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Prussia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack