See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Prussia, the Old Prussia: and Germany Now. Widing, Widingh, Roots, Saxons

Widing - Widingh with the H
Heritage Crossing Boundaries
Saxons on the Move

1.  Roots of a Surname:  Widing becomes Widingh in Saxon territory. Is that so? Johannes Widingh 1376.
2.  Next steps.  See Hamburg and check the Will
3.  Who let the Widingh's out? Appearance in Sweden 1748
4.  The Chase - Migrations, Diaspora, Resettlements, Wars
5.  Tracking names and side trips:  No Robo-Tours
6.  Saxon history:  Does it make sense

1.  Roots of a Surname  Widingh (the H added to Widing)
Johannes Widingh, a Will from 1376
Hamburg Archives

The power of an H. We had thought that Widing was a Swedish surname, and found reasons for that, even if speculative after a thousand years. There were also possible connections to Widukind, a Saxon king who opposed Charlemagne for 30 years before being defeated, then he converted, and the Saxons were resettled, disbursed - a kind of Saxon Diaspora - including into other areas of Scandinavia, and even Romania.

Now we find a Saxon root to confirm the name Widing in that territory, Widukind's territory, in the name Widingh, Johannes, whose estate at his death recorded his Testament in Hamburg, the Will now in the archives there.

Here is what we find about the name Widing, silly-sounding, ordinary name, but here spelled as Widingh with the h at the end (Widing HUH?) in the town records of Hamburg - Saxon country, we think. We like the Widingh as WIDINGHUH (at which point everybody guffaws, and my husband, of that name by birthright, feigns insult).
    The Hamburg 1376 public record online reads, at :// -
    • Wow! Look!  It's a will! That second one down, the 1376 XXII 4b for Johannes Widingh! Tell your Dad (who happens to be named Jon as in Johannes)
    "Staatsarchiv Hamburg
    111-1 Senat (Privata, Testamente bis 1700) 1314-1696
    Bestel   Signatur  Titel   Zeitraum

    CI.X Nr.4 Ser.I ...  [+ untenstehende Bezeichnung des jeweilegen Testaments] superscript 1 (how to do that?)

    1376 XII 4a  ---- Testament des Volter Oltzeburch und (seine Ehefrau) Adelheid
    1376 XXII 4b -- Testament des Johannes Widingh
    1377 ----------- Testament des Johannes de Warendorp"
    Emphasis added.

    Now:  A vignette of silly American life:

    Out comes Widing the Beloved, the Handsome and Heroic, here from his computer man-cave, who sees for Hisself, and hollers, "See? See?  I'm rich!"

    Widing.  Huh.

    2.  Next steps.  See Hamburg and the Will

    So Dan and I now have to go the Staatsarchiv Hamburg (probably in the Rathaus) and claim our 9/10 of the waterfront in Hamburg.  It is our clear birthright, through Jon Widing, direct heir to Johannes Widingh, and you better believe it.

    After all, Great Hero Jon, directly named after his foreBear Johannes, has somethting to claim, and there is a Widingh and a Widing both in old ancestral begging areas.

    3  Who let the Widingh's out?
    The Widing -Widingh story continues

    Appearance in Sweden 1748

    Sven snuck in.

    By 1748 they had snuck into Sweden, in the form of Sven Widingh -- Information from Rootsweb.

    Blekinge County Parish Karlshamn Carl Gustaf's cemetery First name Sven Last name Widingh Farm Title Entries

    And, by 1827, see the H get sacked in Sweden - also from Rootsweb -
    Olaf Widing.

    Älvsborg County Parish Billingsfors First name Olaf Last name Widing Farm Title Year 1827

    They also give the healthcare type on the gravestone of Olaf.  "Iron Cross". See how far behind we are?
    Widing? Widingh? Hah.

    Either way, obviously nobody owned the Hamburg waterfront.

    4.  The Chase: Migrations. Defeats. Diaspora.  

    Another point:

    The fun of the chase. We like looking up odd name connections to places and cultures we did not anticipate, and did that with Skarf in Icelandic Saga, Skarfjellet = mountain in Norway,  Red Scariff in Ireland, to
    Scharf who then migrated from Ireland to Canada, to Scharfe, etc. Nobody cares but us, but we have a good time

    Looking at our other collective surname, this has been sheer entertainment. Our own online game. No obsession, no delusions, just a hand-over-hand look at the past. Widing, that seemed to have connections to
    • either a chance encounter with a king in Sweden, and a renaming; or 
    • nothing at all, or
    • Widukind, a Saxon King, among other ideas; or
    • Following the Widukind idea, a 14th Century Widingh, with the H, whose estate filed a will filed at Hamburg Town Hall or wherever the archives are. 
     We had been looking in Sweden.  What is this in Hamburg.

    Saxon Diaspora. That interest brings us to the Saxons. Names and old boundaries, tribes. Boundaries change with wars. Prussia, a part of old Germany, has been variously part of German lands, now Polish since the second World War, see Boundary Changes site at :// *

    Family names also cross boundaries, as the boundaries themselves were fluid. And tribes are tribes without our kinds of boundaries.

    5.  Tracking names and side trips.
    No Robo-Tours 

    Who people are named for: This is the element of identity that those who were enslaved or otherwise are deprived of:  their Names.  They  cannot reconstruct.  They have little that is, even a little, stretched, firm.
    Why reconstruct? It is mental activity and that is  not only fun, full of adrenalin, but it may ward off Alzheimers and other forms of angst. And it gives a focus for a trip to a city that others on their robot-tours miss.

    We are going to this Northern part of Germany soon, looking particularly for Saxon history.

    A family name may relate to King Widukind (no royal blood here, just the awarding of a nickname so says the family, by the King for a heroic deed, That is what the patriarch tells us other at Thanksgiving).

    The name is reasonably common in the US now - Widing.

    It has roots so you can take your pick:  as a Norse or Saxon then Anglo-Saxon Rune, as Saxons were finally defeated and many forcibly resettled by Charlemagne. It breaks down, in an amateur sleuth way, to refer also to that old heroic whatever. References to woods, icy day, despair, then heroism, etc. See the fun at Sweden Road Ways, Widing; and   Sweden Road Ways, Widing, Delving into Widukind.
    6.  Saxon or something else?

    Saxon lands also have shifted, been awarded here and there after wars, including parts to Prussia, see ://,_Prussia/.

    In the 400's, Saxons invaded England - becoming the Anglo-Saxons.  But not all went.  Charlemagne fought the Saxons for 30 years before finally subduing them, and getting them (mostly) converted to Christianity in the 700's-800's.  There was a clear identity there, but look up Saxon history in Germany and it is as though Saxony arose suddenly in the 1500's. See ://

    The King of the Saxons, Widukind, moved between Saxony and Denmark to the North, while fighting against Charlemagne; and it was at Verden that Charlemagne had 4500 Saxons decapitated after they had capitulated.  Widukind himself later converted, and was absorbed (because of his adulation) into the Catholic lexicon not as a saint, but as Widukind the Blessed.

    So cultures absorb like amoebas those they surround, digest them, make them their own. Names and cultures not limited by modern ideas of borders.

    Widukind. Widingh. WidingHUH.  Believe!

    * These went to Poland:
    West Prussia
    Southern half of East Prussia
    Most of Pomerania
    One-fourth of Brandenburg
    Most of Silesia
    A fragment of the Kingdom of Saxony

    German ethnic groups have also migrated to Eastern Europe.

    So any look at contemporary Germany must include consideration of its presence elsewhere; true of any country, but more so for Germany with the boundary shifts.

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