CHRISTmas in Bavaria, Germany

BavariaSnowGermanyMy mother’s ancestors were from Obermochel, Pfalz, Bavaria, Germany. They emigrated in1740, and they helped found America. Mother loved the snow and Christmas. Mother you are so loved and missed. I am so grateful that I was blessed with such a wonderful mother, and He allowed me to keep you for 58 years of my life. You only had your mother for 36 years, but I am so grateful that you were able to share your memories of her with me. I was only 9 when she passed and I never got a chance to know her. Enjoy your time with your family in heaven. I hope to be with you and them again.

 Jean Marie (Linderman)Frederick Mancill


Birth: Dec. 3, 1927
Dubuque County
Iowa, USA
Death: Mar. 9, 2012
Brazoria County
Texas, USA 

Jean Marie (Linderman)Frederick Mancill, daughter of (Phylis at birth) Phyllis “Phyl” Eugenia(Palen) Linderman and Harry William Linderman. Her mother died when she was only 36 of Hodgekin’s Disease. She never really got over it, but just had to learn to live with it.Granddaughter of Frank Joseph Palen and Emma Elsie (Claussen) Palen, also of Edward Francis Linderman and Gudrun Ivara (Lund)Linderman of Dubuque, Iowa.First husband LeRoy “Lee” Eugene Frederick. Married 15 November 1947, Liberty, Texas. Divorced 1968. the Frederick homestead was at 1709 Cheston Drive, Jacinto City, Texas 77029.

Six children together: Joseph Lee, Phyllis Jean, Sally Ann, Karl Thomas, Patricia Marie, and Sarah Kay Frederick.
Mother was a very loving and creative woman. She taught me how to sew at 16, she made us a braided rug, she knitted, crocheted, needlepointed, and quilted.

Second husband Louis “Honey Lou” Clifford Mancill. Married 5 December 1968, Houston, Texas. The Mancill homestead was at 11039 Lafferty Oaks St, Houston, Texas.

My Mother and Dad made our house a home. We celebrated many a birthday, and all holidays at this home, at 11039 Lafferty Oaks St., in Houston, Texas.

He preceded her in death. No children of this union. One step son, Michieal Wayne Mancill, who was more like a brother. He was a part of our family.

She was the life of the party. She and my Dad loved music and dancing. Lou sang and played the guitar. She lived, she laughed and she loved. Lou called her his “satan pussycat”, and the “princess and the pea”. She was spoiled by my Dad. They spoiled each other. They were each other’s best friend. They were deeply in love.

Mother passed away at home surrounded with family that loved her. She just drifted off, and the angels came to get her. My consolation was she was not in pain, and not alone, and I was able to be there with her for her last six years of her life.

Mother just passed today, March 9, 2012, in Rosharon, Texas. She left us peacefully to be with Jesus. I am so grateful to have been able to spend the last six years living together with Mother. I am grateful that I was not working, so that I had the time to care for her. My sister, Phyllis and me took care of her at home just like she had wanted. We got to be even closer than ever.

She was blessed with a good life, and a good family. She really was always there with all of us six children, up until the last week of her life. She fell on Monday, and we think she had a mini stroke, she never was able to speak clearly after that. She passed away on Friday afternoon, in her sleep.

Mother left us just like she wanted to. She had dignity and respect from all who knew her. Everyone who knew her loved her. She was a very giving person, and always was there for her six children. Our family was a very loving, close-knit family.

Burial followed at the same Oaklawn Cemetery, where Aunt Yvonne Linderman (Levesque), Uncle Kenneth Jackson, and Aunt Yvarra “Billie” Linderman (Jackson) are buried.
Mother’s viewing was held on Monday, March 12, 2012 from 4-9pm. The funeral services were on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @11am @ Oaklawn Cemetery Pavilion, on Hwy. 36 in Somerville, TX. location at:, Strickland Funeral Home at 545 8th Street, SOMERVILLE, TEXAS 77879, (979)596-2133.

Family links:
Harry William Linderman (1903 – 1995)
Phyllis Eugenia Palen Linderman (1904 – 1963)

Leroy Eugene Frederick (1926 – 2006)
Louis Clifford Mancill (1924 – 2002)

Yvonne Phyllis Linderman Levesque (1924 – 2010)
Yvarra Irene Linderman Jackson (1925 – 1985)
Jean Marie Linderman Mancill (1927 – 2012)
Patricia Mae Linderman Cooke (1929 – 2000)


Oaklawn Cemetery
Burleson County
Texas, USA 
Created by: TEXAS TUDORS
Record added: Mar 10, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 86532980


Jean Marie Jeanie <i>Linderman</i> Mancill Added by: TEXAS TUDORS
Jean Marie Jeanie <i>Linderman</i> Mancill Added by: TEXAS TUDORS

Jean Marie Jeanie <i>Linderman</i> Mancill.

Jean Marie (Linderman)Frederick and Leroy Eugene Frederick. Married 15 November 1947, Liberty, TX.

Jean Marie Linderman Frederick and Leroy Eugene Frederick, Married 15 November 1947, Liberty, TexasJean Marie Jeanie <i>Linderman</i> MancillJean Marie Jeanie <i>Linderman</i> Mancill

Jean Marie Jeanie <i>Linderman</i> Mancill

Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria

Hintersee, lake near Ramsau in Bavaria, Germany
Hintersee, lake near Ramsau in Bavaria, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Coat of arms of Free State of Bavaria
Coat of arms of Free State of Bavaria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bavaria is known as Bayern in the Germany. Bavaria is a State (Bundesland) within the Federal Republic of Germany, but it actually calls itself a Free State (Freistaat) based on its history.

Bavaria today is divided into 7 relatively large districts (Regierungsbezirke – see maps):

Bavaria has 71 Landkreise (like our United States counties). There are 373 Gemeinden (like our United States townships). In addition, there are 23 Städte (cities). Each Gemeinde or Stadt is a local administrative division. They also have  plus Kreisfrei Städte (big cities that are administered at a level similar to the county level). 

The southern part of what is today the German State of Rheinland-Pfalz was actually once part Bavaria. Historically, this area has been known as as the “Rheinpfalz“, “Rhennish Pfalz”, “Rheinbayern” or “Palatinate” region. However, it is no longer a part of modern Bavaria.

 The Palatinate (Germandie PfalzPfälzer dialectPalz), historically also Rhenish Palatinate (GermanRheinpfalz), is a region in Southwestern Germany. It occupies more than a quarter of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). Historically in union with Bavaria, the Palatinate covers an area of 5,451 square kilometres (2,105 sq mi) with about 1.4m inhabitants.

Coats of arms of the former Bavarian Kreis Rhe...


europe_1740Neuschwanstein-Castle-Bavaria-GermanyCastle~GermanyDubuque, Iowa

My maternal grandparents, Harry William Linderman and Phyllis Eugenia (Palen) Linderman in 1930’s, Dubuque, Iowa.



Land in south eastern Germany, and former Duchy, Electorate and Kingdom, and one of the longest lasting political units in European history, though its borders have changed.

The present Land of Bavaria (Bayern) stretches northwards from the Allgäuer, Bayerischer and Salzburger Alps to lands beyond the River Main.   In the northwestern corner is the city of Aschaffenburg on the River Main;  in the northeast are the upper waters of the Rivers Saale and Eger (Ohøe in Czech), which are tributaries of the Elbe and so flow to the North Sea;  in the southeast are the Alps around Berchtesgaden;  in the southwest Bavaria has some miles of shore on Lake Constance (Bodensee), the lake through which the Rhine flows.

The rains that fall on the greater part of the Land however flow not to the North but to the Black Sea.   The Danube flows across…

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My Maternal 5th. Great Grandfather, Johann Jacob Linderman, Obermoschel, Pfalz, Bavaria, Germany

Coat of arms of Obermoschel
Coat of arms of Obermoschel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wappen verb alsenz obermoschel
Wappen verb alsenz obermoschel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obermoschel, GermanyObermoschel, Donnersbergkreis, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Obermoschel is a town in the district Donnersbergkreis, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is part of the Verbandsgemeinde Alsenz-Obermoschel. It is situated 15 km southwest of Bad Kreuznach. Wikipedia

Obermoschel2, GermanyObermoschel, Germany


Wood carving2, GermanyWood carving, Germany

Johann Jacob Linderman 
Birth:  Nov. 20, 1720
Bavaria (Bayern), Germany
Death:  Dec. 26, 1792
Orange County
New York, USA

Johann Jacob Linderman, born 20 November 1720 in Obermoschel, Pfalz, Bavaria, Germany.

Christened: on 20 November 1720 in Obermoschel, Pfalz, Bavaria, Germany.

Emigrated on 25 August 1740 from Zweibrucken, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schwarzbach, Germany to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Arrived on 25 November 1740.

Resided in Germantown Township, Philadelphia Co, Pennsylvania in December 1740. 

Died on 26 December 1792 in Montgomery, Orange Co, New York.

Son of Johann Justus Linderman and Anna Elizabeth Imbsweiler.

Married: Catharine MacLean in 1743 in Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

They had twelve children:

Justus, Elisabeth, Cornelius, Cornelia, Jacob, Peter, Henrik “Henry”, Sarah, Ezekiel, Peggy, Jenny, and Catharine Linderman. All born in Montgomery, Orange County, New York.


Family links: 

  Johann Justus Linderman (1690 – 1769)
  Catherine MacLean Linderman (1728 – 1792)
  Ezekiel Linderman (1768 – 1848)

Specifically: Burial site unknown

Created by: TEXAS TUDORS
Record added: Nov 23, 2012 
Find A Grave Memorial# 101180416

Black Forest, Germany

Have Bag, Will Travel

Germany Triberg Cuckoo Clock

It was a little bit brighter the next morning but not especially thrilling and it didn’t look as though we would get the snow that we had hoped for or the blue skies that we wanted for our photographs.

We had flirted with the idea of taking a journey into the forest on the Black Forest Railway , The Badische Schwarzwaldbahn which passes directly across the Black Forest, on the way passing through spectacular scenery on a route that is one hundred and fifty kilometres long, ascends six hundred and fifty metres from lowest to highest elevation, and passes through thirty-nine tunnels and over two viaducts but we had done that last year in spectacular winter scenery and we didn’t think it could be recreated on a slightly disappointing and overcast day so we decided to make the trip by car instead.

Read the full story…

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Bavarian Alps, Pfalz, Bavaria, Germany

Christmas in the Bavarian Alps, GermanyBlue Christmas in the Snow

Christmas in Bavarian Alps. Bavaria , formally the Free State of Bavaria , is a state of Germany , located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of, it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany. Bavaria is Germany’s second most populous state (after North Rhine-Westphalia ), with 12.5 million inhabitants, more than any of the three sovereign nations on its borders. Bavaria’s capital and largest city is Munich , the third largest city in Germany.

One of the oldest states of Europe, it was established as a duchy in the mid first millennium . In the 17th century, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire . The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, and Bavaria has since been a free state (republic ). Modern Bavaria thus includes parts of the historical regions of Franconia and Swabia) .

Germany~Culture, Cuisine, and Places of Germany


More PowerPoint presentations from Anurag

I did not know that the National Tree of Germany is the Oak Tree. Mother loved the Oak Tree. I have always loved nature, and trees. I  have done the Family Trees for our family. I love history and family genealogy.

oak tree in the summer
oak tree in the summer (Photo credit: Tom-Riddle)

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany

Dining room, Neuschwanstein Castle, Upper Bava...
Dining room, Neuschwanstein Castle, Upper Bavaria, Germany. Photograph by Joseph Albert 1886, postcard published ca. between 1890 and 1900. Detroit Publishing Co. print no. 17483. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Throne room, Neuschwanstein Castle, Upper Bava...
Throne room, Neuschwanstein Castle, Upper Bavaria, Germany. Photograph by Joseph Albert 1886, postcard published ca. between 1890 and 1900. Detroit Publishing Co. print no. 17479. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pictures of the Tristan story, bedroom, Neusch...
Pictures of the Tristan story, bedroom, Neuschwanstein Castle, Upper Bavaria, Germany. Photograph by Joseph Albert 1886, postcard published ca. between 1890 and 1900. Detroit Publishing Co. print no. 17482. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ludwig in kelheim
ludwig in kelheim (Photo credit: pardonreeds)
King Ludwig II. of Bavaria, Photo by Joseph Al...
King Ludwig II. of Bavaria, Photo by Joseph Albert (1825-1886), 1886. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germa...
English: Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany; before the thunderstorm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: photograph of King Ludwig II of Bavaria
English: photograph of King Ludwig II of Bavaria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: The Castle Neuschwanstein - Bavaria/G...
English: The Castle Neuschwanstein – Bavaria/Germany Deutsch: Schloss Neuschwanstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Schloss_Neuschwanstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Neuschwanstein Castle is a famous German castl...
Neuschwanstein Castle is a famous German castle in Schwangau, Bavaria, built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria Polski: Zamek Neuschwanstein to znany zamek w niemieckim Schwangau, Bawaria, wybudowany przez Ludwika II Bawarskiego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Castle Neuschwanstein Deutsch: Schlos...
English: Castle Neuschwanstein Deutsch: Schloss Neuschwanstein Tiếng Việt: Lâu đài Neuschwanstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, to remember the story of Ludwig II and his desire to build a castle that would be remembered forever.


Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein) is without question one of the most beautiful castles in world. Built in the 19th century, this Neo-Romanesque masterpiece was commissioned by Ludwig II, King of Bavaria.Ludwig II was fascinated by sagas and fantasies. Many of the castle’s rooms and decor pay homage to the legend of the Knight of the Swan, a medieval tale that inspired the opera Lohengrin by one of Ludwig’s friends, the great German composer Richard Wagner.As time passed by, Ludwig II started to lead the life of a recluse inside the castle. With time he identified himself with Percival (German: Parzival), a legendary medieval figure who became the “Grail King” in honor of his purity and faith. This made Ludwig redesign the “Audience Room” and turn it into the Grail Hall, a sumptuous monument to kingship and the divine right of kings.However Ludwig’s constant desire to make the castle even more luxurious left him with a great number of debts. Finally in 1885, foreign banks threatened to seize his property, a situation to which Ludwig refused to react rationally. This in return took the Government to declare Ludwig insane and intern him in Castle Berg near Munich on 12 June 1886.

The next day, after Ludwig had gone for a walk with his psychiatrist Dr. Gudden, he was found drowned under mysterious circumstances in Lake Starnberg. He was together with Dr. Gudden and no one reported to have seen or heard anything. After Ludwig’s death, the castle and its entire splendor was opened to the public.

Nowadays,  Neuschwanstein Castle, meaning “New Swan Stone” Castle, is the most photographed place in Germany with over 1.3 million visitors each year. The inspiration of Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland and a global symbol of the era of Romanticism, this wonderful building and the story of Ludwig’s life are sure to remain in the hearts of people for a very long time.


Castle Neuschwanstein at Schwangau, Bavaria, G...
Castle Neuschwanstein at Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Neuschwanstein castle.
The Neuschwanstein castle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Schloss Neuschwanstein, Dvorac Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II, king of Bavaria, Ludwig von Beethoven: Romanca For Violin&Orchestra Op.50
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Uploaded on Sep 16, 2011

King Ludwig the Second (1845-1886) was known as the ‘Mad Monarch of Bavaria’ but left in his passing a series of fantastic castles that are visited by over 3 million people a year and recognized the world over. This is the unusual story of an ill-fated King and his tragic end, his strange relationship to the composer Richard Wagner and a first-hand visit to his famous creations. I also hoped to illustrate how the lush musical selections of Wagner conveying the beauty of the Bavarian mountains and countryside helped to shape the majestic fantasies of King Ludwig. Hosted by Munich’s own Octoberfest Queen, Ms. Brigitte Viez with observations, video and photography by Bruce Blank and Charlene Henning.

Christmas in Germany

Advent (Photo credit: el_staplador)
Advent banner, 5911-5916
Advent banner, 5911-5916 (Photo credit: Light from Light)
Christmas tree
Christmas tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Holly Belsnickel CHRISTmas Santa

Blue Christmas in the Snow

Christmas Trees are very important in Germany. They were first used in Germany during the Middle Ages. If there are young children in the house, the trees are usually secretly decorated by the Mother of the family. The Christmas tree was traditionally brought into the house on Christmas eve, and during that evening the family would read the Bible and sing Christmas songs such as O Tannenbaum, Ihr Kinderlein Kommet and Stille Nacht (Slient Night).

Sometimes wooden frames, covered with coloured plastic sheets and with electric candles inside, are put in windows to make the house look pretty from the outside.

Christmas Eve is the main day when Germans exchange presents with their families.

In German Merry Christmas is ‘Frohe Weihnacht’. 

A big part of the Christmas celebrations in Germany is Advent. Several different types of Advent calendars are used in German homes. As well as the traditional one made of card that is used in many countries, there are ones made out of a wreath of Fir tree branches with 24 decorated boxes or bags hanging from it. Each box or bag has a little present in it. Another type is called a ‘Advent Kranz’ and is a ring of fir branches that has four candles on it. This is like the Advent candles that are sometimes used in Churches. One candle is lit at the beginning at each week of Advent.

Germany is well known for its Christmas Markets where all sorts of Christmas foods and decorations are sold. Perhaps the most famous German decorations are glass ornaments. The glass ornaments were originally hand blown glass and were imported in the USA in 1880s by the Woolworth stores. The legend of the glass ‘Christmas Pickle‘ is famous in the USA, but it’s that, a legend. Most people in Germany have never heard of the Christmas Pickle!

In some parts of Germany, children write to the ‘Christkind‘ (‘The Christ Child’ in English) asking for presents. The letters to the Christkind are decorated with sugar glued to the envelope to make them sparkly and attractive to look at. Children leave the letters on the windowsill at the beginning of or during Advent.

The Christkind is often described as a young girl with ‘Christ like’ qualities. In Nürnberg a young girl is chosen every year to participate in a parade as the Christkind. She wears a long white and gold dress, has long blond curly hair and wears a gold crown and sometimes wings like an angel. This is similar to St Lucia is Sweden. (And it can seem a bit confusing calling the ‘Christ Child’, Jesus, a girl!)

The Nürnberg Christkind officially opens the Christmas market on the Friday before Advent starts. And before Christmas she has over 150 ‘official duties’ including visiting hospitals, old people’s homes and children’s nurseries! She also has to give TV interviews and visit other cities.

Santa Claus or Father Christmas (der Weihnachtsmann) brings the presents on December 24th. December 6th is St. Nicholas‘ Day and “der Nikolaus” brings some small gifts, such as sweets and chocolate, to the children. He comes in the night between the 5th and the 6th and puts the presents into the shoes of the children, who usually place them by their doors on the previous evening. In some regions of Germany, there is a character called “Knecht Ruprecht” or “Krampus” who accompanies Nikolaus (St. Nicholas) on the 6th of December. He is big horned monster clothed in rags and carries a birch. He will punish the children who were bad and will give them a birch as a present. He is usually the one who scares the little children. In other parts of Germany, St. Nicholas is followed by a small person called “Schwarz Peter” (Black Peter) who carries a small whip. Black Peter also accompanies St. Nicholas or Sinterklaas in Holland. In north west Germany Santa is joined by Belsnickel a man dressed all in fur.

Some people say that Santa/Father Christmas (Weihnachtsmann) brings the presents and some say it is Christkind!

At small work places and school parties, secret presents are often exchanged. A door is opened just wide enough for small presents to be thrown into the room. The presents are then passed around among the people until each person has the correct present! It is thought to be bad luck to find out who sent each present.

Another tradition is the Sternsinger (or star singers) who go from house to house, sing a song and collect money for charity (this is a predominantly Catholic tradition). They are four children, three who dress up like the Wise men and one carries a star on a stick as a symbol for the Star of Bethlehem. When they’re finished singing, they write a signature with chalk over the door of the house. The sign is written in a special way, so Christmas 2012 would be: 20*C*M*B*12. It is considered to be bad luck to wash the sign away – it has to fade by itself. It has usually faded by the 6th of January (Epiphany). The Sternsingers visit houses between December 27th and January 6th.

Carp or Goose are often served for the main Christmas meal. Stollen is a popular fruited yeast bread that is eaten at Christmas. Here is a recipe for Stollen.

Thank you to Céline Krimmel for her help in giving me information on Christmas in Germany!

Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest ...
Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest van Sinterklaas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania German~~~Christmas Traditions

Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest ...

Pennsylvania German Christmas Traditions

The mosaic of ethnic backgrounds present in Amish Country have resulted in a rich tapestry of Old and New World Christmas customs. Many of the most interesting traditions are unique to our Pennsylvania German heritage.


Candles, of course, have always been a part of Christmas celebrations. In Old World Germany, Martin Luther is credited as being the first person to put candles on a tree, “to represent the glory and beauty of the stars above Bethlehem.” In Ireland, the old custom was to “leave a candle burning in the window to light the way for the Christ Child on Christmas Eve.” It is interesting to note the old tradition in Europe of “illumination,” whereby the birthday of a prince was celebrated by putting candles in the windows.

In the Windows

Visitors to Amish Country notice that we often have candles in our windows all year, not just during the holiday season. The year-round practice apparently started several years ago when a local tourist home left its Christmas candles in the windows as a sign of welcome. The idea seemed to catch on, as people found it attractive, especially in older homes. So now this nostalgic, warm look can be enjoyed by Lancastrians and visitors at any time of the year.

The Star

The Moravian religious community that settled in Lititz has preserved for us two particularly unique Christmas customs, the Moravian Star and the Christmas Putz.

The beautiful 26-point Moravian Star has long been identified with Advent and Christmas. The star originated in the Moravian school handcraft sessions in Niesky, Germany, in the mid-1800’s. The simple 26-point version is quite common, seen hanging and lighted at night on porches in Lititz. Many people are surprised to learn that the first Moravian Star was red and white, not the lovely soft white color usually seen today.

The Moravian Church in Lititz may be the only place in America where you can see a spectacular 110-point star. While the 110-point star is rarely seen here, the design was obtained from Germany, reproduced in Lititz, and first hung in the church in 1980.

The “Putz”

Nativity scenes are popular at Christmas, and the “putz” is the Pennsylvania Dutch interpretation of the crèche. Related to the old medieval mystery plays, the putz may have originated to help children better appreciate the Christmas story. The word “putz” is from the German “putzen” for “to decorate, especially to adorn a church.”

Originally, the putz consisted of wooden, clay, or tin figures arranged to depict the Nativity. There were other groupings displayed besides the Nativity scene, such as the Holy Family, the Annunciation, the shepherds in the hills, the three kings, and the flight to Egypt.

Today the making of the putz can be a family project. Decisions must be made on the background, which may involve live plants and paper painted to simulate rocks. There may be stars in the sky and angels suspended with black thread. The middle and foreground include the manger scene, often a cave, figures, animals, moss, and occasionally running water. “The aim is to depict a rolling countryside, a hillside town, and a lonely stable.”

The putz can become an elaborate display, centering on the birth of Christ, but bringing in many other themes. These added figures are usually religious, such as Sir Galahad searching for the Holy Grail, or a scene of the conversion of the Indians. Some include the use of electricity, music, and narration. But the “Putz” is not to be garish, the traditional end result should “evoke a hush of silent contemplation.”


Our modern Santa Claus, of course, evolved over many centuries to what he is today. December 6th was St. Nicholas Day in Catholic countries of Europe, and the Rhineland area became the center of a St. Nicholas cult. With the Reformation these saints days disappeared, and Protestants changed the focus to Christmas Eve and the arrival of Beltznickel (Belsnickel).

He was a figure to be feared, wearing a hat, wig, and long, heavy coat. In addition to his bag of goodies, he could also carry a switch to “punish” naughty children. In the old tradition, this figure could visit at any time during Advent, arriving with ringing sleigh bells and gifts of nuts, candies, and fruits for the children. John Joseph Stoudt describes the old tradition as follows…

He throws the gifts on the floor, demanding a “piece” performed by the children. They have prepared for this for months, and they say a poem or sing a song. He remains stern, with grim, forbidding countenance. When Beltznickel’s whip rattled the windows. the children were frightened and he was a creature to be feared. Sunday School Festivals in the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside continue this tradition of saying a “piece” for him, even though he may not show up.

In 1822, Clement C. Moore’s verses for “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known today as “The Night Before Christmas,” presented the fat, jolly man arriving from the skies. In 1862, famed illustrator Thomas Nast gave him further touches, and by 1886 Santa Claus had basically become the character we know today. “Santa Claus” seems to have come from the New York Dutch settlers’ “Sinter Klaus,” or St. Nicholas.

Indeed, even “Kriss Kringles” really comes form the German for Christ Child (Christ- Kindel). In the 1800’s, children were told it was the Christ Child who brought gifts for them at Christmas. Children left baskets of hay for His mule at the door on Christmas Eve. Apparently many Pennsylvania Germans were displeased as the name and identity changed to become associated with Santa Claus.

The Tree

Finally, let us return to the Christmas tree and its German beginnings. While it is doubtful Luther started the custom …

It was among Lutherans that the tree first became a Christmas tradition. The earliest written record of a fully decorated Christmas tree dates from 1605, when a citizen of Strasbourg wrote that “at Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlors and hang upon them roses cut from many-colored paper, apples, wafers, gilt-sugar, sweets, etc.”

These Old World Germans decorated their tree “with stars, angels, toys, gilded nuts, and candies wrapped in bright papers. Later they added tinsel and lighted candles.”

It is claimed that the first known written mention of a Christmas tree in America is found in the 1821 diary of Matthew Zahn, a Lancastrian! Undoubtedly, the Christmas tree tradition was brought to America by the German settlers, and trees were fairly common by the 1820’s. It may very well be that Lancaster is the home of the Christmas tree in America!

Our Heritage

Regardless of your feelings concerning Christmas celebrations today, it is clear we owe a great deal to the Pennsylvania Germans who brought their customs to the New World. In understanding this heritage, perhaps we can better appreciate the real meanings and history behind the symbols and modern images so prevalent today.

Amish Country News Cover Article by Brad Igou (Winter 1998)

English: Santa Claus as illustrated in , v. 52...
English: Santa Claus as illustrated in , v. 52, no. 1344 (December 3 1902), cover. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Norwegian Christmas

Lund, Jansen, Knudsen Genealogy

Norwegian Christmas Christkindl

Norwegian Christmas Traditions and Food

Juletid (Christmas time) is a celebration of traditions and family in Norway. With the fall of winter snow and the wonderful displays of Northern Lights, Norwegians sit round their fire places, dance around the Christmas tree, enjoy rich food and share julefryd (Christmas cheer) with family, friends and in their communities. At this special time of year we are happy to share the Norwegian Christmas with you. We hope you will celebrate with us by having a little bit of Norway in your Christmas. source: Norwegian Christmas Traditions and Food

Norwegian Christmas Scene

Christmas Food and Recipes

Boller (Conventional Recipe) (post) Christmas Treats Lutefisk (post) Pepperkaker (Gingerbread)LussekatterPinnekjøtt (post) Christmas Ribbe (post) Norwegian Roast Rib (post) Smultringer (post) GløggKakao – Home-made Hot Chocolate Julekake or Julebrød (post) Home-made Julebrød (post) Julebrød Farmor’s Pepperkaker (post) Gravy for Christmas (post) Kransekaker Recipe (post) Pepperkake Christmas Tree (post) Family Dinners at…

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St. Nicholas, Santa Claus and German Christkindl

St. Nicholas, Santa Claus and German Christkindl

Christine Bude Nyholm

Several years ago I saw a delightful sight in Baden-Baden in southern Germany. It was December 6, so the Christmas season was in full swing. The Christkindl Market was in town and the mood was merry. It was a rainy, dreary evening as I walked from the public spa to the hotel. Chilled and anxious to get to the warmth of the hotel room, I was surprised to see a crowd gathered in the rain, looking upward. I followed the direction of their gaze and saw St. Nicholas perched on the second floor ledge of a corner building. He appeared to have stepped out onto the ledge through a window.He wasn’t going to jump. St. Nicholas was entertaining the crowd. As I recall, he was a tall, thin gentleman, wearing a long red coat and a long white beard. St. Nicholas Day was not a day that we observed in my family, but I had heard of the tradition. I surmised that this was St. Nick who filled children’s shoes with candy.

St. Nicholas was playful as he looked down on the crowd, making a striking figure. Soon two of his helpers stepped out on the ledge and stood beside him.

It was a delightful scenario and it left me wondering about the difference between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus. Here is what I found.

St. NIcholas & Santa Claus

St. Nicholas is a saint of the Catholic Religion. Although he is related to Santa Claus in appearance and function, there are important differences. Santa Claus is a secular figure who gives gifts on Christmas Eve on Christmas Day.

According to The History of Santa Claus on the website, The North Pole, St. Nicholas ws the patron saint of children and seafarers. In the Protestant areas of northern and central Germany, St. Nicholas later became known as der Weinachtsmass. In England he became known as Father Christmas. He made his way to the United States with Dutch immigrants, where Sinter Klaas become Santa Claus.

Religious Reform, Martin Luther and Christkindl

Religious reformer, Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant religion, is credited with starting the custom of giving gifts to children on Christmas Day. The gifts were supposed to be from the Christ Child, called Christkindl. Christkindl appeared much like an angel, wearing while robes and a golden crown. According to legend, Luther started to tradition of giving gifts on Christmas as a substitute for the Catholic saint day of December 6.

Germany has a facinating history in the Christian Faith. Catholicism was the state religion until the 1500’s, when the advent of the Protestant Reformation shook the world. Martin Luther translated the Latin Bible into German, meaning that the common literate man was able to read the Word of God for the first time.

Luther was not the first reformer to translate the Holy Bible. A century before Luther’s Day, Jan Hus translated the Bible into Czechoslovakian. Hus was a priest who was branded a heretic and burned a the stake in Constance in Southern Germany.

Historians know that the battle between Catholic and Protestant was a bloody one, as Catholics fought to maintain control and Reformers fought for the right to worship by reading a bible in the common language. There is an excellent movie about this subject, by the name of Luther, produced in 2003.

St. Nicholas, Santa Claus and Christkindl

Through the years, the traditions seemed to have merged, with the Santa Claus, appearing much like St. Nicholas, the bearer of gifts on Christmas Day.

Today the battles are forgotten by many. St. Nicholas, Christkindl and Santa Claus are all characters that are recognized as symbols of Christmas in Germany, and in other countries.

Christian Faith and Christmas

The Christian faith is based upon the belief that God came to earth and a tiny infant who grew to be a man who created the bridge too salvation. That is the real reason to celebrate Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Markets in Germany

Booths offer traditional Thuringian handcrafts and sweets and a big Ferris wheel stand at the Christmas Fair during heavy rain in front of the Mariendom (Cathedral of Mary), center left, and St. Severi’s Church, right, in Erfurt, central Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. The Erfurt Christmas Market is one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Germany. The square is decorated with a huge, candle-lit Christmas tree and a large, hand-carved nativity scene. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Germantown Celebrates Its 300th Birthday

English: Dip at creek crossing along NY 9G in ...
English: Dip at creek crossing along NY 9G in Germantown, NY, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
View of Catskills looking over Hudson River fr...
View of Catskills looking over Hudson River from near Rhinecliff, NY, USA, in the Hudson River Historic District, a National Historic Landmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Stone Jug, contributing property to H...

My fourth great grandfather, Ezekiel Linderman and his wife, Margarett (Ridner) Linderman were married in the Brick Reformed German Church in Shawangunk, Ulster County, New York, on March 28, 1793.

The “poor Palatines” who settled in Columbia County 300 years ago left a rich and proud legacy


Signs of the past: Located on the Fingar Farm in Germantown, this house was built into the side of a hill, a style often used by the Palatines when they first arrived

Signs of the past: Located on the Fingar Farm in Germantown, this house was built into the side of a hill, a style often used by the Palatines when they first arrived

Photographs courtesy of Germantown History Department

You don’t have to be smarter than a fifth-grader to know that this country’s first European settlers were the Dutch, Spanish, and English. But another country soon followed these pioneers and, in the end, sent more people here than any of the others. 
That country is Germany. It’s true. Ask your fifth grader — or just about anyone in the Columbia County town of Germantown. This month, Germantown celebrates the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the largest group of Hudson Valley settlers in Colonial times: farmers from the Palatine region of southwest Germany, who settled here in October 1710.

A little history: The German Palatines were natives of the Rhine ValleyPalatinate region of southwest Germany. Through much of the 17th and early 18th centuries, the region was fraught with war, famine, and devastation. Refugees were known as “the poor Palatines.”
About 13,000 poor Palatines fled to Holland and then to England between May and November 1709, but the British government failed to integrate them successfully. So they transported nearly 3,000 refugees in about a dozen ships to New York in 1710. About 850 families settled in the Valley, primarily in what are now Germantown and Saugerties. Many of them first were assigned to work camps along the Hudson to pay off the price of their passage.

map of germantownAn early map shows “Palatine Town”

“The area around Germantown was known as East Camp then,” says Nadine Rumke, a ninth-generation descendant of the Palatines and cochair of Germantown’s 300th Anniversary Committee. Rumke’s ancestors were the Hovers (then called Haber), and her family tree takes up 10 square feet of wall space. (It will be on display this month at the Parsonage, home of the Germantown History Department and the oldest structure in town, built in 1746.)

Germantown grew from four hamlets, which were established by Rumke’s ancestors and those of other residents still living in southern Columbia County. Those family names, including Rifenburgh (originally Reiffenberger), Clum (formerly Klumm), Fingar, Coons (from Kuhn), and many others still fill the local phone book and adorn nearby street signs.

Indeed, Helen Coons Henderson, 98, grew up on land that has been in her family for generations. She remembers her father, James Snyder Coons, telling stories of the early Palatine settlers’ struggles to survive. “There are stories of them eating grass in 1712,” says Henderson, who assists the Columbia County historian with research and helps the anniversary committee. Henderson’s grandmother was a Snyder, another Palatine family, originally called Schneider. These two families still celebrate Thanksgiving together, Palatine style, with fresh pork and root vegetables cooked according to 100-year-old recipes.

stone jug houseThe Stone Jug house in Clermont, which was built by Palatine tenant farmer Konradt Lasher in the mid-18th century and is a National Historic Landmark

A Rockin’ Oktoberfest

Events celebrating this tercentennial include history seminars; discussion groups; performances by the Germantown Choir; an original play put on by the students of Germantown Central School; and a concert debut by Germantown resident Harold Farberman, a renowned composer and conductor. A ecumenical church service will take place at the Christ Lutheran Church; the same location houses a Nuremberg bible from 1755 that was used by the Palatines.

A unique sculpture, the Germantown Analemma, has been created by local artists Dea Archbold and Kurt Holsapple. An astrological sundial, the analemma replicates the sun’s pathway over the Palatine settlers during their first year in their new settlement. Archbold and Holsapple, third cousins, are 10th-generation descendants of the original Palatine settlers. Practical astronomy was crucial to the Palatine farmers, they say. “They had to be very aware of where the sun was in the sky, when to plan for the harvest,” says Archbold. Holsapple adds, “We want to mark, in stone, the actual time of the Palatines’ arrival and other significant events in Germantown history.”

The initial weekend places a focus on history and heritage, with discussions and visits from nationwide experts on genealogy, DNA, and Palatine history. The Germantown Oktoberfest, this year renamed the Palatine Oktoberfest, takes place the second weekend. Highlights include festivities at Palatine Park, including farming and crafts displays, a German oompah band, a petting zoo, food, and fireworks. 
“During the first weekend, folks who think they may have Palatine roots will be able to find out more and maybe take a DNA test,” says Rumke. “We will hear great music, learn more about the history of our town, and — during the second weekend — have a wonderful time at a traditional Oktoberfest.”

reformed church of germantownSplendid spires: Organized in 1728, the Reformed Church of Germantown has used three different buildings during its history; the current structure (shown) was built in 1880

Schedule of events:

Oct. 1 Germantown Central School

Presentation to students: The Palatines from Southwest Germany
Henry Z. Jones, genealogist and historian; the Rev. David Jay Webber, historian and Palatine descendant

Oct. 2 Germantown Central School

11 a.m.: Aspects of Palatine History: The Palatines in Germantown
Prof. Philip Otterness, historian and author ofBecoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York; Henry Z. Jones, genealogist; David Jay Webber, historian; Alice Clark, Palatine DNA Project
3-4:30 p.m. Seminar participants available to discuss genealogy

Oct. 3

8-9:15 a.m.: Anniversary breakfast hosted by Christ Lutheran Church, Viewmonte
10 a.m.: Ecumenical anniversary worship service, Christ Lutheran Church
3 p.m.: Gala Palatine Concert, Reformed Church of Germantown. Premiere of commissioned work for voice and instruments by Harold Farberman, composer/conductor and longtime Germantown resident. Also features a performance of 18th-century hymns by the Southern Columbia Community Choir.

Oct. 8 Palatine Oktoberfest & Harvest Festival Kick-Off

The Palatine Parade, Main St. to Palatine Park: Wagons salute local farmers, town businesses, and GCS students, with music along the way.
Activities at Palatine Park: German, Austrian, Polish, and other varieties of music, food, crafts, demonstrations, and exhibits. Free horse- and tractor-drawn wagon rides, community bonfire

Oct. 9 Palatine Oktoberfest & Harvest Festival

11 a.m.: Opening Ceremony at Palatine Park. German, Austrian, Polish, and other varieties of music; dancing; food booths (including German dinners); crafts; demonstrations; and exhibits. Evening dance for teens, free horse- and tractor-drawn wagon rides, fireworks

Oct. 10 Palatine Oktoberfest & Harvest Festival

11 a.m.: German oompah band and other music, dancing, food booths, craft booths, demonstrations, exhibits, free horse- and tractor-drawn wagon rides
7 p.m.: Closing Ceremony

Germantown, New York
Germantown, New York (Photo credit: Dougtone)
Ongoing activities

The Palatine Analemma: An original wall sculpture designed by Palatine descendants Dea Archbold and Kurt Holsapple
Oral histories and historic documents: Germantown Library 
The Palatine Archeology Project: At the Parsonage, oldest structure in Germantown and home of the Germantown History Department. Excavation of artifacts led by Prof. Christopher Lindner, Bard College archeologist-in-residence.
Field and lab school for Germantown School students and teachers; found artifacts to be displayed in June at the Germantown Library
The Palatine Mural: Wall of the “Salt Shed,” Palatine Park: Anniversary Palatine mural on one side of the building, created by Germantown volunteers led by James Warhola, well-known children’s book author and artist.
The Palatine Plaque: A listing of Palatine families (location TBA)
For more information, visit or call 518-537-6687, ext. 30