This is Amanda Norris back with the Arnold Family Papers (MS-599). I am a graduate student in the Wright State University Public History program and completing my capstone project with SC&A.
Today I want to share with you one of the difficulties I am encountering in organizing the Arnold Family Papers. As I delve further into the boxes, I have found some of the documents are in German. The Steineman and Meyer families, who founded Minster, Ohio, were German and, as such, their documents are primarily written in German. Minster, in fact, was a German enclave, which continued publishing a German newspaper until after the First World War.
Unfortunately, as with most immigrant families, subsequent generations have forgotten how to speak and read the language. It can be especially difficult since most of the German is written or published in a florid, aesthetically pleasing style, which can be challenging to read. For example, below is a photo of what we believe is a travel pass, issued from the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, for the Meyer family to travel to the United States.
In some cases, there are English translations of documents. However, in the case of the earlier documents it is difficult to find translators who are able to read these documents. I am contacting the Language Department to ask if they have contacts who would be willing to identify and translate some of the German documents. It is exciting to reconnect the history of previous generations to today and going forward. I am hopeful that we will be able to find someone to offer help with translation, which will allow us to properly file these documents and perhaps offer a transcription of some of them.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for future updates.