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The 2013 GSS research tour

POSTED: March 6, 2014 7:51 p.m.
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Pictured are Barbara Scott, left, and Flarleen Young during the Georgia Salzburger Society’s 2013 research tour.

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On March 15, the Georgia Salzburger Society will hold its annual Landing Day Meeting at historic Jerusalem Lutheran Church at Ebenezer. I thought you might enjoy this article about Georgia Salzburger members who recently visited the homeland. The GSS continues to keep our Salzburger history and genealogy alive.

The following article was written by Barbara Rahn Scott.

Christmas is a time of year for making memories. The Christmas season of 2013 would prove to be one that I will cherish forever. Vince, Sylvia and Sheryl Exley; Francis, Evelyn and Adam Hutto; Flarleen Young and I boarded a plane on Dec. 3, 2013, for a 13-day trip to Germany. Our goals were to do genealogical research, visit towns of our ancestors and experience the famous Christmas Markets of Germany. I will attempt to share with you the highlights of our trip.

We spent our first four nights in Ulm at a very quaint hotel within walking distance of the Christmas Market and The Ulm Münster. While in Ulm we explored the nearby towns of family origin: Niederstotzinger (Exley and Buntz), Bergenweiler (Paulitsch, Biddenbach and Exley), Sontheim on the Brenz (Heck), Ballendorf (Scheraus), Bermaringen (Scheraus) and Temmenhausen (Scheraus). Our visit to the Steiff Museum was a popular stop. I think everyone left with some type of Steiff Bear. The beautiful Romanesque 700 A.D. Gallus Church was also a treat. At the Ulm Archives, Dr. Maria Hocke presented us with copies of original documents containing information on the Scheraus family. We ventured out from Ulm to Augsburg in heavy snow flurries where we were welcomed by Dr. Rudolf Frudenburger and his wife Heidi. We had an exciting time taking in St. Annas Church (Our Mother Church), the State Library and the Augsburg Christmas Market. We had the privilege of meeting Friedrich Wollmershauser at dinner on our last night in Ulm. He does genealogical research in Southwest Germany and is a professional genealogist.

Next we were on to Halle for a three-night stay. Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Müller-Bahlke invited us to their home for a traditional German meal. Dr. Müller-Bahlke is the director of the Francke Foundations. The evening was delightful. Mrs. Müller-Bahlke is a very good cook. She shared with us her memories of life in East Germany. I appreciated her sharing with us. We were welcomed at the Francke Foundations by Dr. Jürgen Gröschl. He had displayed in their library a large collection of documents relevant to the Salzburgers and Ebenezer. He also gave us a personal tour of the museum.

From Halle we traveled to Berlin for a day trip and were met by Bruno and Ingrid Burger. Bruno is the chairman of the Salzburger Verein in Berlin. The German Salzburger Society or Verein (GSS) was very generous in sponsoring many of our activities from this point in our trip until our departure. We went by GSS van on a city tour of Berlin, taking in the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, remaining Berlin Wall and Berlin Christmas Market. Our tour was followed by a wonderful meal at a local restaurant. It was hard to wave good-bye to our friends the Burgers at the train station.

Bielefeld was our next stop for a one-night stay. We were met by Margot Bergmann, vice president of the German Salzburger Society (Verein). The GSS served an evening meal of Christmas goose at their complex. We enjoyed the meal and fellowship with many of the facility management staff. The following day we toured the senior living complex. It is a marvelous facility. They have accomplished so much here. Their library was of great interest to me since we are in the early stages of the formation of the library at Ebenezer. After another unforgettable meal at the GSS, we were transported by the GSS van to Giessen.

In Giessen we were met by Jürgen and Ursula Schroeter. Jürgen is president of the German Salzburger Society. We all got acquainted over an evening meal and made plans to leave for Rainrod the next morning. Rainrod is the birthplace of Georg Rahn, father of Conrad Rahn.

The Schroeters had visited Rainrod several weeks earlier and made special arrangements for our visit. We walked the streets of Rainrod with local dignitaries. We visited the town church, the town center and enjoyed lunch in a local restaurant. An article was even written about us in a local paper. I felt like a VIP. I could not understand the German language but when they said, “born Rahn,” I knew they were speaking of me.

Our journey continued on to Mainz with the Schroeters still accompanying us. In Mainz we toured St. Stephan Church with the beautiful Marc Chagall stained glass windows and enjoyed the Mainz Christmas Market. The Schroeters were wonderful hosts and parting was difficult. We hope to see them here on Labor Day.

On the flight home, all these beautiful memories danced in my head like sugar plum fairies. Our goals were accomplished and we were returning home with bags full of market purchases and heads and hearts full of memories. All those who helped us along the way were so warm and welcoming. We were blessed with a very special Christmas trip to the land of our ancestors.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingha Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: hesheraldexley@aol.com.

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