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Heufeld-Massdorf im Banat
1895 - 1944

Review by Nicholas Horn

Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrgemeinden HEUFELD-MASSDORF im Banat 1895-1944

(The Family Book of the Catholic Parishes of HEUFELD-MASSDORF in Banat 1895-1944)
David Dreyer, 808 N. Claremont, San Mateo, Calif. 94401, USA  and Karen Dalton Preston, 2777 Turtle Head Peak Dr, Las Vegas, Nevada USA 89135; published by Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Veröffentlichung Banater Familienbücher – AVBF (the Association for Publication of Banat Family Books - AVBF), 2010: Villingen-Schwenningen.
Schriftenreihe zur donauschwäbischen Herkunftsforschung Band 166;
Deutsche Ortssippenbücher Band B 490, Zentralstelle für Personen-und Familiengeschichte D-60509 Frankfurt am Main.

414 pages + map and local town maps, price - 25 € + shipping

Order from: Dave Dreyer, 808 N. Claremont, San Mateo, Calif. 94401, USA
Karen Dalton Preston, 6552 Green Acres Blvd, New Port Richey, Florida, 34655, USA
Philip Lung, Schwarzaweg 18, D-78054 Villingen-Schweningen, Germany

The authors David Dreyer and Karen Dalton Preston together with the editor have assembled an unusual publication. Firstly, a former local community from the (now Serbian) Banat receives a family book in English, on the other hand, it covers not just the colonization from the beginning up to a certain year, but shows the entire period of the last 50 years in which the German people inhabited their ancient homeland, drawn from existing source material.

There already exists a family book by J. Kühn (2004) for the period 1770-1852. For further family research, the years 1852 to 1895 are still missing. The reason for this, the source material - i.e. matriculation church books - are not (yet) accessible. To bridge this gap meticulously researched sources were used, the comments in the previously published family books of the surrounding villages, as well as sources which are known in the U.S., such as the Deutsch-Ungarisher Kalender subscriber lists, citing name indexes and contact details.

For the reasons stated, due to necessity, there appear numerous gaps in the family books, i.e., missing personal data or simply "calculated" data for cited names. This demands from the reader/user on the one hand, some supplementation, on the other hand, some indulgent consideration.

This raises the questions: Should one publish such gap-filling research as a family book? Can we still call this a family book? The answer is clearly YES. For the family researcher, any gap that is closed with such a publication, after years of waiting, is a welcome help and gratefully accepted, albeit with restrained resentment.

The structure of the volume meets the requirements for publication as a family book. The family part is a clear arrangement of the family units with further wide-ranging references. Some of the details are given in English, but a well-meaning family researcher who speaks only German can understand these following a reading and make use of the names and dates for his private research. Courtesy is shown by the two authors in that they did not translate the names to English.

The main section contains lists. In the index of the wives are more references than normal, which is also printed very well. The index of places contains succinct, multilingual (German, English, Hungarian) clarifications. Waived were the place names in the current national language. The list of surnames and the maiden names of wives, and even the parents / mothers who do not have a family number are considered. This addition is certainly of service in a search. The ship's passenger list contains useful information and guidance on the movement of the villagers on their job search.

With each new release, the list of "already published Banat Family Books and other sources for family ancestral research" grows longer and purposely gives interested family researchers concise compact summaries of the information.

The hard work of both authors David Dreyer and Karen Dalton Preston will be rewarded by the release of their family book. They deserve recognition and thanks. They have preserved a small part of the Banat population from oblivion. Mr. David Dreyer has successfully worked as developer of other family ancestral resources, now has added extensive material and thereby achieved increased merit.

The editor deserves honest praise for the pronounced courage which he exhibits by the active commitment to the publication of Family books, never knowing if the bottom line will be more than a meager nest egg.

This family book is recommended, it deserves attention and supplement.


Nicholas Horn