The Siebenbürgische Zeitung regularly reports on the project seminars under the auspices of the Association for Genealogy of the Transylvanian Saxons (VGSS). From the treasure trove of valuable information provided and painstakingly entered into the church records of the Evangelical Church A.B. in Transylvania by local pastors and preachers over centuries, an extensive electronic database https://vgss.de/genealogie-datenbank/ was created in this project over the course of several years.
A team of enthusiastic family researchers is gradually deciphering the entries from the church books in assiduous detail work and making them accessible on the internet to all interested users of this platform.
For many people, it is of great interest to learn information about their ancestors, to clarify relationships to other people, to explore one’s own family history in the context of major historical events or to rediscover the essential features of the living conditions in homelands long since abandoned.
This is especially true for the Transylvanian Saxons and their descendants, no matter where in the world the breath of history has scattered them in the course of time. As a result, even descendants of Transylvanian emigrants worldwide are now using the information collected on this platform for their family research.
A current example is provided by the US-American family researcher Hugo Schwab from Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, who, in this way, was able to determine his degree of relationship to the well-known Transylvanian-Saxon General Hugo Schwab (1887-1944). The latter, a high-ranking officer in the Romanian army, had died under tragic circumstances in the turmoil of the Second World War on August 24th, 1944 in Humuleşti, near Târgu Neamţ in Moldova. The Siebenbürgische Zeitung (SbZ) reported on the unveiling of the memorial plaque in Humuleşti in honour of the General in its 14th issue of September 15th, 2001, page 4 (see also Siebenbürger Zeitung Online of September 8th, 2001, www.siebenbuerger.de/go/436A). Mr. Schwab compiled his collected information in a 16-page word and picture documentation and sent it to the Siebenbürgische Zeitung.
The documentary vividly describes the historical background of General Hugo Schwab’s professional career, initially in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and then in the Kingdom of Romania. Special attention is paid to the acts of war during the Second World War in the Crimea. Here, General Hugo Schwab played an essential role until he was confronted by a Russian patrol while retreating from the Soviet advance in Moldova. He evaded the threat of arrest by committing suicide.
Such a global use of the Genealogical Database of the Transylvanian Saxons will certainly not remain an isolated case. The flexible search and filtering criteria of the database allow a range of analysis options for the user. By means of the source references stored in the database, further links to other genealogical databases, local monographs, etc. can be traced in order to further expand the information on the life paths of the ancestors.
by Christian Duca
(This article was also published in the Siebenbürgische Zeitung of July 10th, 2023.)