These 19th century German Engravings are very inspiring to me, and they give a great idea of architecture and design of the era of Schönwerth.
Half of my family tree originates relatively close to Bavaria, in the Alsace region, and this is a big part of the reason I’m fascinated by the old oral traditions of Germany. I’ve read about the jack-o-lanterns that would guide a lonely hikers through the woods; the mermaids who, finless, would dance under the surface of a stream; the spinstress who now lives on the moon; the giants who ruled over mountain castles… I wonder if my great great great great grandmother had similar tales? And what happened to them if she did?
Delving into these European roots I am also acutely aware of my place in the colonization of North America. These Schönwerth tales and all other folk traditions are tied closely to place, and seeking my family histories takes me far from the land where I live. I haven’t untangled this knot or truly figured out what decolonization is for me, but the knot is there!
Family History, collage. J Orr 2013.