The Hessian Goes Home, Part 1

The Hessian Goes Home is a short series of blog posts I did on a former blog; I’m moving them there for posterity.

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

For my birthday, we planned a trip back to the homeland. As I mentioned in this blog’s very first post, the first Gall in America came from near the city of Kassel in the state of Hesse, Germany.

I was skeptical of my ability to find out more about the family tree back in the Fatherland. Kassel was a major industrial city during World War II, building Tiger tanks, Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulfe aircraft, locomotives, engines, and other apparatus of war.

The allied response was predictable.

The prospects of family records surviving that were small, to say the least.

However, other, more diligent researchers found out that the Gall family was actually from a small, outlying town to the southwest of Kassel.

You’ll note the large lake, and large forest to the southwest Kassel, which is marked with an “A” in the map above.

Our accommodations were in a castle overlooking the lake, marked with an “A” in the map below. And the “B” marker to the west of that? That’s Buchenberg, where John Henry came from.

The castle we stayed in was AMAZING. Called Schloss Waldeck, it was quite modern, comfortable, and had an excellent restaurant and bar.

Of course, it looked a little more wintery to us, since it was February.

The approach wrapped around the outside, exposing you to the battlements.

And while it was truly modern inside, walking in reception, there’s no mistaking you’re in a castle:

We had a beautiful room with a great view.

So what does this castle have to do with the family tree?

It was the closest castle to the town the family came from. I’d like to think John Henry had been to the castle; he almost certainly would have known of its existence and location. Heck, maybe he even met the Grand Duke!

Next week: the actual town John Henry came from, and the Gall family tree gets a little larger.


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