Kinsearching February 27, 2011




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     A topic that has not received much attention is the fate of African-American prisoners-of-war during the Civil War. Thomas J. Ward, Jr., remedies this lack of information in his fascinating in-depth article, “Enemy Combatants: Black Soldiers in Confederate Prisons.” Appearing on pages 33-41 of the periodical, Army History (issue no. 78, Winter 2011), his documented essay provides details about the various ways African-Americans captured by Southern forces were treated.

     For many years, federal censuses have shown that a large percentage of Americans claim Teutonic ancestry. As a result, many researchers will be interested in the publication, THE GERMAN ELEMENT IN THE OHIO VALLEY: OHIO, KENTUCKY & INDIANA by Gustav Koerner. Translated from the German and edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann, the selected chapters are taken from Koerner’s 1880 comprehensive history of Germans in America entitled DAS DEUTSCHE ELEMENT IN DEN VEREINIGTEN STAATEN VON NORDAMERICA, 1818-48.

     Instead of writing a history of German immigration to the United States, Koerner describes and assesses the nineteenth-century contributions of Germans to American life. He recounts the role Germans and German-Americans played in helping to establish Cincinnati as the center of Ohio Valley commerce, the multitude of German-language newspapers, the various religious denominations, and the German Democratic Party as well as the part played in struggles against Nativism (the idea that the interests of native inhabitants of the U. S. should be favored over those of immigrants).

     Koerner demonstrates the influence of the German element in the development of American society through the lives of numerous individuals. Although he focuses on German contributions prior to 1848, the information in the biographical sketches often extends beyond that date. In addition to the details in the text, data concerning Koerner’s subjects and their families and careers appear in Tolzmann’s annotated footnotes.
By translating and editing Koerner’s original German-language work, Tolzmann makes the information readily available to more researchers. Genealogists and historians alike may find helpful material in THE GERMAN ELEMENT IN THE OHIO VALLEY: OHIO, KENTUCKY & INDIANA.

     The 127-page book has cover covers and contains a preface, an introduction, illustrations, annotated footnotes, and a full name index. To the book's price of $19.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order 9265) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

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