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In May, 2000, and in May, 2002, John and Eleanor Blankenbaker traveled to Germany and Austria to visit villages from which our Germanna ancestors immigrated.  This page contains photos taken in Gresten, Austria.
(Each photo is labeled for the month & year it was taken.)
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(Photos of German and Austrian Villages, Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)
(Photos of German and Austrian Villages Web Pages, Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)


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Photos of Gresten, Austria


View of
Gresten, Austria
View of Gresten, Austria
(May, 2000)
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This is a view of the town of Gresten, Austria, from the hills where the Pletzenberg Farm is located. About 2,000 people live there, with another 1,600 in the surrounding Gresten-Land. Farming makes little use of the plow. Instead, meadows are maintained for grazing and hay. Gresten is about fifty miles west of Vienna.

Plankenbichl Farm,
View 1
Plankenbichl Farm at Gresten, Austria
(May, 2000)
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This is the Plankenbichl farm where some "Blankenbakers" were living in 1650. The old house is at the right end; it used to have a thatched roof in 1930. A new dwelling, probably a couple of apartments, is being built on the left. Connecting the two is a barn. The buildings are rather large, as can be judged by the tractor in the picture.

Plankenbichl Farm,
View 2
Plankenbichl Farm at Gresten, Austria
(May, 2002)
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This is a another view of Plankenbichl farm (in the center) taken from Pletzenberg farm.  Another view of Plankenbichl shows it from the other side.  Remember that many of these shots are telephoto shots which compress distance.  The distance between the two farms is a little more than a half mile.  The distance by road is much farther.

Plankenbichl Old
Farm House
Plankenbichl Old Farm House
(May, 2000)
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This is the front view of the old Plankenbichl farm house. It has been modified several times, and its fate is unclear now that the new dwelling is being built. The land falls away on three sides, as the buildings sit on the end of a ridge. There is a good view from the setting in all directions.



John Blankenbaker on
the Plankenbichl Farm
John Blankenbaker on the Plankenbichl Farm
(May, 2000)
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Here is John standing on the Plankenbichl farm wondering, if things had been slightly different, whether he would have been living on the farm here. It certainly is an emotional experience to be on the land where (probably) one's ancestors lived, three hundred and fifty years ago. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, but before John leaves this planet, he hopes to find more about the causes of the emigration from here.

Scheiblau
Farm
Scheiblau Farm
(May, 2002)
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Not much more than one-quarter mile from the Plankenbichl farm is the Scheiblau farm.  (It is now a lumber mill and wood products fabrication plant.)  I am betting this is the home of the Scheibles in the Germanna community.  Probably all of the Holts can trace a line back to Austria.

Pletzenberg
Farm
Pletzenberg Farm
(May, 2000)
(File size:  800 x 445,
126,465 Bytes)

This is another farm where there appeared to be "Blankenbakers" living in 1650. It is about one-half mile in a direct line from the Plankenbichl farm, but it is almost two miles by the road. Pletzenberg is a little higher in elevation, and the view here is looking away from Gresten toward the more mountainous region. The plan of construction and the setting are very similar for the two farms.

Gresten
Weg
Gresten Weg
(May, 2000)
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Around Gresten, the hills abound with ways, or small roads, to be used for biking, walking, horseback riding, or, in some cases, for auto roads. These originate from the days that Gresten was a center for iron refining and processing. Today they enhance the tourist attractiveness of the region.

(Note from Web Manager:  The German "weg" is best translated as way, path, walk, or track.)



Gresten
Main Street
Gresten Main Street
(May, 2002)
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The main street in Gresten is not very large.  It gives one the shivers when "18 wheelers" are passing a 7 year old girl on a bicycle.  The Gasthof is our home when we return home.

(Note from Web Manager:  I think that's John with his back to the camera.)

Street in
Vienna, Austria
Street in Vienna
(May, 2002)
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Gresten is a neighbor of Vienna (about 50 kilometers away), which has a street named for a member of the "Blankenbaker" family.  In typical Germanic fashion, the words are run together.  "Gasse" means a short or smaller street.  It was only four blocks long, but it ran straight, and was wider than the "Main Street" of Gresten.  This spelling of the name is very close to some of the spellings at the Hebron Church in Virginia.

Go to John's Germanna Notes


Starting Here.








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Gresten Kindergarten Class
Gresten Kindergarten Class
(May, 2000)
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When Eleanor and I were out on one of the small roads in the hills, we came across this group of two adults and seven children. We learned they are a Vienna kindergarten group who came out (50 miles) on a train, and who were spending two or three days on a farm. The word kindergarten has a slightly different meaning there than here, as it just means pre-school child care. I took the name of the teacher and sent her nine copies of the photos. We did something similar on several occasions.

(Note from Web Managr:  In Europe, Kindergarten is just a nursery school for children between the ages of 4 and 6. It's a "baby sitting" service, rather than a Federally mandated program.)

Gresten Dinner Party
Gresten Dinner Party
(May, 2000)
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The people in the picture are Hans Karner, Elizabeth Berger, Eleanor and John Blankenbaker, and Florian Berger. They had been so kind to us that we invited them to dinner. After dinner, we walked down town so we could stand in front of the map showing the farms in the area. We found the Pletzenberg and Plankenbichl farms, where "Blankenbakers" appear to have lived in 1650. Later, we also found Scheiblau farm, which is probably the home of the Scheibles in the Germanna community. Herr Karner is the Bürgermeister (Mayor) of Gresten-Land. Herr Berger is an insurance salesman, and it was he who took us in his car to the Plankenbichl and Pletzenberg farms. It was a coincidence, but his mother was born on the Plankenbichl farm. He also arranged for a breakfast meeting with the Mayor for us.



NOTE !!!!!

(Photos of German and Austrian Villages, Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)
(Photos of German and Austrian Villages Web Pages, Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)
(While we allow downloading of these pictures for your enjoyment, and for personal genealogical uses, they are copyrighted material and commercial use of them is FORBIDDEN.)

(If you find errors on this page, please email me.)

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Aufkirchen   (2002)

Bergnerzell   (2002)

Beyerberg   (2002)

Falkenstein   (2002)

Fellinghausen   (2000)

Frankenhofen   (2002)

Freudenberg   (2000)

Gemmingen   (2000)

Gresten (Austria)   (2000 & 2002)

Guttenberg Castle   (2000)

Haundorf   (2002)

Heidelberg   (2000)

Hüffenhardt   (2000)

Illenschwang   (2000)

Illenschwang   (2002)

Kettenbach   (2000)

Klings   (2002)

Kühnhardt   (2002)

Lambsheim   (2002)

Marienthal   (2002)

Mosbach   (2002)

Neuenbürg   (2000)

Oberfischbach (2000)

Obermichelbach (2002)

Ötisheim   (2000)

Rödgen   (2000)

Schwaigern   (2000)

Seiderzell   (2002)

Siegen   (2000)

Sulzfeld/Ravensburg   (2000)

Stetten   (2002)

Trupbach   (2000)

Waldbach   (2002)

Zaberfeld   (2002)


Gaar Family Villages   (2002) Utz Family Villages   (2002) Map of 2nd Colony
Villages in Germany (2000)

[Germany and Austria Photo Gallery]