The cutesy title, meant to attract your attention, refers to a nice web site that I recently found on the web that allow you to find pictures of locations in Germany and other places.
This can be done, of course, by going to a search engine and typing in the name of the town and a phrase such as Bilder (pictures), Luftbilder (aerial pictures), Fotos (duh), and the like. And, of course, if you get to a web page for a location, it will often have pictures of the "Sehenswuerdigkeiten," or things worth seeing for a tourist. Other sites, such as the Genweb sites or private web sites, will often have a selection of photos. Just finding guides to look for such pictures would be a good project for someone's college thesis.
However, there is a site, in German, which can offer pictures of churches and offices the Rathaueser, or town or village halls, and gives a little bit about the building shown in the pictures. That site is at http://www.fotomarburg.de/index.html. It translates as the Picture Index for Art and Architecture. From there click on the link, "Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur." Then click on the box labeled "Orte" (which means Places), and at last you are deposited on the place search page. You can enter a place name or browse by letter. It is a project of several organizations, and by clicking on the Einfuehrung, Partner. Foerderer, and Redaktion headers, those who have German can find out the details of the project and its coverage.
When I entered the name of one place of interest (Schaafheim, which is in Kreis Dieburg in Hessen), I was presented with a thumbnail gallery of 36 different pictures that you can click on and enlarge. They show the Evangelical church and the town hall, both of which were built by my ancestors (albeit in different centuries).
I have been there several times and have pictures already. But if you have not been able to visit overseas, and want to see what the interior or exterior of the places where you family did business or worshipped, then you might find this site to be of use.
It's important to have a sense of what our ancestors saw in their daily lives. They did not just sit around talking about their descendants 200 years from then, who would go to America. They lived their daily lives, often never venturing more than a few miles from the place of their birth unless there was a good reason such as a war or if their trade required it. They saw these buildings every day of their lives
To write present all facets of the site would be a bit difficult - it holds over 1.6 million photos from Germany (the largest section with 1.3 million images, as it is based there), but also France, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. To reiterate, it's a collection of art and architecture, not genealogy, and it's in German. But just being able to see the places that your ancestors saw is a real treat. Try it out and see if your towns are mentioned.
Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2005.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.
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