Erna Boldewahn spoke German and English. My mother remembers sitting at the kitchen table with her mother and her mother’s cousin, Mary Schoblaski listening to them speak German.
The dialect was most likely a variation of
Platt Deutsch (Low German) Wikipedia says that the inhabitants of
Pommern (Northern Prussia) spoke the ) dialect Ostpommersch (East Pomeranian which is a variation of
East Low German
The language has mostly died out, but is still spoken in Brazil where many Prussians emigrated to in the 1800s.
Listen to someone talking about potatoes in Plattdütsch
Plattdütsch Underwegens: Das Kartoffeljahr
A woman singing a love song in Plattdütsch
Dat du mien Leevsen büst
A grandchild videotaped their grandparents talking in Plattdütsch. If you go to the YouTube page there is an English transcript.
Oma un Opa snacken up Plattdüütsch
What’s in a name? Those odd immigrant names really took a beating in the US. Our German great-grand-father’s name was “
Boldewahn” But it was spelled:
My favorites are:
To be fair, the name was often spelled in the German church books as
Bolduan. The Nagel family think that these spelling variations are due to how cursive writing was taught in Germany before the 1940s. The script was stylized and ornate and is hard for many of us today to read. It was called the “ Sütterlin Schreibschrift”. After WW2 the modern “Latin” script was taught that most of us are familiar with here in the USA.
Baltimore, 1884 Oshkosh City Directory)
Bolderwhack (1920 Oshkosh Rural Address Book)
Oldewahn (1930 Oshkosh, WI newspaper)
Boltewahn or Boltewsku (1930 US Census)
Bolduan (German Church Register 1851, Gruenwald, Kreis Neustettin, Pommern)
So what is the origin of the name?
Gotish (East Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths): balths
Old High German ( 700 to 1050 AD): pald, bald
Middle High German ( 1050 and 1350 AD): balt or kühn (audacious)
The origin of the Italian word: baldo
Baldevin – Old High German variant of Baldewin (“Bald” and “Vin”)
Vin means “friend”
Ancient Germanic *-winiz = ‘friend’
Old Norse – vinr = ‘friend’
Swedish – vän = ‘friend’
Danish – ven = ‘friend’
Old High German – wini = ‘friend’
Old English – wine = ‘friend’ or wini = ‘friend’
Boldewan (17th Century)
CONCLUSION: Boldewahn means “Bold” “Friend”
The best way to search for the name is to use “wildcard” symbols