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Preliminary investigations into the six-pointed stars of Erbach

Sun 09 August 2015 — filed under history

My grandfather was born in the village of Mömlingen, Germany in 1907, and emigrated to the United States in the early 1930s. Here's his dad, my great-great-grandfather, and the city crest of Mömlingen:

isidor city crest of  Mömlingen

You might note the two 6-pointed starsin German, the "zwei sechsstrahligen weißen Sternen". These six-pointed stars are related to the House of Erbach. The Erbachs were counts in the region. Here's their coat of arms, along with a detail from the tomb of Dietrich Schenk von Erbach, Archbishop of Mainz from 1434-1459. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

coat of arms of House of Erbach tomb of Dietrich Schenk von Erbach

Mömlingen is in the Miltenberg district of Bavaria, and just east is Odenwaldkreis, in Hesse.

district crest of  Miltenberg district crest of  Odenwaldkreis

No sechsstrahligen Sternen in Miltenberg. Instead, we get Bavaria on the top, the wheel of the Archbishopric of Mainz on the lower left and the "Franconian Rake" of the Prince-Bishopric of Würzburg on the lower right. Miltenberg, including Mömlingen, has been part of Bavaria since 1814, although it's just on the border with Hesse.

In Odenwaldkreis, we see some Erbach stars. I'm assuming, then, that based on the coat of arms of Mömlingen, (adopted in 1955, mind you) that it passed between Erbach and Mainz at some point in the past.

I've done a little digging on the Erbach family to see where those six-pointed stars came from, and how long they've been around. It looks like the Erbachs weren't particular as to how many points appeared on their coat of arms until about the 1400s, when they appear to have settled on 6. I've seen five and seven pointed stars in the pre-1400 period, mostly on cenotaphs in the Protestant church of Michelstadt. One very helpful tool is the really interesting German Inscriptions Project.

So far, there's no evidence that the Erbachs or their stars are related to the six-pointed stars of the Chicago flag. I doubt any will turn up.


summer vacation 2015

Sat 06 June 2015 — filed under potentiality

So we're looking at going on a vacation road trip this summer, an adventure made of diesel fuel, fried clams, Canadian currency, overnight ferries, and fresh oysters.

map Chicago->Portland

From Chicago to Pittsburgh to my own original hometown of New London (funnelcake! Mystic! that smell of my grandparents' attic I remember ...

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change in population mix in Chicago 1950-2010

Wed 13 May 2015 — filed under chicago

What was once a gently-rolling landscape of ages is now a desert with a single mountain.

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where the hot dogs were

Fri 08 May 2015 — filed under chicago

You may have read a recent interview in the Chicago Reader with Rich Bowen about the book he wrote in 1983 with Dick Fay: "Hot Dog Chicago: A Native's Dining Guide". I dunno, I didn't read the article until I started writing this post. I have an ex-library ...

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changes in young adult population in Chicago 1950-2010

Sat 25 April 2015 — filed under chicago

graph of chicago hoods

Here's a cartogram of the change in the population of young adults, age 20-29, from 1950 to 2010, by community area. From 1950 to 2010, Chicago's population decreased by around 1 million people, but look: in some neighborhoods, the number of young adults actually increased, in some areas ...

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