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Anti-German Hysteria in Greater Cincinnati

Newspaper article found on microfilm in the Local History and Genealogy Department at Covington. Appeared in the Kentucky Post on September 25th, 1918 on page 1. My ancestor, Louis Lang, then going by the name Ludwig, emigrated from his home in Alsace-Lorraine in 1895 when he was 15 years old. On the passenger list for the ship traveling from Antwerp, Belgium to New York City, his family listed that they were headed directly for Cynthiana, Kentucky, where Louis’s eldest brother was a farmer. Louis lived a normal life: he got married and had two daughters, subsequently divorced his wife, and spent the rest of his life as a farming bachelor before dying at the age of 47. This all seems pretty straightforward, but Louis caused some confusion for me when I started to research him I first read Louis’s name when I found my great-grandmother, at the age of 14 months, with her family on the 1910 census. It was there that I saw Louis was listed as a naturalized American, born in Germany. Since both of his parents were listed as also being born in Germany, I simply assumed that that side of my family was German. But, I noticed on the 1920 census that my great-great-grandfather Louis was no longer claiming his German heritage. This time around, he listed his birthplace as France despite his native tongue still being listed as German. The 1920 census also listed Louis’s parents as being French instead of the previously stated German. Some may argue that the reason Louis changed his country of origin was due to Alsace-Lorraine reverting from German back to French terrain. After all, in 1870, only ten years before the Langs [...]