This week the Sophienburg Museum and Archives will present a great shopping experience to the public. It’s called Weihnachtsmarkt, or Christmas Market, at the Civic Center. It begins Friday, Nov. 19 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 21.
The market offers more than 60 unique booths, plus Breakfast with Santa and a charming café called Sophie’s Café. It features freshly prepared food in a European outdoor café setting. Sophie’s Shop moves down from the Sophienburg to offer German-made Christmas ornaments and unique decorations. Many local authors are offering their books for sale.
The Sophienburg Museum and Archives is a not-for-profit organization that derives its operating funds from individual donations, memberships, and much from Weihnachtsmarkt. When you purchase at Weihnachtsmarkt, you are helping the Sophienburg keep its doors open.
The museum displays the rich history of New Braunfels with occasional special exhibits. The present exhibition is the Civil War. A volunteer group works diligently on the collections stored in the old museum building. There is constant work involving organizing and restoring items and papers donated by individuals.
The archives are a rather complicated collection of records. Let’s suppose you would like to find out something about your family or something about an historical event like WWI or something that happened in NB. In old journalistic terms, you can find out “who, what, where, when, why and how.” Make an appointment to work with a helper.
Here is what is available to the public:
n What the Genealogy Society has done for the Sophienburg records will “knock your socks off.” They have collected more than 1,000 research books, have compiled burial records from the Comal Cemetery, New Braunfels Cemetery, Comal and Guadalupe County cemeteries and small family cemeteries. They compiled birth, marriage and death records for Comal County, extracted from the CC Courthouse.
n There is a large collection of obituaries and related documents put on the computer by genealogy, collected from 574 donated family history books. They compiled the census of 1850 and every 10 years thereafter to 1930. There is an index of probate records and commissioner’s court minutes starting in 1866 through 1937. Many of the aforementioned records are available for sale in Sophie’s Shop. Genealogy has maintained the Herald-Zeitung on microfiche up to the present.
n Recently, First Protestant Church allowed the Sophienburg to copy its original German records from 1845 and their translation in English. There are other church histories as well, plus directories, telephone books and high school annuals.
n Now this is a big one: There are over a million photographs in the Sophienburg collection. An attendant can enter a name or event on the computer and tell you if a photograph is available. For a small fee, you can have the photograph copied. Over 200 maps, going back to 1836 are in the collection.
The Reflections program began in 1976 for the purpose of interviewing New Braunfels citizens about what they remember about the past. These programs are played on the local radio station. A list of people interviewed is available and a list of subjects is being compiled. About 1,100 interviews have been recorded and you may listen to them at the archives or purchase a particular interview in CD form. This is an ongoing program and anyone interested in participating is welcome.
For serious historic research, there are the 65 Prince Solms Archives in German, with a few numbers translated into English. There are two volunteers available to do German translations, including the elaborate German Fraktur.
To bring us up in the technological world, the Sophienburg has a website that you can visit at home. It’s chock full of information about what’s going on with the organization. In addition, the column that I write for the Sophienburg that appears in the Herald-Zeitung every other Sunday is on the web. Here’s how you find these stories:
- Go to the website Sophienburg.com
- Locate “Around the Archives.” Click here.
The 167 columns that I have written appear with the first being the most recent.
Under word search, type in a name or subject and the computer will tell you in which column the info is located by month and year. For example, put in the word “Weihnachtsmarkt” and every article that mentions this event is listed.
The Sophienburg asks for your support in keeping this institution up to date by supporting Weihnachtsmarkt. See the website for details.