The 1850 census taker did their best for Mary Fox's birthplace, but I can't really decipher it:

screenshot of birthplace name

I strongly suspect this is somewhere in Germany, because family lore says Mary Fox and her family came from Germany. However, "Worthinberge" (Ancestry's attempted transcription) doesn't appear to exist, nor "Wertimberge" (my best guess).

What was the birthplace for Mary Fox supposed to say?

  • The problem is that there's clearly a dot after the t, suggesting a i letter.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 15:44
  • To Swabians? Absolutely! Their home "Württemberg", see lejonet's answer.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


I read Woitimberge or Wertimberge here. Both are not place names.

I guess the census taker did not understand the place name correctly and spelling the place name might also be influenced from local dialect.

European place names are listed in the GOV (Geschichtliches Orts-Verzeichnis). You can search it using the wildcard character * (but you have to start with a regular letter).

The most likely place seems Württemberg, a historical territory. The only place starting with W and ending -berge that comes to my mind is the city Wittenberge (don’t confuse it with Luther’s Wittenberg). As I learned from the GOV, there is not just the city of Wittenberge (in Brandenburg), but also a much smaller town with the same name (in Lower-Saxony).

  • Württemberg existed around the time of this census entry (mid nineteenth century) and seems a very plausible place of origin for the Fox (probably Fuchs originally) family. Thank you!
    – Erica
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 19:54
  • For comparison, here's a search I ran on the new Meyers Gaz website: meyersgaz.org/search.aspx?search=Wrtberg* See lostcousins.com/newsletters2/meyersgaz.pdf for an overview of the website.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 20:35
  • 1
    Not disputing either the methodology or the result, but English-speakers often confuse berg and burg. Wildcard searches should take this into account.
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 20:57
  • 1
    As native speaker, I can imagine the Fox' family speaking dialect (probably Swabian) and then "Württemberg" would sound very much like the "Wertimberge" we see written here, at least to the ears of an English speaking listener..
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 20:31

Baden_ Wurtenberg is a province in South Central Germany. I also have old ancestors from this area.

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