Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Coffee What?

No doubt you've heard of a coffee klatsch. It's a social gathering wherein the guests partake of coffee and gossip... um, I mean, you know, conversation. The term comes from the German Kaffeeklatsch: Kaffee--yes, you're right, that part means coffee--see? you know some German already--plus Klatsch, which means slap, smack, pop, crack of a whip, or gossip. (Oh, did you think gossip was harmless?) Klatsch can also be used to refer to the person who gossips: a fly-flap or babbler.

See, I did not make that up! It came directly from The Classic Series German-English Dictionary published in 1926 by Follett Publishing Company of Chicago. I don't remember how I came by this dictionary. The name written inside the front cover means nothing to me, so I suppose I bought it at a garage sale. It's in rather worn condition, but of the three or four German-English dictionaries I own, I've found it the most useful by far.

I've been working on a book project for several weeks, and in the course of creating an index, I happened again upon another interesting term which, I've always thought, meant essentially the same thing as coffee klatsch. The term Coffee Krentzgen was used in a couple of short news clips from The Sheldon Progress in 1908. I find the term particularly interesting because one of my family surnames is Krentz, and I've wondered if I might have some sort of ancestral connection to this odd term.

A Google search for Coffee Krentzgen turned up nothing but my previous blog post of the 1908 news clips, and neither Bing's nor Google's translation tools had any translation for Krentzgen. But as I started to look for it in my German-English dictionary, I stumbled rather accidentally upon the meaning of the word. It seems Krentzgen may have been a phonetic spelling by a news stringer who didn't know the German word Kränzchen , for which one of the definitions is small circle, society, or club. Essentially, then, the Coffee Kränzchen is about the same thing as the coffee klatsch... maybe with a little less gossip... or maybe not!

Either way, this dictionary is one of my favorite books. But now I can't help wondering whether somebody will give me some Krapf for this post.


Cheryl said...

You are so funny and more importantly very, very clever!

TK said...

Aw, thanks, Cheryl! I'm sure it must be a Schulte trait!

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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