Danube Swabian Community
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world.
In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead

Villages Helping Hands

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors


 Mover & Shaker

Nick Tullius

by Rose Mary Keller Hughes, DVHH Correspondent.
Published 4 Jan 2006
by Jody McKim Pharr.

"Journey from Alexanderhausen to Ottawa" In this eloquent tale of his life, Nick Tullius tells us of his life.  The little boy who  lost his mother forever to typhoid and separated from his father for 18 years.  He went through a terrible war and survived.  He is now retired and enjoying life with his wife Donna and his two grown and educated sons.  Please read his memoir . . . it will move you.

“Live your life as if it would last forever;
and live every day as if it would be your last.”

Welcome Nick, to the list of Shakers and Movers.

Getting to Know You . . . . . . . . .

Nick, we’ve learned about your having lost a mother at a very early age and being separated from your father for 18 years.  A large number of us on the list have never experienced being in the thick of war or knowing the trauma that you and several other fellow listers have.  Were there life-long lessons you learned from your experiences that you passed on to your sons?

I learned that you can live on very little, if you have to, and that sacrifices are needed to accomplish just about anything that is worthwhile to achieve.  You try to change what you can change; you accept what you cannot change; and you hope that you can recognize the difference. 

What got you started in doing genealogical research?

During a business trip to Salt Lake City in the late 1980s I found myself at the LDS (Latter Day Saints—the Mormon Church) family research center.  On impulse, I took out some microfilms and looked up our family name (I think it was under “Elsass-Lothringen, Germany”) and promptly found the ancestors that went to the Banat.  Our son Raimond, who was in his late teens at the time, was fascinated and ordered more microfilms.  In 1992 and 1993 he visited Romania, and collected a lot of information in Billed, Temeswar, and Tschanad.  He established that the Tullius families in Alexanderhausen did not come from Triebswetter, but rather from Tschanad.  

Who or what has been most helpful in your research?

Of great help were Dave Dreyer’s lists, especially in finding data on my mother’s side (they lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1912 to about 1920).  I also received help from friends in Germany, the archives of the city of Trier, and many others.  With all that, I was able to follow many branches all the way back to Germany (and its territories).  A remaining ambiguity is my great-grandfather Nicholas/Nikolaus Beitz.  He seems to have been a restless soul, living in several Banat villages and in the USA more than once.  

Do you use software for recording your family information–if so, which one?

I am using the Legacy software, but have not explored all of its features.   

Who of all your ancestors has made the biggest impression on you?

That would have to be Franz Lukas (1856 – 1934) the first teacher born in Alexanderhausen, and the first name on the list of “Remarkable Personalities” in the Heimatbuch Alexanderhausen.  He worked for 40 years as a teacher and principal in Temeswar, and was editor of the paper Banater Schulbote.  He never married and left most of his worldly possessions to the Banatia project (the largest educational institution in Eastern Europe in its time). 

What has been your most remarkable find in your roots research?

I found it remarkable that my ancestors came from so many different places:  Tullius from the Trier area; Lukas from Luxemburg; Dupont from the Belgian province of Luxemburg; Wildbrett from the Black Forest; Opitz from Kuttenberg in Bohemia; and many others.  I have established contact with a 96-year old aunt in Cincinnati.  

What were some of the local traditions or family traditions that were practiced when you were a child in the Banat?  Do you practice any of these traditions today?

The most memorable traditions were connected with village life—midnight mass at Christmas Eve, with the brass band playing in front of the church or up in the steeples; church processions at Resurrection, All Saints Day, and other occasions; the thousands of candles lit at the cemetery on All Souls Day; the theater presentation by the German Theater of Temeswar, and so on. These cannot be reproduced and can only be preserved incompletely by writing about them.  [Interviewer’s comment:  You along with others on the DVHH list have enriched all of us with your remembrances of life in the Banat.]  The family traditions that remain have to do with the celebration of Christmas and Easter, and also with cooking, baking, and drinking (wine and beer).   

Are there sites or references that have been helpful and that you feel would be of benefit to the DVHH members?

There are too many to mention, but most of them are in German.  In my eyes, it is the great merit of sites like DVHH that they go beyond strictly genealogical research, into the lives, customs, and culture of our Danube-Swabian ancestors.  There is so much that we all can learn, and by preserving that knowledge, we contribute to the extremely rewarding task of keeping the memory of the Danube Swabians alive. 

If you were asked for any advice that you might give fellow DVHH listers, what would it be?

Be patient; be persistent; be accurate; be meticulous; say so when you are not sure of some facts – others may have the answer.  Never give up on the complexity of our history or our language and dialects.  I feel that the various languages and cultures that I have had the privilege of sharing immeasurably enriched my life. I cannot presume to give advice on how others run their lives, but I would encourage those of us with children to expose them to other languages.  If I had to pick one, it would have to be German, the language of our ancestors and the repository of a rich and complex culture. 

Do you have a motto you live by?  Will you share it with us?

Live your life as if it would last forever; and live every day as if it would be your last. 

Thank you, Nick, for sharing your thoughts with us . . . also, on behalf of the DVHH members who have been enriched by your contributions to our group, let me acknowledge our appreciation of your generous sharing of memories, your translation skills, and your experiences in the land we call our home of the heart.

Nick & the DVHH ...

Nick is a member of the DVHH Administration Team, which focuses on decision making and planning for the DVHH project; and he is one of the Banat Regional Coordinators.

See all Nick's contributions

Thank you Nick for your contributions to the DS community and the DVHH Project!

Updated: 26 Sep 2007

Nick is a member of the DVHH Board of Directors, as he continues to server as one of the Banat Regional Coordinators; and he servers on the DVHH Editorial Committee.

Last Updated: 02 Mar 2019

Last Updated: 11 Feb 2020

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