Falkner Stammbücher Project


This project is concerned with four genealogical books belonging to the Falkner family, a well-connected member of the elite in the city of Basel during the early modern period. It is part of the master thesis of Anna Reimann under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Susanna Burghartz. The thesis is concerned with questions of family identity and memory, family representation and conception - but due to the special qualities of the sources it is also interested in materiality and fashion.

The genealogies include miniature paintings of family members, most often arranged in groups of husband and wife with their respective children with descriptions around the images. The first book of 1574 plus 1598, 1690 and 1741 are addressed in this project, but they were produced well into the 19th century. Consequently they consist of layers, with influences from many different writers and painters while incorporating repetitive imagery and language.

The project is based on a freizo digital collection containing around 700 high resolution page impressions and a workflow using the Mirador research instrument which enables creation of annotations of the principal images and all of the texts and transcriptions. This permits analysis of the small but significant changes within and between the books over the course of nearly four hundred years, as well as contributing to a better understanding of the logic of genealogies constructing family history.

Chronology and Access

Digitization at the Basel University Library commenced in July 2017 and page image data for the first three books was handed to Data Futures on July 24th. Anna Reimann started creating annotation areas for images and texts at the beginning of August after development and introduction with the Department of History and Europa Institute Research Navigator. Data for the fourth book was entered on August 30th and transcription of text annotations and creation of an 'entity' collection of the persons discovered is nearing completion. A search interface for the transcriptions was configured during September and in October a second pass of annotation will classify the texts and link them to extracted images as Web Annotation Data Model assets in the freizo collection. Sample pages from work in progress available here (see instructions to use Mirador below) will be replaced during December with a complete presentation of the Stammbücher project; in January 2018 a research collection will be made accessible to the broader community through Basel University Library.

Mirador allows browsing of sample pages - click on a thumbnail at the bottom of it's page to get a full-size image (the icon toggles the thumbnail display off and back on). Using the mouse or trackpad to zoom, and click the button at the top right to see metadata about the book itself. Click the button at the top left of Mirador to see current work on annotation.