Swabian Jura

Image: a typical landscape on the Swabian Jura.

The Schwäbische Alb (Swabian Jura) is a high plateau which is between 600 and 900m a.s.l.. Although the plateau itself seems rather flat, it is falling indiscernible to the south with about 2°. So the northern rim is much higher in the north, forming an escarpment which is ub to 300 meters high.

This plateau is, because of its height, much colder than the surrounding areas. Summer is shorter and winter longer and harder. In early times the climate was too cold to live there. The people came here to hunt or just travelled through, even roman road cross the area, but there were no settlements.

In 700 AD the Alemans started to settle in the area. They founded villages all over the area all ending with -ingen, like Laichingen, Bermaringen, Suppingen. Later, as those settlements grew and the fields were farer and farer away from the village, the people decided to found new settlements, to be closer to their fields. In this period the names of the villages ended on -hausen, -heim or stetten. (Westerheim, Weidenstetten, Machtolsheim, and Grabenstetten).

Life on the Alb was never easy. The area was not particularly infertile, but it was cool and the summer was short. After cold and wet summers the harvest was bad, several times a famine followed. And even if the weather was okay, the people had to work very hard for their living.

The members of the Duckeck family were typically blacksmiths. They produced anything the people on the Alb needed for daily life: rings for carriages and casks, forks, scythes, sickles and ploughs. The blacksmith made horse shoes and shod horses and cows. Cows were very comon for pulling waggons and ploughs. And because the blacksmith shod the animals he also looked after their health. He often did the job of a veterinary.

The Duckecks always lived on the Alb. Only very few left the area, to live in other parts of Germany or in Amerika. Even today most of the family members still live in the area.