Friday, April 9, 2010

German Resources on the Internet

If you are just beginning your German research, Alan Smith, in his article, "German Resources on the Internet," suggests some Internet sites to get you started. As the author suggests, "studying a foreign country does present unique barriers," and may, at some point, benefit from the help of a local area researcher. Language can also present a barrier, although a little resourcefulness and familiarizing oneself with common words for common documents can help. In helping my niece with her Swedish research, I found a site that translated Swedish to English, allowing us to at least discern the key words in an important estate document. I'm sure similar problems exist for those on the other side, trying to locate ancestors who emigrated to the United States or another country.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tracing Your Roots to Germany, Part Two: The Nomenclature

Tracing an ancestor back to his or her country of origin is very exciting. The process of continuing the search in the records of a new land can be intimidating, especially where a foreign language is involved. In "Tracing Your Roots to Germany, Part Two: The Nomenclature," Alan Smith offers some first-hand suggestions for those who are just beginning.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Exploring German Ancestries

For those just beginning to explore their ancestral roots in another county, Alan Smith's recent article, "Exploring German Ancestries," takes a look at some of the first steps. The more general principles discussed would apply to research in any foreign country, beginning with an exploration of the political, geographical, and cultural history. Determining who was in power at any given time and how areas were divided and records maintained is the key to successful research abroad and at home.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Orleans: Destination or Stopover

In her article, "New Orleans: Destination or Stopover" Judy Rosella Edwards provides insight into the where passengers arriving at the Port of New Orleans might have been headed, and shows how passenger lists evolved over time in their level of detail. The article also indicates a German settlement near New Orleans, an area that remains today.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

FamilySearch and FamilyLink. bring German collection online

FamilySearch recently announced an inaugural project in concert with, Inc., to digitize and index a valuable German genealogy collection containing over 3.5 million names from the period of 1650-1875. The Brenner Collection contains 3.5 million names on more than 750 rolls of microfilm, representing between 900,000 and 1.5 million images. A final count will be determined once all of the records have been indexed. The complete Brenner Collection database is scheduled to be online at by the end of this year, although segments of the database will be launched in the interim.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Palentines of America aids German research

A recent genealogy column in the TribStar introduces those who might not be familiar, to the Palentines of America and its usefulness to German research. The article reports, if you visit the Web site at you will learn that Palatines to America (Pal Am) is a “German genealogy society dedicated to the study of ancestors from all German-speaking lands. The society takes its name from the fact that some of the earliest German-speaking immigrants to the American colonies came from a region in present-day Germany known as the Palatinate (Pfälz) and were called Palatines (Pfälzers). The founding members of Pal Am all had ancestors from this area of Germany.” For information on the national society along with its state chapters, visit

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Mid-1800s German/Francisan settlement in Illinois

If you are looking for German immigrants in the United States who spent some time in Ohio before disappearing from your genealogical timeline, you may try looking for them in Tuetopolis, Illinois. In her article,"Migrations from Vechta, Germany to Teutopolis, Illinois," Judy Rosella Edwards provides background on this community, along with many names of those who settled there and founded the St. Joseph's Diocesan College and the Sisters' School.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nauvoo, Illinois -- a new look

A fresh perspective is always welcome in the world of genealogy. In her article, "Nauvoo Retains Its Place in History," Judy Rosella Edwards takes a look at Nauvoo, Illinois after the Mormons were driven out, pointing out that ethnic and religious groups have a history in the area. Among the newcomers was one Christian Jung, a German immigrant and staunch Lutheran who spent his life "devoted to reinventing Nauvoo." The article also mentions the French Icarians, a group of French idealists attempting to establish a Utopian society.

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Monday, August 6, 2007 adds new German language records

A number of German records -- written in German -- have been recently added to databases, among them the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1819. According the the web site, the 1819 census was the first general census of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The complete census has survived and the entirety of it is contained in this database, including an electronic every-name index to it, as well as images of the original census records. Information recorded in the census includes: name, gender, birth date, birthplace, marital status, and religion. Because the records are in German, Ancestry recommends using German when entering search terms. For those researching German records who do not speak German, it's good to become familiar with the common terms used for a particular record type, to help zero in on family names and locations.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Recognizing German Colonists

In this year of celebrating the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, we are reminded that while "Jamestown was settled by the English in 1607 . . . following closely behind them were German immigrants in 1608." In her article, "The First Germans at Jamestown," Melissa Slate provides insight into the significant, early contributions of German immigrants to the American colonies.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Plan now for upcoming Pennsylvania German Conference

Mark your calendar for September 15. The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center on the campus of Kutztown University, in response to a well-received genealogy conference in the fall of 2005, has announced another in the works. According to an article published in the Lebanon Daily News, "Plan ahead for fall Pa. German conference in Kutztown," it's an event "worth planning for in advance." The keynote speaker will be Roland Paul, a noted German genealogist and former Director of the Institute for Palatine history in Kaiserslatuern. Paul’s address will focus on letters sent home to Germany by 18th century immigrants in America, with insights into the "chain and cluster migrations" that helped bring additional settlers to the American colonies. Other well-known Pennsylvania German researchers include Corinne Earnest and John T. Humphrey.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ancestry adds new German records and launches new German web site

Good news for those researching German ancestry. has announced the addition of six million names from German port and census records to its collection. The records include passenger lists, census and vital records, and other information. At the same time, Ancestry has launched a new German-language web site, "With more than 42 million Americans claiming German heritage, the launch of German historical records and creates an unprecedented networking opportunity for Germans and German-Americans to collaborate."

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Friday, December 1, 2006

Pennsylvania Dutch not of Dutch Lineage

Melissa Slate contributed the article, "History of the Pennsylvania Dutch", offering a brief history of the origins of the Pennsylvania Dutch in America.

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