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Showing posts from March, 2015

Lost in the Homeland, Part 4: Researching Genealogy in Germany

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If you missed Part 1, it's here.  For Part 2, go here.  For Part 3, go here.

We may be in the home stretch, except for the fact that I keep thinking of more things to include.

14.  Family Name Societies:  I don't know of any directory of these (if you do, please let me know!), but I've found a wonderful resource in the Familienverband Berneburg in Eschwege.  This is a family association for the preservation of the history and genealogy of those with the surname Berneburg.  What a find!  It's opened up a huge area for me, and I went from not being able to get past my great-grandfather to having the name of my 11th great-grandfather, who was born in 1470!  I don't know how to tell you to find such an organization, except to . . .

14. . . . Google it!:  What good could it possibly do to try to find an ancestor who was born in 1840 through Google?  Well, you never know what Google might come up with.  I took a tip from  50 Best Genealogy Brick Wall Solutions and google…

Lost in the Homeland, Part 3: Researching Genealogy in Germany.

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If you missed Part 1, it's here.  For Part 2, go here

So, on to Part 3 of Researching Genealogy in Germany.  I have many more resources for you!

10.  U.S. Vital Records and Censuses:  I've skipped over U.S. records and their potential value to researchers in Germany.  Use every resource you can in the U.S. to find that key bit of information:  where your ancestor came from in Germany.  I collapsed a huge brick wall for one of my great-grandfathers when I ordered his death certificate from New Jersey -- no, the certificate did not include the place of his birth, but it included the names of his mother and father.  I had been banging my head against that particular brick wall for so long that I knew exactly where to find Conrad and Theresia Ortmann, in the tiny town of Erkeln, in Nordrhein-Westfalen.  I had rejected them as potential parents because the dates didn't match up (go back to #9 in Part 2 about dates and ages).  I corrected a big mistake in another line when I …

Lost in the Homeland, Part 2: Researching Genealogy in Germany

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If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

Here we go with Part 2 of what I know so far about doing research in Germany.

7.  German Genealogical Societies:  Societies, which you must pay to join, can have many resources available only to their members.  I belong to several:  The Sacramento German Genealogy Society, the German Genealogy Group, and theNiedersächsischer Landesverein für Familienkunde, the Lower Saxony State Society for Family History.  If you're in California or Nevada and can get to Sacramento, every spring the SGGS has a one-day workshop for which they bring in excellent speakers.  It's a whole day focused on German genealogy, and I've learned a lot in the two times I've gone.  The GGG has links to interesting resources, including New York bride and groom indexes.  The NLF has a lively email list where you can ask questions, and their members will help you with your research.  Die Maus is a Bremen-based society that I haven't joined but should.  It…

Lost in the Homeland Part 1: Researching Genealogy in Germany

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While I'm not an expert on genealogy by any means, I have been researching for a number of years and have learned a few things along the way.  Since 100% of my non-US research is in Germany,  many of the things I've learned are about doing research in that difficult venue.  Joining Ancestry and hoping for the best won't get you much of anywhere, I'm afraid.  I'd like to share some of the resources I've tapped into in doing my German research, in the hope that it might help some who are just getting into it.

Why is researching in Germany so hard?  For one thing, the nation called "Germany" didn't exist before 1871 -- what we now think of as Germany was a group of loosely related kingdoms that shifted borders, had different systems for keeping records, and so on.  Few civil records were kept; most records were in the hands of the various churches, Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed.  Many records were damaged or lost in the two great wars of the 20th …

Goin' to the Jamboree!!

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I'm excited to be going to the Southern California Genealogical Society's Genealogy Jamboree again in June!  I had a great time last year, lots of great sessions, nice people, just a lot of fun all around.

This year, I'll be attending the DNA Day and then the three-day weekend workshop.



Here are the dates:


Genetic Genealogy: DNA Day Plus!
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Burbank, California

Southern California Genealogy Jamboree
Friday-Sunday, June 5-7, 2015
Burbank, California

I see on the website that there's a revised schedule, so I'm going to go through that to see what I'd like to attend.  I love planning what to see at conferences, don't you?  I'll post my favorites soon.

A Treasure Trove of Ancestors --

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Well, it's either feast or famine in the genealogy game, isn't it?  There are long dry spells sometimes, when you think nothing's ever going to happen again.

But don't lose faith -- keep putting the work in, keep putting the feelers out, and eventually, something will come up.

Like today.

A while ago, I learned that there's a Familie Verband Berneburg/Werneburg (Family Association for Berneburg/Werneburg) in the city of Eschwege in Germany.  Getting in touch with them was on the back burner for a while, but about a month ago I finally got around to emailing them, telling them my mother was a Berneburg, and wondering if they could help me get any further with my Berneburg line.

Today a member of the Verband emailed me, apologized for the delay, and sent along three pages of family tree information on our ancestors.  Here's just part of one of the pages.



It took me all morning to transcribe the information into Ancestry.com, but it was so much fun to see our fami…