I signed up for a special class at National Genealogy Society 2015 conference: “German Studies: Understanding German Records and Methodology.” It was taught by Warren Bittner, CG, Baerbel Johnson, AG and Carol Whitton, CG. All were excellent and all were very different in their approach but consistent in their love and passion for German records and research. (my class “station” in photo left.)
Since so many of the US citizens claim Germany as their ethnic heritage, I thought I would identify some of my big “takeaways,” as there were many.
My German Problem ‘child” is Fredrick Eilers, who must be an alien as he seems to drop from the earth, marry my Eda (van Hoorn) Berg and then must have been called back to his planet, as he then disappears from the area. Eda used his surname on one document but within 7 years Eda reverts to her previous name of Berg and Friedrick is never mentioned again in any record found.
I do know Fredrick’s birth parish, something that others search years for and may never find.
Since I already had “Fred’s birth parish, I didn’t think that Baerbel’s session on “Finding a German Town of Origin” would be a particular interest. I was wrong! Here are some of the interesting items Baerbel Johnson presented, all of whcih may help me with my problem.
- Read the FamilySearch Wiki first. This has become a go-to site for me and I was glad to hear that she felt that way too. There is a long description of search strategies in Germany on the wiki; just look for “Tracing Immigrant Origins.”
- cCeck out http://www.genealoger.com/german/ger_emigration_records.htm for German Emigration Records.
- Emigration before 1820 was often clusters of individuals from single areas. After 1820, individuals became more dominant. Don’t know how this can help me yet. I have already traced all the families named Eilers/Eilerts/Ahlers/Ihlers in the Stephenson County (IL) area and I cannot find where they intersect.
- Check out the “Fuzzy Gazetteer” if you have names of places you cannot find and suspect that the spelling is incorrect. This works for all areas of Germany. http://isodp.hof-university.de/fuzzyg/query/
Warren Bittner also spoke in the AM about German maps. When you see how much the boundaries changed you can understand how hard German research is.
Between the two lectures, I have several new places to look for help.
What I have done since the last posting: conducted four lectures at British Columbia Genealogical Society just south of Vancouver on Saturday, 9 May. It was a wonderful day and I had a great time. Pat and I spent Mother’s Day touring Vancouver. Went to Granville Island, University of BC, Museum of Anthropology and walked along the seawall in Stanley Park! Had 12 hours to prepare to leave for NGS 2015!