Germanic Genealogy Society Workshop

On Saturday, October 8th The Germanic Genealogy Society (GGS) in Minnesota will hold a workshop at the Concordia University Library.

Details are available from their flyer….


which says that the event is being held at
1282 Concordia Ave., St. Paul (Rm. 214)

9:30  Registration (Cost:  $10)
10:00  Presentation by Kent Cutkomp on
“Using the German Gazeteer Meyers
Orts,” followed by a Library Topic &
time for individual help.

The Lesson in the Back of a Bible

Tony Messenger writes for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Today he told a story about immigration, in his own family and more recently.  He (and his source) also told me something I did not know — that of the twenty largest metro areas in the nation, St. Louis had the largest increase in foreign-born residents from 2014 to 2015.  Second was Minneapolis-St. Paul.

And here’s the lesson he found, in his annual flip-through of the pages in his mom’s old Bible….

“Until after my mom died, I never thought much about my immigrant past.  I was a typical American mutt,….  But we all come from somewhere.”

It’s a quick read; you’ll enjoy it!

Genealogists Helping Genealogists!

This is how it’s all supposed to work.  Years ago, volunteers at the Immigrant Genealogical Society created a card file on immigrants to America.  It was for any immigrant, from any country, and at any time in our nation’s history.  And it was for the purpose of sharing what we as individual members knew, in order that we might help other genealogists who were still trying to trace their ancestor back across and beyond our nation’s borders.

And so, because I (the IGS publications editor) had an idea about rounding up the names of immigrants from the former Kingdom of Saxony and doing something with it, I thought that the Immigrant Ancestor File was a good place to start.  Oh, I’d looked at it in the past, when I was interested to see if there was data on a particular family or individual.  But this was the first time in the five years that I’ve been here that I actually took one of the four card file boxes and started through it, card-by-card.

And then it happened that I spotted a card with a reference, not to “Sachsen,” but to Thüringen (Thuringia).  And I remembered Astrid Adler, a German researcher and book compiler living in Tiefenort, Germany.  Late last year she’d made a presentation to the Ventura County (CA) Gen. Soc. on her effort to recreate a record of emigrants from Thüringen to America in the mid-19th century.  She’d begun this effort because her region was so notably lacking in documentation as to where its sons and daughters had removed.

Because I was in the audience for that talk, and was highly impressed by not only her spoken words but also her slide presentation, I immediately searched my shelves for anything that might aid her project.  Finding some persons from her region who’d moved to St. Louis at an early date — including one family that had originated not ten miles from her home! — I sent the data in an email to her at first opportunity, even though my findings slightly predated her target focus period.

And so here I was again, tripping across something that might help her and/or other German researchers connect the dots as they seek to find distant American cousins who descend from this largely (officially) undocumented body of emigrants.  But was it a valid reference?  The card I’d found was without a formal source citation, although it appeared to be data extracted by a volunteer from an American county history.  If so, was it from the late 19th century, or post-Bicentennial?  Or was it from some other source instead?

Thus it was that I turned to my telephone and placed a call to the one IGS member whom I knew to be our own local authority on the county in question.  Eunice Limberg had in fact been one of our stalwart volunteers until she moved out of the area a few years back.  But every so often she shares with us what she’s found in regard to her Koch ancestral family back in Gasconade County, Missouri.  As this card referenced the same county, I knew I had to ask her if she was familiar with either the KEHR family (with roots in Thüringen) or the Brüns/BRUENS family (into whom the female immigrant in question had married, once in America).

Eunice called me back yesterday, and while the KEHR name was unfamiliar — it turns out it had died out in the county — she did know the BRUENS name!  She guided me to the appropriate 1979 county history, even to the extent of citing the page numbers I should review.  Now I had at least the citiation I needed to complete what I’d sent earlier to Astrid Adler.

Will this end up helping someone make the connection they seek?  Only time will tell.  The dots, however, have been connected.  A researcher in Germany looking for KEHR descendants in America will now have at least one specific locale in which to begin their American pursuit of cousins.  And all because American researchers are working in tandem with German researchers, and because IGS members support one another and share both their interests and their discoveries….

Which brings me to the conclusion of this story.  If we are to be a vibrant society, we need to — each one! — be active in reaching out to the others.  Just recently, because I also handle membership records, I heard from a member who’d decided not to renew.  This person had a valid reason for that decision:  we’d not provided a break-through on the family name being researched.  Okay, I can accept that.

But societies have to be more than just answer-givers if they’re to continue to exist; otherwise, it’s all just and Facebook.  The “special sauce” that we add to the genealogical “recipe” is those truly personal connections that you won’t find in the on-line world.  Yes, you will make contact with others there, and you can (and do) exchange.  But it’s through societies that you can form personal bonds (even long-distance, with a little work!) that can bring your research to life.

Join us now:  What do you have to contribute?  Because your contribution is unique, and it has value!

U.S. news release announcing 2017 GAGP conference in Minneapolis

Earlier this week the German-American Genealogical Partnership distributed a revised press release to its member societies noting that the (First) International Germanic Genealogy “Connections” conference has now been extended.  It was originally two days in length, but is now three days, July 28-30, 2017!  The updated flyer includes information for booking hotel rooms at special discounted rates.



Advertising the 2017 GAGP conference — in Germany!

Just a brief note today to say that the conference flyer for the 2017 Minneapolis conference of the German-American Genealogical Partnership will be inserted into the conference registration bags for the Deutscher Genealogentag, Germany’s major annual genealogical conference.  This will be happening from September 30th through October 2nd in Bregenz, Austria (just across the border from Germany).

A two-sided print piece will display our revised conference flyer in English, together with a German-language description of the Partnership to introduce German genealogists to our transnational effort.  Besides being a conference bag insert, the same piece will be distributed as a handout at the table of the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände e. V. (DAGV), the German genealogical umbrella organization that serves a purpose similar to our own FGS.

None of this would be happening without the contributions of many persons.  Kudos to all!


“The Kansas Historical Quarterly”

If you have immigrants who lived in Kansas, and you live close to our IGS Library in Burbank (California), then you might want to stop by to peruse the various duplicate issues of The Kansas Historical Quarterly, 1952-74, that are offered free to anyone who would have an interest.  We had many of these on our shelves, and most were recently duplicated by the donation of Jackie Sharp of her mother’s personal collection of this periodical.  And when we find ourselves with duplicates, we like to offer them on a “First Come, First Served” basis.

Should you wish to see the issues that were displayed on our shelves, please be advised that they have been moved.  Because of our serious space problems, and with the recent acquisition of a number of new genealogical books relating to Maryland, the KHQ issues have now been boxed in what is identified as “Acquisition Box #1.”  For the moment, it’s resting by Stack 12 on the floor….

Brandenburg east of the Oder and Neisse

If you have ancestry from eastern Brandenburg — the portion of the former Prussian province lost to Poland after 1945 — then you’ll be interested to know that there’s a German foundation dedicated to the preservation of the history and culture of the region.  The name is “Stiftung Brandenburg,” and the website URL is:

Among the available services if you can visit in person are day tours with a guide, some of which are available in English.  The location of the Brandenburg House is:  Parkallee 14, 15517 Fürstenwalde (Spree), and further information can be obtained by writing to:  <>.

Specific information about available tours can be obtained from Veronica Kölling, at:<>.  Also consider visiting to see scheduled exhibitions.  An example (which would be of interest to the newly formed German-Australian Genealogical Partnership) would be this one:
“The emigration of Ostbrandenburgern to Australia in the 19th century.”

A museum is open four hours daily, Monday through Friday, while a library is open five hours daily on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  New books acquired for the collection are displayed from time-to-time at this URL address:
…which may give you Brandenburg researchers some ideas of what new resources you’d like to see!


That’s the family name of the first German researcher to contact us since we switched our website to the new domain.  This person is looking for Dommershausen immigrants to America — any time, any place.  A cursory examination of family trees on leads us to believe that all persons carrying this surname originated in or near 56346 Prath, Rhein-Lahn-Kreis, Rheinland-Pfalz (Palatinate).  This lies very close to Sankt Goarshausen.

It appears that members of this family emigrated in the 1850s and 1860s, and there’s an early association with Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana.  In the 20th c. there are persons of the name living in Cross Plains, Dane County, Wisconsin who appear to originate in Prath as well.  And so we appeal to you, the reader, to help us by “crowd sourcing” more information about families of this surname.  If you are researching Dommershausen, know of someone else who is, or are merely aware of an instance of this name appearing in records you have used — then, please, write to:
…and we will take it from there.  Thank you!

More on Digitized Records…

On Friday the 16th a message appeared in the BRANDENBURG-L mailing list which I found interesting.  Perhaps you will, too!  Here is the Google Translate version of a large portion of it:

What went online in the last few weeks?
Evangelical Central Archive in Berlin
1026 church records from the provinces of West Prussia, East Prussia and Posen
Central Archives of the Evangelical Church in Hessen and Nassau
573 church records from more than 60 locations
Landes Archiv Stuttgart (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg)
786 church records from more than 60 locations
Evangelical Landeskirchliches archive in Berlin
593 church records from 4 Berlin districts

What is being imported?
Landes Archiv Stuttgart (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg)

What comes after?
Landeskirchliches Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria
Central Archives of the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate
Archives of Lippe Church
Landes Archiv Stuttgart (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg)

Digitized Civil Registry Documents for East Prussia

Earlier this month, on Sunday the 11th, we had a successful discussion on IGS Library resources on East and West Prussia that was attended by eight researchers.  But did we forget to mention that many new records for East Prussia are now being digitized and made available online through the State Archive in Olsztyn, Poland (formerly Allenstein)?  The details about the new releases and links to the digitized records can be found at:

The current additions are from the following locales, as announced on Saturday the 17th through the OW-Preussen-L mailing list:
Klaukendorf (Kreis Allenstein)
Gross Kleeberg (Kreis Allenstein)
Gutsbezirk Wartenburg (Kreis Allenstein)
Willenberg Land (Kreis  Ortelsburg)
Ortelsburg Land (Kreis  Ortelsburg)
Landsberg-Land (Kreis  Pr. Eylau)
Saalfeld Land (Kreis  Mohrungen)
Neidenburg Land (Kreis  Neidenburg)
…and with apparently a few scans from Lochstädt in today’s Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Republic.

Calendar items from October 2016 newsletter

Next Up:  We need some volunteers! Several of you indicated possible interest in helping out when you stopped by our table at the SCGS Jamboree in June.  Now that Fall is here we can begin to think about cooler weather and training sessions!!  What do we need the most?  First priority is staffing for the Library on 3rd Saturdays and 4th Sundays.  Next would be help with cataloguing books, or assisting with membership renewals.  We promise not to overload you, and we’ll guarantee that there’s a “fun” component.  If you would be interested, please contact either the president or the editor.

Oct. 15:  2nd Annual Genealogy Day, 8 to 2 p.m., San Diego’s Balboa Park
Nov. 13:  Annual Meeting & Elections, followed by Switzerland discussion
Dec. 11:  Christmas Pot-Luck Party, with discussion on Austria, Sudetenland
(now Czech Republic lands) & the Germanic parts of northern Italy.