Want to buy a German-language history book?

Here are some new offerings just mentioned in a German mailing list:

Josef Sallanz, “Dobrudscha: Deutsche Siedler zwischen Donau und Schwarzem Meer.” [ca. 350 Seiten / 19,80 Euros / ISBN 978-3-936168-73-0]

Ute Schmidt, “Bessarabien: Deutsche Kolonisten am Swarzen Meer.” [420 Seiten / 19,80 Euros / ISBN 978-3-936168-65-5]

“Nach Übersee: Deutschsprachige Auswanderer aus dem östlichen Europa um 1900” [303 Seiten / 9,80 Euros / ISBN 978-3-936168-70-9]

Basil Kerski (Hg.), “Danziger Identitäten: Eine mitteleuropäische Debatte” [288 Seiten / 5 Euros (Preisreduzierte) / ISBN 978-3-936168-58-7]

Mitja Ferenc, Joachim Hösler (Hg.), “Spurensuche in der Gottschee: Deutschsprachige Siedler in Slowenien” [245 Seiten / 5 Euros (Preisreduzierte) / ISBN 978-3-936168-53-2]

Basil Kerski (Hg.), “Stettin – Wiedergeburt einer Stadt Szczecin – Odrodzenie miasta”  [Deutsch-polnische Online-Dokumentation der wichtigsten Stimmen zur Debatte, mit zeitgenössischen und aktuellen Bildern sowie Begriffserklärungen und Verweisen]

It’s hard for us here to find much on Black Sea settlements, etc., and so this is mentioned for that one German-speaking reader who might be looking for interesting material….

My Wife’s 7th Cousin

Every so often I read something in a genealogical periodical that catches my interest in a personal way.  And so it was over seven years ago, when I was browsing the newly-received journals at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, MO.  An article in the Germanic Genealogy Journal produced by the Germanic Genealogy Society (of Minnesota) made reference to a village from which my wife’s 19th c. immigrant Schwingel family had emigrated.  The issue in question was volume 11 number 4 (Winter 2008), and the article was “Chasing Family Myth Through Canada to Germany,” by Dick Kline.

The article was a research case study describing how the author had successfully located a place of origin in the German state of Saarland, and the place in question was one of three villages in the parish that had served my wife’s ancestors.  This author knew of the town family book that had been published for his Klein immigrant’s ancestral village, but did he also know that one of the remaining villages had also produced such a resource book?  I had to contact him in case he wasn’t aware of this, and so I wrote to the journal’s editor to get the man’s address.

It was a good move on my part, because in the ensuing correspondence between us he was able to assist me in my own research in an important way.  I’d begun researching this particular family in the days before we had personal computers and online databases, and I’d made the mistake of not revisiting my earlier research as new source material became available.  In this instance, I had failed to search the now-digitized images of passenger records that were available by 2009, in order to document the date of arrival of my wife’s ancestral family.

As we exchanged information, he had a hunch that he’d seen my wife’s immigrant family named on a companion ship that had sailed with the one carrying his own Klein-Schneider immigrant family.  He was right!  And was I ever grateful that I’d taken the time to reach out to this man.

Dick Kline continues to publish articles through the Germanic Genealogy Journal.  The latest one appears in the volume 19 number 1 (Spring 2016) issue, and is titled “Spinning Genealogy Into Family Stories.”  In it he describes how he’s produced two brief booklets about his father’s family, and how the rewards of that effort have paid off so handsomely for him through the responses of relatives to his stories of the earlier generations.

In between the 2008 and 2016 issues, he’s also written articles for the Summer 2009, Fall 2011 and Summer 2012 issues of the same journal.  The library of the Immigrant Genealogy Society has these back issues, and both members and visitors are welcome to come in and read the continuing saga of discovery of my wife’s 7th cousin.  It’s always a treat to have established such a personal — if distant! — connection to a genealogical researcher and author.  But many of you would also enjoy reading what Dick has to say, even if you’re not “kin.”

“Not Stated”

I’m always interested when Ancestry.com has some new records posted, but I’m often alerted to these opportunities by German genealogists posting messages on the various Mailinglisten to which I subscribe.  Today I went to the listed URL, and found myself looking at Ancestry’s German website page “Deutschland, evangelische Kirchenbücher, 1519-1969.”  We can see the same page in English on our own Ancestry.com site, but I’m reasonably at home reviewing German-language genealogical pages (even though I’m not a speaker of German) because my genealogical vocabulary is fairly broad and, well, it’s just fun to be an explorer.

So I looked for the browse dropdowns, which isn’t hard to find because the page layout is pretty much the same for either site.  The box is labeled “Diese Sammlung durchsuchen” and the dropdown options are for “Historische Region” and “Stadt oder Distrikt.”  You’re with me, right?  The purpose of the box is for searching through the collection, the first choice is the region desired and the second is the specific location within the region.

Twenty actual regions offered are: Baden, Bayern, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Hannover, Hessen, Lübeck, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, OstPreussen, Pommern, Posen, Reuss Linie, Sachsen, Schlesien, Schleswig-Holstein, Schwarzburg, West Preussen, Westfalen and Württemberg.  But then there were two other possibilities, and it amused me to see that they were listed in English on a German web page:  “Military” and “Not Stated.”  The latter has sixteen options, and I was curious to see what might be included.  So I turned to Wikipedia, the English version, and tried a few of them.

The first one listed is “Avgustovo,” which has to be a typo for Augustovo, English for Augustowo or Augustów, a city in northeastern Poland.  It had been included in the 1795 Prussian partition of Poland, but was incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland in 1815 and was later made part of Russia, according to Wikipedia.  I could see immediately that: (1) these would be places of complex history, and (2)  these could still be important to someone’s German genealogy, even if Polish today.

I tried another.  There were three renditions of Iława (or Ilawa, as it is shown on the page), so I looked it up and found that it was once Deutsch Eylau, an important city which “became part of the Duchy of Prussia in 1525 and the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701” and then found itself within the “new province of West Prussia in 1773.”

So the moral of this story is “Explore!”  If your ancestor(s) came from a place with a lot of history and an unfortunate habit of changing jurisdictions often, then you’ll always want to be poking into the corners of websites like Ancestry.com.  There will be many blind alleys, but on occasion you might be surprised with some treasure….

Familia Austria

Günter Ofner of Vienna <guenter.ofner@chello.at> has posted as of October 8th an open offer on behalf of his association, Familia Austria (the Austrian Society for Genealogy and History), to accept into their database all family trees referencing the old Habsburg Monarchy.  One does not have to be a member of the association to participate.

This database covers 1.5 million people from all corners of the old Danube monarchy, and incorporates data from 31 Ortssippenbücher, the local family clan books.  A description of the family tree database may be found here.  Access to the database itself is here.  And please note that no password or registration is required.

There are two ways in which a researcher worldwide may participate.  Those with a family tree in gedcom format may send it to him at this address.  Those who do not use a family tree genealogy software program may instead send a paper copy; details on how to do this are provided here.  [Of course, the language employed at each of these sites will be German.]

By feeding in your family tree, you will be making your personal family research available to researchers worldwide.  Be assured that the personal data of all individuals born within the last 100 years will be automatically protected against display.  However, by placing your email address there you will make possible new direct contacts with other researchers, and will perhaps discover new distant relatives.

Not many of us will have ties to the House of Habsburg or to Austria, but this just seems to be such a warm and inclusive offer as not to be missed by those with the appropriate heritage….

German Genealogical Periodical Holdings, Part 1

For those genealogists who live in or visit Southern California, and in particular the City of Burbank, it is generally understood that there are two genealogical societies here with libraries within easy driving distance of each other.  Both of these libraries have U.S. and International collections, and within the latter category both have materials of interest to the German genealogist.  And while there is some minimal coordination between the two societies, as a general rule researchers must visit both in order to know what in these two collections is unique to the one or the other, and what is to be found in both (or at neither).

One area of research that is commonly overlooked by researchers — and which should not be neglected! — is genealogical periodicals.  There is much to be found, if researchers will only set aside some time to explore these holdings.  Here today is a comparison of holdings for the major holding of Norddeutsche (later Niederdeutsche) Familienkunde, found at the Southern California Genealogical Society (located at 417 Irving Drive, Burbank 91504) and at the IGS:

1952:  SCGS issues – 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 / IGS – same issues
1953:  SCGS issue – 2
1954:  IGS issues – index only
1955:  SCGS issue – 2 / IGS – index only
1956:  SCGS issue – 2 / IGS – index only
1957:  SCGS – all issues / IGS – index only
1958:  SCGS issues – 3, 4 / IGS – all issues + index
1959:  SCGS issues – 1, 2 / IGS – all issues + index
1960:  SCGS issues – all issues / IGS – all issues + index
1961:  SCGS issues – 1 / IGS – all issues + index
1962-1965:  IGS – all issues + index
1966:  SCGS issue – 1 / IGS – all issues + index
1967:  IGS – all issues + index
1968:  SCGS issue – 3 / IGS – all issues + index
1969-1989:  IGS – all issues + index
1990-1991:  SCGS – all issues / IGS – all issues + index
1992-1997:  IGS – all issues + index

The SCGS may have indexes which I did not notice in my haste to make notes in a brief visit to the stacks before a meeting of the SCGS German Interest Group (meeting on 3rd Saturdays from 1 – 4 p.m., at their library).  But as can be readily seen, IGS researchers needing to review this important holding will need to visit our neighbor to the north to see seven additional issues from the years spanning 1953 to 1958.  And, if anyone would like to donate issues we do not have — be assured that they will be welcomed with open arms!!