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.”