Or simply, have a good evening.
I’m sure there are tons of „how to“-instructions available on the net about genealogy in Germany – there is surely no need for another one. I would like to speak about genealogy in Germany from the practising researcher’s point of view.
Let us assume that your forefathers emigrated from Germany sometimes in the 19th century. They went overseas by ship – and that means that there are good chances to find them in the passenger lists of the Auswandererhaus. You should know a year – or at least narrow down the year of their passage, it helps with the search. (Strangely enough the Rechercheauftrag is only reachable from the German page (under “Migration/Recherche”), it is not linked on the English page.)
But the most important thing is the name. The 19th century did not have something like a Duden (Ger., Eng.), there were no fixed, holy, rules of orthography. The way names were spelled can vary a lot; and names in these lists were often wrote down as they were heard. For example: “Schäfer” (shepherd) can be spelled “Schäffer”, “Sche(f)fer”, “Scho(f)fer”, even “Schif(f)er”.
A Franconian speciality is the difference between consonants pronounced “hard” and “soft”: For reasons unknown to me a written “B” is mostly pronounced “P”, the same goes for “G” and “K”, “D” and “T” – and of course vice versa, the written “hard” consonant is pronounced “soft”. And speaking about dialects: The emigrants from the South of Germany surely had difficulties to understand Northern Platt (correctly Niederdeutsch (Ger., Eng.)), and the variation rich Franconian dialects surely were of limited beauty to the Hamburgian officials, who had to write down these names.
Another very important name is the one of the place of origin. Normally in the passenger lists the name of the location the emigrants come from is recorded, but sometimes only a vague description or just the name of a province is given (“Ostpreussen”). Family lore and tradition may have preserved and passed down of the place of origin’s name over the generations – but from my experience I have to say, that this is not always a reliable source of information. You may be lucky and letters of the emigrants’ family in the old Heimat survived and there may be a written name of a place.
If you are in doubt about it, let someone who knows the old handwritings have a look on it: A single letter can make a huge difference! It is a difference whether a place is for example called “Unterregenbach” or “Unterengenbach” – they belong to different administrative bodies, different church parishes – and hence the records are kept in different places.
A further complication arises from the fact, that some names are not unique: A place called “Haslach” can be found at least more than eight times in different parts of Franconia. It is very important to find the right place of origin, this saves a lot of fruitless, frustrating and expensive research. Since the middle of the 19th century a lot changed in the public administration and in the administration of the two large churches here too. From the kingdom of Bavaria – with some Franconian specialties – via the Deutsche Reich from 1871, through the whole brutal 20th century up to now, places changed names, were incorporated into larger administrative entities or even stopped existing. The Gebietsreform of the 1970s brought the last major change in this respect. Parishes and Dekanate were changed, reformed, united and separated again. But the 19th century knew these reforms too: Between the newly formed kingdoms of Bavaria and Baden the frontier was corrected in the 1850s. This let to the fact that church records of places originally belonging to Bavarian/Franconian parishes today are kept in Karlsruhe in the Landeskirchliche Archiv.
All I want to say is, that the time used to identify the place or origin of the family – which is the starting place for a genealogical research and important for finding the records – is well used time.
If one has the correct family name and knows the right place of origin a research can be started – let’s look for the records.
I was “pinged” – for the first time: In my comments a so-called “pingback” showed up. I followed the link and came to a site calling itself “wikipress”-something – but it seemingly had nothing to do with “press” in the sense of “news”: Tons of advertising were flashing about google-ads and “putting your money to work” …
I deleted the back-pinging-comment and will from now on allow no more pingbacks: It’s a standard-ly activated option when you write a new article, so I will standard-ly remove the yes-click in the box.
Basically this pingback-thing seems quite nice, but I can not see what it should be good for here. Since I use WordPress I never became “pinged” before. It only created artificial traffic: My site was clicked twice as much than average and even if I like the idea that some people read this without commenting or making a sound – doubling it within a few hours (I last looked sometimes this afternoon, so it may be 7 hours) is not realistic.
I do not want to be involved in someone’s click-based money-making.
I may be totally wrong about “ping” and stuff, so any further clarification is welcome.
In a way we ALL are left behind.
Those who lived on this earth before us – how many millions? – they all went one step further. And we are to follow into the unknown land.
Since I started to follow blogs, many of the good people who allowed me to peep into their lives and who in turn looked in mine, had to deal with death. They, like myself, tried to express, to cope with or overcome their loss, the sadness, the payne. We lost life partners, parents, close family members, friends, and – worst of all – the own child. It’s simply not right, when a mother has to bury her child. The Universe seemingly works and functions in cycles, and here a cycle is broken.
The last days again saw two – dare I say, friends, loose humans close to them, members of their family. Again cancer. If you have read here for a while you know, that I lost friends to that damned thing over the years, members of my family earlier.
Where shall this post lead to? It is no sermon, I have not much to offer. I do not like tearful sentiment or Larmoyanz. It damn hurts and crying is our human way to express our payne. What stays behind are memories, good AND bad, but thankfully our brain has the ability to forget.
In the end, what stays with us, with all humans, is love. The love we gave, the love we received.
The only thing that makes being a human bearable.
This song is about love.
And if you want to hear words of wisdom, just go to Savannah‘s and listen to Abbey Lincoln.