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German Resources on the Internet

Scratching the surface of German genealogical resources on the Web.

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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Alan Smith
Word Count: 553 (approx.)
Labels: Ethnic 
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This is the final part of my effort to get my wits around the studying of Germany, my ancestral homeland. This article focuses on what can be discovered on the internet as a resource.

Of course everyone should surf the internet with a number of different search engines to find any quality sources concerning the genealogical subject you are interested in. Below are a few of the better examples I found concerning Germany.

Studying a foreign country does present unique barriers, the foremost being that Germany is across the Atlantic ocean. There are individual genealogical researchers who specialize in German ancestry and, for a fee, will do the leg work for you. Be advised, there is a wide latitude of skill sets required, including being familiar with the geography, culture, and the language. If you use a researcher, be sure to check him or her out thoroughly. Make sure the researcher selected been successful; ask for references and accreditations.

One site which had a list of such consultants is MyGenealogist.com. The site also has links to the German National Archives in Berlin, the Baden State Archives/Staatliche Archivverwaltung Baden-WurHemberg in Karlsruke, and the National Library of Germany in Berlin. There are even individuals who will take pictures of the towns and places where ancestors used to live in.

Another site is a Basic Research Guide for German Genealogy. This seven-page resource starts at the beginning and lists several links to other websites which are related to the subject. It also has a three-page site with the "Links for German Genealogy on the Internet".

About.com Genealogy has a two-page site entitled, Germany - Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths. This same site has a good reference entitled, "Researching German Ancestors." About.com also has an article on "German Emigration & Passenger Lists." Another popular location on the web is Rootsweb.com which also has German Research.

One particular article which piqued my interest is entitled, Auswanderung, which means "migration" and briefly talks about the migration from Rhineland-Pfalz from 1600s to the 1700s, following the 30 year war. This is the common window of time that Germans flooded out of Germany to America, which included my own family. This website is in German, but the personnel speak English. For German, Polish, Russian, Baltic and Scandinavian emigration between 1834 and 1934, it suggests the Ballin-Stadt Emigration Museum in Hamburg.

To round off the list of resources, is the Last Name Meanings website, which can help with the meaning of surnames, including German. Also, the familiar Cydi'sList, has a section called Germany/Deutschland. There are also some reported message boards and blogs which are said to help answer questions and connect one with people in-the-know.

So there you are, my diving into Germany is complete, at least for this series of articles. But I fear I have only skimmed the surface of a subject as deep as a culture is old. Trying to understand any history of a particular region is like digging for rocks in the backyard. You might be satisfied with the first couple you find, but do not delude yourself into thinking that is all there is. With time and effort I might find other bits of wisdom concerning the pursuit of German ancestry, and if I do, I will pass it on. Good hunting.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2010.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

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