Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Helmut.

Helmut has been a wonderful WikiTreer since February of 2014. He is engaged in some projects such as our One-Name and One-Place Studies, as well as the Czech Roots project for which he is the Project Coordinator.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Jungschaffer is a pretty rare name, so far everybody found with it could be documented as family. I’m still trying to find unconnected Jungschaffers. Other names are Klabouch – some family members in the USA changed the spelling to Klabough – and Sitter.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

My ancestors come almost exclusively from Southern Bohemia, all the way back to the earliest surviving church books. There are a few outliers, mostly people coming to the area after the Thirty Years’ War, and one twig from Moravia.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

I grew up in a family that had been expelled from Bohemia as ethnic Germans after WWII – and at the same time still having cousins living there. This got me interested in our family history and the history of Bohemia very early on.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

There are really no distinguished ancestors in my family, workers and farmers all, their only historic traces were the church book entries of their births, marriages and deaths. Maybe one exception: my great-grandfather Franz Sitter, he worked in the brewery in Budweis/České Budějovice …

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

My direct line of Jungschaffers developed out of a family named Schaffer. The oldest member, Mathias, is documented only through his death and the births of his children, no marriage, no birth record. He is estimated to be born in 1668 based on his age at death and church books exist from 1615 on so there ought to be some record hidden in there. Family names at this time changed, some records were with given names only, and the records contain quite a few different towns and villages, all in chronological order but sometimes without the village given, so hopefully completing a comprehensive record of all births in the village in question will reveal some helpful pattern.

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

Nobody in particular, but being almost exclusively of German and Czech extraction I’d wish I could discover some family connections to other cultures (fat chance, I have almost all lines documented to the early 17th century without much possibility for older records).

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I like traveling, preferably to some mountain areas where I can get some vigorous mountain hiking in – nothing beats relaxing with a good glass of wine after a day up in the mountains (bucket list: hiking the Via Alpina). Some classical music in the background and a good science fiction novel wouldn’t hurt either.

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?

I found WikiTree early in 2014. As I am still working full time the amount of contributions to the tree has been up and down over these months and I’m still cleaning up and sourcing some of my original GEDCOM uploads. I do follow G2G regularly which is pretty much the only aspect of WikiTree I can do easily during work. I have been engaged in some projects such as One-Name- and One-Place-Studies, Czech Roots for which I am the project coordinator, and Global Outreach. Every so often I’ll come about a (unrelated) person of interest to me with poor documentation and can add some sources and family members, mostly with German background and utilizing some German sources otherwise not so easily accessible.

What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?

I very much appreciate the emphasis on documentation and the discussions about various aspects of genealogy in G2G. Also, the many projects allow the pursuit of interests often different from one’s family alone.

One of the downsides of WikiTree is the tremendous amount of unsourced, poorly documented, and sometimes fictional profiles still hanging around from the early years and the slow pace of clean-up. Another issue is the inability or difficulty to accommodate other than Anglo-American names: no middle names but multiple given names in many cultures, name order for East-Asian names, compound last names, single names etc. And of course my pet peeve: all those Germans born in counties, states, and countries that didn’t exist yet when they were born.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Go slow, take it easy, follow G2G, and ask questions; there are many helpful hands on board.

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?

Understand your history and it will help understanding the present.

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  3 Responses to “Meet our Members: Helmut Jungschaffer”

  1. I am 23 degrees from Helmut Jungschaffer through my HIBBARD BRANCH. This is my Mother’s Father’s Mother’s Family and the extend to the time of the Mayflower. This is an interesting connection since I did not know they were German.

    Evelyn Murray McKelvey

  2. I am 23 degrees from Helmut Jungschaffer through my HIBBARD BRANCH. This is my Mother’s Father’s Mother’s Family and they extend to the time of the Mayflower. This is an interesting connection since I did not know they were German.

    Evelyn Murray McKelvey

  3. hello 🙂 my great-grandmother’s maiden name was Mintz. I’m not very familiar with the name except it’s German. So, I was wondering if you had any knowledge of the name to help me while I’m working on my family tree?? Thanks in advance!!

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