Question of the Week: Do you have German ancestors? [Closed]

+109 votes
Oktoberfest is right around the corner. Tell us about your German roots!

Check out the German Roots project and see what resources they have to help you learn about them.

Genieße das Leben ständig! Du bist länger tot als lebendig! Prost!

(Always enjoy life! You are dead longer than you are alive! Cheers!)
in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (405k points)
edited by Maggie N.
Hi I have tons German ancestors but will list this one I found.

I have neat ancestor here I have his travel documents in German so cool just getting some the profile done here while can.örrer-5

Maternal GrandMother  born Berlin family name Kraenzelin.. can't trace any more of them, appears they were from around Alsace, her husband Lange Polish..Kraenzelin goes back through Germany to Switzerland to my surprise, through a  wife Hoffert , to Hoffer. seems to branch out  to other countries with the wives, fascinating
My German GM's roots are deep and they go in two quite differing directions. One line disappears quickly into Schmid and Hermann. The other goes from Bär/Baer to Berg to von Berg for a very long run after the first von Berg. The brief Bär/Baer stay is brought by a woman, my GM, and veers to Berg and on back to Schneider, Joesel, Zollerin and Bayer. Von Berg trails back to a strong consistently "of record" family of Sallmann and/or Sallmanhausen.

I have a Bower line I like to have join the Bower project


My maternal GGG and GGM, Barnhardt and Fredricka Boy came from Mecklenberg. After they arrived in America they settled in Erie County, New York on a farm and stayed there until they died. I have all the census records and even some land records to look at and see their lives. But I haven't been able to find out anything about them before they came to America, so that is my brick wall. If anyone has suggestions or is related to them I would be interested in hearing from them.
My husband's family is from Baden Baden and Apolda.   I have some German lines (Ulm for one) as well.
My father's unknown father and dad's mother were from Germany, but my GM (dad's mom) is the one who is known to have migrated to the USA. She was very y young and must have been afraid of motherhood so she left her infant or toddler son with her Mother. Her parents and other family members  had either died or were offended by her being a single mother. Thank heaven our customs are more understanding now. So many circumstances form a life, and some are pleasant.

While my maiden name is Dutch (Van Dusen) my mother’s maiden name is German-Jewish (Rothschild) and her mother’s maiden name was German (Sippel) - as was her grandmother’s maiden name (Ade). I have been to the tiny little village (6 houses) in Reupoldsroth, Germany where my great grandmother (Maria Ade) was born and stood in one of the two possible farm houses where she would have been born in 1867! I’m now in the process of checking my DNA to see what it reveals about me and hopefully connects me with living relatives, both here in Germany as well as elsewhere (I’m from the US).

Hermann Schneiderjann or Hermann Snider was my great grandfather's (Joseph Snider) father. Joseph Snider(Schneiderjann) came to the US in the 1880's and shortly his wife Marie followed. But I am unable to research any further due to the cost of researching on I can't locate anything on FamilySearch either. Nothing about where they immigrated to (US) or from or what ship. Nothing in regards to them in Germany except where Joseph was born and approximate location of Marie Rudtke's birth and birthdate. I have a huge brickwall in front of me for the last 20+ years.

Je weet waar en ongeveer wanneer je voorvader Joseph werd geboren ? Weet je ook wat zijn godsdienst was? Dan raad ik je aan om eens te kijken bij Matricula ( Ik heb er veel aan gehad. Zijn naam zal in die boeken wel Joseph Schneider zijn. Succes!

157 Answers

+7 votes
For these family names I found a gold mine: Verts, Virts, Werts. Wirts, Leigh, Lind, Lynn, Mann, Speake, Sparks, Deyo, Hommel lines. On line here        This answered  many of my questions.  I am the oldest granddaughter of Franklin Alexander Virts (Dec 2, 1907-June 26,1965).
by Meridith Schwabauer G2G Crew (410 points)
+9 votes
My greatgrand mother was Lucena Showers. It was the anglisized form of their German name. She was in PA in the Little Coolie, PA area.
by Mary Calder G2G4 (4.7k points)
+8 votes
My maternal greatgrandmother was a Showers which as an anglisized version of their German name.
by Mary Calder G2G4 (4.7k points)
+9 votes
Oh my do I! I haven't found the country of origin for the Eshelman side yet-could be Germany, Switzerland, or even Russia. The Eshelman men had a habit of marrying women straight of the boat from Germany.

My paternal grandmother was a Heckt/Hecht. Her father immigrated from Mecklenburg.

My maternal great grandfather was a Snide/Schneide.
by Sue Eshelman G2G6 (6.7k points)
+8 votes
I have German roots through the Neumann line (now NEWMAN, apparenlty the American who greeted my ancestors when they got off the ship couldn't spell NEUMANN so he kindly changed their name).  They were Palatinates,  going from Hannover to Zweibrucken to Pennsylvania (Adams County) and eventually to Balitmore Maryland.  My 2nd Great Grandfather and his brother helped build Hollin's Market in Baltimore and opened a Piano shop whey they made beautiful pianos. Two of them are now in the Smithsonian (but not on display):  See here: and here:  -  I'd love to find out more about my German roots.
by Betsy Ansel G2G5 (6.0k points)
+9 votes

I am of German descent. Grandma always claimed I was "pure" German.

Both of my paternal great-grandfather's (Paul Hinderer and Jacob Baur) emigrated from the Stuttgart area of Germany in 1885. They became Lutheran pastors and were classmates in Dr. Martin Luther College's (New Ulm, MN, USA) first graduating theology class.

Paul's wife, Klara Schneider, also of Stuttgart emigrated in 1886. Jacob's wife, Emilie Sommerfeld, was born in the US, but her parents (Utech) came from Posen Prussia.

Posen Prussia is also where my maternal great-grandparents came from. They were farmers. The names include Jaus, Lieske, Gabbert, and Harms. The Harms name has been traced back to the 1500s.

I believe I am all German depending on how far back one looks. Who knows who 'great-great-great-great-great grandfather married? Also, Prussia is part of what was once Poland. Does that make me part Polish? It was Prussia when they lived there.

by Jim Baur G2G6 Mach 1 (18.2k points)
Posen was Polish until 1793 then Prussian until 1918. However, there were German immigrants there since 1294.
You'll always have German Roots, Jim Bauer, thought the political boundaries change rampantly in countries whose leaders are interested in wars to gain more land to govern (or other reasons perhaps also.)
+8 votes
My maternal grandfather was a Pennsylvania Dutch. His ancestors lived in what today is the Odenwald in south central Germany. I have had the opportunity to travel to the area and there are still several people with his last name Seip.
by Robert Pinder G2G1 (1.2k points)
+7 votes

My fifth great grandfather is Hirtle-74, Johan Jacob Hirtle of Hochdorf, Hochdorf, Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  Born in Germany, he migrated to Nova Scotia where he married Anna Marie Le Garce in 1756.

I was not aware of my Nova Scotia connections until I started on this path into genealogy.  

by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (185k points)
+7 votes
Biological 50% German and 50% Dutch! :D
by Astrid Spaargaren G2G6 Pilot (245k points)
+7 votes
From what I can see, it seems like I have a heavy German heritage. On my dad's side is Shadle & Hertzog, then Kehres & Geist. Those are all German descent. I believe Bower is also German descent and is my maternal grandmother. I've only gotten as far as my great-grandparents, some of whom I have met, so I have not made it to the point of immigration yet, but I am excited to see where it leads.
by Gary Shadle G2G Crew (410 points)
+6 votes
My grandpa was a first generation American born Weltzin, he died when my dad was just 21. My dad never knew the family as far as I know, so I know nothing about them. A cousin did a lot of genealogy and I added some of them to Wikitree this weekend. They were from Mecklenburg-Schwerin, but what’s interesting is that there is a town in Germany named Weltzin so it would be cool to find out where the name came from and who the town was named after.
by Karyn Taylor G2G1 (1.6k points)
+6 votes
F Warnard (or Werner) Steinmetz 1776-1850, born and died in Werkel, Schwalm-Eder-Kreis, Hessen, Germany. His son Samuel Steinmetz 1809-1895, born Großenenglis, Schwalm-Eder-Kreis, Hesse, Germany and died Glasgow, Howard, Missouri, USA was my 2nd great grandfather.
by Genie Haley G2G Crew (480 points)
+6 votes
Thanks to one of my maternal great-grandmothers, I have a number of German names I will be researching.

Steinke, Unruh (Unruhe), Bachmann, Ranspach (Ransbach), Frautschy, Berge (Berges), Mergard, and the list goes on. Many of these are only recently discovered and adding to my tree is dependent on research but it may be a major breakthrough for this side of my family.
by Deb Durham G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
+7 votes
Hello all! Per Ancestry DNA I am 72% european west. Through tree search, I see many relatives (distant grandparents) emigrating to the US from Germany. I've tried to research the "towns" they were born, but having zero knowledge of anything german, I'm striking out. Do any of you have links or guides to german study tools, or could I share the areas and possibly learn more.

Also, how do I find out WHERE in european west I really identify with. There are other areas besides germany, but several grandparents on both sides were born somewhere in germany.

All help is appreciated!
by Anonymous Hollingsworth G2G1 (1.9k points)
+7 votes
yes, they were from various parts of what is now Germany, and came together in Pennsylvania around Germantown. My ancestors emigrated together to the Canadian Maritimes in 1766.  

I am now starting to get DNA matches with descendants of the family members who stayed in Pennsylvania, which is really fascinating.  One of my ancestress' sisters, [[Rosina Gmelin | Gmelin-6]] who married Peter Wentz, ended up hosting George Washington in the autumn of 1777.  Here is info about the farmstead, which is preserved as an example of Pennsylvanian Dutch lifestyle:
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (188k points)
+7 votes
My grandmother came from Munchen (Munich) in the early 1900's name ORTLIEB and my husbands mothers paternal line is BLATTER going back to the Black Forest area. He was a clock maker and immigrated to Chicago. He was married to a woman from Germany named WEBBER.
by Judith Connaughton G2G Crew (510 points)
+7 votes
I have German ancestors but they lived in Poland. Their surnames are Thust and Hoppe. Can I join both projects?
by Lori Harlan G2G6 Mach 1 (14.1k points)
+7 votes
Starting from both parents, all four grandparents, all eight great-grandparents... yes, all German, all from the Baden, Germany part of modern day Baden-Württemberg (where I alone of my family wasn't born, but am now living in the Württemberg-Hohenzollern part of the state), Any WETTACH/Wettack or SCHWANKERT family descendants in the US will be related. I can also help with any LUYKEN or I.G.FABER descendants or any Habermaass/Haabermas/Haffermas ancestors.
by WG Wettach G2G Crew (410 points)
+7 votes
My family descends from a German-speaking man born circa 1588. He lived and raised his family in Lauterecken (near Saarbrucken) and the church records there state he was from "Hasen-Puttelingen, in Lotharingia." That is, today, the town of Puttelange-aux-lacs, in the Moselle department of France. So he was German, but I have to go to French sources to research him, apparently.
by David Foy G2G Crew (770 points)
+7 votes
My mother’s maiden name was Seip. Her grandfather was Pennsylvania Dutch. I have been able to trace the line reliably back to Melchior Seip. His ancestors likely came from what today is Baden-Württenburg. I have travelled there and found graves with the last names Seip and Seipp.  I hope to meet some of my German cousins and/or anyone researching the Seip, Haas, Göbel, Kärcher, Noll, Keller, Delong, and Specht lines. These are all my German ancestor lines.
by Robert Pinder G2G1 (1.2k points)

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