Do you have German Ancestry? Join us in the Germany/German Roots Project! [closed]

+90 votes
The German Roots project is seeking new members to come join us as we work together on making sure everything German and Germany related is added to WikiTree. We want to work on improving profiles, adding information that is geographically and historically significant. We want to make sure that every emigrant who considered themselves German (no matter what country the land they left is now a part of) is added to WikiTree, sourced and connected. We want to see a German portal up and running, that will help make WikiTree more user-friendly and bring together German speaking members to collaborate. We want to see categories and free-space pages and sub-projects being added and maintained.

If you are interested in anything German related; you have German roots, you are German, interested in migration, historically relevant events, or anything in between, then we want you to join!

We have lots of great sub-projects such as the Volga Germans; Palatine-Migration; Hesse Roots; and Prussia. You can see all the sub-projects we currently have on our project page. Or why not tell us what you think would be a great sub-project.

The future of the German Roots project is bright with possibility so it is a very exciting time to join us. If you want to work with us to build up a collaborative and helpful community, and encourage collaboration between people from all around the world then comment below and tell us a bit about why you want to join, what German related interests you have, and/or how you want to contribute to the German Roots project. The only thing you’ve got to lose is a brick-wall or two!
closed with the note: SEE 2021JOIN POST HERE:
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Kylie Haese G2G6 Mach 7 (79.0k points)
closed by Traci Thiessen

I am also interested in joining this group. Have been in WT for about 5 years now. I've been working with my Schürger ancestors from the Urspringen area. I have many from this area. Like many researchers, I've found many relatives who immigrated to USA, and many stayed at home. My Immigrants' families have been relatively easy to track as they came into the states and their families grew, found new jobs, and moved around. Not so easy to research those staying in Germany. Recently started a one-name study to assist in my research. Am always looking for new ways to move forward . . . 

My ancestry is Central European.  My last name is German - Rothbart  (Rotbart, Rotbarth) and I've hit a bit of a brick wall with that corner of the family, as I'm also Jewish.  I know my great-grandfather Louis lived in Zyrardow, Poland, and the names of my great-great-grandparents  (Pincus and Sylvia Malka Joseph), but not where they lived. On a slightly more fanciful note, I'd love to find out If I'm related to Barbarossa, as he was Frederick der Rothbart.
Hi I’m interested in tracing roots
Yes I will join here.  My Father's (born 1918) people going back a generation or two are from Schleswig-Holstein coming to the US just after the Prussian takeover of that principality or before. The other side of my Father's family are also from the same territory but Ancestry has informed me that my Father's Grandmother on his Mother's side was probably of Swedish or Norwegian descent.  Unfortunately Ancestry has not been able to help trace by Father's family back into what was then ( and for 1000 years before that) Denmark.  Interestingly the area of Iowa in which he was born was populated both by German speaking and Danish speaking former inhabitants/ descendants of SH.
I would like to join the German Roots project.  My mother is from Berlin, and all other ancestors from the Prussian countries that are now no longer German, but were Germanic during their lifetime,  please advise how I may join.
My family is from Germany and I grew up in South Africa.  I am super frustrated about the lack of information available for German Ancestory and so I want to do my part and I would love to join.

Let us know, Silvia, after a week or so how your change to our German Roots offerings were superior to what you'd been reading (and switched away from). 

We need to know how we're doing, and exactly what people like you believe they need. 

Good luck with your research and "Good Findings!"

Hi Sylvia, This post has been closed. Please submit your request to our new join post here:

Would like to join. I did one of the early imports of people from the Alsace and Baden area that came into Louisiana and some that went to the East Coast

Hi Patrick, This post is closed. Please submit your request to our new join post here: and I will get you set up.

176 Answers

+20 votes
Best answer
I am already in the groups,  German, Volga, Hugenaut  but you have lit a fire.  I have so many projects I am working on but it never fails that I put them aside and work on an exciting new one.  I will look at my family lines and see if they have all the stickers, categories and SOURCES  that I have found and been led to.  Thank you for your hard work on our families. Cuz' Carole
by Carole Taylor G2G6 Mach 6 (65.6k points)
selected by Cynthia Coletti
Carole Taylor, Hi, and where did you find an example of making sources that fit into our understood mechanics of genealogy? If I'm interested in that happening so must be many others. It's a basic basic question and need here.
I try to stay within the Style guides  for bio's.  I was just copy/pasting the census records totally and was asked by a Mentor to make it look more like a story.  so I delete the words about the census and just leave the year and place that they lived. I am totally a "just the facts" person, but want to see who was living there and what they were doing.   But sorry I am not great at story telling.  But when I do get a bit of information going I try to make paragraphs so it is easy to  scan and catch the  relevance of the person. The site location goes in the sources  or <ref>

I'll try your method!. she said -- Uh, if I can figure out how to translate your words into practice.  I love this, your sentence, most:  " I am just nosy and want to know/and prove all that a family lived, loved and died for and share their HISTORY with anyone who looks for their ancestors."

Via a private conversation, I'd like to see if I can try out your research technique above, if and only if you'd agree to check it out after I (1) get straight the wording of what you've stated that you do, and (2)  see that I can copy your process.  

Would that be good-to-OK with you?  (Reply at Hilse-40, please.)

Carole, Could you please give me an assist? As a student of the best literature (literary stuff), I'm good at making inferences and paragraphs. I'd like to have  a guide from you on the points you gather for a couple of types of ancestors, since some are complicated bios and some aren't. Your providing that will ease my anxiety about venturing into the Unknown. I am still too earnest about not making mistakes.

I will check the censuses (should be a habit but isn't), so I'll seek them out (they arrive "by accident" infrequently) but how to you discover "what they were doing" (at a job or community position, say?)

Everyone is relevant in a family line, but I suspect that some are more relevant than others. 

Isn't it the case that "the common man" simply suggests a mob?

I haven't tried and been successful yet.
well, I research on for the census records, marriage, birth, death, copy/paste the text into bio, and try to make it look more like a story than "Just the facts, Ma'am."..  the "Occupation" is almost always on the original page, not the text page.  One profile might be more involved for one reason, more sources were found.  And/or if something or someone did something or had an exciting life.  bottom line is I am just nosy and want to know/and prove all that a family lived, loved and died for and share their HISTORY with anyone who looks for their ancestors. Right now I am trying to get the  Soldiers who served in the Colorado Regiments on wikitree with as much data as I can find.  Thank you,  and I am sure you are/will do great.
Carole, that's a great explanation. Thanks.
Carole, that's a great explanation. Thanks.

(I have nothing else to say now. But this message keeps rotating up!!!!) --Grrr. (a kind and patient grrrr.)
+24 votes

We also started a German and Deutschland Portal.....all welcomed to help if you speak or studied German. Contact Kylie.

by Maggie N. G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
How is a portal different than a project?
I think it would be the place where you can find help pages in German,, all the special rules, a naming  convention etc for german ancestors.
The portal is in German and for German natives, and will focus on post 1871 which is when Germany was unified. Hope that helps, it is still in the forming stages.
Yes, that does help, thanks.
So that description of who could use the German portal, Kylie Haese, eliminates me.

I'm half German (with a German father, raised in the USA but spoke and read no German). I studied German (2 years in college), and for a lowly MA I had to translate about 5 pages of the literary critic Schiller. He was regarded as a difficult author, and yes, I passed.
Roberta, I'm sure you could use the portal if you wanted, but it looks like it's geared towards people who are more comfortable using German than using English.  Google translate only gets you so far, it's still nicer to have things actually written in your native language. WikiTree has definitely been English-centric, it's good for it to branch out a bit if it wants to have a global presence.
I agree, Rob, completely.

Rob, is someone taking up the reins of communicating the important and often basic information from you and Carol Taylor (above)? I want to know what they know. 

OR : Can you show us a way to plug into the informative correspondences of these family lines?? Many people will and do want to use them. (I am only one of many.)

Rob, is someone taking up the reins of communicating the important and often basic information from you and Carol Taylor (above)? I want to know what they know. 

OR : Can you show us a way to plug into the informative correspondences of these family lines?? Many people will and do want to use them. (I am only one of many.)

Thanks for any and all moments of assistance.

Roberta, I'm not sure what information you're looking for. As you can tell above, I was learning about the portal not long before you. I'm not really a German speaker, so it doesn't apply to me.

Rob Neff: I too am left out of that group, not being a German speaker. But I, too, have German roots and want to know what others with German roots are thinking/talking about. This group for those born in Germany and continue to speak that language perhaps doesn't want to dismiss those of us who weren't born in Germany. But it feels that way.  I've been told by others that that IS the case.

We can redesign a group that includes those of us who have German roots but don't speak German fluently. I took German in high school and college, but never enough so it's cemented in my tongue and brain. Probably there are great numbers of others in this situation. I'm still interested in the German culture and don't know much about it. 

WOULD OTHERS SPEAK UP, PLEASE: Should we start another group of/for those who have spoken and read German but aren't fluent (usually a second-language speaker of German)? -- and get over feeling "left out" if we do.


+19 votes
Would love to be a part of this project.  My maternal grandfather's family comes from Germany.  Thank you
by Patricia Dawson G2G1 (1.5k points)
Great, Patricia. I have you set up now.
Maggie--Can't People just sign up without help from us? Has that changed???
+22 votes
Yes, I have more German ancestry than I thought after I seeing my DNA report.  I hope someday Germany and other countries in Europe will open their arms to DNA genetic research.  That way there will be a bigger pool of genetic matches for me and others.
by Ellen McGrath G2G2 (2.6k points)
My DNA report says "Northwest Europe" for a small amount, Ellen. However, I do belong to a sub-group community of "Germans in Russia" at Ancestry which matches my paper trials. You are all set.
Ellen, several months ago there was a study of a former German data security officer who clearly said that DNA testing - as long as the labs doing the DNA sequencing are located in the USA - is illegal in the EU. That is because the US data protection rules are not as strict as they are in the EU. The companies would need to apply EU-data protection rules to be considered legal. Also, by agreeing to the (Ancestry DNA) T&Cs you actually LOSE the right to decide what happens to your DNA. This is against the EU-rule. A different problem is that Ancestry works with pharma companies or insurance companies "to enhance pharma research". Also the Golden State Killer case showed, that it might be possible to identify you via your DNA, no matter if Ancestry assures you it is not identifiable.

I was wondering to do a DNA-test, but after this study I stopped this thought. When the companies build a lab in EU-Europe and comply to EU-rules I might reconsider that.
went too MUNCHEN  people were

wonderful there- helped me with finding

family and leading too my family roots

well worth trip

Ellen McGrath: Hello, and simultaneously I ask all of our members to remember us, the great number of people who do not have much time left in their very long lives.  I'm 80 and while I think I'll be here in a couple of years, longer will be a much larger bet. (I've already outlived my parents and have no siblings, so now I see that Yes, being an "only child" has its defects. But they don't show earlier in life. Just a fact, for me (as in no sad tears).

I have quite a few German matches on
+23 votes

I´m from Germany and german is my native language.

I would like to join the Project.

viele Grüße

by Petra Zillmann G2G Crew (950 points)
Petra, I hope you've joined. Put your name on the list, that's all. (I'm sorry I didn't see your item above till now!)
+19 votes

I descend from families from several areas of Germany.  Is there a plan to have managers of specific areas?   If so I would be happy to take on the following areas and create a free space page for each with some historical information, map links, genealogy links.  

Baden-Württemberg (which are actually 2 areas farther back in time)


Thuringia  (glass and crystal makers abound here)


I would also be happy to share this duty with others interested in those areas.  

I have done something similar for the French project see:

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (713k points)
I think it would be a good idea for the German-speaking portal to have a free space page for regions.
My Grandfather on my mother's side was from Saxony but I have not figured out how to find anything about him even in the US! I, too, have way too much on my plate right now to help but am VERY excited that it is happening! If anything time wise frees up in the future, I would love to help .  I also have ancestors from Poland and Austria.  They immigrated in the 1860-1900's near as I know.  Posen is the only name I know for a city.
Laura! Wonderful that you have joined German Roots project. Can you please PM me, because this is exactly something we need. I love your french page example, and would love to see this for the German Roots project.

Many thanks,

Kylie, German Roots Project Coordinator
Kylie I have sent you several direct emails with "thinking" and some possible sources to draw upon.  Just want to make sure you have seen them.
Hi Laura,

Yes thank you. You should receive a reply very soon. Great work by the way, so much fantastic research.
My 2x great-mother was German and I’m having a difficult time finding ancestors due to various spellings. I would like to help but not sure how I’m able. I’ve been doing research for several years but still have so much more to learn. I look forward to contributing however I can.
Laura, please let us know when your work is available to us.

A number of the states are finished.  Some we are adding to as a on-going project.   You can see them here (scroll down to the second grid)

+17 votes

My maternal grandparents were both from German-speaking areas of Europe. Great-grandma was from Koenigswalde, while more remote ancestors were from Bergenweiler and undetermined locations in Germany (at least, that's what they told the Census).

by Gary Bunker G2G Crew (710 points)
+16 votes
Hi there,

I have German Ancestors that I’m researching and I’m interested in joining up but I too have my plate full with other commitments. I’m also just learning about my German background and would appreciate the support from other people.

Kind Regards

Heidi Young
Heidi, you need to sign in.
+17 votes

I have a whole line of Heise family on my mother's side. The name was deformed into Heinz when Christian Heise arrived in Quebec. I was able to retrace Jochen Heise, married with Sophie Behrend (26 Nov 1723 - 5 Aug 1774, Netzow, Brandenburg, Prussia). But I don't have any other information.

by Living Cardin G2G Crew (710 points)
Stefanie welcome!

I have stumbled across those names in searching for my own ancestors. I have started a Haese one name study with Heise as a variant. Here is the link

I would love to have you join us there and add your ancestors etc.


German Roots Project Coordinator

Kylie, is "Hilse" likely to be a variant of Haese ? (But then, I suppose it's irrelevant in my case. My father's father is "Unknown" and it was his mother who married a Hilse in the USA well after he was born (and grown taller). Her unmarried surname was Berg (is there a more common surname??(Drat!) Born a Berg, he took her married surname ( Hilse ) later in life (but I don't know when). 

HOW WOULD I FIND a useful and fruitful way to find his father? Here's what facts say:  Rudolf Berg was born to Anna Elisabeth Berg who was not married at the time and still lived in Europe, probably Germany. In America, she settled down. Anna's mother (or grandmother) took care of Anna's son until he was four years old and then left him with Anna in America, before she went "home" to be with her closest relatives. Only then did Anna assume responsibility of Rudy as her child. The older woman of the two then went to her closest relatives in Germany to die. She'd done a great service for Rudy and for his mother. 

+17 votes

My whole one tree branch originates from Elberfeld, Germany.

Am also still researching further back, hard times as I cant read a word of German.

Only came into South Africa in 1800's, Rhenish Missionaries and farmers.
by Janette Engelbrecht G2G5 (5.9k points)
Hi Janette, I found some church book entries to source the marriage of M. C. Obermann with Lückhoff and the baptism entry for August. Added the sources to the profiles. :)
+19 votes
I would love to join this project. My grandfather was born in Prussia, Zdunska Wola, and a lot of his forefathers were born in Leignitz, Silesia, Dobron, also. I haven’t found where in Germany they first originated yet. I don’t read or speak German, Polish or Russian, so the documents I downloaded still need translation.
by Lori Harlan G2G6 Mach 1 (14.4k points)
There are also active facebook groups that help with translation. I don't want to push people away from WikiTree, but it is easy to upload pictures there.  I haven't seen a lot of translation requests and answers being done on WT, but maybe I haven't been paying attention.  Or maybe this is a good time to start that.

Edit: looking around some, I see an example where somebody loaded all their scans into a free space page, so all the translations are in one place.  That seems like a good idea, maybe we could have instructions on how to do that on the German project page.
Thanks, the free space page is a good idea.
+16 votes

My German roots were:

Carl Jacob Friedrich Bader from Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany; 1834 Bader-1083

Elizabeth Warner from Hesse-Darmstadt, Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany 1836 Wagner-9134

Johannes Gregorius (uncertain) Hans Detweiller from Lörrach, Baden 1685 Detweiler-128

by Jonathan Crowley G2G6 (7.9k points)
+16 votes

Where do I begin; My Name is Rader , all German, My Grandmother is a Bennett, related to the Bennetts, (Edward) started the Va. Company and early VA,. Colony on the James River,  My GR- GR-GR-Grandfather's  Mathias Rader's Brother Adam Rader and Alexander Bender , donated land for the Lutheran Church and Cemetery at Timberville Va.. It sill exists as one of the oddest In Va. Adam Rader had 1500 acres of land and mined lead for the Revolutionary War. Check out my DNA report.  Follow my Profile at Rader-282 on Google to find more details. Samuel Lee Rader.,

by Samuel Rader G2G3 (3.6k points)
edited by Samuel Rader
+15 votes
My paternal line is from Germany. So far researched to Neckarkreis, Wuerttemburg area and Hamburg City/Region. Some suggestions of Dutch connections via Hamburg and some ancestors migrated to USA from both Hamburg and Wuerttemburg.

Suggestions in DNA testing of some earlier connections to Scandanavia, Balkans and Southern Italy.
by Chris Macneill G2G4 (4.3k points)
+18 votes
Although my ancestry is German, I speak no German.  I have much German information, but documented reference is limited.  My family has handed down ancestry and photos from many generations, but not much paper trail.  I have many names and dates, but feel like much of my info can not be on wikitree due to lack of papertrail.  I would be interested in being part of the group, but not as a leader.
by m Dautel G2G Crew (890 points)

Can you help me find more about my German Roots from 1906 to back-in-time genealogically?  

My father, b. 1906 in Frankfurt, DE, and his mother and sister are my German family. All are deceased. He was an adult in the USA between the World Wars until his death in California the 1980s, without knowing anything about his family lines. His own father was Unknown Unknown, I'm sorry to say.

Dad (Rudolf Berg, son of Anna Baer or Berg) spoke German only as a child, and knowledge of his father was kept secret by his mother. His few known and living relatives are uninterested and probably lack knowledge to assist.

I joined German Roots long ago, but it hasn't supplied me with any information or hints.  What could I do myself to help open up his German lines? What could some one of US do to specify further digging into his lines?

--All I can think of is to examine more carefully Anna Elizabeth (or Elisabeth) Berg's lines back into history. She is his mother. I believe nothing can be done to open his father's lines--but is that correct?

Have you already tried the registry office in Frankfurt? Which Frankfurt is meant?
If you want, I can try to do research there. All I need is your father's name and birthday.
Dear! Lothar Wolf!!--Thank you for answering.I am VERY grateful for your thoughtfulness.

My father only said "Frankfurt" as a place of birth, which was likely all he knew, so specifically, I have only e-searched the place of Frankfurt am Main, vaguely aware that that could have been an error, but the most probable place.

Rudolf Berg was his birth name, b 1906-7. His mother was Anna Elisabetha Berg, b. Germany; no father known. Please write me for other necessary details.

i just sent you a message.
To clarify my surname and my German GM's surname:  She used Anna and more formally Anna Elis/zabeth, but as for her first surname, I believe it might be found as Berg or Bar or Bar with an umlaut.

My father was probably born with one of her earlier surnames, but because she'd later married a "Robert Hilse", in the USA, I'm fairly sure, my father then went by "Rudolf Hilse." I was born in 1939 as Roberta Burnett Hilse. Burnett was my mom's LNAB.

What is the German spelling of Elisabeth???  --with a z or an s ??
+15 votes

I'm interested in joining the project.  I have German ancestry on my mother's side (VonderHaar).


by Chad Snyder G2G4 (4.7k points)
+15 votes
I'd love to join the group!  All of my maternal lines are from Germany - Hanover, Bavaria and Hamburg are the three areas I am currently researching.
Judy, you need to sign into your WikiTree account so I can give you a German Roots badge.
+15 votes
Majority of my family has German or Austrian roots.  I studied in Germany and speak the language (poorly).  I have been researching German migrants to Pennsylvania for over 40 years.  Let me know what you need.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (294k points)
+14 votes
Please add me to the group. Apparently, I am getting nowhere on my own! LOL
by Angela Herman G2G6 Mach 1 (16.3k points)
Me too, Angela, but so far I've found no help coming from here, alas.  We are all so busy, so I don't mind it.
+15 votes
I would like to join.

I have a lot of German ancestry, but the lines I can trace back to Germany are:

- Kolze from Neinhagen/Norddrebber/Gilten, immigrated to Cook County, Illinois, United States in the late 1840's

- Franzen/Frantzen and Eitermann from Schale, immigrated to DuPage County, Illinois, United States in the early 1840s.

I see many of the same names in the German church books as I see in the US census, and it looks like many families from these two regions migrated to the same area of Illinois around the same time.  I would like to find other researchers who are looking at similar migration paths.

(edited to fix typo in date)
by Paige Kolze G2G6 Mach 3 (35.8k points)
Hello, my name is Clarke-12398.  My ancestor Johann Casper Motz B. April 21, 1715 came to America from Alensbruck-Langmeil, Bayern Germany in the 1700s and settled in Pennsylvania where the family opened a lumber company.  I have had a lot of trouble getting information on Johann and any before him.  His proposed wife Maria Ana Mayr b. Aug 2, 1754 in Katolisch, Herrenwies, Bayern, died May 19, 1816 in Germany.

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