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German Genealogy Research Beginners Guide – Subproject proposal.

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German Genealogy Research Trail

This is the place for you to learn and help you be successful in finding your German Roots. This trail is for anyone new or struggling with researching their German heritage, and ancestors.

There are steps that you will progress through before graduating.

German Genealogy Research is really difficult and this team was designed to help you get started. This is a crash course in finding the basics needed to find your ancestors once and for all! The goal is to teach you all you need to know to get started, where to look, how to overcome brick walls and basically how to look for and find your German ancestors.

What you will learn

  • A very brief but essential history of Germany
  • Specific region and time period for your ancestor
  • Migration information: reasons Germans migrated, patterns, ports of departure, naturalization and immigration records
  • English and German name spelling variations
  • Surnames: distribution, meaning and origin, spelling variations and how to add those to WikiTree
  • Religion and its importance for German genealogy research
  • Possible reasons for migration
  • Different research techniques
  • The online resources that are currently available
  • What to do when you get stuck

With this knowledge and information you can begin to know what direction your research is going and can now be directed to the right sub-projects and teams for you to join to help you along the way.

Requirement to Join

If you would like to join this trail there are a number of simple requirements:

  1. Be a full member of WikiTree for at least 90 days and have made 100+ contributions
  2. Be willing to collaborate with others
  3. Join the Google group, and participate in discussions there, sharing you experiences, triumphs and pitfalls
  4. Always cite sources when adding information, especially for ancestors born before 1900

More Notes

Why is German genealogy so hard?

  • Germany as we know it today is new, it has only existed since 1871. Throughout history areas that were considered "German" changed many times. Therefore many German speaking and German occupied regions and towns are no longer considered within Germany, and are now within different country borders. Town names probably changed multiple times over the last few centuries. Old location names no longer exist.

Consequently a crash course in history is essential. Key resources need to be consulted.

Once locations have been figured out, it is then time to consider religion.

  • Determining the religion of your ancestor. Three predominant religious groups in Germany: Lutheranism, Catholicism and Reformation.
  • Names: spelling, changes, origins, distribution, societal differences, naming pattens in families, which first name is correct (spoiler: usually the last given name is the one they are known by, eg Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Haese would have been known as Friedrich).
  • Migration - when where why what how - paths reasons times and major areas of settlement
  • Crash course in language, handwriting, thank a translator.
  • Breaking down brick walls with research techniques. Just the absolute essentials. Using project collaboration to break down brick walls.
  • Sources - where to look, what are primary and secondary, where to start and where to next. AND how to cite them!
    • Naturalization
    • Shipping lists
    • Church records in settlement areas
    • Family bibles
    • Relatives

  • Login to request to the join the Trusted List so that you can edit and add images.
  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Dieter Lewerenz and Germany Project WikiTree. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)
  • Public Q&A: These will appear above and in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum. (Best for anything directed to the wider genealogy community.)
Comments: 8

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Hi Kylie,

Is this up and running? I noticed you edited the page today. I just finished the Profile Improvement Project and learned so much! I would love to have that same experience with my German research.

Thank you, Cindy Hanrahan

posted by Cindy (Ring) Hanrahan
Hi Cindy,

Thanks for the interest. I edited the page today, but only to add some to-do categories. This subproject isn't ready to get started yet. We'll post to G2G when it is though!

Traci ~Germany Project co-leader

posted by Traci Thiessen
I think this an awesome idea. So I started drafting it. It is not up and running yet. But one I would like to get up and running asap. Thanks for showing interest. The more interest it has the faster it will happen.
posted by Kylie Haese

Körülbelül 1 éve tudom, hogy német származású őseim vannak, méghozzá nagyon sokan. A Familysearch és a Myheritage kutattam eddig, de nem jutok tovább. Viszont itt teljesen kezdő vagyok. Remélem sikerül valami hasznosat és értelmeset csinálnom az oldal és a magam számára is.

posted by Eszter Semes-Bogya
edited by Eszter Semes-Bogya
I am searcching for the Schultz famil from Danzig, do not know if this is correct place for me to search. Only found out I had some German ancesters recently. Joan Loe Maroochydore Australia
posted by Joan (Priestley) Loe
Hi Joan, thanks for reaching out. I will send you a private message.

Regards, Kylie

posted by Kylie Haese
Hi Kylie

Could you call the category something more clear so people know what it is? Maybe instead of GR Beginner call it German Research Beginner or something along those lines? I'd appreciate it. Also,if you need ideas for your project, have you looked at how England's Orphan Trail works? I completed the trail a couple of months ago and learned so much. ( Thanks, Natalie

posted by Natalie (Durbin) Trott
Hey I just found this and I like the concept. The biggest thing I learned today is how to search on wiki+, and I have found so many stories and links to free space pages including a special one about what is was like on the ships voyage from Europe to USA and Australia or other places around the world. come up with a list like this:

Waag6degees4 2019-11-05 🟊🟊🟊🟊🟊 7 views Immigrant's_Voyage_in_Steerage,_1888-1 2019-12-03 🟊🟊🟊🟊🟊 10 views Immigrant's_Voyage_in_Steerage,_1888 2019-11-02 🟊🟊🟊🟊🟊 7 views Meier,_Kuhn,_Riglander_Family_Records_and_Photos 2019-10-30 🟊🟊🟊🟊🟊 17 views There is so much amazing stuff on wikitree--but navigating to where you want to go on purpose takes a lot of patience, and most on here (like me) probably know less than 10% of what is available.

posted by Michael Schindler

Categories: Germany Project