Germany

3 Aug 2014

Free Online German-Language Newspapers

Free online German-language newspapers published in the United States are invaluable resources for genealogists. If you’re searching for ancestors from Germany, Austria, and Prussia who emigrated to America, 19th- and 20th-century German-language newspapers can hold important clues not found in English-language records.

Published in areas with large enclaves of German-speaking immigrants, these newspapers fostered communities and neighborhoods. According to the Library of Congress, by 1890 more than 1,000 German newspapers were being published in the United States. 

Chronicling America is a Library of Congress website offering access to newspapers published in the United States between 1836 and 1922.  Nearly eight million newspaper pages from 32 states and the District of Columbia are digitized and available.

Here are 19 historic German-language newspaper titles available for free at Chronicling America. Click on the hyperlinks in the titles to start your research.

13 May 2014

German Card for Genealogical Research

The German Card is the best $5 I’ve ever spent, certainly in research terms.

The SGGS German Card is a four-panel card, hinged and laminated, that folds up to the size of a credit card. Around the outside edges of the panels are the old script and Fraktur alphabets, showing both upper and lower case, arranged so that you can hold each letter directly under the German word you are trying to decipher.It is designed to be carried in one’s wallet or purse for use in the library or at the archives. (I also keep one at home next to my computer.) This pocket research aid is exclusively available from the Sacramento German Genealogy Society.

The German card includes:

• Old German alphabets – upper case and lower case, for both the old German handwriting and the printed Gothic font
• Basic German vocabulary words as […]

30 Mar 2014

Some Thoughts on Reading German Parish Microfilm

Warning: genealogy whining ahead. I have some thoughts on reading German parish microfilm – a LOT of German parish microfilm that looked just like the screenshot on the right.

I was lucky to be at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, with every roll of microfilm available. So I did due diligence, reading German parish microfilm for five days for every village in my search area – but with no results.

Why did I pick genealogy? Why not something easier, like taking up home dentistry, a backyard moon launch, or counting grains of sand on the beach?

So after all those hours and rolls of German records, I have to say there are two people I dislike, however pointlessly retroactive.

The pastor:

Let’s leave handwriting and spelling out of it. Not fair to pick on the guy when that was his job to be the educated person […]

25 Mar 2014

Translating Meyers Konversationslexikon – Tuesday’s Tip

translating meyers orts sassy jane genealogyHave you used Meyers Konversationslexikon?

Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs (English title: Meyers Commercial Gazetteer of the German Empire) is an essential resource for German genealogy researchers. Meyers Orts is available in print at libraries and at Ancestry and FamilySearch.

But for English-speaking researchers, Meyers Orts can be tricky to use. This historical reference work is, of course, published in German and in Fraktur typeface. An additional complication for monolingual English-speaking researchers (like me) is the frequent use of abbreviations. When you don’t speak German, it’s hard to know what word is being abbreviated. And the type can be very small for aging eyes to see.

While there is no substitute for the seminal Meyers Orts gazetteer, another Meyers publication may also help. Meyers also published the Meyers Konversationslexikon. Full title: Großes Konversationslexikon: Ein Nachschlagewerk des allgemeinen Wissens. Sechste, […]