Germany

28 Apr 2016

Visiting Prussia for the Time-Traveling Genealogy Blog Party

Courtesy of Elizabeth O’Neal at LittleBytesofLife,
my entry is
Visiting Prussia for the Time-Traveling Genealogy Blog Party
Here’s this party’s theme:

You and The Doctor (of Doctor Who fame [who of course is David Tennant – hubba hubba]) have just finished saving the Earth from nasty, alien monsters. As your reward, The Doctor has offered to take you for a ride in his TARDIS to meet one of your ancestors!

Who is the ancestor you will meet?
I long to know Friedrich Wilhelm Alexander KIRSCHSTEIN, my great-great-grandfather, who has been my most persistent brick wall for lo these many many years. He married my great-great-grandmother, Florentine Mathilde BRAUN, on 20 Oct 1847 in Rawitsch, Posen, Prussia (now Poland). But before that he might as well have been a ghost for the past six years I’ve been looking for him and his parents. Until very recently, dundundun.*

What question(s) do you need him/her to answer?
When I meet him, I will heroically refrain from shaking him […]

27 Mar 2016

Is the American Easter Bunny German?

In honor of the holiday today, we ask
Is the American Easter Bunny German?
Stephen Winick’s article, On the Bunny Trail: In Search of the Easter Bunny, indicates that we have the German colonial immigrants–known familiarly as the Pennsylvania Dutch–to thank for the Easter Bunny in the United States. In the Folklife Today blog from the Library of Congress, Winick explores the antecedents of the Easter Bunny we know today: the “swift little creature” who visits and hides pastel-dyed eggs and baskets of candy around American lawns and homes for children to find. Sometimes, as seen in the Winterthur fraktur above, “…the bunny is even said to lay eggs, presenting a challenge to biology teachers everywhere!,” writes Winick.

The first known reference to the German tradition of the Easter Hare comes from Georg Franck von Franckenau’s academic essay De ovis paschalibus [About Easter Eggs] from 1682. This Latin work refers to the German tradition of an Easter […]

9 Mar 2016

Translating Hamburg Passenger List Categories

Is your German a little rusty or perhaps even non-existent, but you are using that great resource database,
the Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850-1934?

Knowing and translating Hamburg Passenger List Categories before you search can be very helpful. Search both the departure lists in from Hamburg, as well as the arrival lists in New York or other U.S. ports. Before you decipher the German handwriting in a record your find, it helps to know what categories of information were used on the passenger list itself. (Right click or control-click on a Mac to download the image below for easier viewing.)

Hamburg Passenger Lists (Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850-1934 available as a searchable database at Ancestry.com) were completed in Germany by clerks for the steamship line, using information from emigrants. The Germans were thorough about completing forms, so I have found far more of the all-important information about ancestral village names and birthplaces in these emigration records than I’ve found in […]

19 Oct 2015

FamilySearch German Databases Updated

An astute friend told me that the FamilySearch German Databases updated on 18 September 2015. Great news!

If you haven’t searched the three main German databases available at FamilySearch in a while, it’s worth taking a look again. And if you’re new to research in Germany (and Prussia), these database indexes are a godsend.

Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 (Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898) contains 37,703,403 index records with corresponding film numbers for the full records. More about this database available at the FamilySearch wiki. Consult the Coverage Table for this database to find the places and time periods of the original records in this collection.
Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958 (Deutschland Tote und Beerdigungen, 1582-1958) contains 3,507,288 index records with corresponding film numbers for the full records. More about this database available at the FamilySearch wiki. Consult the Coverage Table for this database to find the places and time periods of the original records in this collection.
Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 (Deutschland […]