Welcome to the German Genealogy Quarterly eNewsletter—the German Schrift! This newsletter will highlight the Genealogy Discussion Group, featured German resources, research tips, and interesting places to visit.
Midwest Genealogy Center: October German SCHRIFT
German Research Discussion Group
Review of the July 2020 Meeting:
Although MGC is now open to customers, the Library is still not hosting meetings or programs. The last German Research Discussion Group was held virutally through Zoom. The October session will be carried out the same way. As always, you can watch previously recorded sessions online.
An interesting point from the meeting was the announcement of two new research databases, MyHeritage Library Edition and ShipIndex.org. You may use themonlinewith your MCPL Access Pass (Library card) or in person at MGC.
In addition, on December 19, we will have a special German Holiday session. Prima! It had a premiere last December. I enjoyed your active involvement, including singing "O Tannenbaum". It was amazing to see how many of you knew the song well. So, we are going to hold this event again, this time in virtual form. You can start training your vocals.
One important announcement: The 2021 International German Genealogy Conference, scheduled for July 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio, was canceled due to COVID-19.
Featured Online Resource
From the MGC Blog
Where Are the Records? explains the basic approach to all Central and East European genealogy research, such as focusing on the ancestor who lived on both continents, and four main elements to know about this immigrant ancestor.
MGC Books The MGC book collection is constantly growing. Recently, the collection gained several books that would intrigue German genealogists from various points of view. Let’s mention a few:
The book contains simple recipes, such as the Never Fails Layer Cake and Lebkuchen. And, of course, it woud not be complete without the famous (and my favorite) Wiener Schnitzel, listed under Meats and Poultry. Compiled in December 1916.
His name was General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, also called a “Lion of Africa.” You can read about him and the German campaign in Africa during WWI in the book.
Orderly and Humane : The Expulsion of the Germans After the Second World War by R. M. Douglas The victorious Allies authorized and carried out forced relocation of German speakers from Central and Southern Europe to Germany. Consulting archival sources, the author discusses the ordeal of these relocated people on the way to Germany, and how those who survived the travels, lived in former concentration camps. This book may give you a new look at this almost forgotten subject of history.
Village Lineage Books The books (book – Buch, pl. Bücher) have various titles, such as the Dorfsippenbuch, Ortssippenbuch (OSB), or Ortsfamilienbuch (OFB) and cover not only Germany but also places in Europe where German enclaves were established. They show the lineage of families living in one place. Family groups are listed alphabetically. Each person has a number attached and you can find the person’s birth and marriage date, listed under the same number.
Although these books are in German, they are easy to follow. All abbreviations are explained, and common symbols are used. With the help of a dictionary and knowing a few German words, you can figure out the family relationship through past generations. Just keep in mind these are secondary sources transcribed from the original parish books and civil records, and whenever possible, consult the originals.
Among the newest additions are the ones for Ubersfeld, Würm, OFB Kuppenheim, and Meschen/Mosna.
Online Resource Tip:
Did your ancestors speak Low German (Plattdeutsch) or High German?
The answer to this question points to a geographical division. The mountainous region of the South is the High German region. This is the official language.
This time, I would suggest visiting MGC! We are located in Independence, MO. If not in person, at least online. Check out MGC's virtual classes, the online catalog, and all the genealogy databases.
If this is too close to home, visit Ostfriesen (East Frisia) area of Germany. Our collection of village lineage books is the largest for this region located in Lower Saxony state. Did you ever hear about the Ostfriesen Tea? In an article in the American-Ostfriesen Journal, (April, May, June 2020, Vol.23, Issue 2) it states that the Ostfriesians are the biggest tea drinkers in the world! (Even more than the English.) The first tea was imported to Europe in 1610 by Dutch East Indies Company and logically found the way to be well established in Ostfriesland.
If you cannot be served the Ostfriesland unique tea in Emden, here's a video showing the procedure to be served properly East Frisian Tea.
Fun and Learn
What is this German word? Dust off that German dictionary from your shelf. This time the words from the Meyers Ort Lexikon, the important Place Name Dictionary (gazetteer) following boundaries of German Empire before WWI. The gazetteer has everything written in abbreviations. It was created for the transportation needs in the former German Empire and now serves well for genealogists. It is also now online. This resource is helpful in locating the places of your ancestors, closest church (very important!), civil registry office, military office, railway station, etc.
1. A _ t s b _ _ _ r k (Government office in the town)
2. B _ r _ w _ _ k (Mine)
3. D _ _ f (Village)
4. E i _ w o _ _ _ r (Resident, Inhabitant, Population)
5. P f _ _ r k _ _ c h e (Parish church)
6. R _ g i e r _ _ g _ b e z _ _ k (Administrative district)
7. S a m _ _ _ n g (Collection)
Christl's Proverb: “Sage nicht immer, was du weißt, aber wisse immer, was du sagst!” which means: “Don’t always say what you know, but always know what you say.”