Making German Genealogy easier - Rootstech 2016 notes
Indicators should start with
Letter from the Old Country
The name (first or last ) how it looks or sounds in German
1850 is when the census data started to say exactly where they were born and where they were living when they applied to be a US citizen
Start with the Courts - Federal documents vary from state to state - find more info at FamilySearch Wiki on naturalization
Marriage Certificates - even if they came as a child to the US. It can still be in the church (parish) where they attended or German Records - but first try to pinpoint where they originated.
Grave Marker - The tombstone in Germany is there for 20-30 years then the lease is up and the markers are removed and the place where they were buried will be made available to another tenant of the cemetery.
Letters from the Old Country
If you family has kept them in the attic or old trunk, try to decipher where they came from
The Name - Look at the First and the last - the enumerators did not write them as they would in Germany. the enumerators in Germany wrote in German.
The US census takers wrote phonetically and didn't clarify or verify as they wrote until 1850 to current.
Check with the library where Obituaries are kept. In Ohio and INdiana, we were able to find a translator and the Obituary cracked the ancestry wide open.
After the first World War it was against the law to to speak in German.
WHAT STEPS TO TAKE?
US Federal Census Records
After 1850 - quite a bit of detail - it will also say where their parents came from as well.
Ellis Island/ Castle Garden Records and other ports of entry
Hamburger Passenger Lists
Before Ellis Island, they landed at Castle Garden. Check the website and it will list your ancestors if not at Ellis Island. Also check Philadelphia, Baltimore, Louisiana, etc.,
You have two bites with the same apples - they had to register with the authorities there and then went out through La Habra France or Amsterdam, then later Bremen.
In the 1920s someone destroyed a lot of the Breman data. Also check Hamburg. Very often it will tell you the farm, village, town that they came from
Databases from FamilySearch and it's partners
The mapping shows light to dark based on concentration of population.
Gazetteers: What to they contain
Local political jurisdiction
local major industry
Protestant, Catholic and Jewish parishes the respective community belongs to.
Use the 1913 edition
It will also tell you where the civil registry was located and you will be able to find other records like birth/death/marriage/probate
Kartenmeister.org kartenmeister.com free website
If it is in an expanded border to Poland, the website will help you to find it's new name in the new location.
fuzzyg.com where to go when you have part of the name from tattered documents. If you know just part of the name that you can see -
for Hamburg - put Ham* - using a wildcard, it will fill in the rest of the word and the stars will tell you the likelihood of correct connection.
CASPAR WOLF marries Maria Ursula ARNDT
In Gerstheim, Alsace/Bas-Rhin
On 8 October 1757 - when they put in ot* it gave some ideas of other towns
GOOGLE SEARCH GOOGLE.DE FOR GERMANS
When you look it on the google map, they are only 3 miles apart divided by a river in France not Germany
GenWiki Main Menu http://genwiki.de/Hauptseite FREE
Produced by the German Society of Computer Enthusiasts and dedicated genealogists FREE
Gives you different ideas where to search in Germany
Genealogical Societies and Archivers
Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbande
Each town has it's own website
Ortsfamilienbucher - group of concerned citizens and digitize the records - they don't get paid for it. They reconstruct the entire family by marriage
buy the book - try ebay.de