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German Research on the Internet
George G. Morgan
Researching our ancestors on the eastern side of the Atlantic can be challenging to many U.S. family historians. The records are quite different and, when you add a different language to the equation, they can become more complex to locate and evaluate. Fortunately, the Internet provides many resources for us that complement the printed materials in libraries, archives, magazines, and in our own private collections.
This week's "Along Those Lines . . . " focuses on German genealogical resources on the Internet. There are vast materials available at both U.S. and German Web sites, as well as mailing lists to which you can subscribe and Usenet newsgroups which you can read online and to which you can post. Obviously the list cannot be all-inclusive, but if you are researching your German ancestry, you will find many resources listed that may help you and/or point you to other resources on the Internet.
The Internet Sources of German Genealogy site is probably the most comprehensive collection of links to German resources anywhere on the Internet. It is divided into multiple categories: General/Regional Information; Databases (primarily surnames); Secondary Genealogical Resources; Newsgroups; Mailing Lists; Commercial Offers; and Genealogy Software. The Frequently Asked Questions site is a gem for beginners, but there are many excellent resources here, many of which are in German and can be translated as described above.
Genealogy.net bills itself as "The number one source in German genealogy." Its German Genealogy: Tips for Researchers site provides a good primer for beginning researchers. There are detailed articles and links to other resources, as well as a nice bibliography. The site is also available in German. The German Genealogy Bridge contains a collection of excellent links, including a link to a large basic map of Germany. (If you are planning on conducting German research, you should invest in a good, detailed map of Germany.) As you trace your German lineage and the migration of your ancestors from Germany to the United States, it is essential that you learn about ship passenger lists. There are several tremendous Web sites on this subject.
The Emigration to America: Passenger Lists site written by Michael P. Palmer provides definitive reviews of two excellent books on the subject: "German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York" and "Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports," as well as mentions of other printed resources. The reviews are very instructive on the subject and include excellent tables and extensive footnotes.
In addition, Mr. Palmer's "German and American Sources for German Emigration to America" site describes in detail many of the resources available to resources.
The German Migration Resource Center site is a resource for the exchange of information between people interested in German emigrants and immigrants. You can submit, read, and search for queries about surnames, ship names, and cities of origin and destination. There is also information on almost a hundred books concerning genealogy and migration, as well a collection of German genealogy links.
The Federation of Eastern European Genealogical Societies presents its German Genealogy Cross-Index site. Here you will find a collection of links to the Web sites of a number of societies concerned with German research and/or German lineage, as well as links to maps of Germany.
It is important to learn about German names and naming patterns as you conduct your research. The German Names site at: is an excellent online reference resource on this subject.
Finally, no list of German Internet resources would be complete without the inclusion of the Germany GenWeb Project site. Like the USGenWeb Project, the German site has been created and developed by volunteers wishing to expand the availability of free information on the Internet. There is a wealth of resources here too, ranging from general information, information about regions of Germany, historical maps, some passenger lists, and information about the Kingdom of Prussia.
Resources at Ancestry.com
In addition, don't neglect using Internet search engines to locate German genealogical resources. The largest and fastest search engine on the Web today is FAST Search. Indexing more than 300 million Web pages and searching at light speed, this is the fastest engine on the Web. At the time of this writing, by entering "german genealogy" (in quotes), I located 3,540 documents found in 0.2475 seconds search time!
There are a lot of German resources on the Internet. Get searching!
Anatomy of a Surname
Online Surname Search Strategies
Behind the Name
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