Last week, I attended the PalAm conference in Ft. Wayne so that I could learn more about doing research for German lines. All of my husband’s lines came through Germany, so I had a great time learning about research sources, customs specific to northern Germany, etc. I also enjoyed visiting the vendors and picked up a nice little book on German script (originally written for elementary school students, which is just about my speed!) and several maps for the districts of Germany that I’ll be focusing on.
I was especially excited after going to the session on Reseaching Northern German roots because I have several lines to research from Schleswig-Holstein.
Last summer, I concentrated on a line that came from Alsace and luckily for me, the records for the time period I needed were all in French, which I studied in high school. (A long time ago to be sure, but at least not a totally new alphabet!) I was comforted by the fact that the types of records in German research as well as the layout for most of them will be very similar to those I spent so much time with last summer. So at least I’ll have a good idea of where to look for the person’s name and where to look for the location name, etc.
As I prepare to order FHL films (still holding out a tiny hope that I’ll find a great deal to travel to Salt Lake City this summer) I am concentrating on finding the village of origin for my families. I had a handwritten note on a family group sheet that said “Luzbek?” but I didn’t know where I had found that. I did a Google search for Luzbek Germany and found nothing. As I said in my last blog post, I have been filling in information for the siblings of my direct line and that’s where I was able to find the proper spelling of “Lübeck” on the birth certificate of a sibling. I found the birth certificate at pilot.familysearch.org, where I have been able to find MANY birth and marriage certificates for my Chicago lines in the last couple of weeks. The interesting thing is that this is not the source where I originally found “Luzbeck” so there must another source that I’m not finding.
While looking at the FHL films available for Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, I discovered that from the time my known ancestor was born until about the time that he emigrated, that area of Germany was under Danish control! Because I am such a newbie to foreign research, I had never considered the fact that Germany might not be Germany! (Although you’d think I’d have had a clue after my Alsace research.) I can order films for the census of 1835, 1845 and 1855, but they are written in German OR Danish! I have never studied any strategies for Danish research, so I’m not sure about ordering those films. And because I have 4 lines that I know are from Schleswig-Holstein, I’m not sure if I should re-think the lines to research this summer or not. Maybe my Kentucky lines would be my best bet for this summer. (That was my original plan until this conference. Now I cn’t tear myself away from my “German” families!)
Guess I need to look at the Research Guide for Denmark before I decide anything. Would love to hear comments from anyone who is researching this area so I’ll have an idea of what to expect!!!