A few weeks ago, my husband mentioned an interest in researching his family. We’ve gone to the library together once to do some research together, but we’ve done the majority of our research online. His family immigrated from Germany in the late 1800’s, so it didn’t take too long to find that we’ve got to do some research in a foreign language – a daunting task.

In the meantime, we are trying to understand WHY his family would decide to come to America and so that has been the focus of our research. His family came from Northern Schleswig. We’ve always thought of them as German, but that’s not really accurate. After putting together a boundaries history with as many maps as I could, we found that for all but the last 4 years of their history there, they were considered to be a part of Denmark.

Now for me, doing research has always been all about filling in the blanks and finding every document possible for a family. But for HIM, it seems to be more about experiencing the history as much as possible for himself – which I LOVE! So when he started talking about taking a trip next summer or fall to the area that his ancestors are from – well, that puts a whole new spark in the research!

While doing the research, I finally took a break from simply collecting information and took time to try to understand what I have…what did the place names mean? A “state”, a “county”, or a city? It’s easy to set information aside to figure out later because it doesn’t make sense at the moment, but after studying for a bit, I discovered that I had more specific information than I thought. I do have specific cities for 3 generations of his direct line so I used Google Earth to see the towns where ancestors were born, married or died. All of them are within a 20 mile circle.

Sounds like a nice potential vacation spot to me! And quite an incentive to keep on researching!