Germanic Research Sources and Methods

Course Description:

This course is intended for students with general genealogical research experience. Methods will be taught to help the United States-based genealogist find and use European sources to research their Germanic ancestry. Key German vocabulary will be incorporated throughout the course, in an effort to help the English-speaking student become comfortable with Germanic sources. Focus will be given on techniques for reading the German gothic script, used in most historical Germanic records.

What students should bring to the course:

This course has been created for the student who has conducted some research on their Germanic ancestor in United States records and has likely determined the European town of birth. Some of the course will be geared towards methods for finding the town of origin, though that is not the emphasis. The ideal student is ready to explore German records for their ancestor and ready to go beyond church records. Proficiency at reading the German language or reading German gothic script is not required. A willingness to learn these tools is a must.

Session   Unit or Topic

Historical Overview: Germany Before It Was Germany
Highlights of Major Migration Patterns to the United States
Understand and Using Historical Jurisdictions
Maps and Gazetteers: Methods and Sources
How to Overcome Brick Walls in German-American Research (18th Century)
How to Overcome Brick Walls in German-American Research (19th Century)
Advanced Methodologies for Overcoming Brick Walls in German-American Research
German Gothic Script I: The Basics
German Gothic Script II: Essential Vocabulary and Grammar
German Script III: Reading Documents
Using Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed Church Records
The “Other” Religions of Our German Ancestors
Military Records: A Survey of Availability
Hanover Military: A Vast Collection
Beyond Church Records I
Beyond Church Records II
Incorporating Social History Into Your Research
General German Internet Sources for Genealogy

Course Instructor:

Teresa S. McMillin, Certified Genealogistsm has had a life-long passion for genealogy. In 2006, Teresa founded Lind Street Research, a company dedicated to helping clients trace their German ancestry. Since then, she has helped many people discover their family history. Teresa also writes family history books and is a popular speaker for local and national genealogical societies. Teresa is the author of the Guide to Hanover Military Records, 1514-1866 , on Microfilm at the Family History Library.

Dr. Michael D. Lacopo is a life-long resident of northern Indiana.  He began his genealogical research in 1980.  He appeared in USA TODAY in 2000 and has lectured locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally since 2004.  His research strengths involve Mennonite families, Pennsylvania Germans, immigrant ancestry and Midwest/Middle Atlantic research (IN, OH, IL, MI, and PA).  He has a passion for incorporating social history into research and promotes “story telling” when discussing ancestors. His blog, “Hoosier Daddy?, narrates his own research adventures.

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