2021 Conference, German Track

German Track – Class Descriptions and Time Schedule (sorted by time slot)

All presentations in the German track are in Room 1.

All times are Mountain Daylight Time.


An overview of FamilySearch.org, online sources, connections and more. Beginning German Research (Becky Adamson), Wednesday August 11, 9:45 AM, Room 1

Resources on FamilySearch for German Research. This is for the beginner.  I introduce the many resources, including videos and webinars, that are available for free on FS.


Introduction to German Phonetics as it Applies to the Spelling of Personal Names (or: “How can Tiefendörfer and Diependerper be the same family?”) (Dr. Roger Minert), Wednesday August 11, 11:00 AM, Room 1

Most researchers in German-language family history identify numerous variant spellings of personal names over time and in different locations. Despite the apparently helter-skelter variations, basic rules of Germanic phonetics are at work here. This presentation will offer linguistic explanations for specific spelling changes. With emphasis on problem-solving throughout, the presenter uses names supplied by the audience to illustrate the application of phonetic rules to the spelling of personal names in Germany and among German immigrants in North America.


Jump-Start Your German Research with Ortsfamilienbücher / Ortssippenbücher  (Gina Palmer), Wednesday August 11, 1:30 PM, Room 1

Ortsfamilienbücher (OFBs) can help you quickly link a family line back several generations. Participants will learn what OFBs are, where they can be found, and how to use them.


Early German Immigration—Where they came from, where they settled, and when they migrated (Suzanne M. Trotter), Wednesday August 11, 2:45 PM, Room 1

Mass migration out of the Palatinate region of Germany began in 1708. By June 1709, thousands of Palatines flooded both Rotterdam and London. In fall 1709, 11 ships were loaded full of these immigrants to be sent to America. These ships sat in the harbor through the winter. When they finally sailed in spring 1710, these ships went to Ireland, New York, and North Carolina. At least one ship also went to Pennsylvania. The bulk of these emigrants in 1710 did NOT go to Pennsylvania.


Has it Already Been Done? German Compiled Records (Kory Meyerink), Wednesday August 11, 4:00 PM, Room 1

Genealogists pursuing English or American families regularly check the published literature to learn what previous researchers may have learned about a family. The use of such “compiled records,” or sources of previous research, can be equally helpful for German research, but only if researchers use them. The percentage of families covered in German compiled records is much smaller, but given the other challenges of German research, can be very helpful, and rewarding.


Introduction to Latin Paleography (Fritz Juengling), Thursday August 12, 9:45 AM, Room 1

[Class description will be published soon]


Silesia or Schlesien? Which is it? It’s BOTH! (Annette Adams), Thursday August 12, 11:00 AM, Room 1

This former Prussian province exchanged many monarchal hands over the centuries. Come and see what useful online resources are available to discover your Austrian, Polish and Prussian Silesian ancestors. You don’t have to have Silesian ancestors to learn a few new research skills.


Meyer’s Gazetteer Now Online, Indexed and Fully Searchable! (Fritz Juengling), Thursday August 12, 1:30 PM, Room 1

Meyer’s Gazetteer Now Online, Indexed and Fully Searchable!  Learn the history of the project, how to search for places, special search features, how to use the maps, find surrounding parishes and civil registry offices, strategies for searching, and other features.


Matricula-online.eu versus Archion.de? (Charlotte Noelle Champenois), Thursday August 12, 2:45 PM, Room 1

The presentation will compare the two main German record depositories and explain its usage.


The Small but Important Details for Germanic Research (Milan Pohontsch), Thursday August 12, 4:00 PM, Room 1

Participants will learn about the switching of calendars, importance of feast days, weekday symbols, common abbreviations used, naming patterns, house names, Latinizing of names, weights, and measures.


Residential Registration in Germany (Dr. Roger Minert), Friday August 12, 8:30 AM, Room 1

This presentation is based on a kind of record that is essentially unknown among Germanic researchers. From the sixteenth century on, local authorities monitored the comings and goings of strangers and foreigners, keeping ever more detailed records of newcomers—primarily for the safety of local residents. The personal details contained in such records make them a valuable resource for family history research. This presentation exhibits the form and content of residential registration and traces the historical development up to the late nineteenth century; by then, in most states every man, woman, and child was registered—whether local or from elsewhere.


Sources of the Facts as Told in an Obituary (Roland Geiger), Friday August 13, 9:45 AM, Room 1

In 1837 Peter Engel from St. Wendel (Germany) came to America (other sources indicate it may have been 1840). He was accompanied by 9 comrades who stated their reason to emigrate was to avoid serving in the Prussian Army, but possibly they could have emigrated after their service.
Peter’s life is portrayed in his obituary produced by relatives and friends who knew him, which was published in a newspaper after his death in April 1916 in Wayland, Steuben County, New York.

Roland Geiger, local historian and genealogist from St. Wendel and a distant relative to Mr. Engel, shows the facts behind the narration of the obituary and the sources where they can be found.


German Language and Handwriting (Milan Pohontsch), Friday August 13, 11:00 AM, Room 1

The presentation focuses on becoming familiar with the German Gothic hand script, explains the various types of Gothic script, provides sources for self-teaching and practicing, providing tips for getting comfortable with writing and reading, deals with abbreviations used in genealogical records, and includes a short lesson on German grammar.


Strategies for avoiding common research blunders (Camille Andrus), Friday August 13, 1:30 PM, Room 1

Learn effective strategies to avoid mistakes and overcome brick walls when researching your ancestors from the German Empire.


Facebook or FamilySearch Communities? Stumped on how social media may be a benefit to your German research? (Annette Adams), Friday August 13, 4:00 PM, Room 1

This class will focus on the differences between these two resources, and how to get the most out of both using social media platforms to solve German research puzzles.