The Neumark

 

Did your ancestors come from the area called Neumark (today Poland)?  Let me just introduce some sources to you so you know where to start.

You will find the villages and towns that  belonged to the Neumark listed here. As many of the church and other records were destroyed in the last days of World War 2, secondary sources are very important. Therefore, you should definitely check the Neumark database.  The many volunteers who helped fill this database with loads of information worked with many sources now being available online or in German libraries.

Also, an important source for researchers are the many Heritage Books of the Neumark, that can be found online.

If you want to look for records in Polish archives (and more and more is available online), you can search the website of the Polish State Archives.

German archives holding information from the Neumark are the Landeshauptarchiv Brandenburg in Potsdam and the  Geheimes Staatsarchiv in Berlin, the latter is important if your ancestors were among the settlers who colonized the Neumark. These archives do not have any records available online, except for those who were filmed by Familysearch/Ancestry.

Research in the Neumark can be a bit tricky and you need to know the history of this area. If you need help, why not contact us and see if we can assist you with your search for your ancestors.

The featured pictures show the village of Lubiath, County of Friedeberg where my ancestors owned a mill. This is the house my ancestors lived.

The German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast

 

Did you know that our Ursula C. Krause is the German Genealogy Girl behind the popular German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast? If you are of German descent and love doing research, this is the podcast to listen to! The German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast helps you make the most of your research time, by providing helpful techniques and a deeper insight into German research. Together with her guests from all over the world, she guides you through numerous websites, best practices, German history, pesky German grammar and language and best resources available. Her and her guest’s experience and knowledge will enlighten you and give you tools needed to advance your genealogical search. Join her monthly as they delve into the world of German genealogy!

Keep Yourself Updated!

Did you know that Katherine R. Willson  from Social Media Genealogy   has a list of all facebook groups on genealogy? Check out this list with more than 10,600 entries!

 

Meet Me in Minneapolis!

Have you already heard of the International Germanic Genealogy Conference, taking place at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest Hotel in  Brooklyn Park in the wider Minneapolis area from July 28 – 30, 2017? It  is organized by the  International German Genealogy Partnership  and hosted by the  Germanic Genealogy Society. Don’t miss this great  opportunity to learn more about German genealogy, make connections with other researchers and share information with other participants.  You will have the choice between 70 presentations on many interesting topics from German parish  and census records to  German newspapers and directories and getting to know more about  your   ancestors’ social status in the old world. Find out  more about this exciting event in the brochure.

Our Ursula C. Krause will be giving the following presentations:

  • Friday, July 28, 2017, 9:30 a.m. – Finding Your Ancestors In German Directories (Intermediate)
  • Saturday, July 29, 2017, 3:30 p.m. – Off to America! (Beginners)
  • Sunday, July 30, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – The Godparents Thing – Overcoming Brick Walls in Your German Research (Advanced)

Registration opened on February 1, 2017! Don’t wait too long to register – it might be sold out soon!

Looking forward to meeting you there!

 

Finding Your German Cousins

Are you planning on going to Germany in 2017? And are you looking for the graves to visit and for cousins to say hello? Things might turn out to be a bit difficult for both.

 

I wrote about the difficulties of finding your German ancestor’s grave on August in my blogpost “Finding your Ancestor’s Grave (Or Not)”. But finding relatives actually isn’t that easy either.

 

Germans  and  Privacy

The main reason for the difficulty of finding German relatives simply is privacy. Not only are the privacy laws in German very strict and it is complicated, time consuming and sometimes simply impossible to find information on living people. But even when you manage to find them, you might not be able to get in touch with them or even be invited to their house. The reason for this is that Germans like to keep their privacy. They like to stick with their own family and friends and are rather reserved with getting in touch with people they do not know. And most of them simply aren’t looking for new found cousins, be it first, second or third.

Another reason is that in Germany genealogy is a more or less exotic thing to do. Remember, Germans usually stayed put and think they know where they come from. There simply doesn’t seem to be a need to know more and dig deeper. Therefore, most Germans aren’t even aware that they have relatives abroad. It happens quite often that I find relatives but they simply are unfriendly and hang up, making it very clear that they aren’t interested.

Often, there are no relatives in that area, their ancestors simply moved and their descendants are impossible to trace. The earlier emigration took place, the harder it is to find relatives.

 

With A Little Bit Of Luck

But there still is hope and it is in fact possible to find relatives that know about the emigration and welcome you to Germany (which does not mean to their house). These are some examples where I found family members:

The emigrating ancestors had come from a small village close to the Dutch border with a very active Historical Society. They had information on everything a genealogist could ask for and knew directly which family member had emigrated and what became of the siblings. And as it was a Historical Society of a small village, many of its members were related. It only took one phone call and the research was more or less completed. And within 2 months about 200 family members from all over Germany met and welcomed their new found family member from America!

The emigrating ancestors came from a small village in Baden. I found out that there was a journalist living in the village, who also wrote about the old houses in this area. He agreed to meet my client and it turned out that they were distant cousins.

The family moved overseas in the 20th century; therefore the memory of them simply was alive and the remaining cousins knew about each other and wanted to meet (but not in their home). I was only able to find them, because I turned every (and I mean EVERY!) stone around.

Once, I found the name in an online family tree; a sibling had married into this family. The researcher had more information and put me in touch with the lady who had provided him with that part of information. It turned out that she not only was a distant cousin of my client, but also a genealogist and archivist who had actually wondered what had happened to the cousin who all of the sudden vanished.

So, you see, it is possible to find relatives, but you really need time, know your way around, be creative, and, most of all, you need luck! Without luck you will not be able to get there!

 

But even without meeting your relatives, you will meet a lot of kind and friendly people in Germany. And who knows, maybe it turns out that you are related?

 

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