Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns

Germanic Genealogy is an awesome guidebook! There is no other way to describe it–all 600+ pages of it.  This is actually the 3rd edition of a book published by the Germanic Genealogy Society formed years ago under the direction of Edward R. Brandt and a consortium of Mid-western genealogists.  The 6 authors of this encyclopedic work come from that group.

When I examine a new book for the first time, I begin with the Table of Contents looking for a Preface or Introduction.    I was not disappointed–the contents are detailed and cover 5 full pages.  The purpose of the book, and how it came to be, including who was involved in its compilation, enable the reader to intelligently understand the work.  Here you will also discover what the book is not.

The Preface of Germanic Genealogy defines “German:” as language–German-speaking peoples wherever they reside.  And the flavor of the book throughout is oriented to the German language, although translations of essential words and a full chapter on language and word forms is provided.

The Introduction describes the book’s goal:  to “help genealogists trace their German speaking ancestors throughout the world.”  This brand-new edition contains one-half more material than the second-edition (1997) and deletes outdated information from the first edition (1995).  Acknowledgments and credits from all three editions are included.
Ancestral homelands are covered with precision in places  (full addresses, emails, and  websites); and in sources (websites, databases,  and repositories).  Where older jurisdictions and their changing boundaries  are divided today between more than one country, watch for cross-references to those places where parts of those areas belong.

Extensive expansion and revision occur in the text for the chapters on the Family History Library–its databases and microfilm holdings–and Computers and online access to resources.   This edition includes new maps, tables, photos of local areas throughout Europe, and contributions by local European experts.

The next section of the book I study is the Index.  Are authors of bibliography titles indexed as well as key words, people, and places?  Is there a separate surname  and personal name index for ancestors mentioned in example documents or used as examples in chapters and titles?  What a wonderful thing it is to find your very ancestor mentioned in passing in a work of this kind.

The 37-page Index is remarkably complete for a ,book text supplying so many specific details.  One major omission occurs:  libraries, repositories, societies, and institutions are given in the text and not covered in the Index.  I realize that to do so would greatly expand an already large book;  however, this index is a major research tool and needs to be complete.   American genealogists are largely uninformed about the vast resources worldwide.   And there is still a substantial number of us who are not yet fully computer literate, especially for foreign sites and institutions.

Last, before getting into the text, I look for Appendixes and Tables and Illustrations to see what information has been summarized as a ready-reference and short-cut to knowledge.  For this volume, which focuses on how our German-speaking populations traveled from place to place, maps are essential!  And this edition has 27 maps with annotations and reference keys.

Geography  is a forgotten school subject for most of us.   Americans are especially weak in geographic knowledge.  We need all the maps we can get.  And instructions on how to read and understand them.  And since European areas often have more than one set of place names to contend with, we need precise directions on where this geographic knowledge can be obtained.  Chapter 7 provides us with an introduction to political and physical geography.  I recommend that this be must reading for tracing German ancestors–wherever they originate.

Tune in later this week for another installment of what is in this amazing genealogy text.  You can order the book through Germanic Genealogy Society, P.O. Box 16312, St. Paul MN 55116.  (I don’t have the price yet–watch for it next time.)  This is one of those guidebooks that if you must limit yourself to only one, make it this one.

Many thanks to all of those who sent greetings and prayers for Afton.

She is at home recuperating from surgery.  Her stitches came out yesterday and her doctor is very pleased with her progress.  Instead of resting quietly, she has been at work answering the phone, processing the mail, making appointments for me, and ensuring that my schedule is disrupted with the least amount of stress.  As she put it, “I can’t lay here doing nothing when there is work to be done.”

Genealogy research trip to OH, PA, MD, VA

Afton’s next big assignment will be to call ahead to archives and libraries for my October 2007 genealogy research trip.  If you have a hard-to-find ancestor in one of these states–get your notes and charts out.  Look over where you need help and let me take a crack at it.  Send me an email so I can put you on the list and send you details on costs, what information I need, and what needs to be done before I go.  This is your chance for expert help in the very archives and libraries where your ancestor lived.  I also do cemeteries.   Watch for details on what archives and libraries I plan to search.

Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle  <>

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