Sacramento German Genealogy Society
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1.  
The best sources for researching German family history are available in the United States, not in Germany.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
2.  
A “gazetteer” is a dictionary or encyclopedia of geographic information (in German it’s an Ortsverzeichnis). Gazetteers are frequently helpful.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
3.  
In German, “ie” is pronounced like “e” (as in “see”),and “ei” is pronounced like “i” (as in “fine”).
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
4.  
Of all the information you will need to do genealogical research, 98 percent of it is not on the internet.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
5.  
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has about 4,500 branches. One is located not far from you. From home you can use www.FamilySearch.org.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
6.  
Once you know the name of your immigrant German ancestor, your number-one task is to find the name of his/her German hometown (known as the “place of origin”). After you discover it, you can switch from American research to German research – but not before.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
7.  
“Spelling doesn’t count!” In our German ancestors’ times, the name of a person, a town, or other location was deemed correct if it was pronounced correctly. “Correct spelling” did not exist. (This is hard for beginners.)
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
8.  
Three vowels in the German alphabet can be umlauted– ä, ö, and ü. When umlauts (the two dots over the letter) are not used, those vowels look like this: ae, oe, and ue.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
9.  
“Prussia” and “Russia” are in no way related. Prussia became part of the German Empire in 1871.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
10.  
The “Standesamt” (pronounced “SHTAHNT es ahmt”) is the German civil registry office where vital statistics (births, marriages, and deaths) have been recorded since 1876 (west of the Rhine in the late 1700s and very early 1800s).
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
11.  
If you know the name of your ancestor’s German hometown, try googling this: www.________.de. Insert the town name (“place of origin”) in the blank space.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
12.  
Learn the word “Zeugen” (witnesses). Witnesses’names could be significant in your family research.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
13.  
In the Second German Empire (1871-1918), the north was heavily Protestant, the south heavily Catholic.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
14.  
Ellis Island did not open until 1892; therefore, it’s no use looking there for an ancestor’s entry to America before that date.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
15.  
Ancestors’ birthdates found in German records cannot be counted upon to be completely accurate.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
16.  
Our German ancestors did not have “middle names.” One of the several christening names was the “Rufname” (the everyday name by which the child would be called).
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
17.  
The immigrant’s name, when found on a passenger list, is seldom accompanied by the German place of origin.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
18.  
It is not at all uncommon for German birth records to show children born illegitimately.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
19.  
Searching for an ancestor’s burial place in a German cemetery is futile unless the ancestor was a renowned citizen in the town (memorialized by a monument or statue). German graves are traditionally reused every 30 to 50 years.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
20.  
When you find the stable-boy marrying the duke’s daughter, you know something’s wrong. Go back to work. Marriages remained within social classes.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
21.  
Stick to “primary sources” (like civil and church records). Secondary sources ( birth and christening announcements, newspaper obituaries, and biographies) have no official value, but they can provide hints for further research.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
22.  
Catholic church records were written in Latin (as prescribed by the 1563 Council of Trent) until the early 19th century. Almost all Protestant church records were written in German. Civil records west of the Rhine used French until about 1814.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
23.  
Dates are found written European-style. For example, April 12, 1862 is written as “12-4-1862.”
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
24.  
“Family legends” may turn out to contain some shreds of truth, but usually they are hugely imagined stories.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
25.  
Many records were destroyed during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
26.  
Germany (Deutschland) is a younger nation than the United States – almost 100 years younger. Germany dates from 1871.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
27.  
Germany today is made up of sixteen states, many of them given new names following World War II.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
28.  
Many information bonuses come with SGGS membership – like those in SGGS’ quarterly 48-page journal, Der Blumenbaum, and the research help offered in the “Members Only” segment of the SGGS website – www.sggs.us.
[Located in Category: SGGS HANDY TIPS For Beginners ]
29.  
Before Ellis Island opened in 1892, Castle Garden was America's first official immigration center from 1855 to 1890. It was a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City. Visit CastleGarden.org to search for your immigrant ancestors during these early years.
[Located in Category: Immigration]