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Looking for the German connection in family history


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Many of us have some German ancestry in our family backgrounds. Knowing where to search and how to tackle the difficulties posed by names and language can be tricky.

In this free talk, librarian Eileen Dwane will share her wealth of experience in the area of German family history. Come along to learn some of her tips and tricks to help track down your ancestors.

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Looking for the German connection in family history

  1. 1. Looking for the German connection in family history Eileen Dwane
  2. 2. This session will cover: • an overview of the SLQ family history website • some historical factors affecting German family history research • common problems associated with German family history research for Australians • some of the resources available at SLQ and online to assist in tracing your German connection
  3. 3. SLQ Family History website Online links to Info Guides Links to: 1. Useful websites for family historians 2. free on site at SLQ
  4. 4. Who were the Germans? • No unified country prior to 1800’s: numerous small kingdoms, principalities & duchies • 30 Years’ War, 1618-1648 • Invasion by neighbouring countries • Napoleonic Wars • 1815 Treaty of Vienna Constantly changing boundaries
  5. 5. Changing boundaries 1815-1918 German Confederation 1848 North German Confederation 1867 German Empire 1871
  6. 6. Schleswig-Holstein Source: Wikipedia Commons 12th Century 2 duchies Slesvig =Danish Holstein =German 18th Century (1773) both Danish duchies 1864 Denmark loses both duchies Nord Schleswig = Prussia Holstein falls to Austria 1867 Schleswig-Holstein = Prussian province 1920 Plebiscite: North Schleswig = Danish South Schleswig & Holstein = German
  7. 7. Changing boundaries Implications for German family history research: • no central recording agency • no consistently used language in records • different dates for commencement of civil registration and other records • different details in records • frequent place name changes
  8. 8. Critical to establish place of origin and an approximate date of arrival in Australia: • exhaust Australian resources first • look for information on places of origin in: • family papers, BDM certificates; • church records, immigration records; [German] emigration records, • naturalization records, newspapers, • old maps and online gazetteers, Where to start?
  9. 9. German names may be: • misspelled • filed under any element of a multi-part name, e.g. von der Heide • inaccurately transcribed by non-German speakers • deliberately anglicized, e.g Hans/John; Heinrich/Henry; Gartner/Gardener German language in Australian records: names Always search flexibly and employ wildcard options when possible
  10. 10. German umlaut used to modify vowels sounds ä ö ü • can affect filing order in alphabetic indexes • source of frequent misspellings • usual convention: replace as ae, oe, ue German language in Australian records: Umlaut Always search flexibly and employ wildcard options when possible
  11. 11. German script and Fraktur font Source: FamilySearch File:German_Gothic_Handwritin g_Guide.pdf
  12. 12. Australian BDM indexes Available for all Australian States: • Variety of formats provide different search options and results: microfiche, CD-ROM & online Use wildcards* whenever possible • Date ranges and details in indexes and certificates vary from state to state. Check SLQ Info Guide: Births, Deaths & Marriages
  13. 13. Qld Pioneer index, 1829-1889. Look for the surname König using wildcard* Search term = K*ig Qld BDM indexes: CD-ROM
  14. 14. Qld Pioneer index, 1829-1889. Look for the surname König using wildcard* Search term = K*ig Qld BDM indexes: CD-ROM
  15. 15. Qld Pioneer index, 1829-188. Look for the surname König using wildcard* Search term = K*ig Qld BDM indexes: CD-ROM
  16. 16. Australian death certificate contents Extract from:
  17. 17. Baptist Archives, Queensland. Contain little info relevant for family history research Catholic Archives – arranged by region. SLQ holds indexes on microfiche. GSQ holds records for SE Qld on microfiche Jewish records SLQ holds Brisbane Hebrew Congregation registers of births and marriages 1861-1946 on microfilm Lutheran records - Lutheran Archives of Australia SLQ holds a few Lutheran parish records on microfilm. Australian parish registers
  18. 18. Parish registers: Jewish Brisbane Hebrew Congregation. Register of Marriages 1861-1946 Available on microfilm at SLQ now: Gniezno, Poland
  19. 19. Parish registers: Lutheran Lutheran Church of Australia. Beenleigh Parish. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Todesregister Date of birth Birthplace Year of arrival in Brisbane Wife’s maiden name
  20. 20. 1. Australian immigration lists 2. German emigration lists: • departures from German ports • not all records have survived • details vary 3. Other resources: • naturalization records • alien registration/internment documents • newspapers Immigration: how did they get here?
  21. 21. Australian immigration records Assisted passengers • received government assistance of some kind • detailed records but amount varies from state to state Unassisted passengers • paid their own passage • little detail in records 20th Century immigration • records from circa 1923 held at National Archives of Australia Check SLQ Info guide: Immigration and shipping
  22. 22. Assisted immigrant: Queensland Beausite to Cape Moreton, 20 August, 1866 Records ‘ex- flood’
  23. 23. Unassisted immigrants: Queensland 1. Occasionally listed on ships bringing assisted immigrants 2. Customs House records for individual Qld ports • held at National Archives of Australia • most not yet indexed ; not all have survived 3. Port of Brisbane arrivals: • QFHS Queensland Customs House shipping 1852-1885: passengers and crew (CD-ROM) • Original records digitised on NAA website Minimal details recorded of passengers
  24. 24. Assisted Immigrants to Sydney and Newcastle 1839-1896: • Include early records for Moreton Bay and Port Phillip • shipping lists (passenger manifests) and Immigration Board records • Online indexes at State Records NSW • – online index with links to digitized records Immigration : New South Wales SLQ holds the records on microfilm
  25. 25. Assisted immigrant: New South Wales Triton to Sydney Newcastle 1853: Immigration Board list
  26. 26. Unassisted immigrant: NSW
  27. 27. National Archives of Australia Immigration records Australia wide from early 1920’s WW1 and WW2: • Alien registration • Alien internment Search by name in RecordSearch to locate details of these files 20th Century records
  28. 28. Alien registration file at NAA Carl Gustav Noack Born 1881 at Dresden, Saxony Father: Carl Noack
  29. 29. 19th century emigration of ‘Old Lutherans’ from Eastern Germany • not based on shipping lists • entries arranged by date, then by place of origin in Prussia • details include name, age, occupation, maiden names of married women German emigration applications • locality specific, e.g. Wuerttemberg emigration index • no details of ship or departure date Departure lists from German ports Lists survive for Bremen, 1920-1939 and Hamburg 1850-1934 German emigration records: sources
  30. 30. Most early records destroyed Lists for 1920-1939 survive: • not indexed • held at Handelskammer Archiv, Bremen • lists transcribed and searchable online at Die Maus “Namenskartei aus den “Bremen Schiffslisten, 1904-1914” • held on microfilm at FamilySearch Library Bremen emigration records
  31. 31. Hamburg emigration records, 1850-1934 Access: 1. via free on site at SLQ • OCR search of digitized handwritten lists • “Direkt” and “Indirekt records 2. Original German lists available on microfilm through LDS Family History centres 3. Emigrants from Hamburg to Australia,1850-1879 (Eric & Rosemary Kopittke)
  32. 32. Kopittke indexes to emigrants from Hamburg to Australia, 1850-1879 Migrant details include: passenger number ; name town of origin and state occupation ; age ; sex SLQ holds print and CD-ROM formats Special features • records transcribed from German script • helpful notes on place names & locations • glossaries of German terms for occupation, etc. • extracts from local shipping intelligence news
  33. 33. • Conferred same rights as British citizens had to vote and to own land • State responsibility pre 1904. Information in records varies from state to state • Federal responsibility from 1904. Records held at National Archives of Australia See SLQ Info Guide: Naturalisation records Naturalisation records
  34. 34. Online and microfilm indexes refer to: • notices in Qld Government Votes & Proceedings, or • Supreme Court files (Oaths of Allegiance) Women not generally found in naturalisation records Records contain no information on arrival and rarely any detailed place of origin Queensland naturalisation records
  35. 35. Queensland. Votes & Proceedings Qld Votes & Proceedings, 1885, v.2, p. 232 Return of aliens naturalized
  36. 36. NSW naturalisation records, 1849-1904 Include Moreton Bay naturalisations pre 1859* Original records at State Records NSW with online index Digitised records via Available on microfilm at SLQ Detailed records
  37. 37. NSW naturalisation record Lothar Neunsling • naturalised 24 March 1857 • native place “Deidesheim, Germany” • age 37 years • arrived in Sydney per Commodore Perry 1855 Moreton Bay resident pre1859
  38. 38. 20th Century naturalization records: National Archives of Australia (NAA) Simple name search in NAA RecordSearch catalogue • Many index records include birth place and year • Some records digitised online • Naturalisation files usually contain details of arrival, exact date of birth and names of parent/s
  39. 39. Newspapers Very rich resource for tracing additional details on ancestors 1. Trove digitised newspapers 2. SLQ hold an extensive collection of (mainly Queensland) historical newspapers on microfilm and in hard copy - not all have been digitized Check the OneSearch catalogue for specific titles or check printed guides to newspapers on microfilm held at the Micrographics Desk on level 3
  40. 40. Types of information to be found in obituaries: • date and place of birth and marriage • date of arrival and name of ship • detailed description of occupations • where the deceased lived • names of other living or deceased relatives • social activities of the deceased Newspapers: obituaries Details not always reliable. Always verify in other sources
  41. 41. Newspapers: significant anniversaries and birthdays Golden wedding notice gives information on: • year of arrival : 1886 • shipmates on the same ship • married in Queensland 1901 • religious denomination
  42. 42. Case study: Making the German connection for Mrs Caroline Murphy Known facts: • married John Murphy in Qld 1872 • Caroline died Qld 10 January 1924 (father: Laurence Miller; mother: Juliana Mohr) • Juliana Miller nee Mohr died Qld 1872 (father: Amrose Mohr; mother: Margaretta Lowhs) BUT 1. No record of birth in Australia for Caroline or either parent 2. No record of parents’ marriage in Australia 3. No record of family arrival in Australia 4. No identifiable death record for father ……?
  43. 43. Case study: Mrs Caroline Murphy
  44. 44. Case study: Mrs Caroline Murphy QFHS ‘Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia’ (CD-ROM) i.e. Kopittke indexes Search using wildcard for ‘M*ller’ to Moreton Bay 1854 and 1855 Note: Aurora departed Hamburg in 1854 Arrived Sydney 1855
  45. 45. Case study: Mrs Caroline Murphy NSW Assisted Immigration [Immigration Board] lists State Records NSW reel 2468 Aurora to Moreton Bay 1855 Note: parents’ names match those on mother’s death index entry
  46. 46. ANCES-TREE: Journal of the Burwood & District Family History Group Series of articles on German migrants researched by Jenny Paterson
  47. 47. Locating records in Germany After Identifying ancestor’s native place: 1. Check old maps and gazetteers for location at relevant time period 2. Check location in modern maps for possible change/s of name 3. Identify relevant civil and ecclesiastical jurisdictions where records may now be held
  48. 48. Maps and German historical gazetteers SLQ collection of sheet maps, atlases and gazetteers Online resources: • Myers Ort- und Verkehrs- Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs (1912-13) In digital format at Family History Library and via • Gemeindelexikon fuer das Koenigreich Preussen, via • Kartenmeister for locations East of the Oder and Neisse rivers • Atlas des Deutschen Reichs /Ludwig Ravenstein (1883)
  49. 49. No single repository for civil registration records Records may be located in: • civil registration offices of local towns • city archives • state archives FamilySearch Library holds civil registration records of many towns in Germany on microfilm Privacy embargo on later records German civil registration
  50. 50. Commencement dates 1792 Baden; Elsass; Rheinland; Pfalz; Lotharingen 1803 Hessen; Hesse-Nassau; Nassau 1808 Westfalen 1809 Hannover 1811 Oldenburg 1850 Anhalt 1874 Brandenberg; Posen; parts of Sachsen; Pommern, Westpreussen; Ostpreussen; Schlesien; Schleswig- Holstein; Lübeck (free City State); Prov. 1876 Württemberg; Bayern, Lippe; parts of Sachsen; Mecklenburg; Thüringen German civil registration
  51. 51. Most significant source of family history information in Germany prior to 1876 Up to late 1930’s usually written in Latin or German Gothic script Amount of information recorded varies greatly - later records generally more detailed Church book duplicates may substitute for missing or incomplete registers German church records Source: EZA
  52. 52. Locating German records: online FamilySearch 1. Name search of IGI and other indexed German records, e.g. 2. Place name search of LDS catalog for microfilmed parish and civil registration records 3. Extensive help - interpretation of documents, German letter writing, etc.
  53. 53. Locating German records: online 1. Free access on site at SLQ Selected directories, parish records, citizenship registers and resident rolls, emigration indexes and lists, digitised historical German gazetteers, dictionaries & almanacs 2. Cyndi’s List Includes links to websites on all aspects of German genealogy
  54. 54. Points to where in Germany archives may be held for: • BDM records (parish and civil registration) • emigration records • Censuses ; military records • civil registers of residents Explains the differences between national, state, local and non-government archives Lists archives by town providing addresses and other contact details Describes the individual strengths of each archive by listing their major holdings Locating German records at SLQ: print Ancestors in German Archives Published 2008
  55. 55. Map Guides to German parish registers For each region the volumes provide • historical background • genealogical resources unique to the region and where they are held • contact details for regional, state, district and church archives • maps showing administrative districts • a town key to Lutheran and Catholic parishes, parish maps, and which records are available on microfilm through FamilySearch
  56. 56. Map Guide to German parish registers
  57. 57. • Easy to read overview of German family history resources • Provides help with understanding German script using some common terms found in parish and civil records • Sample letters in German to use when requesting records • Useful bibliography of websites and other resources • American bias The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide
  58. 58. German Census Records, 1816-1916 ON ORDER FOR SLQ COLLECTION NOT YET RECEIVED Describes census records to be found in German archives: • when censuses were taken in different regions • types of information collected • where the records are located
  59. 59. Writing overseas for information Write in German- templates are available in both online and print formats Keep letters simple – be precise about what you want You may need to employ a professional researcher – be clear about what you want and any financial arrangements involved
  60. 60. Making the German connection: summary 1. Establish place of origin from sources accessible in Australia 2. Use historical maps and gazetteers to locate place of origin, any change/s of name, and the relevant ecclesiastical and civil jurisdictions for the period 3. Use both online and printed sources to locate relevant archival repositories 4. Write in German and be prepared to employ a professional German genealogist if necessary
  61. 61. Any questions? State Library of Queensland Ask Us 07 3840 7810