Author Topic: Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY and E. Europe  (Read 78182 times)

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY and E. Europe
« on: Wednesday 15 September 04 09:07 BST (UK) »
Just helped somebody out with this and thought it would be useful to others:

What were they called:

Many people emigrating to a new country have changed their names
- to avoid political repurcussions,
- to "disappear" from view, as far as the "Old Country" was concerned
- "new country, new start in life", trying to fit in
- the old name was hard to understand, so the name was anglicised, either voluntarily, or, in some cases, arbitrarily by immigration officials

Whatever the reasons, it makes life difficult for us, unless we know both the  "before & after" names.

Here a some of the simpler name changes:

1) straight translation. the name looks similar and has the same meaning
e.g. Braun => Brown, Schmidt => Smith, Grun or Grün => Green, Müller => Miller, -feld => -field, etc

2) losing the umlaut vowels (pronounced: um-lout)
the official, alternative spellings for ä,ö, ü, ß are ae, oe, ue, ss.  But on emigrating, many just dropped the umlaut => a, o, u,
e.g. Gröbener => Groebener or => Grobener
But: ä can be pronounced 'ay' as in Hay or 'e' as in hedge, so Bäcker might become Becker (soundex) or Baker (translation) or Backer (lose the umlaut)

Any other suggestions ??

p.s.
The exception confirms the rule:
Looking through the Susser Archive: http://www.eclipse.co.uk/exeshul/susser/dentists.htm I found this sentence, which I just have to share with you:

".. Abraham ben Isaiah, otherwise known as Moses Abraham Groomsfelt, or Jones,
a silversmith .."

I found the idea of changing his name to JONES amusing.
I could understand GROOMFIELD or something similar, but JONES !! 
--- the mind boggles. There has to be a story there !

Edited: 02.04.2005
cell has just posted a "searching for " story on http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,47221.0.html
Her ancestor changed his name from Karlson to Carlson !!!!
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

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Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY & E. Europe
« Reply #1 on: Friday 01 October 04 08:45 BST (UK) »
What were they called: (Continued)

Just posted a link in "Sharing Useful Links: Germany & ..."
 http://www.rootschat.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=11752.msg46863#msg46863
which has a lot about polish and ukranian names
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

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Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY and E. Europe
« Reply #2 on: Friday 15 October 04 08:15 BST (UK) »
German BMD Records:

As I said before -- "Sharing Useful Links: Germany ..." -- not a lot of "hard" data on german web-sites !

There are two reasons for this:

1) Germany arose out of the prussian state, and the prussian bureaucrat mentality dies hard !
Data is collected 'en masse', (for instance, there is obligatory registration of domicile, within 14 days of moving, for everybody), but only 'authorized' persons are allowed to see it.

2) Reading a book on german Ancestor Research, I came across this passage. The gist of it (my very free translation) is:
"During the National Socialist period it was obligatory for every family to have an Ancestry Book ('Sippenbuch'). This book was a genealogical record of the family, going as far back as possible. Loyal party members were even allowed access to otherwise unavailable records, to help them fill out this book."

Sounds like Genealogist's Heaven, doesn't it ! ... until you read on ....:

"These books were used by the (Nazi-) Party to establish that you were a 'true' aryan. Any non-aryan blood could be more easily spotted and the whole family marked as 'suspect', discriminated against, etc. The Nazis had an 'Office for Genealogical Research' with plans for a later 'Ministry of G.R.', which would have had wide reaching powers to act upon 'unfavourable' data, and not just collect it !"

I think we all know what THAT means ! Given the above, it is not surprising that for many, many decades after the war, the whole idea of genealogical research was tainted !

The only BMD records I know of are on the German BDM exchange:
Quote from: sharing useful links...
e.g. Germany: http : //iigs.rootsweb.com/bdm/germany/index.html  (Link reported as broken)

Sounds good, but: "Last revised 11 April 2003" (DE) and. I would guesstimate about 3000 names on the German site and very few an the austrian site!

Otherwise, if you are lucky enough to have ancestors from these particular places,
there are Ortsfamilienbücher (Local Heritage Books) which give personal info.
Check out your luck here:  http://www.online-ofb.de

The only other sources are private, family web-pages, which sometimes grow to include whole areas. try Googling.

13.05.2013 Updated:  One link reported broken, second link modified as pages are no longer written in HTML
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY and E. Europe
« Reply #3 on: Friday 15 October 04 08:25 BST (UK) »
German Census Records:

In general, there are none !

There may be bits and pieces of local census here and there, but the official census is

a) only statistical, no names, no pack drill !

b) irregular.  The last one I know of was in 1987. Although the government constantly emphasized that only statistical data was being collected, that all forms would be anonymous, etc, etc, many people protested, even threatening to burn the census forms !
After this census, the gov. decided to do a mini-census - 10% of the population - and extrapolate statistical findings. Since then Census has never been mentioned here !

As it was suggested in the 1987 census debate that the data being collected was already available in different government databases, I strongly suspect that any statistical analysis is now being done quietly, by linking databases !
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY and E. Europe
« Reply #4 on: Friday 15 October 04 08:29 BST (UK) »
Searching in German:

Try googling for your ancestors in English, and then in German.
I'll start a german vocabulary list here, and add to it as needed.

Ahnenforschung = ancestor research
Familiengeschichte = family history
Familienforschung = family research
Genealogie = genealogy
Kirchenbuch = parish register
kirchenbücher = parish registers
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY and E. Europe
« Reply #5 on: Friday 15 October 04 12:58 BST (UK) »
German Parish Registers:

Another source of information is the Kirchenbuch, pl. Kirchenbücher - the parish register(s).

The best way to find these is to Google with "parish register placename" and hope for the best.

Another possibility is to Google with "kirchenbuch placename" or "kirchenbücher placename": this will give you a different set of results, mixed german and english. Still worth doing, in case you recognise any other names in the search results.

Some of the web-sites mentioned in " .. links..", mainly the former german territories, seem to have put a lot of Kirchenbücher on-line, other places, they are available for look-ups, if you go to the local archives.
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline sandiep

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Re: Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY and E. Europe
« Reply #6 on: Friday 15 October 04 23:24 BST (UK) »
Hi Bob,

lots of good tips and help trouble is my german is non existant had alook at the one for local heritage books but ................I suppose if you dont have a clue to places which I havent only Germany doesnt get me far still keep trying the sites and will try some german surfing maybe those elusive Raphaels will turn up.
 :) :) :) :) ;D
sandie
Pender, Raphael,Lambert,Digby,Stent,
Dowell,cornish,mulley,Death,Rosier,
East End,Suffolk,Essex,Cornwall,Devon,London,  middlesex, hertfordshire                                      Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Berlin-Bob

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"Rainy day" Tip !!
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 18 November 04 07:31 GMT (UK) »
"... all we know is that s/he was born in / came from Germany / Poland / Russia / France / ... etc."

This happens often:
A relative came from from Germany, (or Poland, or France, or Wherever .....) and there are no other details!

This is my "clutching at straws" tip ...
AKA "It's raining and I have nothing else to do .."
AKA "It's a very long shot, but I can't think af anything else ..."

There is a german site: http://gedbas.genealogy.net/index.jsp where german researchers upload their family trees.
Try entering your name(s) here and go through the results. Sometimes a name will jog memories

Another site (international) is: http://www.geneanet.org/

Enter your name(s) and if lucky, you get a list of names back, with contributors. Click on the contributor and this usually takes you to their web-site, or a site such as GenCircles or FamilyTreeMaker, where they have uploaded their GEDCOMS. 

Search through these pages. If you are lucky, you may find names, place names or other details that will jog your memory, and help to take you forward.



Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline itwoznotme

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Re: Sharing Useful Tips: GERMANY and E. Europe
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 20 March 05 07:40 GMT (UK) »
Hello bob and all,
Very interesting facts on discovering your German Ancestors, greatly appreciated.

After discovering my surname had changed slightly from Schmalkalder to present day Smallcalder I was very fortunate to have records forwarded to me from dates circa 1460 of Schmalkalder Families in Stuttgart, this was I suppose lucky just sending right emails off to people of interest, these points always helped
Have German Translation with Email
Be polite
Send to right area
This web site was of great importance to me
http://www.genealogienetz.de/vereine/VFWKWB/index.html

Still would love to find out were the surname Schmalkalder derived from,
Having a town called Schmalkalden close to where most of them were born, I would say the surname is of there, but were they given it or just took it von or of Schmalkalder and the von was dropped later

very best
Smallcalder, Schmalcalder, Selby, Davies, Reynolds, Clark, Corgan