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Germany and German Ancestry


Germany and German Ancestry

This group was created for anyone interested in researching German Ancestry.

Members: 1098
Latest Activity: yesterday

Discussion Forum

Surname Koblin

Started by SMJ yesterday.

What Germanic surnames are you researching (Please list Surname - area and time frame) 98 Replies

Started by Nelda L. Percival. Last reply by Joy Rehm Benninghoven on Monday.

Naming Practices 15 Replies

Started by Michelle Gimelberg. Last reply by Joy Rehm Benninghoven on Monday.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Catherine Davis on Wednesday
Comment by Michelle Gimelberg on Wednesday

Another question for you wonderful people...I'm attempting to search my great-grandfather's military service.  I know that he was in the German Army during World War II.  Then at some point he was captured (not sure where) and sent to a POW camp in Yugoslavia.  I know nothing about searching military records in foreign countries.  I've been focused on the Civil War here in the United States.

My question is, is it possible to scan records/search records here in the United States without making a trip to Germany?  The war is a very emotional topic for my grandmother and she was only 10 when the war ended so she doesn't know very much of my great-grandfather's service.  Any help or direction would be very much appreciated.


Comment by Kate Wagner on Tuesday

Paul, it's really not that difficult to gleen the story from the records without hiring a translator or imposing upon the next person over at the research table. It's called a German to English dictionary, learning the basic terminology of the records, and availing oneself of several free online translators. Works for most European languages. I can't speak for translating Chinese, Japanese, etc. but for the Romance languages, it works like a charm. Perhaps it's just that I'm more private in my research and enjoy the quiet and solititude of the respositories to think and analyze my findings, while engaging in conversation with other researchers from time to time.  My work is mine alone.

Comment by Paul Hart on Tuesday

Hi Joy, I have family from the Düsseldorf area and have done some research there. Right now I have no plans for going back, but that could change. Contact me privately and let me a little more about where you are researching and I will try to remember to look for you when/if I go.

Comment by Joy Rehm Benninghoven on Monday

On my side, Johann Henrich Rehm born 15 Jan 1818 Darmstadt, Hesse ?... came by 1850 Cen in Ozaukee, WI with mother Katarina nee ? b1782 & sister Maria b 1816 Hessia.  HENRY md. Louisa Thieme b 15 Jan 1838 [TC Thieme & Emelie Mai Thieme-Lanstadt >] 9 Sept. 1902 9th Ward Milwaukee. They are buried in the Union Cemetery Milwaukee. Ang help is welcome & I'll be happy to share.  Joy

Comment by Joy Rehm Benninghoven on Monday

I will share and hope to find information on the following German families that came to America.

Gottlieb Benninghoven md Henrietta Krieger in Duesseldorf area. born in area.

   ]Krieger parents?]  immigrated @ 1875 to Seward, NE.

son Otto Benninghoven md Flora Winkler b Riley, KS

Auguste & Fredrick Winkler born Germany to St. Louis then Riley, KS & built mills on Fancy Creek, KS.  These brothers married sisters who came from Germany also.

Anna and Pauline Voegler.

Comment by Catherine Davis on July 1, 2014 at 8:09pm

@Paul Hart.  I agree that the entire record should be translated, but most records are not that difficult to figure out at least the gist of what is there and do not require professional help.  Perhaps I am lucky that I have a knack for reading languages.  Speaking a language is a different story.

Comment by Marilyn Potter Oppenborn Steber on July 1, 2014 at 3:02pm

I've gone back in the forum archives from several years ago.  I wish there was a way to pull out the names of those being researched without having to do so, but I am persistent.  Is there a list?

Comment by Paul Hart on July 1, 2014 at 2:50pm

Yep, FHC’s are the way to go. Not all the records are there, but you should check there first. :) We actually have a small one in Kaiserslautern. I volunteer there once a month or so to help folks with their German research.

Yes, most people here can speak some English. Some are reluctant to speak, but can at least understand.

@Catherine, I agree you do not need a German speaker for pulling names and dates out of the records. However, I think it is a mistake not to eventually get them completely translated as much as possible. I have seen some great stories hidden in the records. That is what we are after right? I once found a whole branch of my tree still living here in Germany because I translated my distant aunt’s marriage record (from about 1840) and found a brother (who I had thought might have died young) in the record. He was living 30km away and I had had no idea where he was. His name and town were buried about 75% down in the record. Not all records are gold mines, but you never know.

Comment by Marilyn Potter Oppenborn Steber on July 1, 2014 at 11:21am

To Paul and Catherine: I tend to forget that some folks live far from research facilities like Family History Centers.  In San Diego, I have a multi-stake FHC within ten miles by interstate, a public library with a whole floor devoted to Gen research books  45 miles up the coast, and a nearby branch with a Librarian with a Masters in Library Science. Now that I am somewhat disabled, I love doing a little research on the computer, but It is not the same as cranking the handle on a microfilm reader and getting hints from other researchers present. 


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