Saturday, December 28, 2013

German Church Record Basics - Part 1 - German Records

All of my Panther family tree information was found in the church records of a few villages in Germany. So, let's say you know what town your family is from in Germany. You have found microfilm of the church records in the LDS archives. You order the film or are viewing the images online. How do you read them? You might recognize your ancestors' names written on the pages but that's all you can figure out. How do you know what they say?

First, you need to know what language the records are written in. The later records, from about 1800 and later, are typically written in German. Earlier than this, they're typically in Latin. This is part one of two, the German records. Part two covers the Latin records and can be found here:

Then comes the hand writing. Some of the writing is in very elaborate script that can make it difficult to read. Some is in clear handwriting which makes it quite easy. Some seems close to a scribble that sometimes can be nearly impossible to read.

Here is a sample of each of the types of German church book records:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 - Most Popular Posts of the Blog's First Year

I'm trying to come up with a good subject for my next blog post but nothing is inspiring me, so... I'll give you the most popular posts on my blog this year.

The most popular post this year, narrowly beating the second place entry is "What Constitutes Proof?" This post is a rundown of everything I know about Elizabeth "Lizzie" Juliana Dunzinger, my great-grandmother. I've found quite a bit of circumstantial evidence pointing to Andreas/Andrew and Fanny Dunzinger of New York and Wemding Bavaria to make me believe they are her parents. I'm hoping to find concrete proof of this. It got quite a few of the visits due to it being mentioned in the Genealogy Guys and the Genealogy Gems podcasts.

Coming in second is my post titled "Who Finds Who?" It tells the story of the discovery of my great-great-great-grandfather's grave and it's near discovery by my cousin's son, who had literally tripped over it but still didn't find it. As another one of my cousins described it, "unbelievable, awesome, spooky and hilarious all rolled in to one!"

Coming in at a solid third was the report of my initial discovery of Elizabeth Dunzinger, "Elizabeth Dunzinger Possibly Found", describing how I found her and what I found, along with follow-ups on some research in Wemding.

Have a subject you think will make a good blog post? Do you have a research question you'd like an answer to? A research technique to let people know about? A branch of our shared family tree you'd like posted? Drop me a message!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Indiana Marriage Records - Bixenmans - Family Search Newsletter

First, thank you all for getting me to 2000 page views! It took 6 months to get to the first 1000 hits and only 3 months for the next 1000. Thank you!

Next, I've mentioned this tip before but I'm going to mention it again because I have another example of why it's a good thing to do. The tip is this: Create a free account on, then sign up for the Family Search Newsletter. The Family Search Newsletter is sent out by, which is the LDS Family History Center. These are the people that have all the microfilm that you can order and have delivered to your local family history center. They are in the middle of a huge project to digitize and index all their microfilm rolls so, in the future, you won't have to order them and view them at your local family history center. You can just look at them online...for free!