Monday, March 3, 2014

Germanic Latin and Extraction Aids

Germanic Latin and Extraction Aids is a collection of Germanic extraction materials provided by the Records Extraction Section of the Genealogical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Tucson Branch Genealogical Library in April, 1982.

The introduction tells us that “in many areas of Germany and Switzerland, parish records were kept in the Latin language. For the most part these parishes were Catholic; however, this was not always the case, especially in early records. Many Protestant parishes kept their records in Latin. At times the parish priests were not adequately trained in the Latin language. Because of this, if they did not know a term or phrase in Latin, they would substitute the phrase or term in a German equivalent. For this reason it is necessary to understand both German and Latin when working in Germanic Latin records.”

I recommend this book for anyone who is beginning research in German records.  There are several pages of reading exercises to help you see the handwriting you will have to deal with.  The challenge is for you to translate the handwriting in the exercises. I would make copies of the exercises to take home with me to work on and bring them back to check the answers in the back of the book to see how well I did. Because of this book, I was able to learn an invaluable skill which I find useful to this day.

Call number: 943 D2gla

Contributed by: Edie Sly

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Collection of German Research Helps

We have over 1500 CDs, films, fiche and books to help genealogists with their German research. We know that everyone has a limited amount of time to spend researching their family history. In an attempt to help others manage their time, below is a list of four books that I found to be very helpful with my German research.

1. Meyers Orts-und Verkehers-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs by Raymond S. Wright III and E. Uetrecht (Location and transport lexicon)

This three-volume set is an important gazetteer describing 210,000 cities, towns, hamlets, and dwelling places in the German Empire prior to World War I.  It is written in German, using the old Gothic font.  Therefore, to get the full value of what is available, one needs to become familiar with the old Gothic font and be willing to work through translations.  Another slight hindrance is the use of abbreviations.  In the very front of each volume is a list of these abbreviations and their meanings—first in German and next in English.  There is an explanation of the books and an introduction in English, which begins on page [1] of Volume I.  Page [2] includes a list of the Gothic alphabet used within the books.  Page [4] tells how to use the volumes to find records in archives, record offices, and libraries.  Like in the United States, many name places are used multiple times.  These volumes help the researcher determine which one is relevant for their ancestors.  For many of the larger cities there are maps and a list of streets.  Volume I includes places which begin with A-K.  The second volume includes places which begin with L-Z.  Volume III is a supplement.

Published by: Genealogical Publishing Co., c2000
Hardcover: 3 vol.
Call number:  943 E5mo 2000,v1, v2, and v3

2.  German-English Genealogical Dictionary by Ernest Thode, referred to as Thode

Not only does this volume include helpful translations of German genealogical terms, but it also includes handwriting helps.  It gives several samples of various ways of writing each letter of the alphabet, both capital and small letters.

Published by: Genealogical Pub. Co., c1992
Paperback: 286 pages
Call number:  433.21 T352g 1992

3.  A Genealogical and Demographic Handbook of German Handwriting, 17th-19th Centuries by Norman J. Storrer and Larry O. Jensen
Inside front cover

Anyone beginning German research would be well-advised to spend some time with this book.  It gives several exercises one can do to help become familiar with German handwriting.  There are also seven appendices, two of which are glossaries:  of terms, and of given names.

Published by: Storrer, c1977
Hardcover: 157 pages
Call number:  943 G3sj

4.  If I Can, You Can Decipher Germanic Records by Edna M. Bentz

This helpful book includes:
  • Alphabets – German and Danish
  •  Use of Umlauts in Surnames
  • General Information
  • Relationships
  • Terminology and Symbols – German
  • Common Abreviations (sic) – German
  • Church Year and Feasts – German
  • Months of the Year and Days of the Week
  • Germanic Latin and Danish Terminology
  • Glossary of Illnesses – German, Latin and Danish
  • Glossary of Occupations – German, Latin and Danish
  • What Was Going on In the World and Community of Your Ancestor When?
  • Alphabet Song

This book is not copyrighted and you may want to copy many pages from it.

A page from Occupations Glossary
A page from the Alphabet

Published by: Bentz, c1982
Softcover: 85 pages
Call number:  943 G3be

Contributed by: Ann Kersten

Thursday, January 2, 2014

African American Genealogy for Beginning Researchers

BLACK ROOTS :  A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree by Tony Burroughs is a very good help guide for researchers of African American Genealogy. It gives step-by-step searching tips for African American as well as general American researching. The author also talks about organizing your work and where to search for slaves in the nineteenth century.

An internationally known genealogist who teaches and lectures on genealogy throughout the United States, Burroughs bases his book on his own experiences and that of other professional genealogists. In his Introduction, he states that his book:
  • takes a step-by-step approach 
  • emphasizes method 
  • gives real-life examples 
  • illustrates and analyzes documents 
  • illustrates live charts 
  • integrates black history with black genealogy 
  • points out traps 
The book is divided into three parts, starting with Preparing to Research, then Beginning steps, and finally Stepping into the Future which includes computers and the internet. It also includes a glossary, bibliographic references, and an index.

Mr. Burroughs has written a book which is easy to read and also packed with information for both the beginning and more advanced genealogist.

Published by: Simon & Schuster (2001)
Paperback: 464 pages
Call number: 973 D27bt 2001

Contributed by: Nona Johnson