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