Intermediate German Records
# Courses Base Price
Courses 5 $595.00
Package total: 5 $595.00
Course image German: Reading the Records
Intermediate German Records
Course Summary:

Note: This course requires compulsory materials to be ordered. The book is available at GenealogyStore.com

  1. Minert, Roger P., Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents: Analyzing German, Latin, and French in Vital Records Written in Germany (Woods Cross, Utah: GRT Publications, 2001).

Optional Print Course Material:German: Reading the Records

*Course material will only be sent to students who are registered in the course.


The primary and often only significant original records for German research are the registers of the local churches where German ancestors lived. This is the case wherever, and whenever, Germans lived, and wherever you are conducting research on German families. Within the bounds of modern Germany, the old German Empire, or in the dozens of other countries where ethnic Germans settled, successful research requires the careful, and sometimes creative, use of church registers. 

However, those church registers are almost invariably written not only in the German language, but also in a style of handwriting foreign to most researchers. Although a different course discussed the German language, it is also crucial to be able to read the handwriting in which the records were made. 

Indeed, prior to the late 1800s, and often even later, any original records in German-speaking areas will be written in the older style handwriting. Therefore, to successfully use the records, researchers, regardless of how well they know the German language, must also be able to read the old German handwriting. 

This course provides a detailed discussion and explanation of the old style of German handwriting, called the Gothic script. Through numerous illustrations, researchers will learn not only the regular appearance of the Gothic letters, but also common variations of those letters and numbers. Assignments to practice writing the letters and key words, and to even transcribe sample documents, will teach you how to succeed with your own research in German records. The addition of various strategies and tactics for reading the records will further prepare you to face the real records. 

Course Length: 7 weeks

Contact Hours: 18
Grading Scale: 70% Tests/30% Assignments
Course Length: 7 weeks
Course Content

MODULE 1
GOTHIC STYLE HANDWRITING
Introducing the Required Reading Textbook
Required Reading
Brief History of German Handwriting
Lower Case Letters

MODULE 2
GOTHIC STYLE HANDWRITING…Continued
Required Reading
Upper Case Letters
Abbreviations
Confusing Letters
Numbers & Dates

MODULE 3
TOOLS & TACTICS FOR READING THE RECORDS
Required Reading
Reference Tools to Use
Useful Tactics for Reading the Records

MODULE 4
PRACTICE READING THE RECORDS
Required Reading

MODULE 5
READING LATIN IN GERMAN RECORDS
Required Reading
Introduction to Latin in Documents

MODULE 6
READING FRENCH IN GERMAN RECORDS
Required Reading
Introduction to French in Documents
Course image German: Chronological Considerations
Intermediate German Records
Course Summary:

Optional Print Course Material: German: Chronological Considerations

*Course material will only be sent to students who are registered in the course.

In German courses, you've learned primarily about researching this ethnic group as a whole—mainly, the similarities virtually every researcher of German-language ancestors will encounter. In this course, you learn more about the contrasts that led to differentiations within ethnic German research depending on time period and geographic place. This course places a value on both history and dates as well as people groups. 

Contact Hours: 15
Grading Scale: 70% Tests/30% Assignments
Course Length: 6 weeks
Course Content

MODULE 1
POINTS OF GERMAN HISTORY, PART 1
Germanic vs. German
Charlemagne, a National Symbol
Early Holy Roman Empire
Protestant Reformation
Thirty Years War
Later Empire and 1700s Wars

MODULE 2
POINTS OF GERMAN HISTORY, PART 2
Imperial Twilight
Reichsdeputationshauptschluss and Napoleon
Congress of Vienna
German Confederation
Revolutions of 1848
Prussia’s Wars of Unification
Second Reich Period and Civil Registration
World War I and Aftermath
World War II and Aftermath
Today’s Germany

MODULE 3
DETERMINING NOBLE JURISDICTIONS
Reviewing sources for finding the village of origin
Germany’s current political subdivisions and archives
States and administrative divisions in the Second Reich and before
Types of resources for determining jurisdictions
Meyers Gazetteer
Decoding information from Meyers
Finding church records of non-parish villages
Historical and present-day maps
Recommended Reading

MODULE 4
IMPACT ON PARTICULAR RECORDS
Introduction: a moving target
Rundown of effect on different records
Using the Heimatdorf Karte for a village
Recommended Reading

MODULE 5
GERMANS FROM OUTSIDE GERMANY
Switzerland
Austria
Places part of Second Reich
Resources for formerly German areas
Places never part of German Empire
Profiles of Enclaves
Using HdK with “Germans outside Germany”

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Calendars
French Republican Calendar
Mapping and the Heimatdorf Karte
Recommended Reading

APPENDIX
Course image German: Record Repositories
Intermediate German Records
Course Summary:

Optional Print Course Material: German: Record Repositories

*Course material will only be sent to students who are registered in the course.

The ultimate goal of students in taking German genealogical courses, is presumably, to be able to search German records for their ancestry and other relatives. Therefore, one important aspect of these courses is to describe the nature of the repositories where the needed records reside. In German areas, as well as elsewhere around the world, there are a variety of both libraries and archives (hence, the usage of the term “repositories”) one may have to access in order to obtain the needed records. 

To be effective in using a variety of German repositories, it is important to learn about them, including their differences, and how to access them. Due to the sheer number of archives, libraries, societies and other repositories, it is not practical, or useful, to try and identify all of them, or even most of them. Each researcher may need a different set of repositories to succeed in research. Therefore, the approach of this course will be to introduce the major kinds of repositories, and how they operate, in a general sense.  

Perhaps the most useful aspect of this particular course are the assignments that accompany each module. They require specific actions by the student to learn about the holdings and rules of libraries or archives of interest. Diligent fulfillment of the assignments is the best way to learn the most in the current course.

Course Length: 7 weeks

Contact Hours: 18
Grading Scale: 70% Tests/30% Assignments
Course Length: 7 weeks
Course Content

MODULE 1
UNDERSTANDING FAMILYSEARCH COLLECTIONS
The Family History Library
FamilySearch’s German Collection
Family History Centers
Granite Mountain Records Vault

MODULE 2
USING THE FAMILYSEARCH CATALOG
FamilySearch Catalog Basics
German Localities in the FamilySearch Catalog
German Locality Subject Headings (Record Types)
Form Subdivisions

MODULE 3
GERMAN ARCHIVES
The Record Creator as an Archive
Additional Reading

MODULE 4
CHURCH RECORD INVENTORIES
Older Inventories
Current Inventories
Internet Sources

MODULE 5
GENEALOGICAL SOCIETIES

MODULE 6
CORRESPONDENCE TO GERMANY
Correspondence as a Means of Accessing Records
Additional Reading
Course image German: Civil Registration Records
Intermediate German Records
Course Summary:

Optional Print Course Material: German: Civil Registration Records

*Course material will only be sent to students who are registered in the course.

Although church parish registers are the mainstay of German genealogical research, in any German-speaking area, civil registration of vital events also is an important part of many research projects. Although civil registration generally began during the 1800s in most German areas, the depth of information in these records makes them very valuable for learning more about people who were registered. 

Most civil registrations of births, marriages, and deaths provide significantly more information than is found in comparable church registers. In addition, they are often indexed and therefore easier to use. Unfortunately, access to such records is often restricted by two important aspects. First, they often begin much later than research needs would require. Second, most of the records are restricted from public access by rights of privacy laws. Learning the value of these records, how to access them, the nature and extent of these restrictions are the core concepts discussed in these lessons. In addition, the civil registration offices often have additional records of value to the German genealogist. They may be used less frequently, but a knowledge and understanding of such records may be a critical part of solving and completing some research projects.  

Course Length: 5 weeks

Contact Hours: 12
Grading Scale: 70% Tests/30% Assignments
Course Length: 5 weeks
Course Content

MODULE 1
CIVIL REGISTRATION OFFICES
Role of the office
Identifying the “Standesamt”
Beginning Dates
Napoleon’s Influence

MODULE 2
Typical Birth Record
Typical Death Record
Typical Marriage Record
Marriage Supplemental Documents
Marginal Notations
Duplicate Church Records

MODULE 3
ACCESSING CIVIL RECORDS
Family History Library
Correspondence
Modern Place Names
Indexes

MODULE 4
GERMAN LAWS & RIGHTS OF PRIVACY
Personenstandsgesetz (Personal Status Law)
Einwohnermeldung (Resident Registration)
Datenschutzgesetz (Data Protection Act)
Course image German: Emigration Records
Intermediate German Records
Course Summary:

Optional Print Course Material: German: Emigration Records

*Course material will only be sent to students who are registered in the course.

For North Americans, the most important genealogical record for their German ancestor is often that record which identifies the town where the immigrant ancestor(s) lived before coming to the new world. Since virtually all research in German-speaking countries is local by nature, the name of that ancestral home is crucial to further research into the family's earlier generation.

Most of the time, that home town is identified in records of the country where the immigrants settled. However, sometimes such records don't exist, or they do not name the specific ancestral home. At that point, emigration records are usually the best source for learning this important information. Emigration is the process of leaving one country and settling in another. Whether that process is a long-planned and carefully thought through series of events, or a relatively spontaneous decision to join other friends and family members leaving for other countries, it was, for virtually all German emigrants, a choice they made. That choice, made for whatever reasons, lead to the creation of important records which document no only the ancestral home, but also the life of the emigrant(s), and often some family members.

The German researcher needs to know about the variety of such records, and the sometimes complicated process ancestors were supposed to follow in making such historic changes in their lives. Two major types of records, and several lesser ones, may exist to provide documentation of these literal watershed events in our ancestry. Passenger lists, and permissions to emigrate are excellent sources, when they exist, for documenting the emigrant, and his or her voyage. However, they do not always exist, while locating and using them can prove quite challenging.

Course Length: 7 weeks

Contact Hours: 18
Grading Scale: 70% Tests/30% Assignments
Course Length: 7 weeks
Course Content

MODULE 1
NATURE & TYPE OF EMIGRATION RECORDS
Importance of the Place of Origin
Passenger Lists
Church Register Notations
Other Sources
Limits of Such Records

MODULE 2
HAMBURG PASSENGER LISTS
Accessing the Lists
Understanding the Lists
Indexes to the Lists
Online Access to the Lists

MODULE 3
OTHER PORTS OF GERMAN DEPARTURE AND THEIR LISTS
Bremen, Germany
Scandinavian Ports
Dutch & French Ports
Other Ports
Published Departure Lists

MODULE 4
PERMISSIONS TO EMIGRATE
The Process
Permission to Emigrate
Known Collections of German Emigration Permissions
Print Publications

MODULE 5
ONLINE EMIGRATION RECORDS
Passenger Lists
Bremen Passenger Lists 1920-1939
Hamburg Passenger Lists
Other Databases

MODULE 6
OTHER EMIGRATION SOURCES
The Emigration Process
Clandestine (Illegeal/Undocumented) Emigration
Post-emigrant Lists
Police Registrations
Church Registers
Genealogical Accounts
Military Records
Private Researcher’s Collections
Published Literature