Carol Sanderson, Editor
Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor
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Last months article was on the free seminars our local genealogical society gives each year, but most years the society also has two paid seminars. One is usually in the spring and one in the fall. This year the society tried a bring your own sack lunch seminar to keep the costs down and it seemed to be a success. Well over 100 people attended some from over 300 miles away.
One reason for the good attendance may have been the subject,German Research. Since most people have a German ancestor, it is a popular subject for a seminar. The speaker was Sabine Schleichert a professional genealogist from Munich, Germany.
The first session was on finding the Elusive German Emigrant. This session went over places to find your emigrant on a passenger or emigration index and where most emigrants came from in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Since emigrants generally came from different areas in different centuries, she went over where and how to find passenger departure lists for Bremen and Hamburg. No others exist. She also went over various emigration indexes and listed a couple of pages of sources for emigrants from various parts of Germany. The important part of this is finding the parish your ancestor lived in as most records are found in the parish. One interesting note was that Germans tend to stay in one area. so a way to find where your surname was located is to check the German phone book: to see which area (area codes give the area) your surname is concentrated in and research there.
Church and Civil Records was next. Most civil records are from 1876 fonwards and are still located in the town or village where recorded. Sabine said a lot of the towns are requiring you to prove you are related to the person you are looking for because of privacy regulations. Church records may have been copied by the LDS, or are available in the church archives or some are still in the local churches. It depends on whether or not each parish kept them.
German Genealogical Sources Beyond Church Records followed. First she spoke of family registers or family books, which may list where your ancestor emigrated to and when. She also discussed obituaries, inhabitants' records, property tax and military records.
The last session was on German Research from Remote Sites. Her first tip was to check the LDS web site as they may have filmed the records. Another tip was letter writing. Although writing in German is preferable, almost everyone in Germany can read English and it is preferable to write in English if your German is very poor. She cautioned against using the Internet translators to translate your English letter into German as they all do a poor job. Sabine talked about the various archives, Federal, State, County and Town archives and how to write to them. She also talked about genealogical societies and in which areas each society was located. Lastly, she talked about hiring a professional genealogist.
Ms Schleichert did tell one of our genealogical society members that the professional and "hobby" genealogists in Germany do not associate with each other. The "hobby" genealogists worry about the professionals selling the information the "hobby" genealogist have collected, and will not even let the professionals help collect or index records. She was surprised how well we work together here and is going back to see if she can get everyone to work together. This information was not part of her formal presentation..
Web sites given were:
Family Books Online
This has been waiting for some time to be published and I think this is the time to do it. I get very emotional when I think or talk about our country. It has been especially so these past few weeks starting with the dedication of the WWII Memorial in Wasahington, D.C. the end of May. I wrote this some time ago after a conversation with a friend about patriotism..
Some holidays get me all choked up and the Fourth of July is one of them. I've always been proud to be an American. It is my birthright to be sure but that is not the main reason. I was taught to be proud of the flag and was taught reasons for it. Along with that I was taught flag etiquette. My brother and I were the ones to raise our flag... everyday that it didn't rain (our flag was made of wool and Mom and Dad didn't want it wet) and to take it down at sunset. We said the Pledge to the Flag everyday in school and in other places too when it was part of the program. We also sang America or My Country 'Tis of Thee as it was also called. That and some of the other patriotic songs were some of the first I learned to play on the piano. This entire sort of thing has always given me goose bumps and I get very close to tears.
My schoolteacher aunt instilled in me an interest in history at a very early age. We visited places like Bunker Hill, the USS Constitution or Old Ironsides as she is called. Did you know that she is the oldest ship of line still in commission in the U.S. Navy? We went to Lexington and Concord and learned the story of those battles. As years went on we visited a lot of the battlefields of the Revolution learning what happened there. Many of our trips were fun trips but always there was an educational side to them. They were more fun than going to Disneyland or Disney World, neither of which existed back then.
Pearl Harbor happened in December of my senior high school year. One or two of my class enlisted right away. I spent that year watching as friends of mine from classes ahead of me, went off to serve in some part of the Armed Forces. I, along with the others at home, would pray and watch and wait for the return of these young men who so suddenly were not young any more. Most of them enlisted. Some didn't come back but others did.
In 1943, I joined a nursing class at one of the hospitals in Boston. I also wore the uniform of the Cadet Nurse Corps. This had been established to help ease the nursing shortage then...perhaps we néed another program like it now to help ease the shortage. While I was in Boston, I spent some time at an aunt's nearby. My cousins, too young for service, had some friends in the service though. I remember one (not his name). He was a very interesting fun-loving person. A blond, blue-eyed Italian whose parents were from northern Italy but American. He was proud of it, too and I was proud of him. He was one who never came back. Such a shame.
I feel I néed to go back a little. My Dad was in the Army in World War I. He never did go overseas as the Armistice was declared the week before he was to ship out. He was always proud of his country and his heritage. I don't know how much he knew about his Grant ancestors. His first ancestor here had been captured by Oliver Cromwell's troops and exiled with others, as an indentured person to the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1700). Dad's grandparents had died when he was very young. His Dad died when he was twelve and being the oldest he had to help his Mother on the farm. I found the program of his eighth grade graduation. That was a far as he went. I had known that, but I hadn't known that he was the class poet. He never showed that side of himself..
He belonged to the American Legion and was very active in it. During my sophomore year in high school the Legion held their National Convention in Boston. Dad was going but he was sharing a room with one or two of his friends. I wanted to go to see the parade. I had the plans all made and they were firm. I had even talked to my aunt near Boston and had an invitation to stay over night with her. My Mom couldn't say no even though I knew she wanted to and neither did Dad.
Off I went. The day of the parade I was met at the station by a friend whose Dad was also marching. We found a spot, being very particular as to where we were because we both knew that I would leave before it was over...and that meant néeding access to the MBTA. All day the two of us in our own little corner of Boston Common watched as these men marched again to show their oneness at being Americans. Proud to be following their country's colors again. The parade started passing where we were standing at 9:00 a.m. When I left at 7:00 p.m. to catch a train home they were still going by and it didn't end until about 1:00 a.m. I got to see my Dad and Eddie got to see his as they marched with their comrades. I will never forget that day. All the veterans, the massed colors, the many, many bands, I can see them still and get goose bumps They were there in large numbers when the WWII Memorial was dedicated to them and others of their generation in May of this year.
There is a saying that one cannot choose his family but he can choose his friends. Take it a little further...one cannot choose his country of birth but he can choose a country later. My Italian friend's parents did that and he reaffirmed their choice. My friend 's parents were American by choice and I am one by birth. I think those who choose this country may have a better appreciation for it than some of us who had it given to them by birth. I truly think that a lot of young Americans, including my children, do not appreciate the freedom that this country gives us. Those who have served and those now serving in the Armed Services know what this is all about. Perhaps since 9-11, we will instill more patriotism in our society. We read and hear on TV and other media about the lack of freedom in other places and of oppression of human life but we don't really understand, as we haven't really been there. There is a great deal to be said for observing and feeling such a thing.
Today many of our friends and relatives as well as many we don't know are overseas somewhere. Because we are trying on many fronts to help preserve human dignity, they are serving our country. We honor them when we salute the flag and do other patriotic things. May America stay strong and her people free for generations to come. God Bless America! .
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