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Genealogy Research Tour To Germany
by Marian Huber Dietrich
April 29 - May 16, 2001
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The Rhine
from Lorelie Rock

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Column of Spoils

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Baptismal Font 1220 A.D.

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American Cemetery

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Marksburg Castle

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Das Deutsche Eck
The German Corner
Wilhelm I

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St. Stephan Church

          My daughter and I joined 38 other genealogists on a tour arranged by Palatines to America. We met at Washington/Dulles airport and flew to Frankfurt, Germany, arriving at 11:30 AM April 30th. Our guide and motor coach were waiting to take us to Rudesheim on the Rhine River for our first night in Germany. Dinner at the hotel was an occasion to become acquainted with our traveling companions.

          The next day was spent sightseeing while cruising on the Rhine, with its hillside vineyards and numerous castles along the way. Our motor coach awaited us at the end of the cruise for our drive to Speyer. Three days in Speyer provided the opportunity to visit civil and religious archives. The professional genealogist in our group had previously made these appointments for us. My big find here was the military registration of my husband's great grandfather. There was a notation that he did not serve because he could not be found. This was 1855 and he was on his way to America, where he later served in the 9th Ohio Vol. Inf. Regiment during the Civil War.

          On Saturday, May 5th, our tour took us to Kaiserslautern by way of Heidelberg, where a tour of the castle was on the schedule. Linda had arranged for a rental car in Heidelberg, so she and I left the group at this point and headed toward Weilerbach. We wanted to find the church there and learn the time of Mass on Sunday, and we wanted to arrive at the hotel in Kaiserslautern in time to keep a dinner date with distant relatives. Several years ago, after finding that my husband's ancestors lived in Schwedelbach in the Rhineland-Pfalz area of Germany, I was able to contact relatives who still lived there by using the online German telephone directory. We have corresponded since then, and now we would be able to meet. We enjoyed dinner with Klaus, who is my daughter's fifth cousin, his wife Birgit, and their daughter Kerstin. Our gifts from them included a packet of information put together by a professional genealogist regarding the early Dietrichs, who were schoolteachers in many of the small villages west of Kaiserslautern during the 1700's through the 1800's.

          Sunday morning Linda and I drove to Weilerbach to meet Klaus and his family and to attend Mass at Holy Cross Church, where my husband's great grandfather was baptized. Afterwards, we drove from village to village to see where the Dietrichs lived and taught-----Kottweiler, Kirchmohr, Glan-Munchweiler, Nanzdietschweiler and Schwedelbach. Klaus and Birgit took us to their home and to his mother's home. We had a wonderful day.

          Monday was another day of sightseeing. Linda turned in the rental car and we joined the rest of the group for a trip to Trier, then on to Luxembourg for a visit to the W.W.II American Cemetery, with a stop at the Cathedral at Metz, France before returning to the Dorint Hotel in Kaiserslautern.

          It was back to research on Tuesday. We went to the Institute for Pfalz History and Genealogy and had the privilege of meeting Roland Paul, author of the book, "Palatines in America". His colleague, Jakob Lill, who's mother was a Dietrich, came to the Institute to meet my daughter and me and to take us to his home in Kottweiler to meet his wife, Gertrud, and to enjoy coffee and kuchen with them. He returned us to the hotel in time to meet another distant cousin, who came with his wife and two children to visit with us.

          Wednesday found us on the way to Koblenz, or rather the Dorint Hotel in Lahnstein near Koblenz, but first a stop at Marksburg Castle for lunch and a tour of the castle. The next day was another day of research at the Archives and Library in Ludwigshafen and a tour of villages of interest to some in our group. On Friday the schedule called for our motor coach to take us to more villages, but nine of us opted to take a walking tour of Koblenz instead. Our driver took us there and dropped us off, before going on with the rest of the group. We walked around, took pictures, shopped and had lunch. Taxies took us back to the hotel for a leisurely afternoon. This was the last day of our organized tour.

          Saturday, May 12th, we drove from Koblenz to the Frankfurt airport. My daughter had previously arranged for another rental car at the airport, and while the others flew home, Linda and I drove to Augsburg, Bavaria, doing some sightseeing along the way. We stopped in Rothenburg and Dinkelsbuhl along the Romantic Road and arrived at our hotel in Augsburg Saturday evening.

          I learned from earlier research that my great grandparents came from villages southwest of Augsburg. Sunday morning we attended Mass in the church where my great grandmother was baptized and where she married my great grandfather----it was Mother's Day and this was very special for me. We drove to the village where they lived before coming to America and where my grandfather was born. We had an appointment for the next day at the Catholic Archives in Augsburg, arranged by email before leaving on our trip. We viewed church records on film and were able to fill in the siblings in three of my ancestor's families. We were surprised to see a typewritten letter show up on the screen. It was super-imposed on the handwritten church records and was written in 1967 by someone inquiring about Bavarian schoolteachers named Huber. There, handwritten across the bottom of the letter, was information about my ancestors I had not yet found----birth, marriage and death dates for my great great great grandparents. This surely was a great way to top off our genealogy tour to Germany. Tuesday morning, May 15th, found us on the autobahn headed for the Frankfurt airport and home.

— Marian Huber Dietrich

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