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German: Introduction to German Research
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According to census reports, German ancestry is the largest single ethnic group in North America, even out-pacing the English or the Irish. Although the vast majority of Germans in North America are in the United States (where between 15 and 20% of the population claim German ancestry), a significant number also settled in Canada, both before and after the American Revolutionary War, as well as other parts of the world.

Unfortunately, most of those of German descent have been reticent to begin research on those German ancestors due to perceived barriers of language, geography, and understanding the records. The purpose of this course is to begin the teaching of genealogical concepts pertinent to German research. It introduces the basic concepts needed to succeed in German research and begins to dispel the notion that German research is difficult. Actually, from a research perspective, it is much easier than Canadian, American, English, or Irish research. The purpose of this courses is to serve as the foundation for the German Records certificate program.

Course Content

Module 1

Nature Of German Research & Sources
Identifying the Immigrant(s)
• Who really came over?
• What was the foreign name?
• Dating an immigrant
• Relating to the immigrant
• Where was the immigrant born?
• Isn’t this overkill?
• Additional Identification
Immigration Information
• Other Family Members
• Religion
• Friends & Neighbors
• Geographic Clues
Key Elements of German Research
• Geography & Place Names
• Civil Registration
• Church Records
• Language & Handwriting
• Accessing Records
• Published Sources
• Advanced Sources & Techniques
• FamilySearch
• Sources for Study & Information

Module 2
History of Germany & German Migrants
Sources for German History
• Timelines
• Key Events in the History of Germany
• Germans in North America

Module 3
Migration of Germans: One Language, Many Countries
The German Core
• Germany/Prussia
• Austria
• Switzerland
• Luxembourg
• Liechtenstein
Neighboring Countries
• Baltic States
• Belgium
• Czech Republic
• Denmark
• France
• Hungary
• Italy
• The Netherlands
• Poland
• Russia
German Enclaves
More Distant Countries
• African Colonies
• Australia
• Canada
• Latin America
• Pacific Islands
• South Africa
• United States
German in the United States
• German Counties in 1790
• German Cities 1850-1900
• German Ancestry in 2010
Germans in England
• History of German Immigration
• German Settlements
• Resources for Tracing Germans
Suggested Resources

Module 4
German Culture & Society
Religious Denominations
Family Practices
• Naming Customs
• German Surnames
• Given (Fore-) Names
• Occupations & Work Ethic
• Social Status
• Education
• Language

Module 5
Genealogical Databases for German Research
Google Translate
• Using the Search Feature on FamilySearch
• Using the Search Feature on
• Card Catalog Option
Association for Computer Genetics
German Roots
Other Helpful Resources
• Cyndi’s List
• ArchiveGrid

Module 6
Important Reference & Instructional Books
The Value of Reference Tools
• Instructional Books
• Historical Treatments
• Germans in North America
• Geographic Tools
• Linguistic Aids
• Immigration History
• Archives & Libraries
• Using Church Records
• Guides & Indexes to Published Genealogical Literature
• Other References
• Find a Professional Genealogist

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