From Pirmasens to Pennsylvania: Pfälzer Families in Jefferson County and Clearfield County, PA

In my 2014 article “The German Pioneers of Punxsutawney and the Zweibrücken-Pirmasens Emigration, 1820-1900,” published in The Jeffersonian Journal (Brookville, PA), I wrote in great detail about a matter to which I have committed the better part of a decade: tracing a chain migration from the Pfalz to the Ohio River Valley, a decades-long and… Read More From Pirmasens to Pennsylvania: Pfälzer Families in Jefferson County and Clearfield County, PA

Best German Genealogy Resources on the Web

Current online offerings for those researching German and German-American ancestors are getting better and better. If you’re willing to navigate a bit off the beaten path of web genealogy, and wade some German-language sites, you’ll find that there are wonderful databases and tools accessible right from your home computer. If you are of western, southern,… Read More Best German Genealogy Resources on the Web

German Genealogy Tips: Follow Your Family’s Friends and Neighbors

One way of tracing your ancestors while also hedging your bets against potential errors is to look for patterns among your ancestor’s friends and neighbors. When large numbers of people emigrate from the same locality or region over a prolonged period of time, historians refer to this as a serial emigration. Although this may sound sophisticated, clues for identifying one can be in plain sight. For instance, when you look at your ancestor on the 1880 Federal Census, do you notice several other family heads with the same Germanic nationality like Bavaria [Bayern] or Baden? This is potentially an important clue as to where your ancestors came from, as well as an insight into the sort of community in which they took part in America.… Read More German Genealogy Tips: Follow Your Family’s Friends and Neighbors

Archival Musing #1: Genealogical Archives and the Not-so Distant Future

Ask any veteran genealogist: in terms of broad access to historical resources, we live in a great time for genealogical research. It seems a newer, more specialized database arrives each year, whether to do with military documents, emigration records, or even U. S. State archives. It’s as if we’re discovering our histories anew with each technological advancement. But how do we weather these changes in our databases, and what in our thinking and practices must evolve when to research means going to a digital archive first? … Read More Archival Musing #1: Genealogical Archives and the Not-so Distant Future