19. June 2017, Anniversary, General, Genealogy
On 19 June 2007 the first blog post went online on Abenteuer Ahnenforschung (adventure genealogy, only in German). It was one of the first genealogy blogs in Germany. Our head, professional genealogist and company founder Andrea Bentschneider, still chats there about her daily work, shares tips and informs about various aspects of ancestry and family research. Our corporate blog on this site is with (almost exactly) 2 years comparatively young. Both blogs are characterized by years of experience in professional genealogy.
The very first blog post on Abenteuer Ahnenforschung was about "Genealogy and why one starts with it or At the beginning is curiosity…" (only in German). Motives can hardly be separated from the personal gain that accompanies genealogy. Following this, we ask today, which advantages professional genealogy provides and which limitations it has. What can be achieved and what not?
Happy Birthday Abenteuer Ahnenforschung! Or: What can professional genealogy achieve?
17. June 2017, General, Genealogy, Germany, Historical Documents, Knowledge
Detail from the register of marriages of the parish Münsterdorf, available at the Kirchenkreisarchiv (church district archive) in Wrist, Germany (https://www.kk-rm.de/unser-kirchenkreis/kirchenkreis-archiv.html)
What has a „Vaccinationsschein“ (vaccination certificate) to do with a wedding (and what is it)? Or is there something else written in the church book?
Is there any genealogist who doesn’t know the situation? Finally, you have found a document regarding a sought-after person, but you are not able to read everything. Even after deciphering the words, or after you think you might have deciphered them, you are not sure what to do with the information. Often, background information is necessary to understand what this is all about.
No marriage without vaccination!
12. May 2017, Archives, Societies, Museums, Genealogy, General, Germany, Historical Documents, Tips and Tricks
Archive file register, photo by moi (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AArchives_entreprises.jpg)
Genealogy isn’t always simple. Sometimes legislative restrictions that are in themselves very reasonable can complicate our work. Today we would like to give a short overview of different periods applying to archive material in Germany. This is further complicated by German federalism. Many regulations only apply to one particular federal state.
Periods applying to archive material
25. January 2017, Genealogy, General, Knowledge, Historical Documents
How could genealogical research be conducted without time and dates? After we have already explained the different calendrical systems in former blog entries, in this article we would like to present the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar, the latter is valid today in Western countries.
The meaning of calendars in genealogical research in Germany – part three
29. December 2016, Genealogy, General, Knowledge, Historical Documents
After presenting the church calendar and – with it – the influence of religion on the time calculation in our last blog, we would like to inform a little bit more about the different calendar systems.
For evaluating sources in genealogical research, it is important to know not only the specific temporal period but also in which region or under which political rule these sources were made. By these factors the calendar systems were influenced as well.
The meaning of calendars in genealogical research in Germany – part two
15. December 2016, General, Genealogy, Historical Documents, Knowledge
Source: state archive Hamburg, 514-6 No. 9 marriage register of St. Nikolai, Finkenwerder 1794-1848, 1822.
Dates are basic for doing genealogical research. By knowing specific dates we as genealogists are able to look for searched persons and to create complete ancestral charts. While doing genealogical research, the different calendrical systems need to be considered.
Different calendrical systems
In history there were always calendars, already in older civilizations systems were elaborated to classify time and the unit of a ”year” systematically. Hence different calendrical systems were established: The Romans brought in the Julian Calendar, in France the French Republican Calender was established in 1792. Moreover, every religion has its own computation of time which is guided by the holidays among others.
The meaning of calendars in genealogical research in Germany
06. June 2016, Emigration, Genealogy, German-American, Hamburg
For every genealogist the Ballinstadt Emigration Museum is one of the where to go addresses in Hamburg. On the spot where ship owner Albert Ballin once built “Emigrants’ Halls” for those leaving the country in which they could wait for their departure, “BallinStadt” was erected in 2007.
Reopening of the „BallinStadt“
17. May 2016, Genealogy, General
Sometimes it is not only the histories we are researching, but also the stories behind the people we do research for that make our job so fascinating.
A very exceptional case
26. January 2016, Emigration, Genealogy, General
Passenger lists from the 19th and 20th century are important sources for genealogical research because they make the paths of emigrants across the sea and to foreign countries traceable.
Most of the ships we come across during our research have an emotional story. So does a Hamburg ship for emigrants called “Cimbria” the story of which is as tragic as it is legendary.
The Gold Ship
16. October 2015, Genealogy, General, Knowledge, Recipes, WWII
Today, on World Food Day, the media focus especially on the food situation in areas of crisis all over the world, informing the public and appeal for donations. Here in genealogy research, our thoughts immediately go to our ancestors that, especially in Germany, these problems were a big issue not very long ago. It has been only one or two generations since World War II led to a catastrophe for the German civil population and the food shortage took a lot of imagination and cunning to be able to feed a family. Our parents or grandparents tell us so many stories about the creativity that was needed to get something to eat and of the trauma the hunger caused.
Our Ancestors’ Hunger
29. September 2015, Celebrities, Family, Genealogy, General, Hamburg
When Justus and Frieda got married on a Thursday in June 1907, they had no idea they would later have a daughter that would write Hollywood history!
Justus Samuel Bergman, a Swedish man from Stockholm, married the Hamburg resident Frieda Henriette Auguste Louise Adler on 13 June 1907 at the civil registry office 3 in Hamburg-Eimsbuettel. It was a sunny, although with 20° C not too warm summer’s day, when the two entered into marriage, traditionally at the bride’s place of residence.
A Wedding in Hamburg and a Hollywood Star
21. September 2015, Family, Genealogy, General, Knowledge
For genealogists, cemeteries can play an important role when searching for some ancestor’s life dates. A photograph of a grave stone may even render a complicated research in an archive unnecessary! Some graves also tell stories about the family of the deceased, his or her occupation or other unique features that are able to bring us closer to the lives of our ancestors.
15. September 2015, Birthdays, Celebrities, Genealogy, General
Our mysterious birthday girl would have turned 125 today and has left an impressive lifework of literature behind. The daughter of an American salesman and his English wife developed a literary talent very early that let her publish her first pieces at the young age of 11 years.
Whose Birthday are we celebrating today?
03. September 2015, Celebrities, Genealogy, General, Personalities
Electoral campaigns often make weird headlines. When Barack Obama first ran against Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential elections in the USA, genealogy played a part in it as well. Everything of interest in the ancestry of the candidates was brought to the media’s attention. Obama and Clinton are, as it turned out then, distant relatives. The tabloids loved the fact that while Obama was apparently a distant cousin of Brad Pitt, Clinton was related to Angelina Jolie. Also, in Obamas ancestry there were connections to many presidents such as George W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Lyndon Johnson, while Clinton’s family history on the French-Canadian side shows relations to Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette.
The Ancestry of Barack, Hillary and Co.
18. August 2015, Genealogy, General, Tips and Tricks
The history of their own family is something of a mystery for most people. If you can’t wait any longer and want to finally find out more about your ancestors, keep calm and take one step after the other for a successful research. For the perfect start we present to you today: Five tips for your genealogy kick-off.
Five Tips For Your Genealogy Kick-off!
14. August 2015, Family, Genealogy, General, Onomastics
According to researchers at the academy of science in Mainz, those good things are spread all over Germany! They showed with vivid illustrations how many people in Germany carry summery names: For example Sommer (summer), Urlaub (vacation), Sonnenschein (sunshine) or Pool. Based on directory entries it was made apparent that ‘Sommer’ is a name that is spread evenly in Germany, while the ‘Urlaubs’ gather in Stuttgart and the ‘Sonnenscheins’ and ‘Pools’ in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Summer, Vacation, Sunshine!
28. July 2015, Emigration, Family, Genealogy, General
It was one of these cases that seem almost impossible to solve. For the research of the German ancestor of our US-American client we had close to nothing to start with: A name that did not sound German at all, the fact that he immigrated from Germany and a possible time frame of 10 years of his possible birth. An unrelated person of the same name that had lived close to ‘our’ German emigrant and came from the area of Oldenburg allowed the presumption that he, too, could have come from there.
The needle in the haystack or a genealogy miracle
07. July 2015, Emigration, Family, Genealogy, General, Historical Events
It seems there are endless reality shows on German TV these days that follow German emigrants on their way to their new homes all around the world. The families sharing their hopes, dreams, and problems in front of the camera always make me think of the emigrant ancestors we researched so far. One of the favorite emigration destinations for Germans is and was Australia. Today, people go there for the friendly people, nature, beaches, and the sun. That sure was different back in the days…
Germans Down Under
30. June 2015, Family, Genealogy, General, Hamburg
Sometimes it is not only the history we are researching, but also the stories behind the people we do research for that make our job so fascinating.
A short while ago a very special case opened when we got a letter from a prison in Great Britain! That’s not exactly something we experience every day…
A very exceptional case
17. June 2015, Emigration, Genealogy, General
Some days, we put our heads together and puzzle over a document. Is that an H? Is it an S? What kind of occupation could this be? The reason for this is not our defective sight but the old German handwritings that we decrypt daily in records, church book entries and so on. After many years of experience, there is a certain routine in doing so – but even after a thousand records a bad copy, smudgy ink or just the particularly scrawly handwriting of a registrar from 200 years ago can bring us to verge of despair.