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Jewish Genealogical Research in German-speaking Regions
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 07/02/2018  New Project: Württemberg Family Registers

Dear all:

Yet another project. This one's for people who can deal with fairly ugly records in German handwriting, and for people who would like to set up spreadsheets for others to complete. It's larger than the others I just announced.

Württemberg is renowned among genealogists for its carefully-kept family registers. On one sheet, one can find the dates & places of birth, marriage and death of the head of household and spouse(s); the names of the parents of each one; and the names of the children, along with their dates of birth, etc. and possibly a cross-reference to the sheet for the family that *they* established. Emigration is often noted, as well. The ones in question were kept for most of the 19thC and into the 20th; and some of the heads of household were born well before 1750.

The Baden-Württemberg collection of Gatermann films--the first one to appear on line--contains over 150 registers of this kind from over 70 localities. Some of them duplicate others, but in the interest of maximum legibility, I think it's best to index them all. Since these are Gatermann films, there are no originals left to check.

As with the Hessen Gatermann project, I propose making a short index, i.e., not transcribing most of the detailed information. Here's what I think we should capture:

--locality

--item number in the collection

--image and/or sheet number

--Role (husband, wife, 2nd wife, etc.)

--For heads of households and spouses:

----Given name and surname

----Year and town of birth

Many if not most of these communities were relatively small, meaning that users of the index will want to check several, if not all the sheets in a set, because it's generally likely that people with the same surname were in fact of the same family. That's why indexing the parents ought to be sufficient. (If we were doing everyone on a sheet, the project would take years and years.)

This is another project where people who can't read the handwriting can contribute by entering the first 4 items on the list above, and otherwise setting up an entry grid.

Here is a spreadsheet containing a list of registers and an example of the index. https://tinyurl.com/WuerttFamReg

Please email me at this address if you'd like to participate.

Roger Lustig Princeton, NJ USA - research coordinator, GerSIG

 07/01/2018  New Project: Surname adoptions west of the Rhine--in French!

Here's another project based on records available via familysearch.org.

The NALDEX project has indexed/transcribed the contents of surname-adoption registers from Prussia and Lippe-Detmold, and more such will be added soon. These registers had one line for each household, though they sometimes mentioned more than one person.

In what's today's Germany west of the Rhine, Jewish surname adoption took place in 1808 following Napoleon's Decree of Bayonne. The records of these events are scattered all over the region, many of them still in the local registry offices that have maintained civil registration since 1798.

Fortunately, several thousand of them are preserved on films that familysearch.org has put on line. They differ from other surname-adoption lists in several ways:

1) There is an entry for each person in a family.

2) They are written out instead of being in printed tables.

3) They often contain the dates and places of birth for children.

4) They are usually in French.

So, for those of you who would help out were it not for the difficulty of German language and script, here's your chance! Most of these records are fairly legible and in handwriting that anyone would recognize today.

If you'd like to help out, please write to me at this email address. Please let me know if there's a particular region you'd like to work on.

Also: if you have copies of *other* lists of this type, please let me know. They, too, should be transcribed and indexed. What's on film is a fraction of the whole.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Roger Lustig Princeton, NJ USA research coordinator, GerSIG

 06/30/2018  New Project: East German Gatermann films

Dear All,

It's been too long since this group undertook a new project, and I, as your research coordinator, apologize for that. Here is the first of several projects that you're invited to take part in.

https://tinyurl.com/GatermannEast is a spreadsheet listing the contents of the East German Gatermann films. These films display Jewish vital records and similar documents. The originals are lost, so in most cases these films are all we have left.

They cover Jewish communities from the territory of the former German Democratic Republic (except for Berlin). Over 100 localities are represented, from Annaberg to Zerbst. Many of these communities were very small; others, such as Dresden, had a Jewish population that peaked above 5,000.

About 60% of these records are available to anyone via familysearch.org. Just go to the catalog and enter the film number. When you get to the page that describes your records of interest, scroll down and then click on the camera icon to view the records directly.

The ones that are not available for home viewing are shaded grey in the spreadsheet. Their availability depends on the age and type of the youngest records on them. If they are not freely available under German privacy laws, you have to look at the microfilms the old-fashioned way. Alas, one protected record takes the whole reel of film out of distribution.

Please email me at this address if you're interested in indexing one or more localities. Some of the contents of these files are very easy to read; others, nearly impossible. Since each case is different, we'll have to develop a strategy for dealing with each one.

Those of you who don't read German (or old German handwriting) can be of great assistance too. As with the Hessen Gatermann project, participants can contribute by setting up the entry framework: item numbers, page numbers, etc.

Thanks in advance to all of you!

Roger Lustig, Princeton, NJ USA research coordinator, GerSIG

 05/14/2018  GerSIG at the IAJGS conference in Warsaw

We are now getting closer to the forthcoming IAJGS Conference in Warsaw and I am delighted to say that so far, well over 50 GerSIG members have registered to attend.

This year, our GerSIG Sponsored Guest Speaker at conference is Malgorzata Ploszaj, an independent researcher and educator who has been working on the history of Jews in Upper Silesia for over a decade, with particular emphasis on the city of Rybnik.

At the GerSIG Sponsored luncheon, Malgorzata will discuss An Amateur Genealogist's Story: From Internet Searching to a Book about the Mannebergs of Upper Silesia. She describes a genealogical search for descendants and relatives of one of the most significant citizens of Rybnik - Josef Manneberg. He and his family were German Jews, mostof whom lived in Rybnik, which was Prussian, then German, then Polish. The Mannebergs, as German Jews with Polish citizenship, left Poland for Palestine in May 1939. We do hope that you will be able to join us at the luncheon for what will be a really interesting presentation.

Jeanette R Rosenberg OBE
GerSIG Director for Conference Arrangements
Conference website

 04/04/2017  GerSIG IAJGS Conference Invited Guest Speaker Announced

I am delighted to tell you that this summer our GerSIG Invited Guest Speaker is Dr Bettina Joergens from the Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen in Detmold. She will be speaking to conference twice, sharing with us information about the ways we can find out about our families from records in German Archives.

I'm also very happy to note that GerSIG's good friend Gerhard Buck will also be speaking at Conference this summer. Gerhard has helped many GerSIG members with with their research.

GerSIG Day at Conference this year is on Wednesday, and we have a full program from 7am to 2pm that day. There are also talks of GerSIG interest on both Monday and Tuesday. I have included a summary of the GerSIG interest sessions below - If I've missed something, please let me know.

On Sunday: Visit us at the Share Fair - Come to see us at the GerSIG Table and to collect your GerSIG ribbon!

*** On Monday: Individual Features of German Handwriting in the 19th century by Gerhard Buck

Learn how my German-Jewish genealogy case study can help you with your own family history by Jeanette Rosenberg

*** On Tuesday: 'Protected Jews' A Misleading Translation of Schutzjuden by Gerhard Buck A Headstone, a Plate, a Strange Pedigree: Researching German Jewish Families in the 1700s by Gerhard Buck

*** On Wednesday: $$$ Breakfast Q&A with the German Research Experts with Alex Calzareth, Roger Lustig & Jeanette Rosenberg

How to find ancestors in German archives - and why? By Dr Bettina Joergens

The Gatermann and RSA Films: A Tragic Treasure by Roger Lustig

GerSIG Business Meeting - come to hear what your Directors have been doing over the last year and to hear news about our future plans

$$$ German SIG Luncheon A: Dr. Bettina Joergens, archivist at Stadtarchiv Detmold by Dr Bettina Joergens,

Jeanette R Rosenberg OBE
GerSIG Director for Conference Arrangements
Conference website


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  • Last Modified: 07-30-2018
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