Update on the Shipping of German Census Records 1816-1916


This is an update on the shipping of the Pre-Pub and additional orders taken since June 16 for German Census Records, 1816-1916.

Without a doubt, the publication and distribution of Roger Minert’s new German Census Records 1816-1916, has been the largest one-book endeavor that Family Roots Publishing has ever been involved with. Over all, things went about as expected, although we hadn’t considered what would happen if a primary piece of equipment went down for three days. We had a 1/4 inch shaft break on the press, and that messed up our schedule. However, we were soon back at it, and once again shipping steadily.

As of today (Thursday, June 23), all orders taken through June 12 have been shipped, with many for the 13th through 15th also in the mail. We believe we can have all orders through June 16 in the mail by Friday evening. Orders from June 17 through 26 should ship on Monday, the 27th of June.

All hard-bound copies of German Census Records 1816-1916 ordered through June 13 have shipped.

Many of you ordered Jim Beidler’s new Trace Your German Roots Online. We ran through our first batch with sales made through June 12, and are waiting for the next shipment to come in. We expect it on Friday, the 24th, and will ship immediately upon receiving the books. The latest will be Monday the 27th.

Serendipity Day


Counties of Washington

Ethic Population Density in Pre-1850 America

Black Sheep in YOUR Family?

Cold Case: Timothy H. Martin, 1835-1902

Heritage of Pierce County, Washington

Scottish Ancestors from the Lowlands


Of course you know that there are 39 counties in the Evergreen State but can you name them? And do you know the logistical history of them (when formed, etc.)? I didn’t either and so Googled “List of counties in Washington State” and good-old Wikipedia came to the rescue. The largest (in population) county is King; the smallest is Garfield. The largest in area is Okanogan and the smallest is San Juan. Any idea where each of our counties got their name? Each of those 39 counties has a county seat…… how many can you name? That Wikipedia article will teach you!  I found it most interesting.


Want to know how many English and Welsh folks lived in the U.S. in 1790? How about Germans in 1790? Or slaves in 1810? An interactive map series on the Ancestors website will show you. Remember the Ancestors shows on public TV?  The show was produced by Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is still airing (check with YOUR local station). Click to their website, www.byub.org/ancestors  (yes, a second “b”) and on the left you’ll see a list of topics which, when clicked, will take you to an episode where that topic was addressed. You’ll find those ethnocentric maps under “Online Tools,” and then “Maps.”

Where, in 1790, would you have guessed that most of the Scottish immigrants settled? Would you have guessed central and western Pennsylvania?


Black soc

Have you a Black Sheep ancestor? Did you know there is an International Blacksheep Society of Genealogists? (Or at least there was; website was last updated in 2011.) Browsing through www.cyndislist.com, I found a link to an article “Ten Things to Know: Black Sheep” from a UK Pinterest board. (Cyndi finds everything.) Here is the list of those ten things: (1) who is the black sheep in your family? (2) Black sheep often have deep paper trails.  (3)  What’s in a black sheep’s name?  (4) Family stories are comfortable homes for black sheep ancestors.  (5) Other people may have written about your black sheep in their own histories. (6) Certain geographic locations attracted black sheep. (Like the American west.)  (7)  Black sheep on the lamb (meaning to run).  (8)  Everyone has a mother, even black sheep.  (9) Even the government tracked black sheep. (10) Other members of the family may not want to talk about the black sheep. If you wish to read this 4-page article, Google the title I bolded above. If you want to contact the IBSSG (International Blacksheep Society of Genealogists), Google that too.


I love working on genealogy cold cases! Wandering in Fairmount Cemetery (Spokane), I spotted this tombstone for Timothy H. Martin:

Timothy 1

Once home, I quickly clicked to our Washington State Digital Archives (www.digitalarchives.wa.gov) and looked for Timothy and there he was!  The poor fellow, born in Ireland, son of Jerry Martin, had died of pulmonary edema in the state asylum in Provo, Utah…and yet he is buried in Spokane and his death return is from Spokane County.  There’s got to be a good story here. He was a mason by occupation and had been in the state asylum for four years but before that he lived in Park City, Utah. There’s got to be a story here!  I did quickly click to Ancestry and did not find him on the 1850, 1880 nor 1900 censuses. (His tombstone says Timothy H. The death certificate says Timothy S.)

Anybody missing a Timothy H. Martin in their family tree?? Would so love to find his family.


The Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society’s annual conference partnered with the Washington State Genealogical Society and hosted Paula Stuart-Warren as the speaker on Saturday, June 18th, 2016. Since I planned to attend (an easy 290 mile drive west on I-90; two potty stops and the outlet mall J ) I wondered what else there was to do in Pierce County. So I asked Grandma Google (who knows most everything) and found the Heritage League of Pierce County and their website listed two pages of libraries, historical societies and museums. I’m going to have a difficult time choosing where to spend my afternoon! Do I want the Tacoma Public Library, the Washington State Historical Society, the Washington State History Museum or venture further to the Sumner Historical Society, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, or Native Quest (“a cultural center for honoring the heritage of all peoples”).

This proved a big thing to me: no matter where you go visiting, for whatever reason, there are libraries, historical societies and museums in that place that are worth your visit.


Your Genealogy Today is a dandy-fine magazine published by Moorshead Magazines (www.yourgenealogytoday.com).  In the March-April 2016 issue there was a 4-page article on “Researching Your Ancestors in Scotland’s Lowlands and Borders.”  Sher Leetooze writes that “Scottish records are fairly complete; some parishes go back 1000 years and some 800 years.” Scotland is a totally different place than England and they did things differently up there, Sher writes. She mentions several websites that she uses but her favorites are “A Vision of Britain Through Time” (www.visionofbritain.org.uk) and GENUKI (www.genuki.org.uk).

The problem or “trouble” with Scottish research, she writes, is that beginning in 1843 there began to be lot of dissention within the Presbyterian ranks. Scots being Scots, and “stubborn as a day is long,” the congregations split and split and split again……….. this event is referred to as “The Disruption.”  This makes finding those old parish records harder and harder.

Another web source she recommends, is Scotland’s People (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), which is the Archives of Scotland. Sher also recommends a subscription to Family Tree Magazine (www.family-tree.co.uk) published in the U.K. and not to be confused with FamilyTree Magazine published in America.

Serendipity Day

“A Brief History of Port Angeles” Booklet

Twin Rivers Gen Society’s Cemetery Walking Tour on July 4th

Jigsaw Puzzles: Pastime or Obsession?

TAG (Ancestry Users Group) In Spokane

Five-Generation Pictures


Did you have ancestors who lived in Port Angeles, Washington? I’m giving away a 24-page booklet, “A Brief History of Port Angeles” by William Welsh, 1941. Yes, I have checked with the Clallam County Historical Society and they tell me that they have several copies. So I’ll send this one to the first requester! (Donna243@gmail.com)



The Twin Rivers Genealogical Society, in Lewiston, Idaho, is having a fun activity on July 4th. They are doing a Cemetery Walk! They have picked out six historical graves and starting at 9:00am they will offer several 45-minute tours. Locale is Normal Hill Cemetery, 7th Street & 15th Avenue in Lewiston, south of Lewis Clark State College. Did you know that Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian’s, parents are buried in this cemetery? (They spotlighted her last year.) For more information contact Patricia VanBuren, patriciavanburen@lewiston.com Perhaps this is an idea for your society?


History Magazine, published by the good folks who do Internet Genealogy, carried a great little article in the April-May 2016 issue. This article was all about the history of jigsaw puzzles which “nears its 250th birthday.”  These puzzles “can be found spread out on card tables in hospital waiting rooms, coffee shops and cottages through the world as well as on thousands of Internet puzzle sites.”  In the U.S. alone, there are more than 70 puzzle manufacturers and the sales annually are in the millions. Do the math and then realize that any one of your ancestors might have been entertained (or obsessed?) with jigsaw puzzles since the 1850s. Wow thought, eh?


The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society has a thriving sub-group: TAG. This stands for the Ancestry Users Group and under the guidance of Marge Mero, the group meets monthly at a local public library. We’ve used the book, Guide to Ancestry, as a basis for our exploring. At the June meeting, member Doug Floyd gave the lesson on understanding a bit about probate and finding probate records on Ancestry.


Doug explained that probate means “the official proving of (as in a will),” or “establishing the validity of (as a will).”  He quoted the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, as saying that “probate records are the best records in genealogy.” Doug explained the difference in some legal terms; testament refers to disposition of personal property while will spells out personal wishes and guardianship was not necessarily for the child but for the child’s property.

Doug directed us to the Ancestry Academy where there are two specific learning videos there for us to watch. Next he directed us to the Ancestry Card Catalog to look under the topic of “probate records” or jump to doing a locality search and see what Ancestry includes for probate records in your area of focus.

Perhaps this is an idea for a sub-group in your society? (We have a coordinator but take turns with the teaching.)


We’ve all seen those wonderful 5-Generation Family pictures. Our newspaper publishes them regularly. Likely you have sat and posed yourself in one of these photos. My second great-granddaughter, Cora Kathryn, was born on this last June 7th in Everett, Washington. Soon, I imagine we’ll be doing a 5-Generation photo……… Cora, Adam (father), Jane (mother) and then me standing at the top. And I think little Cora has five generations still with us on her mom’s side too. But here is your Sobering Thought for Today:  I remember reading a quote from Jane Fonda back in 1982 when her father, Henry Fonda, died. “It’s sobering to realize you’re next in line,” she said. It is. But with each new baby I understand it to be a sign from God that the world will go on!

Trace Your German Roots Online, A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites


My good friend, Jim Beidler, just wrote a new book for us titled Trace Your German Roots Online, A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites. I got a few hours to read the volume, and I’m recommending it to anyone doing German genealogy research.

Jim knows how to write – and write so we can all understand the topic. This brand new book, focusing specifically on online research tools for German genealogy, features step-by-step guides to accessing online resources. I spend a lot of time on German research and I found resources mentioned, and in some cases detailed, that I didn’t know existed.

Click here to order.

The following is from the Table of Contents:



CHAPTER 1 BEGINNING YOUR GERMAN RESEARCH Kick-start your genealogical journey with this chapter’s information about the basics of German research and the Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

CHAPTER 2 RESEARCHING GERMAN GENEALOGY ON THE INTERNET Learn the dos and don’ts of online German genealogy. This chapter will outline key Web resources and help you set realistic expectations for your research.

CHAPTER 3 UNTANGLING GERMAN PLACE NAMES AND SURNAMES Decode your ancestors’ garbled name and place of origin with these translation tools and keys to understanding botched German spelling and phonetics.


CHAPTER 4 FAMILYSEARCH.ORG: THE LARGEST FREE GENEALOGY WEBSITE Explore the Internet’s largest free resource for family records. This chapter unpacks the more than 50 million German records housed by FamilySearch.org.

CHAPTER 5 ANCESTRY.COM: THE ULTIMATE ÜBER-SITE Pinpoint your ancestors’ records in the vast collection of databases held by Ancestry.com and its a affiliate sites. This chapter unpacks what the world’s largest genealogy website can do for you.

CHAPTER 6 GENEALOGY.NET: TWO WEBSITES IN ONE Discover what the German (Genealogy.net) and English (GenWiki) versions of this valuable resource can offer you.

CHAPTER 7 MYHERITAGE: A FOREST OF FAMILY TREES Scour MyHeritage’s vast collection of family trees for information about your own German ancestors.

CHAPTER 8 ARCHION: PROTESTANT CHURCH RECORDS GALORE Master Archion’s invaluable collection of Protestant church records from across modern Germany.


CHAPTER 9 HOW DO I IDENTIFY MY ANCESTORS’ PLACE OF ORIGIN? Trace your ancestors to the homeland. This chapter contains passenger lists and emigration databases that will help you follow your family to the old country.

CHAPTER 10 WHERE ELSE CAN I ACCESS CHURCH RECORDS? Seek out even more birth, marriage, and death records created by your ancestors’
place of worship with the resources in this chapter.

CHAPTER 11 HOW DO I CONTACT PEOPLE AND PLACES IN GERMANY? Reach out to researchers on the other side of the Atlantic. This chapter gives you tips for contacting professional genealogists, heads of archives, and even long-lost relatives in Germany.

CHAPTER 12 WHAT ORGANIZATIONS AND ARCHIVES CAN HELP MY RESEARCH? Obtain key records left behind by your ancestors and learn more about their lives through German archives and historical and genealogical societies. This chapter details how and where to search and write for more information.

CHAPTER 13 HOW CAN SOCIAL MEDIA SITES HELP? Delve into the world of likes and hashtags with this guide to using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in your German research.

CHAPTER 14 WHAT ELSE SHOULD I ADD TO MY TOOLBOX? Broaden your research horizons with these resources you might not have thought to check.




Trace Your German Roots Online, A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites; by James M Beidler; Paperback; 238 pp; 7×9; Published: 2016; ISBN: 9781440345180; illustrations; Item # FNW13 Click on the link to order.

Serendipity Day

Dutch Are Still With Us; They Gave Us Cookies!

Public Libraries: Worth Investigating

Southerners Who Went To Brazil After the Civil War

Uploading & Downloading GEDCOM Files on Ancestry

Do You Believe in Dowsing Rods?


Just finished studying (cannot say “reading” for it is a study book!) The Island at the Center of the World, the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto, 2005.  U.S. history classes seem to gloss over the 150 years when the Dutch founded and shaped Manhattan and this history brings that period to life. Just for fun: on page 269 I learned that “the typical Dutch word for master—baas—would take on a different connotation in the New World and an Americanism came into being: the Boss.”  On page 270:  “In October of 1661 there was a grain shortage in the city and the municipal government issued an order to the bakers of the town to restrict themselves to baking bread and not “to bake any more koeckjes, jumbles or sweet cake.” “ This Dutch word is pronounced “cook-yehs,” which morphed into our word: cookies. Koolsla, or cabbage salad, is our modern cole slaw.  There are more “Dutch-isms” in our everyday language:  Dutch treat, Dutch courage, Double Dutch, Dutch bargain, Going Dutch, Dutch comfort……… which were all considered derogatory at the time (17th century)!  If you’ve ancestors living in the New York City area during the Dutch times, this is a great read for you. (You can buy a copy via Amazon.com starting at 76-cents for a used copy!)


Are you fully using your public library? Did you know that (among many other things) your library can offer you music, movies and books for free delivered to your own device???  Not to mention that most public libraries have a free WiFi area. Here in Spokane, two of our public libraries give our local genealogy society, groups and teachers free use of classrooms. We have an Ancestry Users’ Group, a Re-Focus Group, and we’ve been offering a 3-hour beginners’ workshop, all free to use the classroom and free to the folks who come. Some public libraries offer Heritage Quest online, Ancestry Library Edition and much more. Do check it out!


Did your Southern-dwelling ancestor disappear from the records after the Civil War?  Did you know that many Southerners went to Brazil to start over? There is a free-of-charge online book you may read telling more about this episode in American history.  Google Brazil, the home for southerners and the website with the full title (and content) will come up:  Brazil, the home for southerners: or, A practical account of what the author, and others, who visited that country, for the same objects, saw and did while in that empire.” By Ballard S. Dunn, 1829-1897. This book has been digitized by Google and is located in the Internet Archive.


Current sticky-wicket: Do you put your family tree on Ancestry? How do you upload your tree to Ancestry? What if you want to download it to upload it to another online tree? NO PROBLEM. Ancestry Support is there to help! The good news is that this process involves using GEDCOM which sounds complicated but Ancestry will hold your hand every step of the way. The bad news is that when you do decide to download your tree from Ancestry, any pictures, charts, books, views or similar items found in the original file will not be included in the GEDCOM. Vital information, notes, and sources are usually retained after conversion. (Emphasis mine.) There are other websites where you may want to post your tree: FamliySearch and MyHeritage to name two. I could now copy/paste the very long web link but I advise you to Google these words:  uploading downloading GEDCOM files ancestry 2016.  I printed out the full article for my personal tutorial.




Browsed upon a website all about dowsing rods, www.discoverrods.com , and learned more about the lost art of dowsing. “Although there seems to be no scientific proof for the way that dowsing or divining rods work, they have been used successfully for thousands of years. Generally, they are used to locate underground water sources. It is believed that the rods are simply reacting to magnetic fields or ions. But you can also locate lost graves and headstones….Discover Rods are an important tool for every genealogist!”  The website promises that they are “simple to use and each set includes an instruction guide and tips for locating your ancestors.” Cost is only $25 plus $5 shipping. They even have T-Shirts! Please, if you try this, let me know your story to share with others! I’m neither a believer not a skeptic but would like to learn more.



Serendipity Day

** Genealogy’s Star: A Must-Read Blog (in my opinion) & YouTube Channel

** Washington’s Colville Tribes Selected For The Next U.S. Census Test

**Insects: Future Or Past Food?

**How To Ensure All Will Be Lost



Gen Star

James Tanner crafts his Genealogy’s Star blog nearly two times per week and I read every post and learn something new each time. Back on 5 Mar 2016, he posted about the BYU Family History Library Channel on YouTube. He was discussing a new uploaded video titled, “Why You Can’t Trace Your Family Back To Adam.” Who would not want to view this video?? Here’s how: (1) Click to www.youtube.com;  (2) select the BYU Family History Library channel; (3) Chose what you want to view from the list of over 400 videos; and (4) Click the subscribe button to get notification of new videos as they’re uploaded.

May I, as your serendipity teacher today, give you two homework assignments today? First click to www.genealogysstar.blogspot.com (note the two “s”) and sign up for James Tanner’s blog. Next click to www.youtube.com and get going with your home learning from there!


An AP blurb in our local paper by Regina Garcia Cano, and from Sioux Falls, SD, read: “The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation is one of two National American reservations selected as test sites ahead of the 2020 census, as officials mull whether to ask for the first tie about tribal enrollment.” The two reservations are Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which straddles North and South Dakota, and the Colville reservation. “By selecting these geographic areas, we are allowing ourselves an opportunity to test our methods and procedures in areas where it is difficult to deliver questionnaires by mail,” said Deirdre Bishop, chief of the bureau’s Decennial Census Management Division.” I found this tidbit fascinating for many reasons. I’d not realized that the tremendous amount of decade-long work went into the taking of a census.

For more information on this (census taking) Google “Decennial Census Management Division.” Or “2020 U.S. Census.”  And ditto for more info on the two reservation test sites.



According to an article in the Delta Sky magazine for April 2016, the foods in our future may include insects……..bugs. Here is a link to a short video about Andrew Zimmern’s views on eating insects:  http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/bizarre-foods-celebrates-100/video/the-bug-eating-guy from the Travel Channel. There has been plenty of buzz about “how are we going to feed the hungry millions on our planet in the future…and are insects the answer?” in the media. But I was not prepared for the picture that accompanied that Delta Sky article: a lollipop with a nice fat caterpillar inside of it! Yum??

Now, you might say, what does this have to do with family history? Let me ask you this:  Did our ancestors eat insects? I think they surely did but not in the way you think. I think poor eyesight, poor lighting in homes, and creepy-crawlies everywhere and in everything ensured that there were insects in our ancestor’s food. Yum.


How to ensure that all your genealogy, your life’s work, will be lost. Eight thoughts from Donna.

  1. Do not ever make time to take to relatives and collect their memories and memorabilia.
  2. Do not make time to share photos with relatives and get positive ID for them.
  3. Do not bother to scan in old photos and memorabilia and certainly do not bother with backups.
  4. Do not both to compile a list of who-in-the-family gets what of all the family treasures you’ve collected over the years.
  5. When cleaning out grandma’s house after the funeral, just bring lots of big black plastic bags for everything to take to the dump or Goodwill.
  6. Do not bother with transferring all the family information you have stored in binders and boxes to an online program.
  7. Do leave so much stuff stuffed in your office that your kids will be overwhelmed and not really know what to keep and what to toss.
  8. Don’t make a plan for without a plan you surely will fail and your genealogy will be lost.

Sad Facts:  Your local genealogy society DOES NOT WANT all your binders and boxes of un-organized papers and stuff. Neither does the Family History Library. And neither do your kids! They want the information and not all the stuff and they want it organized.

The Reviews Are In. German Census Records 1816-1916 Gets Raves


What a happy ending! After all these years, family historians are no longer discouraged by futile searches into that formerly hidden and unorganized body of German censuses. Let’s sit back and listen to the cheers –from both sides of the water!
Shirley J. Riemer, author of “German Research Companion” and editor of “Der Blumenbaum”

Dr. Minert’s stupendous work has opened up a new world for German researchers.  No longer must one lament that census records are inaccessible or even “non-existent.”   He has made census records known and accessible.  All German genealogists should have this book and make it a standard reference in their research. Dr. Fritz Juengling, Research Specialist, Family History Library

This is truly a groundbreaking work! Roger Minert refutes the conventional knowledge that censuses were not taken in most German lands, with numerous examples proving that they do exist. He not only describes censuses taken in the German Empire, state by state, but gives pointers on where to obtain them. This opens a whole new realm to explore. Ernest L. Thode, author and lecturer in Germanic family history

Das Werk macht Historiker wie Genealogen auf vielfach völlig unbekannte Quellen aufmerksam, die zwischen 1816 und 1916 für das gesamte spätere Gebiet des ehemaligen Deutschen Reiches (1871 – 1916) und davor abdecken. Mit anderen Worten die Zeit nach dem Wiener Kongress bis zur Mitte des Ersten Weltkrieges. Ein unglaublich wertvoller Schatz für die Forschungen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts. Roger Minert führt ein in die historische Entwicklung und Gestalt der Volkszählungsakten. Roger Minert hat damit Neuland betreten, das er sich angeschickt hat, zu vermessen. Ein großer Schritt für die Genealogie in Deutschland. Er gibt damit Anstoß und ermutigt, diese Quellen auszuwerten und Interessierten zugänglich zu machen.“ Dirk Weissleder, Vorsitzender der Deutschen Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände e. V. (DAGV) [Translation below]

This book draws the attention of historians and genealogists to almost totally unknown resources. This is an amazing treasure for research in the German Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Roger Minert introduces researchers to the development and nature of census records and he encourages us to seek out and utilize those records. This is a gigantic step for genealogy in Germany. Dirk Weissleder, President of the Federation of German Genealogy Societies

Click Here to see the announcement I made several weeks ago. Click Here to Order

New FamilySearch Collections Update: May 9, 2016

A variety of small collection updates this week including Ecuador Catholic Church Records 1565‐2011, Germany Prussia East Prussia Königsberg Funeral Sermons 1597‐1794, Guam Judicial Land Obituaries and Census Records 1712‐2000, Ontario District Marriage Registers 1801‐1858, and can you believe, Zimbabwe Death notices 1904‐1976! See the table below for other additions this week.


Ecuador Catholic Church Records 1565‐2011 – 206,594 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Germany Mecklenburg‐Schwerin Census 1867 – 3 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Germany Prussia East Prussia Königsberg Funeral Sermons 1597‐1794 – 0 – 31,607 – New browsable image collection
Ontario District Marriage Registers 1801‐1858 – 0 – 2,738 – New browsable image collection
Zimbabwe Death notices 1904‐1976 – 10,358 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States Databases
Montana Meagher County Records 1866‐2012 – 1,030 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Texas World War I Records 1917‐1920 – 6,271 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Guam Judicial Land Obituaries and Census Records 1712‐2000 – 22,418 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection

Announcing new Pro Bono initiative: Tribal Quest


MyHeritage Launches Global Pro Bono Initiative to Document the Family Histories of Remote Tribes

Tribal Quest team members visit indigenous communities to create their family trees and record their family stories online, preserving them for future generations

TEL AVIV, Israel & WINDHOEK, Namibia & PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, May 10, 2016MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, unveiled today a new initiative — Tribal Quest — to record the family histories of communities that lack access to modern technology.

MyHeritage has completed its first two Tribal Quest expeditions to Namibia and Papua New Guinea, meeting elders and families of the Himba people in Namibia, and different tribal groups in Papua New Guinea. Collaborating with local guides, MyHeritage teams spent three weeks in each destination, interviewing hundreds of community members, taking thousands of family photos, gathering information at cemeteries, and attending local community events and rituals. The teams then processed all the data they gathered, cross-correlated and tagged it, and organized the family history information of over 6,000 members of tribal communities in 55 richly-detailed family trees. This information is now saved online on MyHeritage, preserving cultural heritage and personal family histories of tribal people forever.

At one of the villages deep in the rural Kunene region of Namibia, Tribal Quest team members met Mbunguha, a village elder who recounted family stories going back many generations. Mbunguha’s parents told him that he had been born during a particularly intense drought, marking a tough period for his family. He now worries about the effects that recent repetitive droughts, and the resulting economic instability, will have on his community. With the traditional Himba way of life now in decline and globalization and urbanization on the rise, Mbunguha is concerned that many family traditions will be lost. Mbunguha was eager to participate in the project and have his family history recorded to ensure that it is not lost for the next generations of the village. Mbunguha’s family tree — and those of his clan — are now preserved online on MyHeritage.

Further expeditions to other remote destinations are currently being planned.

“Across a wide range of diverse cultures and traditions, we all have family in common; we all learn from and honor our ancestors,” said Golan Levi, User Experience Expert at MyHeritage and founder of the Tribal Quest project. “This project aims to allow people around the world — no matter where or how they live — to save their ancestors’ legacies forever, for the benefit of their descendants, and our descendants.”

“We are privileged to be the global destination of choice for millions of people interested in discovering and preserving their family history,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “We love combining our work with pro bono projects, utilizing our technologies and our enthusiastic staff to bring the benefits of genealogy to more people. With Tribal Quest we are preserving diverse cultural heritage that is at risk, and doing it uniquely at the level of individuals and families. If we don’t do this, nobody else will, and therefore we must do it.”

The Namibia expedition is showcased online at www.tribalquest.org; Papua New Guinea expedition materials will be added soon. Visit the website to learn more about the project, view photos and read stories of the Himba people, and to get involved.
View the Tribal Quest introduction video.


About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the world’s fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees, and ground­breaking search and matching technologies. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to share family stories, past and present, and treasure them for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages. www.myheritage.com

Serendipity Day

How many presidents have visited YOUR town?

Ancient Mohawk Cemetery in New York

Eight Critical Thinking Skills

Oregon-California Trails Association

Is there a book with my family mentioned?

Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia


Blurb in our daily paper explained that Spokane has been visited by a dozen U.S. presidents plus some VPs, wives and others. Our list is Taft, Harding, both Roosevelts, Truman, Carter, Nixon, Clinton, Reagan, Ford and GW Bush. How about your town? How many presidential visits do you mark?


Cemeteries have always been of great interest to family historians. It’s always interesting to me to read about cemeteries of yore and of other cultures. In December 1634, three men set out from Fort Orange (now Albany) New York to make contact with the Mohawks to convince them that the Dutch made better trades than the French or English. They visited a series of villages, “surprising Harmen with their level of civilization. They encountered cemeteries, surrounded by palisades, ‘so neatly made that it was a wonder,’ and graves painted red, white and black. A chief’s tomb they found was large enough to have an entrance and was decorated with carvings and paintings of animals.” (From The Island at the Center of the World: Epic Story of Dutch in Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto, 2005.)


Another newspaper article spelled out the “Eight Critical Skills” or attributes that teens need to become well-functioning adults. As I read it, seemed to me that even we adults could tune up our skills in these areas, especially as genealogists:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Emotional intelligence (“a greater predictor of success in life than IQ”)
  • Values and ethics
  • Resourcefulness and resilience
  • Creative processing
  • Executive functioning, including basic social skills
  • Leadership perspective and the ability to see the big picture


Continue reading “Serendipity Day”

Filipino Amerasians – America’s Forgotten Children

Under U.S. President McKinley, the United States took possession of the Philippines, and took responsibility of The Philippines. U.S. servicemen fathered children with Filipino women and then…

The Many (Forgotten) Faces of America
When the US naval bases in the Philippines closed in 1992, the military left behind thousands of Amerasian children. Since the closings, American presence still exists and -contrary to initial estimate of 52,000 – it is now estimated that there are 250,000 Amerasian children, ranging from newborn to geriatric, abandoned in the Philippines. These Amerasians are acutely vulnerable, particularly to human trafficking, and painfully stigmatized. They live in abject poverty, forcing them to continue the cycle of marginalized sub-existence and prostitution.

My grandfather served in the U.S. Army between 1921-23. I wonder if I have any aunts, uncles, or cousins that I know nothing about. These are American children.

In 1982, the United States Congress voted to grant U.S. citizenship to Amerasians from Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries, in what was known as the Amerasian Homecoming Act. Although the Philippines has been a United States ally for more than a century, Filipino (and Japanese) offspring of soldiers were not included: they must be claimed by their former American G.I. fathers if they wish to claim their U.S. citizenship.

Even if I were to find family, in the Philippines, I can’t bring them home.

Written by Dale Meitzler

Read the full article.

New FamilySearch Database Collections Update as of May 2, 2016


Millions of new US an international records this week including Philippines Civil Registration (National) 1945-1984, New Zealand Archives New Zealand Probate Records 1843-1998, Massachusetts Town Clerk Vital and Town Records 1626-2001, France Saône-et-Loire Military Conscriptions 1867-1940, Russia Tatarstan Church Books 1721-1939, Paraguay Catholic Church Records 1754-2015, and Ukraine Kyiv Orthodox Consistory Church Book Duplicates 1734-1920. Find these and more by following the links below.


France Saône-et-Loire Military Conscriptions 1867-1940 – 244,795 – 0 – New indexed records collection
Lesotho Evangelical Church Records 1874-1983 – 0 – 20,396 – New browsable image collection.
New Brunswick Saint John Saint John Burial Permits 1889-1919 – 0 – 13,902 – New browsable image collection.
New Zealand Archives New Zealand Probate Records 1843-1998 – 10,511 – 363,839 – Added images to an existing collection
New Zealand Auckland Waikumete Cemetery Records 1886-1948 – 27,054 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Ontario County Marriage Registers 1858-1869 – 0 – 9,447 – New browsable image collection.
Paraguay Catholic Church Records 1754-2015 – 397,638 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru Lambayeque Civil Registration 1873-1998 – 339,222 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru Puno Civil Registration 1890-2005 – 0 – 248,882 – Added images to an existing collection
Philippines Civil Registration (National) 1945-1984 – 0 – 1,741,178 – Added images to an existing collection
Russia Tatarstan Church Books 1721-1939 – 0 – 444,585 – Added images to an existing collection
Russia Tver Church Books 1722-1918 – 0 – 905 – Added images to an existing collection
Ukraine Kyiv Orthodox Consistory Church Book Duplicates 1734-1920 – 0 – 205,216 – Added images to an existing collection

United States Databases

Arkansas Ex-Confederate Pension Records 1891-1939 – 172,347 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
California Fresno and Napa Counties Obituaries 1974-1997 – 65,850 – 76,098 – New indexed records and images collection
Iowa Church and Civil Marriages 1837-1989 – 13,474 – 0 – New indexed records collection
Iowa County Marriages 1838-1934 – 67,489 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Massachusetts Town Clerk Vital and Town Records 1626-2001 – 472,449 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Massachusetts Town Records ca. 1638-1961 – 58,412 – 87,781 – New indexed records and images collection
Michigan Church Marriages 1865-1931 – 2,303 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Michigan County Marriages 1820-1940 – 62,733 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
New Hampshire Birth Certificates 1901-1909 – 104,327 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
Pennsylvania Grand Army of the Republic Membership Records 1865-1936 – 14,100 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection
South Carolina Deaths 1915-1965 – 157,759 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection

Chinese Immigration to the United States, 1882-1944 Digital Archive

University of California, Berkeley has launched a new digital archive covering Chinese immigration to the United States between 1884-1944.


“From 1882 to 1943 the United States Government severely curtailed immigration from China to the United States. This Federal policy resulted from concern over the large numbers of Chinese who had come to the United States in response to the need for inexpensive labor. Congress passed several laws restricting their immigration and naturalization. In its efforts to regulate these matters, the Congress also established federal agencies that created documentation related to those activities and its management of those people under the existing legislation. This website provides an overview of that history and offers an online, searchable index to many of the nearly 200,000 ‘casefiles’ held at NARA which cover the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1880-1943).”

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

Serendipity from Donna

Even if you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, you know some local geography……….. like the Strait of Juan de Fuca separating the U.S. and Canada. Just learned that the man for whom the strait was named was a Greek!  Ioannis Phokas, or Apostolos Valerianus (seen it both ways) “is better known by the Spanish transcription of his name, Juan de Fuca, born 1536 on the Ionian island of Cefalonia and died there in 1602.  He was a maritime pilot in the service of the King of Spain, Philip II, and is known for his claim to have explored the Strait of Anian, now known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Now we both know!


German Census Records 1816-1916 – A Groundbreaking New Genealogy Resource


I need to first make a sincere apology. For years I have been telling people that there were very few German censuses taken – with a small number of exceptions. I didn’t know what I was talking about. I guess I could make the excuse that I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but I learned years ago that excuses aren’t worth anything. Actually, many German censuses were taken, some as early as the 1700s, but with most starting in 1816. And yes – many are accessible to researchers today.

After wondering for several years why American researchers know very little about German census records, my good friend, Dr. Roger Minert, found an opportunity to live in Europe for six months to investigate them. He was sure that many existed, but he could find very little information about them. While in Europe, he learned that even German researchers know very little about their census records! How could such a potentially important resource be lost to obscurity? In a new book, researchers can now learn where and when German census records were compiled, as well as why and how. The author also describes state by state the content of the census records and explains how surviving census documents can be located. This is groundbreaking information, of enormous value to anyone researching their German roots.

Would you like additional information about your family in old country? The information found in the parish registers is key to your research, but there’s often even more family information to be found in the German census records.

German Census Records, 1816-1916: The When, Where, and How of a Valuable Genealogical Resource is available and now shipping.

Note – this book is also available in a hardbound edition. Click on this link to be directed to that page at the FPRC website.

The following Table of Contents is found in the volume:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: A History of Census Records in the German States
  • Chapter 2: The Census of 1867: The Great Transition
  • Chapter 3: Census Records during the German Empire 1871-1918
  • Chapter 4: Census Records in the German States from 1816 to 1864
  • Chapter 5: Anhalt
  • Chapter 6: Baden
  • Chapter 7: Bayern [Bavaria]
  • Chapter 8: Brandenburg
  • Chapter 9: Braunschweig [Brunswick]
  • Chapter 10: Bremen (Hansestadt Bremen)
  • Chapter 11: Elsaß-Lothringen {Alsace-Lorraine]
  • Chapter 12: Hamburg (Hansestadt Hamburg)
  • Chapter 13: Hannover [Hanover]
  • Chapter 14: Hessen [Hesse]
  • Chapter 15: Hessen-Nassau [Hesse-Nassau]
  • Chapter 16: Hohenzollern
  • Chapter 17: Lippe
  • Chapter 18: Lübeck (Hansestadt Lübeck) [Luebeck]
  • Chapter 19: Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  • Chapter 20: Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  • Chapter 21: Oldenburg
  • Chapter 22: Ostpreußen [East Prussia]
  • Chapter 23: Pommern [Pomerania]
  • Chapter 24: Posen
  • Chapter 25: Reuß älterer Linie [Reuss Elder Line]
  • Chapter 26: Reuß jüngere Linie [Reuss Younger Line]
  • Chapter 27: Rheinprovinz [Rhineland Province]
  • Chapter 28: Sachsen-Altenburg [Saxe-Altenburg]
  • Chapter 29: Sachsen-Meiningen [Saxe-Meiningen]
  • Chapter 30: Königreich Sachsen [Kingdom of Saxony]
  • Chapter 31: Sachsen-Meiningen [Saxe-Meiningen]
  • Chapter 32: Provinz Sachsen [Province of Saxony]
  • Chapter 33: Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach [Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach]
  • Chapter 34: Schaumburg-Lippe
  • Chapter 35: Schlesian [Silesia]
  • Chapter 36: Schleswig-Holstein
  • Chapter 37: Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
  • Chapter 38: Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
  • Chapter 39: Waldeck
  • Chapter 40: Westfalen [Westphalia]
  • Chapter 41: Westpreußen [West Prussia]
  • Chapter 42: Württemberg [Wuerttemberg]
  • Chapter 43: German Census Records from 1816-1916: What Do We Know Now?
  • Chapter 44: Conclusions
  • Appendix A: Writing to Archives in Germany, France, and Poland
  • Appendix B: Conducting Census Research in Archives in Germany, France and Poland
  • Appendix C: Interesting Documents Relating to German Census Campaigns
  • Appendix D: The States of Germany in 1871
  • Bibliography
  • Index

German Census Records, 1816-1916: The When, Where, and How of a Valuable Genealogical Resource; by Roger P Minert, Ph.D., A.G.; 2016; 260 pp; 8.5×11; Softbound; ISBN: 9781628590777; Item #: FR0650