fnw11As a publisher, I really appreciate reviewing books first capture my eye with clean and clear page design (typesetting). When simple clean fonts are chosen with structured and organized page elements meeting basic design guidelines. When photos, charts, samples, and images stand out on a page as independent elements, but don’t overwhelm the page making it difficult to continue reading, this marks a respect for the reader, making the learning process easier. This clear type of design seems to be a standard at Family Tree Books. Their titles The Family Tree Guidebook To Europe: Your Essential Guide To Trace Your Genealogy In Europe, 2nd Ed. and The Family Tree Problem Solver : Tried And True Tactics For Tracing Elusive Ancestors are great examples. There is a third book published by this group, which we have not previously reviewed but is worth a look, that continues this simple but elegant design model, The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide: How To Trace Your Germanic Ancestry In Europe. Of course, its not all just about the layout. The content matters, and to that we give credit on this new German book to its author, James M. Beidler.

The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide: How To Trace Your Germanic Ancestry In Europeis your standard guide to research German ancestry. According to the cover, this book teaches you how to:

  • “Retrace you German immigrant ancestors’ voyage from Europe to America
  • Pinpoint the precise place in Europe your ancestors came from
  • Uncover birth, marriage, death, church, census, court, military,and other records documenting your ancestors’ lives
  • Access German records of your family from your own hometown
  • Decipher German-language records, including unfamiliar German script
  • Understand German names and naming patterns that offer research clues”

The concepts taught and examples given in this book aren’t necessarily new. However, these ideas, lessons, and tips are relatively thorough and well thought out. Putting this guide into practice in your own Germanic research would be easy, and you are very likely going to find some ideas as new to you. Plus, as a new book, all the resource lists will be fresh and up to date, including any websites.

German research has many unique challenges, which you probably already know. Taking advice from experienced researchers, such as author James M. Beidler, can only help your progress. So, whether you are new to German research, or seasoned in your own right, you may just find something new and useful in The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide: How To Trace Your Germanic Ancestry In Europe.




Part I Linking Your Family Tree to German-Speaking Nations

Chapter 1 Your German-Speaking Heritage

Chapter 2 Identifying the German-Speaking Immigrant

Chapter 3 Pinpointing the Place of Origin

Chapter 4 The history of Germanic Lands

Part 2 Getting to Know the Old Country

Chapter 5 Understanding Germany’s Geography

Chapter 6 Language, Surnames, Given Names

Part 3 Tracing Your Family in German-Speaking Nations

Chapter 7 Civil Registration in Germany

Chapter 8 German Church Records

Chapter 9 German Census and Court Records

Chapter 10 German Military Records

Chapter 11 Printed Records

Chapter 12 German-Speaking Peoples Outside of Germany

Part 4 Advanced Sources and Strategies

Chapter 13 Putting it all Together

Chapter 14 What to Do When You Get Stuck


Understanding German Script

Sample Letters to Request Records

Civil Record Archives in Europe

Church Archives in Germany

U.S. Genealogy Archives and Libraries

Societies: German, Genealogical, & Historical

Publications and Websites



Your own copy of The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide: How To Trace Your Germanic Ancestry In Europe awaits from Family Roots Publishing.