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German Special Interest Group 

We meet once a month at the Colts Neck Library  to discuss a selected topic about research skills, German history, or customs followed by question and answer time.

[Group History] [Recommended References & Links] [Translators][About our Founder]

See the What's New Page for the date of the next meeting.

Group History

This section is a contains minutes from German SIG meetings, articles about the SIG from The Monmouth Connection, emails about the group and announcements about the group in MCGS meetings.  The most recent entries are first. 

From Steve Strauss after February 21, 2015 Meeting:

Note that the Monmouth County Archives records are already on our links page.

Links from today's meeting:


Wuerttemberg Emigration Index - On Ancestry


2/7/2015 The Economist

The Silent Minority



Many gerrman databases and records


Look under Database Searches on left side


Monmouth County records




November 16, 2013 - Highlights of the German SIG Meeting

The September issue of the German Genealogy Group had a list of good translation tools:

babelfish.com. digitaldialects.com, wiki.familysearch.org, translate.google.com, stevemorse.org, translation2.paralink.com

Genmatch was recommended to upload your data from 23andme

A book was recommended:

German Genealogy, 3rd Ed., Edward R. Brandt, et.al, published by the Germanic Genealogy Society

Dec. 7-8, Saturday 10-9 and Sunday 10-5 there is a Christmas Market(Weihnachtsmarkt) at the Lake Mohawk County Club Boardwalk, Route 15 in Sparta, NJ.  lakemohawkgermanchristmasmarkt.com

May 19, 2012 - Minutes of the German SIG Meeting

Follow-up to last meeting:  Debbie White distributed information on locating E. Wade Hone’s 3-part course on Austro-Hungary research “The Austro-Hungary Buffet” that appeared in Heritage Quest magazine:

                Part 1:  Introduction to History/Geography – Sept./Oct. 2003, pp. 42-54


                Part 2: Locating Ecclesiastical Resources – Nov./Dec. 2003, pp. 74-90


                Part 3:  Researching Ecclesiastical Resources – Feb. 2004, pp. 92-98


Suggestions for meeting topics that Debbie received from members of the group were read.

·         Lynne Klemens (via email)  recommended having group members take turns covering topics of interest,  such as types of records available or regions of Germany.  People need to be given a month or two to prepare for this to work. 

·         Lynne also suggested the idea that group members explain what research they have done to find their German ancestors. This would point out what types of records are available and how they can provide information.

·         Another idea:  members could each share a book, website, organization, tool, etc. that they found most useful when starting out.

·         Linda Patterson could explain what all she has put on the SIG’s web pages.  Linda noted that the website has a list of resources culled from the minutes of group meetings.  You can find this at:


·         Bonnie Strand volunteered to describe the genealogy work she did that located a famous actress relative (who was not a burlesque dancer….)

·         Ray Veth suggested that each attendee share information about the names and locations they were researching.  This was adopted as the agenda for this meeting.

Summary of attendee research interests:

·             Ray Veth:  one ancestor to Newark c.1840 from Hesse/Frankfurt

·             Heidi Phelon: from  Breslau (now Roclaw) in Silesia

·                Mary Schulz:  Trock/Schulz from Ragnit (now Tilset) Poland

·                Bonnie Strand: Weisenburger and Moise from Hungary (now Romania); Weisenburgers traced back to Alsace-Lorrain

·                Rich Yackel:  Yackel (not original spelling) from near Frankfurt, arrived U.S. 1850

·                Robert Fruh:  several lines including one from Wertheim, Rhineland Palatinate, one from Bremen/Hamburg area on North Sea, one from Saxony, and one from Alsace-Lorrain (brick wall).

·               John O’Brian:  Oberts of Staufen in the Black Forest area; also a line from Baden-Baden.

·               Henry Butow:  one line from Pomerania (now Poland); another line from Württemberg.

·                Linda Patterson:  one from Danzig corridor; another to Everbach in Württemberg.

·               Judy Bretzger:  Bretzgers, Rettingers from Wachenheim, Pfalz; also Knoellers of Württemberg

·               Nancy Tarbell: focus on relatives in the U.S. since late 1800’s including Hoffmans of Red Bank, NJ.  Does not have homeland  location in Germany.

·              Debbie White:  Hofstetters, some from Peterd, Hungary and Zieseniss family from Hamburg


Heidi Blum passed around information about an expert in East Galicia/Western Ukraine (Silesia) genealogy, Matthew Bielawa, who is a member of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast.  His email is: [email protected]

Ray Veth has used a list-serve about Austro-Hungary genealogy; he will bring more information about it to the next meeting.

Ray recommended the book “Our Daily Bread:  German Village Life 1500-1850” by Teva Scheer, Adventis Press, 2010.

Lynne Klemens (via email) provided information on a book that might be helpful for those struggling with reading German -- “If I Can, You Can: Decipher Germanic Records” by Edna M. Bentz, 1982.  It can be purchased through Amazon or through the deceased author's daughter for $17.50: Tamara J. Bentz, 9150-187 Gramercy Dr., San Diego, CA 92123-4001, or [email protected]

Another recommended book was the” German Research Companion” by Riemer, Minert, & Anderson, 3rd Ed., 2010, Lorelei Press.

Heidi passed around pages from the book “German Church Books Beyond the Basics” by Kenneth Smith that have detailed information on handwriting.

Members should check the website www.germanoriginality.com , where there are 10 pages listing German genealogy resources.   Look under the “Heritage” choice there.


·         Heidi Phelon is looking for anyone with knowledge on rings with crests for impressing wax.

·         Why go to the library in Salt Lake City:  you can use books there that you cannot get the library to send out, you can see records that are not yet online, and you have direct manual access to microfilms of interest.


·         The annual ceremony in honor of the New Era shipwreck victims [German immigrants] will be on Memorial Day at the cemetery at Old First Methodist Church in West Long Branch.  Probably 11 a.m.  Contact Bonnie Strand if interested in the details.

·         The annual cleanup at the cemetery in Newark will be next weekend.  Contact Mary Lish (through either Ray Veth or Nancy Tarbell).

·         The next SIG meeting will be at 10 a.m. on Sept. 22 at the Colts Neck Library.

Bonnie Strand              

March 31, 2012 - Minutes of the German SIG Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of the German Special Interest Group of the Monmouth County Genealogical Society for  March 31, 2012., 10 am  at the Colts Neck Public Library:

Bob Breen was the speaker for this morning’s meeting.  His topic was “Finding  Living Distant Relatives in Germany and Europe.” 

Bob proposed a three-pronged strategy, using Ancestry, Google and Facebook.  He strongly recommended using the “keyword” entry fields, and putting in the names of the small town from which your ancestor came.  He also spoke of an online site that gives German military records from both World Wars.  German sites present the difficult language barrier, but can be rewarding. Some time was spent discussing the value of Social Media – Facebook and the trees on Ancestry.  Facebook obviously has millions of members worldwide. 

Members offered suggestions that included:

1. Using online translators – Babblefish and others

2. Using “type it” to get keystroke patterns for diacritical markings in foreign languages

3. Checking the publications of the German Genealogy Group for hints and web sites

4. Checking the web site of the Genealogical Society of English Speaking Researchers in Europe

Bonnie Strand brought us up to date on the sinking of the clipper ship New Era off the coast of Deal in 1854.  This January, a Dr. Funacola, an expert of the event found a huge piece of wood that he believes came form the ship. Bob Breen suggested that the German Genealogy Group might have manpower and interest in the ship whose artifacts are now spread around the surrounding towns’ historical societies and museums.  The Shipwreck Museum in Camp Evans was mentioned. 

The next German SIG will meet on May 19 at 10 am at the Library.

Debra White will maintain the email list and reserve the room..

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Ronnng

Feb 4, 2012 - Minutes of German S Meeting 

Judy Bretzger is currently acting as coordinator for the group.  She is looking for someone else to take on this role.  The job could be split between a person responsible for programs and a second person responsible for physical arrangements and mailings.  Volunteers should contact Judy.


  •  Group member Robert Fruh is willing to assist with translating German

  • The Long Island German Genealogy Group puts out a good newsletter “Der Ahnenforscher.”  One can subscribe to an electronic copy for $15 a year.  See their website at http://www.theggg.org      NOTE:  it is definitely NOT the website http://theggg.org that was given  out at the meeting

  • Judy handed out a copy of “Using the Hamburg Emigration Lists on Ancestry.com” by Juliana Smith, which was reprinted in this newsletter

  • There was a request for Judy to also distribute the Web Information page from the most recent newsletter to members of our group

  • Reminder: The MCGS workshop on military records is Saturday, April 21.  Members were asked to distribute copies of this workshop announcement.

  •  There is a new German-American Heritage Museum in Washington, DC, run by the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA.  Their website is:  http://www.ugac.org/gahm/gahm.htm

  • Two new members were introduced:  Nancy Tarbell and Mary Schulz

The meeting consisted of questions and suggestions shared by attendees.  Contributions included

  •   It’s useful to search on the surname in Family Search

  • One can sometimes determine the village of origin via the name of the photographer on a family photo

  •  It’s possible to look up surnames in German telephone directories to find current descendants.  http://www.dastelefonbuch.de is one source

  • Canada has censuses every 10 years in years ending in 1, e.g. 1901.  The Archives Canada website was recommended

  • Search Google images using surname, village name, church name.

  • To find a birth certificate from a known city in Germany, it was recommended to write a letter.  For help, see the http://www.familysearch.org Research Helps section for the German Letter Writing Guide.

  •  A possible future meeting idea for this group is a visit to a Family History Center.

  • Linda has put extensive information from past SIG meetings at the MCGS website:  https://sites.rootsweb.com/~njmcgs/german.htm

  • For information on the changing borders of European countries, a Family Chronicle article was recommended.  [Debbie, can you provide details of date, issue, etc.?

  • For persons who were not naturalized, NARA has Alien Registration files.  An index to some of these files is online at the National Archives Kansas City site

  • A good starting point for research is to search for the desired surname in the microfiches of IGI records held at the Family History Centers.  (IGI records are also available online at www.familysearch.org.)

  • Does anyone have information on the Red Bank German Singing society?  Possible sources of information are local newspapers and the extant Newark group Sängerchor Newark.  See http://cazoo.org/SCN/

Next meeting:  March 31, 2012.  Proposed topic is doing European research online.  Judy will check if Bob Breen is available for this session.

Bonnie Strand

Nov 2011 – General Meeting

Before the start of the meeting, President Carol Megill made a sad announcement.  "Joan Shipley passed away Saturday morning.  She had been very active in our Society.  She had been Committee Chairperson for Mail Order Sales, member of First Families, former Greeter, and had started the German Interest Group.  She will be terribly missed by our society.  Out of respect for her, the German Interest Group meeting scheduled for Nov 19th, is cancelled."

Oct  8, 2011 – German SIG Meeting

We met at the Middletown Public Library for a hands-on session about the LDS Family History website at www.familysearch.org

This site has a wonderful search engine especially if you know the village of your ancestor.  I left off the word “Germany” in the location box and just put the village name to avoid all the US census information and found a number of my ancestors along with FHL film numbers.

The updated website can be entered by selecting “Try our Updated Site”,  “Learn” , “Resource Courses” and then “Germany” leads to links to 10 German research lessons such as “German Letter Writing Guide” or “German Beginners Research”.

There is a bar “Return to Previous Page” to return to the original site.

For more information about your potential ancestor, be sure to search the Film library.  This can be selected on the new site by selecting "Catalog" and on the old site by Selecting "Library" then "Library Catalog".  The catalog can be searched by Place-Name, Title, Film # etc.  To order films online go to https://www.familysearch.org/films/    and see below in the References section for more links within the Family History Library website.

The next meeting will be Nov 19, at Colts Neck, subject – translations. 

Sept 2011- Email from Joan

"Guten Tag,
 We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the first meeting of our second season.  Willkommen Oktoberfest ! !

 Please note that our meeting will take place at the Middletown Public Library, not the Colts Neck Library, on Saturday, October 8 at 10:00 am to noon.  The library is reserving the computer lab for our group where we will explore many of the interesting German research aids on the new Family History web site. You may want to bring some ancestor names, dates, and/or location for practice.

Following a break, we will focus on your summer genealogy fun - - - we would enjoy hearing about travels to distant shores, visits to the family town, church, or cemetery, or a helpful archives.  Did you find new information or expand on previous research ?  Bring photos, charts, etc. to pass around the group.

The meeting will conclude with a modest raffle. rsvp - thank you. 

Auf Wiedersehen,"  Joan Shipley 

September 2011 – Email from Joan

 "I have been busy during the summer break gathering registrations and suggestions from former and new members.   The suggestions from members are an aid to planning a program for the coming year.  My attendance at the FGS Conference was beneficial for expanding my knowledge of German research and history.  The special 4 hour German Workshop was great !  The speaker was from Family Search group, very knowledgeable, and encouraging.  Some of the subjects covered in the workshop have been taught by me in the beginning German SIG program (Winter 2011). I hope to follow thru with continued German research skills, history, and customs in the coming 2011-12 year.

German SIG meetings are scheduled for Oct. 8, Nov. 19, and Jan. 21 (snow day Jan 28).  Reminders are sent to members about two weeks before the meeting." JS

 July 2011 - TMC

"Field Trip to the New York Public  Library was reported as a big success, with eight members traveling by train and subway to investigate the holdings of the library’s Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy. In response to Joan’s advance preparations, the library provided the group with an attentive contact person, Ms. Clayton, and had set aside two tables for their use. The group learned of recent changes at the library;  researchers must have a library card to have books pulled, but the process of registering for a card was quick and painless."

 May 21, 2011 – German SIG Meeting

Joan discussed the June trip to the New York Public Library and announced that there would be no more meetings in the summer but that they would resume in the Fall.    

The Library has many holdings that Joan felt would be of interest to members of our group:

  • Microfilm of Baltimore and other City Newspapers
  • Many City Directories
  • Guides to German Church Record

She recommended that we visit their online directory before the trip at  http://catalog.nypl.org/ 

She recommended a German translator:

            Elka Wilkins (732)870-1145  [email protected]

May 2011 – Email from Joan

"Hello Everyone,
 Just a reminder that we will meet on Saturday, May 21 at 10:00-12:00 am at the Colts Neck Library on the lower level.
 Our discussion for a day of questions and answers will be "Where did you find the Ancestors' German Records ? "    What book or web site or lecture, etc gave you a clue to where the ancestor's records where located ?  Please bring copies of information, books, etc to share with the group.  

If you have not found the German records and are feeling frustrated bring your questions for discussion.

The date for the June meeting has changed to June 18 (from June 25). 

At the last meeting, I had mentioned the possibility of having an "outing" for our June meeting.  I need a count for the number of people who are interested in going to the New York Public Library.  We would leave by train from the Middletown train station which has lots of parking.  Senior train fare is $6.50 each way.  Regular adult fare is $14.25 one way.  Other details to be announced, however before proceeding I need a count for the number of people who are interested.  Please RSVP by May 15.

Thank you all for your interest and enthusiasm."  Joan Shipley, Chairman

May 2011- Executive Meeting

There was discussion on raising the SIG’s to committee status, with their chair attending the board meeting and having a budget.  Judy Bretzger made a motion that all existing and future chairpersons of Special Interest Groups be placed on the board, as the head of their committee.  Debbie White seconded it.  The motion passed.  Presently we have the German group and there is interest in an Irish group.

May 2011 – TMC

"It's not too late to join the German Interest Group' the newest addition to MCGS's offerings..Drop in on the next meeting, May 21, at 10AM at the Colts Neck Library and improve your skills. or help someone else find their German ancestors.

The 20 plus members, led by Chair Joan Shipley began meeting January 26 and have discussed basic resources for the pursuit of "Die Vorfahren'"

Joan pointed out that Ancestors in German Archives, A Guide to Family History, Sources by Reginald Wright III and others, is a good starting point for German research. It may be found in the Reference section at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library -- call number R929.343 WRI.  This reference work lists each German state and then the archives and repositories located in each town or city within it, with a description of the holdings.

Another resource The German Research Companion has been described as "an information bonanza." Its 700 plus pages are crammed with material essential to a successful search fo German ancestors. Everything from German history timelines to ship's names to repository addresses to tips for letter writing to German abbreviations to vocabulary lists are found here.

We found the section on German names to be particularly, helpful for dealing with the rnuitiple "first" or given names of our German ancestors.  The German Research Companion, Third Edition, by Shirley J. Riemer. Roger P. Minert. and Jennifer A. Anderson is available from Lorelei Press.

At the group's February 26 meeting Bob Fruh explained the importance of yet another basic resource, Meyer’s Orts or Meyer’s Gazeteer of the German Empire. This can be found at several sites, including microfiche at the Family History Centers (#6000001-29), ancestry.com and familysearch.org.  Bob also informed the group that genealogical societies exist within each German state and can be very helpful. He will report on this at a future meeting. 

(Our first try at using Meyer’s Orts was intimidating.  We were bewildered by both the language and the format. Then we did something unconventional. We read the directions!   FamilySearch.org features a superb description of the gazetteer and how to use it, including translations of the myriad abbreviations. We highly recommend it.) 

Limited knowledge of the German language is a problem for many members. Sometimes seeking the help of professional researchers and paying a fee is unavoidable. The Association 0f German Speaking Professional Genealogists is one place to look. It is a professional association whose rnembers work as professional genealogists in the regions in which German is spoken or in the areas in which German was historically spoken. They may be found at www.berufsgenelaogie.net/english/start.htm

A future issue of TMC will list some German translators and researchers known to MCGS members.

Nancy Ronning volunteered to record the minutes at the February meeting. She neatly  summed up the discussion of lineage books: "Lineage books exist for some parishes; or towns in Germany, published under the general series titled 'Ortisippenbucher.' They arc a goldmine if one exists for yours. Places to look for ortisippenbucher are the Library ol Congress, the New England Genealogy and Historical Society and possibly the German genealogy collections at large public libraries and specialty libraries."   JB

Apr 9, 2011 – German SIG Meeting

Our April meeting was held at the Colts Neck Public Library.  Joan led the discussion of using Meyer’s Orts to get information about the city, town or village of our ancestor.  Localities in Germany are arranged in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) according to the boundaries of the 1871 German Empire. This is an excellent gazetteer, indicating which of the localities have parishes and which have civil registration offices. The entries of the different localities have many abbreviations.

Joan pointed out that there  were several Gothic letters that looked similar(A & U, D, O, and Q, and B, P).

She gave us an overview of the abbreviations use in Meyer’s Orts such as

·         StdA. – Standwsamt(city hall)

·         Ev. Pfk – Evangelische Pfarrkirche(Protestant parish)

·         Cath. Pfk. – Katholique Pfarrkirche(Catholic parish)

·         AG – Court district which handles marriage contracts, probate records and civil registry

Ancestry.com has a good page on using Meyer’s Orts at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1074 and

Joan recommended that we go to https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Abbreviation_Table_for_Meyers_Orts_und_Verkehrs_Lexikon_Des_Deutschen_Reichs for a table of the abbreviations used in Meyer’s Ort. In addition, selecting “Research Helps” on the top bar and then the letter “G”, leads to a page of links to German Letter Writing Guide, German Research Guide and German Genealogy Word List.

March 2011 - TMC

After a successful initial meeting, the German Interest Group (GIG) plans to continue meeting at the Colts Neck Library on Saturday, February 26 and Saturday, April 9. MCGS members who want to sharpen their skills in German research or share their experiences with others are welcome.

March 2011 General Meeting

The next meeting is Apr 9, 2011, from 10 – 12, at Colts Neck Library.

 Feb 26,  2011 - German  SIG Meeting

"We met from 10AM-12PM at the Colts Neck public library We will discuss how to find the archives/library that holds the records for your ancestors and their families.

Joan Shipley opened the meeting and presided.

The group was advised that NARA in New York City is moving from Varick Street to the Alexander Hamilton Custom House  at 1 Bowling Green.  Further information and directions at archives.gov.

Sources for information on German town and villages was discussed at length.  To find the state in which a village is located use:

1.    maps

2.    Google maps

3.    Wikipedia

4.    Family History Center has microfilm which is cataloged according to the boundaries of the German Empire of 1871 when the unification of Germany began.  See the 1871 map handout from first class.  If you do not have one go to: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~george/germany-map-germanempire-1866-1877   Gazetteers        

Meyers Orts (abbreviated title) is a well-known gazetteer of German place names. Published in 1912, it is difficult to use due to the Gothic script, and many abbreviations. However, it is especially helpful. The books may be found at:

1.    Ancestry.com; go to the card catalog, then go to Meyer’s Gazetteer for the German Empire

2.    Family History Center’s fiche # 6000001-293.

3.    New York Public Library in the map room.

Translation of lengthy documents often presents a problem.   The following are professional translators known to members of the society.  

Tom Huntzelman  for Translations and German research
3226 Rustic Lane
Erie, PA 16506
Phone: 814-833-6870
[email protected]

Anne C. Sherwin  - an accredited translator 
1918 Medford Road
Raleigh NC 27606-4732
Phone: 919-859-5846 
Web site:

Bob Fruh has offered to help with small items. Contact him at: [email protected]

Joan then led the group in a discussion of archives in many German cities and towns. Their existence and locations are to be found in a volume held in the reference collection of the Eastern Branch and Manalapan branch of the Monmouth County Libraries:

Wright III, Raymond S.,  Ancestors In German Archives: A Guide to Family History Archives. R929.343

A genealogical society exists within each state in Germany.  They can be very helpful.  Bob Fruh will investigate and report on how to find them.

Marriage and burial customs were discussed.

Variations in spelling were discussed (y  to i, t  to  d, etc,)

Abbreviations abound in German reference books, especially in familienbuch and Meyers Orts, a gazetteer.  A helpful handout was distributed.

Lineage books exist for some parishes or towns in Germany. Published under the general series title Ortsippenbucher.  They are a goldmine if one exists for yours.  Places to look for Ortsippenbucher are The Library of Congress, the New England

Genealogy and Historical Society, and possibly the German genealogy collections at large public libraries, and specialty libraries.

Other valuable reference books:

Bentz, Edna M. Deciphering Germanic Names  [email protected]

Riemer, Shirley. Germanic Research Companion. Lorelei Press. 3rd edition [email protected]

Thode, Ernest. German English Genealogical Dictionary. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992.

Respectfully submitted,"  Nancy Ronning

Mar 31, 2011 – Email from Joan

"Hello Everyone !

Spring weather is just around the corner, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, April 9th from 10:00 am. to noon.  As usual the meeting will take place on the main level of the Colts Neck Library at the Colts Neck Municipal Complex.

 This meeting will be a little different from our previous discussion meetings as there will be a workshop.  Many people requested help finding their ancestor's village, then finding the sources of documents, and help with the language/writing.  Hopefully this workshop about  Meyers Gazetteer of the German Empire will answer some questions.

Homework assignment ! It is important that you bring the following:   
1 - your German folder with German Empire of 1871 colored map.  If you do not have a copy you may print out  a colored map from http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~george/germany-map-germanempire-1866-1877

2- copy of German Gothic style alphabet available at: https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/images/2/23/Old_German_Handwriting  I enlarged the computer print slightly on my copy for easier reading. Print 1 page.

3 - copy of How to Use the Meyers Gazetteer from the web site:familysearch.com Go to research guidance, then go to articles, then go to title shown above.  Print all 5 pages ! 

4 - and finally a copy of your ancestor's village information from  Again I suggest that you enlarge the print for easier reading.  If your ancestor came from a large city it would be easier to copy a smaller town for practice.

Some hints for finding your ancestor's village in the gazetteer is to use the small box at the right of the screen,

Also remember to use the German spelling for the village.  This is especially important for those former Prussian lands in Eastern Europe." JS

February 2011 – Email from Joan
"Just a reminder that the German Genealogy Group will meet this coming Saturday, February 26 at 10:00am at the Colts Neck Library meeting room on the main floor.   I expect this subject to lead to further discussion of the archives and their collections. Bring examples, books, web site addresses, etc to share with the group.
 Please bring your German folder, notebook, and pens/pencils.  Come prepared to discuss where you found your ancestor's village records. If you are seeking this information, bring your questions - - -

 Thank you to everyone for your positive comments about the "new" German Genealogy Group. I am looking forward to seeing you Saturday." JS

January 2011 - Executive Meeting

Joan Shipley reported that 20 people responded to the initial survey. The first meeting is on Saturday, January 29, 2011 from 10 to 12 at the Colts Neck Library. Generally the group will plan to meet on the last Saturday of each month.

Jan 29, 2011 – German SIG Meeting

The first meeting of the German SIG was held on January 29th at the Colts Neck Public Library.  Please see the May TMC article below for more information

Nov 2010 – General Meeting

Joan Shipley passed out a survey to interested people, for the proposed German group.

Sept 2010 – Executive Meeting

Several members expressed interest in forming a Special Interest Group for German Genealogy.  Joan Shipley was named Chair of the proposed group.  Interested persons include Betty Becker, Carol Megill, Debra White, Linda Patterson and Jerry Smith.

Recommended References and Links

Bentz, Edna M. Deciphering Germanic Names  [email protected]

German Empire of 1871 colored map:  http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~george/germany-map-germanempire-1866-1877.jpg

 Meyers Gazetteer of the German Empire.  http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1074 

New York Public Library Online Catalog:  http://catalog.nypl.org/

Riemer, Shirley. Germanic Research Companion. Lorelei Press. 3rd edition [email protected] Meyers Gazetteer of the German Empire.

Thode, Ernest. German English Genealogical Dictionary. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992.

Wright III, Raymond S.,  Ancestors In German Archives: A Guide to Family History Archives. R929.343

   A searchable database German to Polish and Polish to German for localities.  The results list the converted name, name of the county, closest church parishes, map  coordinates and link to a Google map.

http://www.atsnotes.com/other/gerpol.html#po This has maps of Prussia in 1870 and 1917, a link to a German gazeteer which lists the county and closest church parishes for German towns and a limited table(s) which converts German to Polish and Polish
to German town names.

www.familysearch.org    Family History Library Homepage(old)

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp   Search Family History Library Catalog(old)

https://www.familysearch.org/   Family History Library Homepage(new)

https://www.familysearch.org/#form=catalog   Search Family History Library Catalog(new)

https://www.familysearch.org/films/    Order FHL films online

 E. Wade Hone’s 3-part course on Austro-Hungary research “The Austro-Hungary Buffet” that appeared in Heritage Quest magazine:

                Part 1:  Introduction to History/Geography – Sept./Oct. 2003, pp. 42-54


                Part 2: Locating Ecclesiastical Resources – Nov./Dec. 2003, pp. 74-90


                Part 3:  Researching Ecclesiastical Resources – Feb. 2004, pp. 92-98


Members should check the website www.germanoriginality.com , where there are 10 pages listing German genealogy resources.   Look under the “Heritage” choice there.

List of sites which contain some pictures of German soldiers and their stores during the wars:

This is some great information for people that have served in the military.

    1. Aviation Pioneers
    2. World War I Aces
    3. Hall of Fame of the Air
    4. WW2 European Theater (ETO)
    5. WW2 Pacific Theater (PTO)
    6. WW2 US Marine Corps
    7. WW2 US Navy Aces
    8. WW2 Mediterranean (MTO)
    9. WW2 German Aces
    10. Korean War Aces
    11. Russian Aces
    12. Vietnam Era Aces

1.     Airplanes

1.     dWorld War I Planes

2.     1930s Aircraft photos

3.     WW2 Fighters

4.     WW2 Bombers

5.     WW2 German Planes

6.     WW2 Airplane Pictures

7.     History of Airplanes blog

8.     Nose Art

9.     Postwar Jets

1.     World War Two

1.     WW2 Facts and Firsts

2.     WW2 Medals

3.     WW2 Museums

4.     WW2 Pictures

5.     WW2 Ships


Translation of lengthy documents often presents a problem.   The following are professional translators known to members of the society.  

Tom Huntzelman  for Translations and German research
3226 Rustic Lane
Erie, PA 16506
Phone: 814-833-6870
[email protected]

Anne C. Sherwin  - an accredited translator 
1918 Medford Road
Raleigh NC 27606-4732
Phone: 919-859-5846 
Web site:

Elka Wilkins 
Phone: 732)870-1145 email:
[email protected]

About our Founder: Joan E. Shipley

"It is with great sadness that we report the sudden death of long-time MCGS member Joan E. Shipley on November 12, 2011. 

Joan and her thousand watt smile will be greatly missed.

Joan’s contributions to MCGS were many. Most recently she was the chair and driving force behind the newly formed German Special Interest Group. Prior to that she served for three years as Greeter, the public face of the society, signing in members and guests and keeping attendance records at each general meeting. She served a stint as MCGS Secretary in 2006 and was active in establishing the First Families of Old Monmouth County. She was still a member of the committee when she died.  She served on the Ways and Means committee in 1999 and Mail Order Sales in 2001 and 2002.

 Joan’s accomplishments and her photo often appeared in this newsletter, most recently leading a successful German Interest Group field trip to the New York Public Library (TMC November 2011), commemorating the New Era Shipwreck (TMC July 2011) and publishing her book, “The Koeune Immigrants and Their Luxembourg Ancestors (TMC November 2009).

 Preserving, identifying and dating old photographs was a favorite pursuit of Joan’s. She had begun lecturing to local genealogy groups on this topic. She also gave of her time by volunteering every Tuesday at the Family History Center in Eatontown, assisting Joan was a member of the Luxembourg American Cultural Society, the Chicago Genealogical Society and the National Genealogical Society. She was most proud, as related in her obituary in the Asbury Park Press, of earning Daughters of the American Revolution certification for her eldest daughter and at the time of her passing was compiling documentation for Chicago Pioneer certification. Her sister and daughter plan to submit the application in her honor.

Joan was born in Evanston, IL, the eldest daughter of Nicholas R. and Rosalie M. LeJeune Troik. She graduated from the National College of Education in 1962 and later taught second grade. She married Edward N. Shipley of Baltimore, MD on June 22, 1963 and lived in Bethesda, MD and Potomac Md before moving to Holmdel in 1972. 

Our sincere condolences to Ed; to her  children:  Elisabeth of Ridgewood, NJ; Linda Mayhew of Austin TX, and Edward of Vernon CT; and her sister Margaret Jean Lillethun of Vorhees, NJ."

TMC January 2012



WebSite Created: 1998
WebPage Updated:  26 July 2015
WebHost: Linda Patterson

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