James M. Beidler, author German Genealogy Guide: How To Trace Your Germanic Ancestry In Europe, has a passion for ethnic German research. Are you ready to “jump the pond” a genealogy phrase for searching outside of the United States? Mr. Beidler provides hints for finding necessary records before crossing the water. Chapter one offers heritage information. Chapter two offers suggestions on how to identify the German speaking immigrant. Germany was not grouped together until 1871; many of our ancestors that spoke the German language lived in Switzerland, Austria, France and other areas of Europe.
Were your ancestors “First Boat” or “Second Boat” immigrants? Do you have ancestors from both waves of immigrants? Page 31 explains the differences such as date of arrival and possible origins. Start with the census records. Every census provides different clues. For discrepancies , usually the answer closest to the event provides accurate the information. Know history, what stigma may provoke answers. Mr. Beidler explains history, records, language, names, how to translate and more. Skim through the first reading to understand his outline. If new to German ancestral research, read in small increments. Practice reading and writing script. Search online (URL’s in appendix) for maps, societies and archives. As a reference book, the genealogist will appreciate the many examples, references, and bibliography.
My rating of four stars reflects my inability to identify the target reader and the scope of the material. After reading through the book several times, the target reader would be a serious beginning ethnic German researcher. The appendices include sample letters in German, society contact information, suggested websites and more. The book is worth the resources in the appendices. Personal records are cited. Neither maps nor other historical details are sourced. Where would the reader find the specific maps used as examples? On page 7, the author states that the scope of his book, “This guide covers the areas that today are part of Germany, that were part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918, as well as Austria and Switzerland.” My interpretation is that only German records between 1871 and 1918 would be discussed. My ancestors arrived in America in 1833, 1850, 1854, 1862 and 1864. The author covers many facts with tips and timelines for these earlier migration patterns. Yes, the book is worth looking into to see if it covers your research needs.
Also, James Beidler has authored Legacy Quick Guide: German Genealogy. This four page laminated guide provides a reference that includes history, maps, basic resources, timeline, research strategies, common terms. A supplementary guide to the book.
The Best of Roots and Branches collects the editor’s, Terri J. Bridgewater, choice of articles from Pennsylvania’s only syndicated family history newspaper column. Topics include case studies, methodology, DNA, web sites, newspapers, records, Germans and tips. Tips and tricks for any genealogist. Written in Pennsylvania; pertinent to any area.
All of Mr. Beidler’s material will make great gifts!