Wednesday, June 19, 2013

German Research

This afternoon I attended a meeting of our German Interest Group (GIG) which is a subset of the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS).  We began discussing research in general and two potentially fruitful research areas were mentioned: Church Records of U.S. German Churches and U.S. German Language newspapers.  Like the other ethnic groups such as the Italians, Irish and Scandinavians; the German communities in America often had their own churches and newspapers.  It your German ancestors lived in one of these communities, then it is definitely worth the effort to research German church and newspaper archives.  

Totally in tune with the electronic world of today, members of the group were immediately on their smartphones, iPads, laptops and other devices pulling up record sources.  One that seems worthy of mention is Roger P. Minert's 14 Volumes of U. S. German Church Records.  Unfortunately the volumes don't cover all of the U.S.; but certainly the areas with the greatest concentration of German immigrants.  My interest is Indianapolis, Indiana for researching Joanne's gggrandfather, Frederic Schmidt; and Volume 1 of Minert's work covers Indiana Protestants, which should cover them.  In the back of my mind, however, I think I have checked this book and was disappointed that they didn't have many Indianapolis churches.  I will check my Research Log (which isn't always complete) to see. I looked up the book in "World Cat" and the closest library listed with a copy of the book was in St. Louis,  I am hopeful one of the local genealogical libraries (such as SDGS), which normally wouldn't be in "World Cat", has the book. 

When we began exploring  German Language Newspapers in the U.S. and found a web site for the German North American Resources Partnership.  The site stated that current online editions can be found at the Internet Public Library website www.ipl.org/div/news/.   Unfortunately, when I went to that website and clicked on the hyperlinks for three different states: Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania;  I ended up with a blank page.  

Another source we came up with by doing a Google search was, "German -American Newspapers & Periodicals, 1732-1955--History and Bibliography".  This is a book that is out of production but both University of California San Diego and San Diego State University libraries have copies.   Hopefully, that book would give me some insight into specific Indianapolis German newspapers, by title, that might exist.  

Our hope that we might find an online Index of either German Language newspapers or German American Churches wasn't fulfilled; but we did identify a couple sources worthy of further research.  Just another case where online resources can help identify sources of genealogical data; but one still has to obtain the book or visit a library to do the actual research.