Church Records · Gazetteers · German · Methodology

Finding German Church Records

The third session of my Newberry class “Discover Your German Ancestors’ Origins,” focused on finding German church records. Why are church records so important, you might ask? Church records are the main category of records that document our German ancestors’ vital events. Depending in the specific town, these records may date to the 1500s. Civil… Continue reading Finding German Church Records

Gazetteers · German · GOV · Methodology

Gazetteers for German Research

In the second session of my Newberry class “Discover Your German Ancestors’ Origins,” I talked about historical gazetteers for finding the jurisdictions that define the ancestral home town. What is a gazetteer? It’s “a geographical dictionary” according to Merriam-Webster.[1] As genealogists, we use gazetteers to determine the jurisdictions to which a town belonged historically. Why… Continue reading Gazetteers for German Research

German · Immigration · Methodology · Steinkamp

Where Did They Come From?

This weekend, I began teaching a four-session course at the Newberry in Chicago. The title of the course is “Discover Your German Ancestors’ Origins.” This first week, I focused on best practices for finding an immigrant ancestor’s town of birth. Without this piece of information, the ancestral line cannot be extended further back in time.… Continue reading Where Did They Come From?

German · Newspapers · Steinkamp

German-language Newspapers

Researchers in the United States are spoiled with access to newspaper “mega sites” like Newspapers.com, GenealogyBank, and News Archive. They’re not free, but they do have a broad geographical reach. They do not hold all available newspapers, but they represent at least some newspapers from every U.S. state and sometimes other countries. A one-year subscription… Continue reading German-language Newspapers

Address Renumbering · City Directories · Street Name Changes

Chicago Street Address Renumbering

In my last post, I explained briefly how to find Chicago street names that changed. That is not the only aspect of Chicago address changes that you may encounter. On 22 June 1908 Chicago’s city council passed an ordinance to use a new street numbering system. It went into effect 1 September 1909. The city… Continue reading Chicago Street Address Renumbering

Census · Chicago · Enumeration Districts · Street Name Changes · Wards

Browse for a Specific Chicago Address in the Census

Street addresses first appear on U.S. federal censuses in 1880 and every census year after that. To find a specific address you need to know the enumeration district (ED). In the years 1910, 1920, and 1940, you must also know the ward. Recently I helped someone search for 427 Beethoven Place in the 1920 census.… Continue reading Browse for a Specific Chicago Address in the Census