Tracking those German Ancestors

According to each United States census German remains our nations largest ethnic heritage. Yet for over 46 million Americans the question “how do I track my ancestors back to Germany” remains a tough one. So much mystery surrounds the quest, but with a few simple guidelines, it doesn’t have to be hard! For all of you who want to track your ancestors back to Germany, help is on the way.

Let’s get started! What do you need? I’m a firm believer in organization, and if you haven’t already begun the accumulation of pages of paper, notebooks, boxes and file cabinets one accumulates when researching family history, you are in luck. I recommend you

Berthold Muench, son of Friedrich Muench, killed at the Battle of Wilsons Creek. Collection of Carol Muench.
Berthold Muench, son of Friedrich Muench, killed at the Battle of Wilsons Creek. Collection of Carol Muench.

begin with one three ring binder, and a small file box. If you have been on what you have already deemed “mission impossible” and have year(s) don’t be discouraged. While it may feel like an albatross, it may actually be a phoenix. You are going to begin by organizing your research, and most likely find you already have clues! Simply by spending some time carefully reviewing and organizing, which can take some time, you may find yourself actually ahead of the game. So simplify!

I was fortunate in that my great grandfather shared his search for my German ancestors when I was only nine years old. Without – as my children would say “too much information”, I can only state that it was way before the advent of the internet. And while  our family tree was only diagramed on a simple piece of paper (which I still have) the basics have never changed. And, even more importantly, you have to be able to do basic genealogy, before you can ever begin to do research in a foreign country.

Begin today! Don’t put it off any longer!

Next: Getting Started – The Basics First

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