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Class Descriptions German Track

Classes available online and/or pre-recorded (in-person classes are listed further down)

Archion and Matricula

Come and learn what these record depositories are and how to use them.


Deciphering German-Language Church Records

After locating a German-language church record of your ancestor, the next step is to decipher the record. Learn what information to look for and where, including key words to help you navigate your record. Several sample records will be covered in detail.


ABC ... 123 ... EWZ! Diving into Using EWZ Records for Your Research (focus on Germans from Eastern Europe)

This presentation will discuss the history of EWZ (Einwanderungszentralstelle) records, the different types of EWZ records, and how to access them for your research of German families repatriating from Eastern Europe during WWII.


From Church Archives to KGB Archives

Follow the tale of a German family that immigrates to Russia. After years of peaceful prosperity, the fate of two branches of the family diverge. One branch immigrates to the U.S. while the other suffers under the Soviet regime, losing their homes and, for some, their lives. We’ll blend historical events and learn about the types of records used to document the story of this family.


Overcoming Translated Given Names

Researching Germans in Prussian Poland? Locating Germans in places like this is more difficult because given names may not match between records—for example, Wiluś in one record may be Wilhelm in another, throwing a researcher unfamiliar with these name equivalents off track. Recognizing other-language equivalents of German given names is a necessary skill when researching Germans in multilingual regions. This presentation will help you recognize this name-switching phenomenon, familiarize yourself with name equivalents, and give you tools for finding name equivalents in additional languages to help you recognize your ancestors in the records.


Searching for Your Elusive Prussian Ancestors

Prussia once controlled parts of what are now modern Germany and Poland. Gain a better understanding of historical Prussia in the pursuit of records with numerous examples and resources.


Expanding Your Prussian Search: Beyond Church Records

Sometimes, Prussian research problems cannot be undertaken using church records alone. Gain a better understanding of the importance of pursuing non-church records in historical Prussia with numerous examples and resources.


Making Sense of the ‘Old Lutherans’ & Their Migration Patterns

The “Old Lutherans” resisted changes to the Lutheran faith imposed by Prussia. Explore the migrations of the “Old Lutherans” to North America and beyond in the pursuit of religious freedom, especially during the 1830s and 1840s.


Online German-Language Newspapers

Bring your German-speaking ancestors to life through newspapers. Digitization and Fraktur-reading software have brought historic German-language newspapers into the spotlight. Expand your understanding of this record group – and your ancestors – by learning what countries created them and how to access this treasure trove of information online.


Compiled Town Genealogies and Parish Register Indexes

Every month new town genealogies and indexed church records are published on the Internet. Learn how to locate available collections and use them effectively. These records also open up new possibilities for area searches.


German Archives- Full of hidden treasures!

Archives hold many records important to the genealogist. This class discusses different types of German archives, how to find the archive that may hold the records you need, the use of archive inventories, and rules for using archives successfully.


German Phonics and Spelling for the Genealogist

A basic understanding of common sounds used in the German language and various ways to write them helps researchers identify places and find persons in records. This class discussed vowel and consonant shifts, various ways to spell common sounds phonetically, and tools for decoding misspelled personal and place names.


Arolsen Archives

The Arolsen Archives is an internationally governed center for documentation, information, and research on Nazi persecution, forced labor, and the Holocaust in Germany and its occupied regions. Learn how to use its online collections to trace your ancestors, even if your ancestors did not perish in Nazi Germany.


“Die Eureka Post” Newspaper: Connecting Worlds Apart - A Case Study

Germans from Russia as well other German speakers connected through German language newspapers circulated in the US and other countries. Discover which German language newspapers may yield genealogical information, as well as records to substantiate family connections and add historical context to your ancestors narrative.


Classes available only to conference attendees in Salt Lake City

Introduction to Germanic Research

In this class participants will learn the basic steps when start researching their German ancestry. Various online databases will be explained that contain ancestral names.


Internet Sources for Locating Your 19th Century German Emigrant

Finding your German ancestor's birthplace may be just a mouse click away! New online resources for locating immigrant origins become available every day. Learn about U.S. and German websites containing lists of emigrants and emigration history from various parts of Germany, including search tips and hints for navigating foreign-language sites.


Avoiding Mistakes in German Research

“Which one is my Mary Mauer?” “Do I still need to search the church records, even though I have a printed town genealogy?” My ancestor had five sons named “Johann…?” Learn how to avoid common mistakes by understanding the sources used in German genealogy.


German Marriage Laws and Customs

In the various areas of Germany were different permissions required for marriage. Some permissions needed to be received from the ruling authorities, others from the church. Also, various customs dictated different ways marriages were celebrated. The class will introduce some of these laws, requirements, permissions, fees, and a few customs.


The Small but Important Details in Germanic Research

Not paying attention to the small details can lead to wrong conclusions. Participants will learn about the switching of calendars, importance of feast days, weekday symbols, common abbreviations used, naming patterns, house names, Latinizing of names, currency issues, weights, and measures.


Passenger Lists containing German Immigrants

When searching for your ancestral entry in the passenger lists, the Hamburg or Ellis Island lists are not the only sources worth checking. The class will evaluate several different passenger lists and the years that those cover.


German Civil Registry Records

Civil German registry existed since the Napoleonic Wars, but was discontinued in many parts of Germany until January 1876. In this class the different types of civil registry records will be explained, what they contain, and where to find them.


Case Studies on Dead Ends

Learn some of the tricks researchers use to break through dead ends.