Sunday, January 10, 2010

How I Found Some Genealogy Records for My German Ancestors

Last year I obtained a marriage record from a church in Germany that was not available at the Family History Library. I thought this might be a helpful example of how you can sometimes find genealogy records by writing to churches or archives in Germany.

My immigrant ancestors, August and Christine (Walter) Beine came to the US in 1880 with 7 of their children. August Beine was originally from a small German village called Grosseneder and Christine Walter came from another village called Siddinghausen. I have already researched their family lines in each of the villages, but I was not able to find their marriage record in either place. But I have a photocopy of a family document that gives the birth and baptismal dates of their German born children from the St. Nikolaus Catholic Parish in Stoppenberg, Germany. Stoppenberg was then a suburb and is now a neighborhood of the city of Essen. I always assumed the couple was married in Stoppenberg and recently I decided to pursue obtaining a copy of their marriage record.

The LDS Family History Library does not have microfilmed records for the St. Nikolaus Parish. So I needed to determine where the church's records, if available, were located. Essen is a Catholic diocese ("Bistum" in German), and using Google, I found the Essen diocese has a website: From the website's contact link I sent an email asking where the St. Nikolaus parish records were today. I received a response saying the records were still at the St. Nikolaus church and was given an email address for the parish priest.

St. Nikolaus Catholic Church in Essen-Stoppenberg

I emailed the parish priest, asking if I could obtain the marriage record of August Beine and Christine Walter, and the baptismal record of their son, also named August, who is my great grandfather. Three weeks later I received a response saying he had found the records I wanted and was sending copies. A few days later the photocopies arrived in the mail.

I had inquired about a fee in my email to the church, and the response was: "We don't get a fee for this service, but it would be nice if you can give a donation to a project of the Roman-Catholic parish in your town." So I made a donation to a local parish.

I have a family document that gave me the name of the town and parish in Germany. But you may not have something like this. Here's a list of other places where you might find the name of your ancestral village in Germany:

Tips for Finding Your German Immigrant Ancestor's Hometown in Germany

This article may help if you already know the name of the village or town:
Tips for Finding German Genealogy Records for your German-American Ancestor

The above photograph of the St. Nikolaus Catholic Church in Essen-Stoppenberg by Joe Beine, February, 2018

This article was updated on 8 March 2018

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Online Death Records and Indexes - New Additions and Updates

The Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records Directory has been updated with links to the following items...

- Madison County: City of Huntsville Cemetery Burials Search

- Carroll County Historical and Genealogical Society - Cemetery Grave Marker Index
- Yell County Cemetery Records

- Fairfield County Cemeteries

- Broward County: Jewish Cemeteries (ongoing project) presently has Jewish burials in Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Lauderdale (Excel file)

- Georgia Non-Indexed Death Certificates, 1928-1930

- Canyon County: City of Nampa Cemetery Interment Database

- Clark County Cemeteries

- Cherokee County Obituary Index 2000-2007

- Essex County: Spring Grove Cemetery Burials (Andover, MA)

- Ogemaw County Death Records Index
- Saint Clair County: Lakeside Cemetery Records Search (Port Huron, Michigan)

- Hennepin County: Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery - Burial Search
- Mower County Cemeteries
- Pennington County: Historic St. Pauli Church, Thief River Falls, Minnesota (includes baptisms, funerals and other listings)

- Adams County: Natchez Jewish Cemetery List

- Gentry and Worth Counties: Cemetery Transcriptions (PDF files)
- Saint Louis County: Cold Water Cemetery Burials (DAR Cemetery in Florissant, MO); See: Online St. Louis, Missouri Death Records, Indexes & Obituaries

- Adams County: Hastings Regional Center Cemetery Records, 1889-1959

New Hampshire
- Hillsborough County: Cemeteries of Bedford, NH
- Hillsborough County: Pelham Historical Society Genealogy On-Line Library (includes early town clerk vital records, cemetery inscriptions and more)

New Mexico
- Bernalillo County Cemeteries
- Chaves County Cemeteries
- Dona Ana County Cemeteries and Funeral Home Records
- Lincoln County Cemeteries and Deaths 1913-1919
- Lincoln County: Catholic Funeral Records from St. Rita Parish, Carrizozo, Nov 1897-April 1956
- Socorro County Cemeteries

New York
- Erie County Lodge Cemetery Records (Jewish Cemetery in Buffalo, NY)
- Rockland County Cemetery Records Search

- Ohio Obituaries Index 1810s-present from the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center; for selected counties (update: 300,000 more entries added; now has 1.5 million entries)
- Hamilton County Ohio Wills Index, 1791-1901 (PDF files)
- Hamilton County Probate Court: Probate Case and Archived Records Search (includes births, marriages, wills, naturalizations and more; some unindexed)
- For the above two see: Online Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Ohio Death Records & Indexes

South Carolina
- South Carolina Death Index 1915-1958 (update: year 1958 added)

- Tennessee Death Index 1914-1930 (update: years 1929 and 1930 added)
- Knox County Death Records and Obituaries Indexes (includes: Index of Obituaries Published in The Hickory Daily Record, 1915-1989; Funeral Records from Shuford Funeral Home, 1908-1957; Knox County, TN Death Records, 1914-1925)

- Franklin County News Archive 1870-Sept 1875 (includes some obituaries)
- Lamar County Death and Cemetery Records Database

- Utah Death Certificates Index 1904-1958 (update: more years added)

West Virginia
- Cabell County: Huntington, West Virginia Newspapers Obituary Indexes (PDF files)
- Mercer County: Walnut Grove Cemetery Burials (in Bluefield, West Virginia)

- Douglas County Cemeteries
- Shawano County Genealogy Indexes (includes cemetery burials, obituaries and more)

See: Online Searchable Death Records Indexes and Obituaries