Monday, February 20, 2006

European Research

For all European research, you must have a village name, or at least a small region with a few villages, because that is where all the records are kept! There are few to no departement, county or region-wide censuses or other general surveys such as our US Census records. The exception is the UK, which has searchable census for 1841-1901, and where records have been kept by the counties in England since 1837, in Scotland since 1851. So, you must do your American or Canadian research, before trying to "jump the pond" back to Europe. Recently, the 1836 Census of the Alsace has started to become available. To see if your surnames are found therein, search at:

Have you found the naturalization applications? Often the first and second application contain much more detail than the final certificate. How about obituaries, in particular those published in small local newspapers, church publications, or German or French newspapers? Many of the old newspapers are available on microfilm. For instance, see the holdings of the NYU: These microfilms will often be available by Inter-Library Loan. Talk to your librarian about local policies. ( and and

If there are county histories (AKA mug books) available, those can be useful also, although they cannot be relied upon as anything more than clues. Also look at transfer records at the church(es) they attended, church histories, any family Bibles that may still survive, and any old letters or cards that someone may have stored up in an attic somewhere.

Remember -- don't just research your direct-line ancestor. Look at all the relatives, friends and neighbors, co-workers and fellow church members, too. People tended to stick together with family, friends, and neighbors from the old country.

With a relatively common surname, unless you find a passenger record listing the village, you must do your American research very diligently. You have to have that village name! Here are some links that might help:


Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees:

World GenWeb Europe:
   France GenWeb: - In English

Expert Links: England Family History and Genealogy, nearly 400 important websites for English genealogy:

Genealogy in Western & Central Europe:

Genealogy in France - Civil Registers (les registres d'etat-civil):

The French Républican Calendar: and

French Telephone Directories: or

$$$ New French search engine - NOMINA:

German Genealogy:

Europe Genealogy Links (by country):

Tinney's Europe links: - English Genealogy Records: United Kingdom Census (England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland), English Vital Registrations, Free BMD, Parish Records, Church Records:

The National Archives in Kew (England):

Historical Directories (local & trade) England and Wales 1750-1919:

British Newspaper Collection:

Births 1855-1904, Marriages 1855-1929, Deaths 1855-1954, Census, Wills & Testaments

Genealogy Resources on the Internet (Gaunt & Fuller):

Ancestral Villages: (German-speaking countries):


Holocaust Global Registry:

Message Boards - Western Europe:
   Central Europe:
   Eastern Europe:
   British Isles:
   Scandanavian & Baltic States:

Proceedings of the Old Bailey London 1674-1834:
   100,621 trials, fully searchable

20th Century Archives of the London Gazette:
   Page has links to the Imperial War Museum, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Family Records Centre, Public Record Office, Federation of Family History Societies & The Times, making it a nice portal to English research

Very interesting concept for Scotland England, Wales, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands:
   You find a blood relative in the 1881 census, and enter the name as found. You are automatically matched with any other persons entering the same ancestral person -- your researcher cousins!

Victoria County Histories (England):

ShtetlSeeker (villages in Eastern Europe):
   Also see book: Where Once We Walked (WOWW) revised edition by Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack with Alexander Sharon, published by Avotaynu. Inc., 2002 Gazetteer has many towns listed with both the old and new names and geographical coordinates.

Sacramento German Genealogical Society (Der Blumenbaum):

Dr. Don Watson's Hessen covers all of Germany:

Southern California Genealogical Library:

Central European Family History Assn.:

Federation of Eastern European Family History Assn.:

Queries to FANA (Familienkundliche Nachrichten): (I couldn't get the javascript to work)

Thanks to Maureen Schoenky on the Pfalz list for some of these links.

Eastern Slovakia (Východoslovenský) & Environs Genealogy Research Strategies:

Slovak/English online dictionary:

Czech, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Latin online translator:

Hungarian (and others) online dictionary:

Fils du Vent (nomad ancestors, such as gypsies, bohemiens, circus employees, peddlers - posts in English are OK):

Country Studies, general descriptive files, such as this one about Romania:


Austrian Newspapers, Slovakia's Cemetery Database Online:

World War Two Aerial Pictures Go Online:

Naming customs in Germany and France:

Huguenot Research:




   Language Map of France:

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. - Eleanor Roosevelt

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At 7:23 PM, Blogger George said...

Thank you very much for the great links you have provided for so many researchers. I have been doing family serch for over 20 years on the Wunsch/winsch and now Winch , ) primary , Back to 1630 in Lomersheim, Wuerttembeg, Germany and cannot go farther since the Lutheran Church records date to that time. Stambach from Alsace is the maternal side again bback to 1600s. George A Winch Sr.


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