This is the oldest genealogical record I've found for my family, and I just found it earlier this week! In the past few weeks, I've tracked down the actual village my mother's German (Kaechle) ancestors came from. It's called Grissheim and it's located in Baden-Wurttemberg, though it was just "Baden" when they lived there. I ordered four microfilms from FHL and was able to spend some time looking at them earlier this week.

These church records were amazing! The record above is my ancestor's baptism record from 1616!!! That's incredible!

Here's a close up showing my direct ancestor's record. It is hard to read, but I got help from a site where someone has abstracted these records. Without this site, I wouldn't have been able to find the record I needed... and be able to understand them!

The site page is called "Ortsfamilienbuch fur Grissheim" or "Database of Grissheim families." I believe the person who abstracted these records is Ekke Burde. But, to whomever took the time and energy, I'm incredibly thankful!

Back to the record...

The first thing you see is the date: "29 December". You don't see the year because it was on the previous page. But, you can see that "Anno Domini 1617" starts after my ancestor. That means "in the year of the Lord" and is usually abbreviated "A.D." This is the date of her baptism. My understanding is that Catholics believe that baptism removes the guilt of Original Sin, so it is essential to salvation. Therefore, baptism was often done very quickly - sometimes on the day of birth, but usually within the first few days. So, this ancestor was most likely born between December 27th and December 29th.

Next you have the parents names in brackets. On top is the father, Gallus Grozinger. On the bottom is the mother, Ursula Binhardt. I wasn't able to figure out the mother's maiden name, but the "database" site has it as "Binhardt" and I have found it very reliable.

The center part is my ancestor's first name: Barbara. So, her name was Barbara Grozinger.

The last section lists Barbara's baptismal sponsors. It looks like the top name is Joes Grozinger with "Joes" being an abbreviation for "Johannes" according to my research. The other name looks like Apollonia with a last name I've not been able to figure out. I need to spend some more time with these records and I think I'll be able to decipher it.

I found about twenty records of direct ancestors in the two hours I was able to spend at the library. I had made an Excel spreadsheet of my ancestors by surname before I went, but now I realize I need to make it by date & event (birth, marriage, & death) instead. So, I've got a lot to do as I try to get everything I can out of these microfilms!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at