Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SUCCESS!!! Finding My Immigrant Family in German Church Records!

Finding the village your ancestors came from is, in my understanding, the hardest part of tracing your family back to Germany and the associated countries. Even discovering the name of the village isn't enough. There are often many villages (and other places) with the same name with many spelling variations.

Just recently, I determined that my Peters ancestors most likely came from Bellin in present-day Mecklenburg-Schwerin. [Read more in this post.]To know conclusively, I needed to find records in this small village. I ordered the kirchenbuch - or church book - records which had been microfilmed by FamilySearch. The film came in this weekend, and I was able to view the microfilm yesterday.

 Church in Bellin, disctrict Güstrow, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellin_(Krakow_am_See)#Kirch

The first section on the film was the "taufen" or baptisms. I started by looking for the parents: Joachim Peters, born about 1814, and Henrietta Bingher, born in 1817. Disappointingly, they weren't there.

Next, I searched for the baptisms of their six children who were believed to be born in Bellin. Louise, born in 1843, was the oldest. But, she wasn't listed, either.

I continued to search each page for not only the known Peters children, but also any children with the Peters or Bingher surname. I wasn't finding anything. 

As I searched through the years when each child was born, my disappointment grew.

Eckard in 1845? Not there.

Carl in 1847? Not there.

Wilhelm in 1850? Not there.

Heinrich in 1852? Not there, either.

After searching for the parents and five oldest children, I had found absolutely nothing. I was daydreaming about hiring a German researcher to help me "cross the pond." But, then I came to the year 1854 when the couple's sixth child, Friedchen, had been born. And there, in the column for the father, I saw her father's name. I had found my family in Germany!

Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 154, item 10, taufen [baptism] of Friedchen Elise Johanna Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm #68993. Cropped.

Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 154, item 10, taufen [baptism] of Friedchen Elise Johanna Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm #68993.

This first page not only gave me Freidchen's exact date of birth and baptism, but also both of her parents' full names. It also shows her mother's maiden name as Bünger, not Bingher as we had in our records. And, before the word "Bellin" in the column of her father's name, is a word I need translated. I'm not sure what this means yet, but it could be important!

Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 155, item 10, taufen [baptism] of Friedchen Elise Johanna Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm #68993. Cropped

Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 155, item 10, taufen [baptism] of Friedchen Elise Johanna Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm #68993.

The second page shows Friedchen's full name: Friedchen Elise Johanna [Peters]. It also lists her three sponsors, two of whom appear to be relatives: Elise Peters and Johann Bünger. There are also additional words on this page which need translated and might prove helpful.

So, I've done it! I have found my Peters family in their German village! I'm thrilled! I even shared my news with the two librarians who were working and they celebrated with me!

Was Friedchen's baptism the only record I found in the church book? I'll save that information for another post...

P.S. If anyone can help with translating a few German words, I'd really appreciate it!

Do we have ancestors in common? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at drleeds@sbcglobal.net

12 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your find - how exciting! If you happen to be on Facebook, see if you can find a German Genealogy group. That might be a great way to get some translation assistance.

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    1. Thanks, Elizbeth! I do belong to a Germany genealogy group, so I'll ask there. Also, another descendant told me they can read some German and can help. So, I'll be asking them some specific questions - hopefully later today! :)

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  2. Wonderful find! I admire your stick-to-it-ness. Cranking through the microfilms takes patience (and eye drops!). Where do you go from here?

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    1. Thank you, Marian! And, I agree! Working through microfilms can take a LOT of patience. The first pages of this microfilm were from the 1700s and would have been painful to read. However, this was such a small village, that the records I needed in the mid-1800s were some of the easiest to read that I've seen. They even had the surnames underlined! Well, it would have been a lot easier if in English, but it was a lot more readable than other German records I've looked at.

      Where do I go from here? I have a plan! Stay tuned... I hope to share more today. :)

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  3. What a great find! Just reading the script is amazing - good for you! Can't wait to hear more.

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    1. Thanks, Debi! I am now working through a German methodology book that is incredible! I'll share more about that, too. One of my goals is to learn some basic genealogy words and to understand their handwriting better. So much to learn! But, it's so much fun!

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  4. Congratulations Dana, that's wonderful, I hope it proves to be the key to your earlier ancestors.

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    1. Thanks, Dara. I just wrote a second post showing the other two records I found. I'm hoping a clue in those two can help me find where the family lived before Bellin! And, who knows how far back that will take me?!?

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  5. Love reading this series! Congrats on the find.

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  6. "Johann Bünger, der Großvater des Kindes zu Groß Bützin"
    No 3 is the grandfather of the child, and he livesin Gross Buetzin"
    This might give you a hint on where to look for the family.

    Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I will be looking into Gross Buetzin. Thanks for reading and for the comment!

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