German Interest Group

The German Interest Groups meets on the first Monday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in the Conference Room at the West Waco Library and Genealogy Center at 5301 Bosque Blvd, Suite 275.  Anyone interested in learning more about their German ancestors is welcome.
Notes from some of the German Interest Group meetings:
September 10, 2018
 notified Bette she had a pioneer relative and through Find a Grave website and Utah State Records, the Krienkes were able to flesh out the details of the Sulzer family story and add 50 Sulzer names to their family tree. They also have a program prepared for their next family reunion. 
           Others among the 14 attendees also had stories to tell. Debi Haynes, back from a summer in Chicago, told about a tape recording that surfaced of her grandmother’s voice from about 1967. In the recording which Debi has made into a CD for all living relatives, the grandmother relates the family story of when Indians surrounded the children while they were picking huckleberries in northern Michigan. The recording also captures Debi’s grandmother while she sings and plays the autoharp.
           Doris Porter described the timeline she made, with the aid of, city directories, and census records, of her family’s bottling company enterprises in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Denison, Oklahoma City, Waco, Temple, and Austin. Uncles and cousins worked together as a family, and Doris discovered who worked for whom in what city and which plants distributed Dr. Pepper, 7-Up, RC Cola, orange drink, or NuGrape.
          Jane Sharp told of the cultural differences between two German family members who took different paths after the Civil War. One left Harrisonburg, LA, near the Mississippi border and came to Texas to become a farmer. His niece married a Union soldier and moved to Boston. Jane has read newspaper articles about that family in the Boston Globe. 
          Linda Jordan announced the creation of a new web page for the Central Texas Genealogical Society and requested suggestions for links for German research. Ideas offered Monday were, Meyers Gazetteer, early Prussian military records, and Germanic Genealogy Society website.
August 6, 2018:
          At the August 6, 2018, meeting of the German interest group, researchers reported on discoveries they have found in, and
          Linda Jordan has learned the names of new relatives from three death certificates found on Two of the death certificates were for infant brothers of Linda’s grandfather and showed the names of their parents. The third death certificate was for Linda’s great-grandfather, Johann Friedrich Christian Heussner, who died 26 Jan 1894, leaving her grandfather an orphan and living with an uncle at age 7. This death certificate showed the names of Linda’s great-great-grandparents. The death records also revealed places the family lived, Rotenburg an der Fulda, Bad Hersfeld, Wolfhagen, and Kassel in Hesse, which Linda was able to plot on a map.  
          Through, Doris Porter found a family of five children whereas Doris previously only knew of two children in that family.
          Ron Dearth met a 6th cousin, once removed, on as both are contributors to the site. Ron said his distant cousin has 100,000 names in his family tree whereas Ron has 1,500. Their common ancestry is the Sprankle family in Pennsylvania. Ron will give a presentation on how to use Find a Grave at the Genealogy Lock-In on October 19, 2018, at West Waco Library and Genealogy Center.
          Helen Miller announced the annual Oktoberfest sponsored by Heart of Texas Chapter of Texas German Society will be September 22, 2018, at Crawford Community Center.
July 2, 2018
          Thanks to new records in from Poland, Bob Krienke has added 68 new names to his Krienke line in Family Tree Maker. In addition to his grandfather Hugo, great-grandfather Gustav, and great-great-grandfather Michael, he has added third great-grandfather Erdmann Krienke. He has found Krienkes as early as 1757 living in Albrechtsdorf, Stettin, where the family worked as apprentice gardeners at a Schloss or manor or estateLater, Krienkes including Bob’s grandfather Hugo attended the seminary in Basel, Switzerland.
          Linda Jordan reported on a successful reunion of her dad’s Hessner family who gathered for the first time in eight years. Linda provided a six-generation family genealogy chart, five notebooks on different family members, and copies of more than 150 family photographs for the approximately 50 persons in attendance.
          Ron visited cousins he had not seen in decades and came away with these gems of wisdom:  Always talk to the man on the backhoe in cemeteries. (They know where all the bodies are buried.)  Look for treasures hidden in family albums and attics.  See your family while they are still alive.
          Jane Williamson showed a facsimile edition of a two-volume Martin Luther Bible published in 1534, a gift from her son who ordered it from AbeBooks, an online global bookseller.
June 4, 2018
          Eleven members of the German interest group covered topics of family reunions, state hospitals, DNA, Texas German Trails Project, discoveries about additional German relations, and a book review at the June 2018 meeting Monday at West Waco Library and Genealogy Center.
          Linda Jordan received many suggestions for her family’s upcoming reunion on June 16. Ideas included pedigree charts, power point presentation, and a video of ancestral village in Germany.
          Jane Sharp learned through her research that her great-great-grandfather was born in Hesse and that her great-great-grandmother’s third husband died in a state hospital in Abilene that operated a colony for epileptics and is buried in Abilene.
          Doris Porter provided DNA handouts and told us about the website Beginners Guide to Genetic Genealogy by Kelly and Michael Wheaton which has 18 lessons on understanding how to use DNA for genealogy. Lesson 2 covers the pros and cons of DNA testing with Ancestry, Family Tree DNA, or 23andme. Doris also recommended the book Who We Are and How We got Here by David Reich.
          Robert and Betty Krienke reported on obtaining his baptismal record, learning of a kinsman to Betty who fought in the War of 1812, and on the new German Texan Mobile Tour. To learn more, google Texas German Trails Project.
          Carolyn Turner has learned her previously no-name great-great-parents were Dorothea (Dorothy) Ehlers, born 1818 in Dinnies and Johann (John) Ehlers, born 1818, in Wotrum in northeast Germany, south of Rostock and eight miles from the Baltic Sea.
          Bob Sigmund tried to sort out all of the John Sigmund and John Meyer families in Victoria County. Jane Williamson tried to link John Meyer-Christina Grote, her first cousins, three times removed, to Bob’s families, but the dots did not connect.
           Jane Williamson gave a review of the book Die Kettner Briefe: A Firsthand Account of a German Immigrant in the Texas Hill Country (1850-1875) by Ilse Wurster which she heard about last month from Michael and Ruth Gerig. The book is in the non-circulating Genealogy Center at West Waco Library. Call number is GEN 976.405 Kettner.