While in Salt Lake City for RootsTech 2012, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days at the Family History Library searching through German church records for Adelshofen, Sulzfeld, Kűrnbach, Stettin, and Ittlingen in the Eppingen district of Baden, as well as Waiblingen in Wűrrtemberg. Adeslhofen was the birthplace of Johannes (John) Brenner, my 2g-grandfather. The other communities are fairly near Adelshofen. I was primarily interested in records relating to John Brenner’s mother, Johanna Catharina Venninger (my 3g-grandmother), and her ancestors. A ‘cousin’ provided me with 12 generations of her ancestors, draw from the FHL indexes. I was hoping to validate as many of those records as possible by making copies of the microfilmed originals. A description of the overall process can be found in a previous post (“Compiled Sources — a Blessing and a Curse”)
I have been organizing those found records in recent weeks. Even though my German language skills are pretty weak and I have the to-be-expected difficulty in reading old German script, I began to notice some some structural similarities in the records. I was particularly interested in reviewing the marriage record for Johanna Catharina Venningerin and Georg Friederich Brenner and the baptismal records for four of their children. With four baptismal records, the following pattern emerged:
- The name of the child
- The names of the parents (Eltern or Vater/Mutter)
- Citizenship (Bűrger) and occupation of the father
- Birth name of the mother (geboren)
- Godparents (or sponsors/witnesses) for the child (Taufzeugen)
org/gechurch.htm — This is, by far, has been the most complete and helpful resource for me. If you are conducting research in German church records, this is the article that I would most highly recommend. It contains a brief section on German grammar and writing; a description of symbols, abbreviations, and key words for genealogical research; a description of what you can expect to find in German church records; and a description of each of the various types of church records.
learn/wiki/en/Germany_Church_ Records — from the FamilySearch.org wiki. A good resource.
gfaol/resource/German/church. htm — describes where church records can currently be found in Germany.
understandingyourancestors. com/ar/parishMarriage.aspx — a comprehensive look at marriage records including background material about marriage customs, trends, and patterns.