soc.genealogy.german Frequently Asked Questions List, Part 4/4
Copyright (c) 2005 by Jim Eggert, EggertJ@crosswinds.net
Version 2.9, 1 Jan 2005. All Rights Reserved.
Subject: 23. How can I send money to Germany?
The most convenient and economical way to send money overseas is
to use a credit card for payment. Then you avoid bank fees and
get a good exchange rate. For small amounts you might consider
sending European cash, which you should be able to procure at most
banks, with a somewhat worse exchange rate and also an exchange
fee. For larger amounts you might want to send a bank wire.
Checks drafted in foreign currency may also be obtained from
International Currency Express Inc. for a US$10 fee. See
<http://www.foreignmoney.com/> or call +1-888-278-6628.
In Germany, International Reply Coupons (IRCs) can only be redeemed
for postage, and even then only one coupon per piece of outgoing
international mail. Thus IRCs are not a general means of payment.
International postal money orders are not accepted in Germany.
Subject: 24. What is the IGI?
The International Genealogical Index is maintained by the FHL and
is available on microfiche or CD-ROM at your local LDS FHC, and
online at <http://www.familysearch.org/>. It contains millions of
birthdates, christening dates, marriages, etc., indexed by surname.
It is by no means a complete index to all records, however.
Furthermore, it should be considered to be just an index; you
should always consult the source documents for IGI entries of
interest, as they may contain more information and the IGI may
have errors in transcription.
Batch numbers enable town-selective searches in the IGI. A batch
number index for German records in the IGI can be found at
Subject: 25. Where can I find passenger lists or ship information?
Ship passenger lists appear in two basic types: embarkation and
arrival lists. German emigrants after 1850 typically embarked
in Hamburg or Bremen; before the 1830s the usual ports were
Le Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. The Bremen passenger
lists of 1832-1872 were destroyed in 1875 by governmental decree
owing to want of storage space. Thereafter only the current and
two previous years were kept, until the destruction ceased in 1907.
The lists of 1906-1931 were placed in the Statistisches Landesamt
Bremen, which was bombed on 6 October 1944, resulting in the
destruction of the remaining Bremen lists. An incomplete name
index of the lists for 1904-1914 is held at the Bundesarchiv
Koblenz, with microfilms available via your local LDS FHC. The
Bremen Handelskammer archives has an apparently complete duplicate
of the lists for 1920-1923,1925-1939 and a few lists back to 1834.
The Hamburg embarkation lists 1850-1934 are available on microfilm
via your local LDS FHC. They are indexed and usually indicate the
last residence of the emigrant, an important datum for researchers.
A few Bremen and Hamburg embarkation lists otherwise unavailable
were published in the Allgemeine Auswanderungs-Zeitung (1847-1871,
Rudolstadt). Some of these have been republished by Clifford
Neal Smith and others.
Arrival lists are available for many American ports, but are not
quite as useful as the embarkation lists in determining place of
last residence. The US arrival lists are available at the US
National Archives, many large research and genealogical libraries,
and through your local LDS FHC. Many of the New York City arrival
lists in the period 1892-1924 are available online at
The arrival lists are also partially indexed in the book series
_Germans to America_.
See also the pages at
Some passenger ship information can be found online at
Subject: 26. What is _Germans to America_?
_Germans to America_ is a book series devoted to indexed
transcriptions of passenger lists of vessels carrying Germans to
America. It will cover the period 1840-1897. It does not index
all Germans who emigrated to America, and it does have problems
with its inclusion criteria and transcription fidelity. But it
is very easy to use and often quite helpful. It should be
considered to be just an index; you should always consult the
source passenger lists for entries of interest, as they may
contain more information and the index may have errors in its
transcription of the source information. Note also that 000
means either Obermoellrich or (usually) an unknown place!
The volumes that have appeared so far are listed on the German
genealogy server at
The books themselves are not on the Internet, but they are
available at many large research and genealogical libraries.
A list of holding libraries is available on the same server.
A portion of the series is also available on CD-ROM.
Subject: 27. What German archives and/or genealogical organizations
Andreas Hanacek maintains a list of German archives of
genealogical interest as part of an excellent offering at
Information about archives is also available in the regional
pages on the German genealogy server at
Polish archives are listed at
There is a list of German and German-related genealogical
organizations on the German genealogy server at
Subject: 28. How do I find a book about abc or xyz?
If you know the title and author, go to your favorite library and
ask the librarian for help. They can often get books through
interlibrary loan; fees may be involved.
If you don't know exactly what you are looking for, try browsing
one of the online library catalogs. Some of the best are
Harvard University <http://hollisweb.harvard.edu/>
University of California (UC) <http://www.cdlib.org/>
US Library of Congress (LOC) <http://catalog.loc.gov/>
Gemeinsamer Verbundkatalog (GVK) <http://gso.gbv.de/>
Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog (KVK)
Search engine for a number of German online catalogs.
For lists of other such online catalogs, and there are many, try
To find German-language books in print, use the Verzeichnis
Lieferbarer B"ucher at
To purchase books from Germany, try an online German bookseller:
<http://www.schoenhuber.de/> B"ucherzentrum Sch"onhuber
<http://www.struppe-online.de/> Sack/Struppe & Winckler
<http://www.osiander.de/> Osiandersche Buchhandlung
<http://www.roesslitor.ch/> R"osslitor (Swiss)
Lists of publishers and bookstores with an Internet presence are at
Subject: 29. Should I buy a surname/crest/family history book sold by
Be careful. Some unscrupulous firms offer books that are compiled
mostly from phone lists you can get for free on the Internet. The
also contain some general and often erroneous information on the
of the family name and a crest. More information is available from
National Genealogy Society's Consumer Protection Committee at
Subject: 30. Where do I go on the Internet for German genealogy?
The first place to go is the German genealogy server at
It offers many useful articles, reports, reviews, and links to other
The Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies has lots
of information useful to German researchers, including maps, at
The German GenWeb project is at
Adalbert Goertz has written several regional German FAQs:
Many regional German genealogy e-mail lists are available. See
The Virtual University German Study Group has materials at
For lists of German genealogy sites, see
Subject: 31. What are soc.genealogy.german,
The two Usenet newsgroups of interest to German genealogists
are soc.genealogy.german and de.sci.genealogie.
If you are trying to understand something, find a resource, get
advice, or find relatives, post to soc.genealogy.german.
If you prefer to read German-language postings only, then read
Soc.genealogy.german is an unmoderated Usenet news group for queries
and discussion of all matters relating to German genealogy.
here refers to language, and thus explicitly includes German,
American, Austrian, Swiss, Alsatian, Luxembourger, Liechtensteiner
and Eastern European German genealogy. The newsgroup is available
and its original charter can be found at
When posting, only simple text should be used; MIME, HTML,
binaries, and pictures should be avoided. Commercial postings
should go to soc.genealogy.marketplace, not soc.genealogy.german.
posters automagically receive a warm and informative welcome e-mail.
For those without news access, soc.genealogy.german is mirrored to
e-mail lists in digest, message, and index mode. Subscription
should be sent to GEN-DE-Dfirstname.lastname@example.org if you want
postings combined into circa 32KB digests as MIME attachments
digest mode), to GEN-DE-NMDemail@example.com if you want the
digests sent as one long message (non-MIME digest mode), to
GEN-DE-Lfirstname.lastname@example.org if you want messages sent individually
(mail mode), or to GEN-DE-Iemail@example.com if you want only
message subject lines in a daily index (index mode). Put the word
"subscribe" in the message body, no quotes. You will receive a
confirmation and additional instructions. To unsubscribe, send the
message "unsubscribe" instead, with no quotes, to the request
for which you are subscribed, from the account that is subscribed.
Postings by e-mail (not subscription requests) go to
GEN-DE-L@rootsweb.com. See also
The gen-de archives from 8 Dec 1995 onwards may be searched online
Postings may also be viewed online in threaded format at
There have been short periods when the gen-de to
mirror has failed, resulting in the existence of a few messages only
in the newsgroup and others only in the e-mail lists. Thus you may
also wish to consult a Usenet archive such as Google.com:
Soc.genealogy.surnames.german was an automoderated Usenet newsgroup
with strict subject line requirements. It has not functioned since
22 June 2000. Its archives are still useful, however. See
De.sci.genealogie is an unmoderated German-language-only Usenet
newsgroup for genealogy and related subjects, regardless of
geographical region or ethnicity. Its FAQ may be found at
Subject: 32. Are there other online resources for genealogy?
Lots. Here are a few excellent starting points:
There are also online resources for general German information:
<news:soc.culture.german> German cultural newsgroup
<http://www.watzmann.net/scg/index.html> FAQ for above
German info site
Subject: 33. How can I possibly repay you for all your help?
Please repay help freely given by helping other genealogical
researchers to the best of your ability. Publishing your
results, perhaps by submitting them to the FHL, is an excellent
way of helping others. A thank you would also be nice.
Subject: 34. Acknowledgements
Thanks go to the following people: Nate Blaylock, Henning
Brandt, Heinz Bredthauer, Cynthia Dean, Steve Dhuey, Adalbert
Manfred Groth, Andreas Hanacek, Kjell Ove Nyb/o; Hattrem, Rick Heli,
Reinhold Herrmann, Gail Hitchcock, Bob Kuehl, Friedrich Lehmkuehler,
Brigitte Gastel Lloyd, Lynn Main, Christel Monsanto, Joachim
Marianne Muthreich Southworth, Michael Palmer, Detlef Papsdorf,
Bernhard A. M. Seefeld, Wolf Seelentag, Johannes Sempert, Uwe
Christa Sobczak, Joan Somers, Gunthard Stuebs, Arvo Tars, Arthur
Rolf Ulbing, Julie Vigna, Don Watson, Robert Weinland, William
Alan Wiener, Paul Zebe, and the many contributors to
Suggestions for additions or improvements should be sent to
the author, Jim Eggert EggertJ@crosswinds.net.