Countdown until German Seminar at WRHS

by , under, FamilySearch, German, Internet,, Western Reserve Historical Society

We have one month to go until the Western Reserve Historical Society hosts an all-day German Genealogy Seminar at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle. James M. Beidler will present four presentations under the umbrella title of “Jumping into German Genealogy” there on November 16.

The History Center is located at 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106. The doors will open at 9 am with the first presentation scheduled to begin at 9 am.

Beidler will present the following lectures:

  • Your Immigrants’ Germany
  • German Research Online
  • German Names and Naming Patterns
  • Online German Church Registers, Duplicates, and Substitutes

I am interested in gathering more information about the German immigrant ancestors I have added to my family tree. In preparation for attending the seminar, I have identified in my own lineage on my mother’s side, nine 4- to 6-great grandparents. I may identify more.

Based on the information I have found so far, they came from the German states of Hesse, Wurttemberg, Thueringen, and Bavaria in various years between 1749 and 1773. In many cases, I have been able to find birth and marriage records for them on I will be checking and for additional online records.

In his book, The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide, Beidler states that these immigrants would be classified as “First Boat” German immigrants, arriving in American during the first wave of immigration in the 18th century.

The maternal line of my late wife MJ arrived as “Second Boat” German immigrants between 1800 and 1920. In this case, we know that her grandfather, August Scheppelmann, arrived in 1897 from Neinburg, Germany. This city is in the present-day state of Lower Saxony. We know this not only from records found on but also from records retrieved by MJ’s second cousin who traveled back to Germany about 35 years ago to visit relatives and obtain church records for family members.

MJ’s maternal grandmother was another story. We only had the fact that she last lived in Kempten, Bavaria, gleaned from her passenger arrival record at Ellis Island in 1902. I paid a researcher to look for any records for Marie Thomann. She was able to provide residency and work records for Marie, and eventually, she tracked down the fact that she was born out of wedlock and even the names of her mother and father. At some point, I probably will hire her to find any additional information about Marie’s family in Bavaria.

In the meantime, I am reading Beidler’s book and learning about German history.

I hope to be well-prepared to learn more about researching family history records from James Beidler when he presents his seminar on Nov. 16. If you are interested in signing up for this seminar, go here on the WRHS website. You can check out Beidler’s website here.

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