Sunday, 27 August 2017

Genealogy Roadshow: Researching Abroad, Day 2

Wednesday, August 9, was day two of Unlock The Past's Genealogy Roadshow - Researching Abroad: Finding European and British Isles Ancestors. Day two was all about researching European Ancestors with German genealogist Dirk Weissleder taking the lead.

Dirk's talks focused on primary and secondary sources in Germany, researching European ancestors in general, and Archives, Libraries and Genealogical services in Germany. I have not discovered any European ancestors in my family thus far, so I have not had to do any research using European records. However, I recently started doing my best friend's family tree, and he's got a few German ancestors. I thought it would be great to listen to Dirk's talks and figure out what on earth I'm doing with European records. Even if I wasn't doing my friend's family tree, I definitely would still have gone. Regardless of whether you have ancestors from the area or not, I think it is always great to go to seminars because you never know what you might learn.

Genealoot [Source: Personal photo]
I walked in having very basic knowledge of German history, and at level zilch with European genealogy. I walked out with a significantly improved understanding of both.

Did you know that Germany has states? I did not! I always thought it was a country that was one big country, with no states - just hundreds of towns and suburbs. Dirk really stressed the fact that when you are researching German ancestors, or any European ancestors for that matter, you need to know what you are searching, where and when. Are you researching in the former east or former west Germany? Before 1871, there was no Germany - it was made up of different kingdoms. Currently, Germany has 16 different states. But was the town you are researching, in the same state 50 years ago?

These are a few things Dirk mentioned that we should be thinking about, and can easily be applied when researching ancestors in other countries - the place of interest, most recent knowledge on an area, churches/archives in the area, what information is already accessible, local societies, experts and translators, cemeteries, and the social life in the area.

There was something that Dirk mentioned which I thought was important, and that is we need to Think Geneaglobally.

Think Geneaglobally
[Source: GIPHY]
My good friend Helen Smith also took to the stage and talked about DNA and the benefits it has for genealogy. I did an AncestryDNA test in 2015, and I am still learning how it all works. Each time I listen to a DNA talk, it sinks in a little bit more.

All in all it was a wonderful two days full of learning and socializing with my geneafriends. Thanks Unlock The Past for putting on an awesome Roadshow. It is hard to believe it is now over - the team deserves a sleep in! 

As an Ambassador for the event, Unlock The Past kindly gave me free entry.  All opinions are my own.


  1. Lice the new banner with the Aussie icon.

  2. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

    Thank you, Chris