Monday, April 10, 2006

Topic Focus: Central European, German and Polish Research

If you’ve already found your ancestors in the states and now you need to cross the ocean to find out more, this year’s conference has several lectures available to you. Five Proven Techniques for Finding Your European Ancestors presented by Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL on Wednesday, June 7 at 4pm summarizes “the challenges in learning the origins of European ancestors.” He will present techniques for proving that a person in a European record is your North American ancestor.
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If your ancestors were from Central Europe (defined for the purposes of this article as Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, parts of Poland and Italy), then you’ll want to be sure to check out the Ethnic Track on Thursday, June 8. Starting at 8am, Richard Camaur, JD., CG will present four back-to-back presentations, starting with Beginning Your Research in Central Europe. This first lecture will cover how to access the records and locate important archives. Catholic Church Records: Precursor to Central European Civil Registration will follow at 9:30am. The discussion will revolve around using and accessing parish registers in this area. Learn how to track down your ancestor’s military records at 11am by attending A Vital Key to Central European Research: Austrian Military Records. Finally, at 2:30pm, Camaur will facilitate a Central European Roundtable to allow attendees to share information and learn from one another on this topic.

German ancestor hunters will be interested in the Ethnic Track on Friday, June 9. Chuck Knuthson will start the day with Beginning German Research. The basics of German research on both sides of “the pond” will be discussed. At 9:30am, the same lecturer will teach German Migrations to America. This topic will cover the reasons for emigration, the paths they took and the journey that they experienced. John T. Humphrey will pick up at 11am with German Ahnentafels by the Thousands as he describes the records created as a result of Germany’s racial policies in the 1930s and 1940s. Information in these records often go back to the early 1700s. To wrap up the day’s learning, Chuck Knuthson will host a German Roundtable at 4pm to provide a forum for people to share their research problems and experiences.

Finally, if Poland is your country of interest, there are three lectures that specifically cover this area. Cecile Jensen, CG will offer Researching Your Polish Heritage Online at 2:30pm on Friday. She describes online sources available to the researcher who has identified their ancestral village. At 4pm that same day, Paul Valasek, DDS, will present his lecture entitled Polish-American Research: Using Resources in the U.S. Finally, on Saturday, Cecile Jensen returns to discuss Polish Archives: Behind the Scenes. This lecture covers the holdings of Poznan, Gdansk, Mlawa, Bialystok and the concentration camp at Stutthof.

If you have other European countries that you are researching, the conference does offer more than presented here. In an effort to keep this brief, only lectures about a very narrowly defined “Central Europe” were discussed. Stay tuned for more!

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