In 2000, the United States Federal Census reported that almost 43 million Americans claimed German ancestry, making them the largest ancestry group in America. That is a lot of history to be shared, and we can help you find and make sense of your German ancestry with many of our resources. For instance, did you know that you can piece together more than just your ancestry? Understanding the history behind why your ancestors came here is just as important.
County Histories Offer a Wealth of Historical Context
You’ve gathered names and dates while filling in a family tree chart, so what is the next step?
If your goal is to create a clear picture of your family’s life in generations past, try browsing through MGC's books to find county histories! You never know what you may find, even things that can lead you in unexpected directions.
While working with one of the Midwest Genealogy Center’s archival collections, the Titus Family Collection, I came across an interesting bit of history. In the course of my transcription of letters written by Private Square Holt during the Civil War, I came across a reference to a “gun that fired a thousand pound shot.” This description intrigued me, so I decided to look into the gun and to find the history of this “monster” cannon.
Recently, while searching for the meanings of my family’s surnames, I came across some interesting information on the origin of names. I always knew some surnames were derived from occupations, like Smith, Mason, Shoemaker, Miller, Farmer, etc., but I didn’t realize so many were also derived from nicknames and geographical locations. Classifying surnames and figuring out their origins has long been an interest of historians and genealogists.
During a recent patron request, I was asked to look up the service records of an aviator who flew in World War II and was stationed on the U.S.S. Enterprise. I knew that the Midwest Genealogy Center would have many different types of materials to help with this request, and I was right.
I love to read historical fiction, and if it has a little romance or suspense, it’s even better. (I know you are probably wondering since you are reading a genealogy blog, but don’t worry, it really does relate.) One of the things that I love about historical fiction is that even though the characters are fictional, the setting is a real time in history. I love to learn about the little-known parts of history or the everyday life that is so different than mine. My thoughts are similar when I research my family history.
Genealogy research is one of the fastest growing hobbies. Recent digitization efforts seem to have unleashed a firestorm of interest in searching for information about ancestors and have made research much easier, as well. But why do some folks have such a passion for genealogical research? Do you have a family member or friend that is interested in it and you just can’t understand why?