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.