Germanic Genealogy Society

Access Past Events

We're always hosting amazing presentations and webinars all year long, and membership allows you to watch them AND access the handouts whenever you want! Simply go to the Members Area or Join GGS now!

Diane Schmidt
Diane SchmidtNo Stone Left Unturned: Looking (Nearly) Everywhere for Johann Schmidt’s Birthplace
Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 8pm Central Time
Finding an emigrant ancestor’s birthplace is one of the most critical requirements for doing Germanic genealogy, but can be difficult to do. Building on her February 2021 Webinar, “Seeking Johann Schmidt”, Diane Schmidt uses her ancestor’s case to demonstrate ways to find a German birthplace, using both typical genealogical sources and some more unusual options. More than 20 potential sources will be covered.
The GGS Library and You: Books for Germanic Genealogy
Thursday, Jul 26, 2019 at 8pm Central Time
The GGS Library has one of the best collections of books and magazines for Germanic genealogy. This webinar will talk about how to use the library, including how to find books, periodicals, and maps. In addition we will talk about the major books and book series for doing Germanic genealogy. Many of these books will be found at other genealogy or public libraries, so even people who can't make it to our library can find some useful books to look for in their own areas.
Diane Schmidt is Library Chair for GGS and a frequent workshop and conference speaker.

Theresa Berns
Theresa Burns11 Tips to Help You Transcribe German Church Records
Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 8pm Central Time
As a native German speaker with years of experience working with the English language, she transcribes documents written in the old German script and translates them into English for genealogy enthusiasts that have trouble reading the old script themselves. She provides suggestions about how to read and transcribe German church records with links to many valuable resources. Researchers of all levels will learn new tips.
Theresa Berns is a professionally trained translator specializing in genealogy translation.
Facebook: Theresa Berns Translations

Gail Blankenau
Gail BlankenauWhat’s in a Name? Deciphering German Given Names and Nicknames
Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 8pm Central Time
As genealogists, we often focus first on surnames in our research. Yet, it does not take long to encounter same-name candidates for our family trees. Furthermore, many Germans had multiple given names—and may not use their first given name, instead use another one as a “Rufname” which means "name one goes by". Adding to the mix are nicknames and name variants. Gail Blankenau will explore these naming problems and how you can navigate them to ensure you are indeed, barking up the right tree!
Germans From Russia
Thursday, June 27, 2019 8pm Central Time
In 1762, Empress Catherine of Russia invited ethnic Germans to immigrate to Russia to develop the country's agriculture, allowing them to retain their language and culture. Thousands of Germans left their native land to settle in their own ethnic and religious groups. In the 1870s Czar Alexander II revoked Catherine's preferential terms, prompting another large migration--this time to the New World. We will explore sources, methods and specific issues facing genealogists who have Germans from Russia in their pedigrees.
Gail Blankenau is a nationally known German genealogy speaker. She has spoken at 2 International German Genealogy Conferences.

Ingeborg Carpenter
Ingeborg CarpenterGerman Advent, Christmas and New Year's Traditions and Superstitions
Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 8pm Central Time
Ingeborg Carpenter will share stories about German Advent, Christmas and New Year's traditions for the period from December 1, to Epiphany, with superstitions thrown in.
Ingeborg Carpenter was born in Frankfurt, Germany, raised in Westphalia, and emigrated to America in 1972. She is the current SGGS president, and president of the International German genealogy Partnership (IGGP).

Nancy Loe
Nancy LoePrussian Place Name Research
Thursday, Sep 24, 2020 at 8pm Central Time
Discover leading and lesser-known online resources to pinpoint geographic locations of German-speaking ancestors from Prussia (Brandenburg, East Prussia, Pomerania, Posen, Silesia, West Prussia).

Dr. Wolfgang Grams
Dr. Wolfgang GramsTravel to Germany: the Joy of Discoveries
Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 1pm Central Time
During the past 25 years Dr. Grams has prepared and conducted many private excursions all over Germany to ancestral homes for groups or individuals. He presents the best of what has happened. Dr. Grams gives advice on how to prepare for a trip to Germany.
German Resources to trace your Roots II: Key Documents
Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1pm Central Time  
We follow the life of a typical 19th century immigrant from his German hometown to America and see what evidence he has left behind.
Travel Patterns from the Age of Sail to the Age of Steam
Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 1 pm Central Time  
Hurra wir fahren nach Amerika. Hurray, we are going to America. Experiences of emigrants during their travel from Germany to their new home in America.
German Resources to trace your Roots I: Archives, Digitization and Initiatives in Germany
Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 1pm Central Time
What is online? What may come in the future? How can these projects help you in your research?
The Pursuit of Happiness and the Migration Experience: Faith, Land and Hope
Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 1pm Central Time
From the colonial days in the 18th century to the Displaced People after World War II immigrants to America millions were driven by individual motives on their journey to a new land. The American Declaration of Independence put in writing what was unknown in Germany’s feudal society, but nevertheless inspired the hope of millions: the pursuit of happiness.
The lecture presents a timeline of the German American migration experience and focuses on living conditions along with social, political and economic patterns in autobiographical studies: from Franz Daniel Pastorius and the passengers of the CONCORD in Germantown PA in 1683 – also named the German MAYFLOWER - to the land-seekers in the 19th century to the German neighborhood delis, shops and work places in the 1920s and 50s.
Dr. Wolfgang Grams of Oldenburg, Germany is the founder and owner of Routes to the Roots, Research and Travel in the city of Oldenburg, Germany.

Warren Bittner
Warren BittnerThe Fisherman Who Wanted to Marry the Executioner’s Daughter: Stories You Missed from German Marriage Sources
Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 8pm Central Time  
Learn about German marriage records beyond church books. Hear stories found in documents from many areas of Germany
Village Family Books
Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 8pm Central Time
Learn about thousands of books [Ortssippenbücher + ] that give family details for everyone in town.
Pity the Poor Pfuhl
Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 8pm Central Time
Follow two cases from the American Midwest to identify the place of origin in Germany using a variety of techniques
Bads, Bergs, Burgs, and Bachs
Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 8pm Central Time
Locations in Germany are frequently misspelled, no longer exist, or the names have changed. Gain tools to find difficult places.
How German History Makes a Difference in Your Family History Research Part 2
Thursday, Feb 28, 2019 at 8pm Central Time  
Two semesters of German history in an hour. Hold on to your seats! - It was too much for a single hour - so this is a continuation of the August 2018 Webinar.
How German History Makes a Difference in Your Family History Research Part 1
August 16, 2018 at 8pm Central Time
Two semesters of German history in an hour. Hold on to your seats! - 1 hour wasn't enough! Stay tuned for part 2!

Melissa Barker
Melissa BarkerThat’s in the Archives: Digging Deeper into Archived Records
Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 8pm Central Time  
Genealogists use archives every day to locate records about their ancestors. Are there records that you are not accessing because you don’t know they exist? Not all records are online, indexed or microfilmed. Digging deeper in the local archives to find unique and relatively unknown records just might be the next step in your genealogy research. This presentation can be viewed by any audience and is not geographic specific.

Annette Burke Lyttle
Annette Burke LyttleHow Advertising Brought Our Ancestors to the Midwest
Thursday, Feb 27, 2020 at 8pm Central Time  
Learn how massive advertising efforts by states, railroads, and others in the 19th and early 20th centuries enticed people to leave Europe and other U.S. states for the Midwest. Advertising sought to create “pull” factors to entice people to migrate.

Elissa Scalise Powell
Elissa Scalise PowellSailing Into the Sunset: Tips for Finding Your Ancestors on Passenger Lists
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 8pm Central Time  
Finding ancestors on passenger lists depends on at least three things: being able to recognize the ancestor with the limited information on the list, understanding if a record even exists, and working the transcribed indexes correctly. Various indices, research aides, examples of records and where to find them are all discussed.

Judy Russell
Judy RussellThe Aliens Among Us: Alien Registrations
Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 8pm Central Time  
Not all our ancestors were naturalized. The ones who didn’t suddenly became suspect when war divided their native countries from their new residences, creating the kinds of records genealogists love.

Dr. Michael D. Lacopo
Michael LacopoFinding And Using German Church Records
Thursday, May 23, 2019 8pm Central Time  
Many of us have German-speaking European ancestors but are afraid to tackle the next research step across the Atlantic. Identifying the proper parish that holds the records of interest, as well as locating and accessing those records, can seem daunting. It does not have to be. Learn to track down German church records, how to decipher them and how to overcome the fear of Old German script.
Methods For Identifying The German Origins of American Immigrants
Sept 27, 2018 8pm Central Time  
If all you know from conventional records is “Germany” as a place of origin, then this lecture will help you mine other resources to locate WHERE in Germany your ancestor came from. (Intermediate to Advanced)

Ute Brandenburg
Ute BrandenburgCase Study: Using atDNA to Find a German Home Town
Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 at 8pm Central Time
With an exceedingly common surname and very few paper records found, the search for Paul Schulze's hometown was at a dead end. The presentation will introduce Paul Schulze and give a brief overview of research as it stood before DNA entered the process. I will show how and why I selected three DNA matches to examine, and how I ultimately struck gold with the third trail I pursued. In addition, I will discuss a second case in which DNA was used to verify suspected relationships in the US, which then allowed us to follow the paper trail to the German hometown.
This presentation relates to DNA as well as traditional record research, and will demonstrate how both disciplines can be combined to solve difficult cases.

Dr. Fritz Juengling, PHD, AG
Dr. Fritz Juengling, PH.D., AG ®The Genealogical Value of German Guild Records
Thursday, Mar 28, 2019 at 8pm Central Time
In this lecture, I discuss the history, structure, and purpose of guilds. Then, we look at some of the many record types that guilds created and how they can be of use to the researcher, especially when church records are missing and how these records can fill those gaps.
Meyer's Gazetter Now Online, Indexed and Fully Searchable and New FamilySearch Forums
Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 8pm Central Time
He will be speaking about the very important website and how it is has impacted German researchers. A book that has been a critical German research resource, that is difficult for most to read and decipher, has been transformed into a website that makes information quick and at everyone's figure tips and adds some great features. Also join us in learning about the new FamilySearch forums - there are several that German language researchers will be interested in.

Luana Darby, AG
Luana Darby, AGThe Palatine Immigrants: Tracing and Locating 18th Century German Immigrants Online (Intermediate, Advanced)
Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 8pm Central Time   
Discover how to track your Palatine ancestors who traveled from Germany to the colonies in the 1700s, using techniques that will assist you in determining their place of origin. Use migration patterns of their family and friends to help you in your research. Learn more about online sources of original records for this area that you can research from home.
They Came by Way of Ontario        
Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 8pm Central Time                    
Many German immigrants chose Ontario, Canada as a stop on their journey to the U.S. Learn why they came, where they settled, and how to find them. Make those connections that will help you find their place of origin in the “old” country.

Daniel Jones, MS, AG
Daniel JonesFrom the Alps to the Rhine: Beginning Your Swiss Research
Thursday, Nov 1, 2018 at 8pm Central Time  
Do you have ancestors from Switzerland?  Learn how to find your Swiss family. We’ll be discovering the records available online for Switzerland, and resources that can help you be successful at researching your Swiss roots.

James Beidler
James BeidlerOnline German Church Registers, Duplicates and Substitutes
Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 8pm Central Time
No genealogist with German-speaking ancestors avoids using church records, and the good news is that many more of them are coming online in digital form. It’s important, however, to know whether you’re looking at originals, duplicates or extracts from these records – this presentation will explain the differences.

Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG
Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CGLetters & Umlauts & U-Bogen, Oh My!
Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 8pm Central Time
Reading old records written in German script can seem like an overwhelming task. Most modern-day Germans cannot read this script, yet it is an essential technique if you plan to research in older German records. This lecture provides strategies for reading the old handwriting; ways to maximize your chances for success; and resources to use when you are having problems.

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGAThey Joined, They Wrote, They Associated: Finding Records of Germanic Organizations and Other Collections
Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 8pm Central Time
U. S. libraries, historical societies, archives, and university library special collections sections hold the records from many organizations that our Germanic ancestors joined. The organization may have been a German heritage, charitable, religious, resettlement, political, social, or other organization. Additionally, as parts of our families migrated, so did the records. Frequently genealogists think that there may be no records for some of the family. However, there may be substantial information buried away in a manuscript collection. Finding these collections with records of membership, donations, necrologies, stories, activities, and more has become easier in recent years. Many finding aids online and off lead you to these research nuggets that represent hundreds of years of material. This presentation covers the finding aids, what the descriptions tell us, how to use the descriptions and suggestions for accessing the Germanic family nuggets promised by the cataloging and indexing. The visuals will demonstrate the fantastic ancestral details found in such records, including places of origin in Germanic localities beyond the U.S.


Speaker Biographies

Dr. Fritz Juengling, PH.D., AG
Dr. Juengling received his Bachelor’s degrees in German Studies and Secondary Education at Western Oregon University, his Master’s and Doctorate in Germanic Philology with minors in both English and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota. Germanic Philology is a highly specialized field of study, combining languages, linguistics, paleography and history. For his graduate degrees, Dr. Juengling was required to demonstrate competence in English, German, Medieval Latin and two other modern languages. He chose Norwegian and Dutch.
He is an Accredited Genealogist® for Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Sweden through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, and certified by the Verband deutschsprachiger Berufsgenealogen. Dr. Juengling is a German, Dutch, and Scandinavian Research Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
Paula is an internationally recognized genealogical educator, researcher, and consultant focusing on unusual resources, manuscripts, methodology, and analyzing records. She also specializes in Native American research, the WPA, and railroad records. She spends extensive research time at state archives, historical societies, and at various locations of the National Archives. She is a long-time course coordinator and instructor for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. She presented 3 courses for Ancestry Academy and has presented seminars all across the U.S. and in Canada. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, a former officer of the Association of Professional Genealogists and former president of the Northland Chapter of APG. She has been a Board-Certified Genealogist since 1988.
She is descended from eight ancestral countries and has researched family connections across the U.S. and Canada including the Southern lines of her father-in-law, her own Wisconsin Germans,  and the Central Minnesota German lines of her brother-in-law. She currently has her own educational website and blog at and is enthusiastic about sharing knowledge and continuing family history education with anyone interested at any level.
Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG
Teresa is the author of the Guide to Hanover Military Records, 1514-1866 on Microfilm at the Family History Library, is the owner of Lind Street Research, a company dedicated to helping people discover their German ancestry. She is a popular speaker for national, regional, and local genealogical societies. She created and recorded two courses for Ancestry Academy at She has taught at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR). She also researches for the Army to find living family members of American soldiers killed or missing in past wars.
Reading German gothic script found in German records prior to the mid-1900s is second nature to her. Researching ancestors in Chicago and other areas of the Midwest is another of Teresa’s specialty areas. She is a multi-year attendee of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). She has taken college-level German classes.
Teresa is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, as well as many German and local genealogical societies. Teresa chairs the committee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists monthly webinar series. She is the webmaster for the Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society in Arlington Heights, Illinois and is a genealogy volunteer at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.
Luana Darby, AG
Genealogy and the recording of family history has always been a passion for Luana. She began organizing photos, documents, and information on her grandmother’s family in 1977 and has researched for others since 1985, working as a professional genealogist since 1995. She specializes in Palatine German, US and Canadian, and western European research. She frequently travels to Europe for genealogical research on site in archives located in Germany, Poland and France.
Luana has a bachelor’s degree in Family History from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. In addition to her education at BYU and SJSU, Luana is an Accredited Genealogist®. She is a frequent lecturer at local and national conferences and institutes, including the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the British Institute, RootsTech and through Legacy Family Tree Webinars.
Luana is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild, and the National Genealogical Society. She has served as past president and director of the Utah Genealogical Association and currently serves on the board of the Association of Professional Genealogists and as a director of the Genealogical Speakers Guild.
In January 2015, she joined the faculty of BYU-Idaho as an online family history instructor teaching genealogical analysis and genealogy as a business courses.
Luana works as a genealogist for Relative Race, BYU TV’s reality competition show.
James M. Beidler
German Life's Family Research / Familie Forschung columnist James M. Beidler is the author of two successful commercially published German genealogy books (The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide and Trace Your German Roots Online). His newest book is The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide. Beidler writes “Roots & Branches,” a weekly newspaper column and blog (at He is also editor of Der Kurier, the quarterly journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society.
Dr. Michael D. Lacopo
Dr. Michael D. Lacopo is a retired small-animal veterinarian born and raised in northern Indiana. He takes a scientific approach to his research as he does to his profession. Researching since 1980, he has lectured internationally and written for numerous periodicals and journals. A self-described “all-American mutt,” his research skills cover a broad range.
Daniel R. Jones, MS, AG
Daniel R. Jones, MS, AG, is an Accredited Genealogist specializing in Swiss and German research. His interest in genealogy began when as a youngster he would pore over his mother's Book of Remembrance, but his love of family history took off at the age of 13 when a Boy Scout merit badge brought him to a Family History Center at a local LDS chapel. Daniel has been working professionally since 2003 in helping several high-profile clients with research all over Europe. He has experience in numerous archives across more than a dozen countries in Europe, North America, and Africa.