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It’s a Small World After All

Sometimes when conducting family history research, we can come across amazing coincidences, finding that we’re tied to others in ways we never would have expected. This happened to me and one particular colleague and friend. We realized years ago that the two of us (her from Pennsylvania and me originally from New York) had a bit of shared pirate ancestry stemming from Ireland. No biggie. There are plenty of Irish...

When Should You Hire a Professional Genealogist?

I’ve long since hit a dead end researching my family’s history in Germany — my namesake line no less. Family believed most records there were lost when a key town was pretty much destroyed by the Russian military in WWII. The family was forced to leave their home and most of their belongings behind, and on very short notice. Gathering documents just wasn’t a priority. But now there’s hope. If...

The Broken Branch of a Family Tree – Unexpla...

I’ve talked about my issues proving my German citizenship. And I may have figured out a part of the problem. While we know the basic history of my family and their locations, the officials might be struggling to find documents on their end due to a potential name change (not covered in what they actually asked for, which is all I provided). Here’s the gist. I couldn’t find much information about my great...

Dual Citizenship: Is it Worth It?

I believe I’ve mentioned it here before, but a couple of years ago during my genealogy research I discovered that my brothers and I were born dual U.S.-German citizens. And for more than two years, I’ve been cutting through bureaucratic red tape trying to get a German certificate of citizenship to prove it. Now let me be clear. We were definitely born dual citizens. We meet every requirement. But there is still a...

Hitting the “Brick Wall” in Your Famil...

Of all the branches in my family tree, the most difficult to research has been my namesake’s. I hit a brick wall early on in that research, and to this day I can’t track that line beyond my great grandparents. In this case it’s a German line. My grandfather came here as a young man after WWII. The family was forced to relocate within Germany with relatively little notice. Records were lost, left behind, and...