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Researching Ancestors In The German Military

Researching Ancestors In The German Military

Anyone with German Ancestors know that German Research can be at times, very tricky but once you’ve got the people you’re after you can find lots of very interesting sources. One of the most important sources beyond Birth, Marriage amd Death records are Military records. Below are some great resources for finding anyone that was in the German Military.

1 –  Deutsch Dienststelle (wasT)

Probably the most important German Military Collection around is the Deutsch Dienststelle (wasT) as it allows you to request the records for any German that was a member of the Wehrmacht. This however comes with a few hoops to jump through for obvious reasons. You cannot request any records of someone that was a member but is still alive without their permission. You can also not get any record of someone unless they died in the field or as a prisoner of war without the permission of their next of kin. It is worth noting however that some members of the Forum der Wehrmacht state that the archive are still likely to release documents as long as the person has been dead longer than 10 years and sometimes without the permission of next of kin depending on circumstances.

This is however not a free resource and records cost around 20 Euros, which depends on the amount of time taken, difficulty and number of records. Of you are requesting a full genealogical enquiry the waiting time can be up to 24 months so its good to get as much information as humanly possible before sending it off. Make sure you state your goals in the form and that you’d like copies of all sources found.

2 – German Red Cross Tracing Service

The German Red Cross Tracing Service is a great resource for finding people if they seem to have fallen off the face of the earth. It’s primary use is not for Military records but its so simple to use that it’s worth a punt every time. It also includes a Missing Person Photo Search feature that requires little information but can yield great results.

3 –  Federal Archive – Military Department

These archives include loads of records relating to: The Prussian army from 1867 onwards, The Army of the North German Confederation, The Imperial Navy, The Colonial Protection Force and the Freikorps, The Reichswehr, Wehrmacht, and Waffen-SS, The German Work Units in the Service of the Allied Forces
the National People’s Army including any border troops and The Bundeswehr. However although they house a lot of records, a lot of records have been lost due to war.



4 –  Federal Archive – Branch Office Ludwigsburg

This is the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes. It can be an incredibly interesting resource although be it a rather dark one and holds information on units and people involved with War Crimes. Data can include Scenes of crimes, suspects and culprits. The majority of the time this also includes anyone mentioned in the cases. It’s worth searching these archives if you suspect that you have an ancestor that might have been in a unit that was involved with any war crimes.

5 – Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge

This site is a lot like the German equivalent of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It can help you find fallen or MIA soldiers. This can be searched using cemetery search and they even offer photo services on the contact form where you can request photographs of any of the graves.

 

Tips for Researching Dutch Ancestors.

Tips for Researching Dutch Ancestors.

It’s often daunting when looking at records from another country, in a different language to what you are accustom to. Dutch records are definitely no exception. We often take for granted in the UK how easy it is to obtain Birth/Marriage/Death certificates and how little effort it takes to find them.

WieWasWie Logo

WieWasWie

When it comes to Dutch records, looking around in forums or using a search engine will usually bring you to the site “WieWasWie”. Since WieWasWie is a paid website it is often overlooked by people only looking for one or two distant ancestors a couple of hundred years ago. It does contain a lot of information which is almost exclusively Baptism, Marriage and Burial records (Doop, Trouw, Begraven).

Open Archives Logo




Openarch

There is however usually the same information and sources available elsewhere on the internet. One such site is Open Archives which uses the Open Source data supplied by the Dutch Archives, it is free to use and has more records.

National Archief

GaHetNa

If you are looking for Military or VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, Otherwise known as the Dutch East India Company) records. Then GaHetNa is the website you need. It is the Dutch National Archives website and is the number one stop if you’re ancestor was in the Dutch Military.

Militieregisters Logo

Militieregisters

Another useful Military site is militieregisters.nl. This site contains thousands of military service records and has an incredible simple easy to use search menu. Although viewing scans is not free you can earn free scans by indexing various projects on velehanden.nl which also helps bring new searchable projects and source collections on to the internet.

Ministerie Van Defence

Archieven (Dutch Ministry of Defense)

The Dutch Ministry of Defense has repositories that contain the names of dutch citizens within Napoleons armies. These records contain not only basic information and their military unit but also nearly always contain the Mother and Father of the person in question which can massively help with the research in to a family.

Geneaknowhow

Geneaknowhow

Indexes for different areas in The Netherlands can be found at Geneaknowhow.net. The site does have an English mirror but it is not updated along with the dutch version. It’s not particularly user friendly but does the job and can be very useful if you know what you want.

Zoekakten Logo

Zoekakten

Zoekakten is another not so easy to use site. It does tend to have a massive repository of data though if you can work out how to use it. It usually has Christening/Marriage/Burial records that are missing from other sites online.

Local Sources

If you know exactly where your ancestors are from then your best bet is to look for the local archive for that region as they will have the most in depth records available. They can be found easily by searching for “[placename] archief genealogie”.

6 Reasons You Should Join or Start a One Name Study.

6 Reasons You Should Join or Start a One Name Study.

Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS)
Copyright one-name.org

If you’ve ever stumbled across an unusual name in your research and ended up whacking it in to Google then you’ve probably come across The Guild Of One Name Studies (Goons). If not, it’s a Website that offers a different outlook to the conventional Family Tree. Rather than a focus on a particular members own tree, a One Name Study is exactly what it sounds like. All members of a One Name Study contribute to a common goal which involves a particular surname, this goal could be very broad like: “All instances of the Surname Barber and it’s variations wordwide” which would for obvious reasons be a massive project.

While the Guild insists that all studies be global in scope, it is perfectly acceptable to start with a smaller area like a US state or British county and build out from there, like for example the surname Juden in West Sussex. The techniques you learn on a small scale can then be applied similarly as the geographic scope widens. Some Guild members may choose to be global but restrict the time period on which they initially work and then extend backward or forward from there. There are plenty of reasons to join or start a One-Name Study.

Reason 1: A massive community of like minded individuals all contributing to a common goal.

The nature of a One Name Study tends to attract people that are less likely to be selfish in their studies and share any information and knowledge they might have. This could be in the form of sources, local history or general tips and tricks they have learnt themselves. This might in turn break down brick walls in your own family tree, or give you insights in to collections or sources you might otherwise have missed.Two Head sharing knowledge graphic

Reason 2: Guild Marriage Challenges.

A Guild Marriage Challenge is a project in which members will visit local archives in specific registration districts and look up marriages. This helps with eliminating the need to spend as much money on Marriage Certificates. Put in to real terms, if you were to only manage to find two records from these challenges then you’ve already paid for your subscription.Marriage Record For Pierre Louis Oscar Cordier

Reason 3: Discounted DNA Tests.

The Guild also offers discounted DNA Tests for all of its members. These tests are the same ones found on Family Tree DNA which include: YDNA 37 Marker and the Family Finder Autosomal test. Both can offer different insights in to your ancient ancestry.DNA Strand

Reason 4: Breaking down Brick Walls.

With the enormous wealth of knowledge the members of the Guild have you are certain to find someone that is interested in helping you break down a brick wall in a particular area, the solution might come from local knowledge that only a select few members know about or a search tip that leads you to the breakthrough source.Breaking down a Brick Wall

Reason 5: Free Profile Page on the Guild website.

With a free profile page you can get noticed by new and existing members with the same surname interests. Here you can add everything you know about your chosen surname and outline the goals of your project.

One Name Study Profile Page
Copyright one-name.org

Reason 6: Get more in depth knowledge of a surname. 

If for only this reason alone you join The Guild it will be worth it as you’ll actually have some verified history about the surname you choose complete with stats and sources to back your claims up.Juden surname page