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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Researching Germany - OMG and LOL!

Every once in a while, you have to poke a little fun at yourself and laugh.  When it comes to researching Germany, I do feel like I am going in circles but also a little dense.  While ignorance is bliss at times, when you're researching your family tree and really want to get it correct, you've got to settle in and learn about the geography for the country in which your ancestors came from.

The more I learn about Germany, the less I know.  I had located my Vienop's in Borninghausen, Westphalia, Germany months ago.  In fact, my aunt has always known where they were from. When I look at the locations near Borninghausen, the biggest city appears to be Hannover to the east.  I also can see that the Vienop's lived about 60 miles from the current border of the Netherlands.  In all seriousness, though, it is all German to me.  When I map Germany on Google Maps, everything is titled in the German language. 

So is Borninghausen the anglicized version of the town or village?  Or, is that the name in German?  I must admit though that at least I found the location on a map.  I think that I even have a more specific address location for where some Vienop's/Vinup's still lived about 80 years ago.

Now I am working on my Borchers Family line from Germany.  As I enter Jurgen Borchers' descendants into my Family Tree, I consistently run into the location of Gr. Nenndorf, Schaumburg, Niedersachsen, Germany, for the Borchers of the late 1600s and 1700s.  When I finally mapped the location, it is about 10 miles west of Hannover.  That gives me some perspective now.

My Vienop's and Borchers' ancestors may have lived about 60 miles from each other.  The other discovery that I made in my research is that Niedersachen translated in to English is Lower Saxony.  That does pull some other information that I have together.

Distances aside, even if the Vienop's and Borchers' lived only 30 miles apart, that would have felt like a lifetime back in the 1700s, right?  While Germany is a small country, it is riddled with names and locations that are very foreign to me.  At times, you can find that many locations have been somewhat translated into English.  That really is confusing if you ask me.  Too bad I took Spanish in high school and college.  Sometimes, I wish that I had taken German.

I am making my way in researching my family tree in Germany with a huge amount of help from my aunt and uncle.  It is slow going and I do feel like a total "newbie" on these lines of my tree.  All I can say in internet jargon is "OMG!" and "LOL!".  I certainly have my work cut out for me and a lot to learn.


Since my original draft of this post, I have had someone recommend "Lands of the German Empire and before" by Wendy K Uncapher.

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