Kinsearching August 16, 2009




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     European genealogical research, in general, is connected to ecclesiastical jurisdictions where the birth, christening, marriage, death, and burial records are now found. As a result, researchers tracing their forebears must search parish registers of the denomination to which their ancestors belonged. In the nineteenth-century German states, for example, most people were Catholic or Lutheran.

     During the middle to late 1800s, the historic boundaries of German parishes were usually designated solely in general terms. Although the components of the old parishes are known, they are defined only by towns assigned to each parish. To help genealogists locate the appropriate church records, Kevan M. Hansen is working on a projected 47-volume series, MAP GUIDE TO GERMAN PARISH REGISTERS. He recently completed Volume 24: THURINGIA.

     Working with digitized underlying maps of Germany, Hansen draws the old boundaries to encompass the towns included in each individual parish. The maps show how the various parishes fit together and specifies the borders of each district, adjoining towns, and surrounding parishes. Often, these are the first maps showing the boundaries of the nineteenth-century German parishes. Using the data, genealogists can identify the parish where their ancestors most likely worshipped, based on where their forebears lived. A knowledge of the adjoining parishes also allows family researchers to locate the church their forefathers attended if it was situated in a neighboring parish.

     Like the previous volumes in Hansen's series, THURINGIA furnishes separate parish boundary maps for Catholic and Lutheran churches, an inventory of congregations of minority religions (in this case, German Reformed and Jewish), and a complete index to towns. In addition, Volume 24 provides the Family History Library microfilm number for individual parish records. By entering the number in the Microfilm Number Search in the Family History Library Catalog at, genealogists can get a printout of all available films for a given parish and the years included on each reel.

     Although Hansen's publication is not a manual for conducting German family research, it helps to speed up the process. Anyone with forebears from this state will find useful information in MAP GUIDE TO GERMAN PARISH REGISTERS: THURINGIA.

     The 243-page paperback has a bright and interesting cover. It also has a foreword, an introduction by Leland K. Meitzler, a concise discussion of the area's historical background, a list of the region's main rulers, a section about Thuringia's genealogical resources (archives, repositories, periodicals, and genealogical collections, for instance), and an explanation of how to use the volume. To the paperback price of $34.95 ($65.00 for hardback), buyers should add handling charges of $4.90 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy. The reference work may be purchased from Family Roots Publishing Company, P. O. Box 830, Bountiful, Utah 84011-0830 (phone 801-992-3705; fax 815-642-0103; website; e-mail:

     Charles N. Ferguson, 811 South Market, Shawnee, OK 74801 is seeking the names of the parents and date and place of death for John SMITH, born in 1835 in Missouri. On 17 April 1859 in Hopkins Co., TX, he married Mary GRACE, who was born in 1837 in Tennessee. They had one known child, Charley Austin SMITH, who was born in June 1861 in Texas. John SMITH may have gone to serve in the Civil War from Hopkins County. Ferguson cannot locate John and Mary on the 1870 Texas census and would appreciate help in finding them.

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