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Research Procedures & Tips That Really Do Work

by Betty Miley Ashley

[Webmaster's note: My own family research has been very difficult and I have learned really very little about my SCHREINERs before 1850. I realized years ago that the only good shot I had at finding my family’s information would be to concentrate on where they lived. To that end I joined Betty in her Wiesenmuller village project and this project has continued to expand in scope to include other villages from the Gnadenthau Church Parish. I have learned a great deal about researching and digging straight from Betty. Her methods are sound and produce results. Following her tips I was able to trace my SPENGLER family back to Germany.


1. Ask relatives to tell you everything they have ever heard about the "old folks," a. Names of remote cousins and friends. This was the biggest help to me.

       b. What ship were they on, date and port of arrival if possible.

       c. Did they become American citizens and if so, where.

       d. Write down all places where they lived and where relatives lived if possible.

       e. Churches they attended.

       f. Who were their friends?  Network with researchers working on those surnames.

2. American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) has a database and your relatives might be in it, but persons are not especially tied together. There is alack of details. Village Coordinators (VC) are doing the tying together. So ask for the coordinator for all your villages of interest when asking AHSGR for help. Then deal with the VC directly.

3. 1798 Censuses of Mother colonies can be purchased from AHSGR. If you know your ancestors' Mother colonies much can be found. There were also censuses in 1834 and 1850 - 58, but these must be obtained from Russia.

4, Research in Russia: Many have ordered family charts from researchers in Russia. Check with AHSGR and the appropriate Village Coordinators to see if someone has already ordered your surname, as well as how to go about ordering one for yourself. Note: an entire chart can easily cost as much as $900 or more.

5. Follow up on the links we have posted and take a look at the article It Takes a Village for other ideas.