Ancestry research.

"There have been ancestor- or family-researchers before like the doctor Ernst Grünhagen (East Prussian).
I started my research in the year 1972 as I wanted to lock the gaps into the ancestor-pass of my father and I was immediately very successful.
For the research it needs literature about church register entries, like date- and Sunday-descriptions, abbreviations, illnesses, necessary Latin words, but also indications of archives because of the marriage- or purchase-contracts.
The main thing you need at the start is an experienced researcher to give you support.
And a lot of endurance and purposefulness belongs to it of course."

Ruth Grünhagen


Visit at the church register agency in Hanover 31. March 2005.

"It is early in the morning as I am on my way to the church register agency in Hanover where I have an appointment with Ruth Grünhagen. Ruth is already very busy as I enter the room with microfiche scanner quietly. The whirring of these machines is the only noticeable noise in this room because all present people are looking at their screens intently or are making notes.

After a hearty welcoming, quietly of course, Ruth explains me how to handle the scanner with microfiches. These microfiches contain negatives of photographed pages of church register, with other words: a more or less white handwriting on a black background.
Ruth is trying to read a document of early 1600. Although I prepared myself in recognizing the old characters and in reading the old German handwriting, I am not able at all to read a single word of the document Ruth is studying right now. Will I be able to help Ruth anyway?

Fortunately Ruth gives me an extract of the Suderbruch church register of about 1740 till 1890. This document I can read, or at least I can recognize most of the words.
Slowly I get familiar with the handwriting, or should I say handwritings, because the persons, who wrote down the family data, changed from time to time.
As time passes, I discover more and more entries about Grünhagens and thye come into being complete families with children and grandchildren. It is getting exciting and this extract seems to be a goldmine!

If you get deeper, you get the feeling you can find more and more details, but suddenly . . . it is closing time.
Time was running very fast today!

So I got knowledge of working in an archive and handling church register and old German handwritings. After some time you are able to read the handwritings and to expose the secrets of the old books more and more.

Although ancestry research is very time intensive, it always will be interesting.
If you once get caught by the ancestry research fever, it will never let you go again."

Hans Oppelaar.


My elusive ancestor.

I went searching for an ancestor. I cannot find him still.
He moved around from place to place and did not leave a will.
He married where a courthouse burned. He mended all his fences.
He avoided any man who came to take the U.S. Census.
He always kept his luggage packed, this man who had no fame.
And every 20 years or so, this rascal changed his name.
His parents came from Europe. They should be upon some list
of passengers to U.S.A., but somehow they got missed.
And no one else in this world is searching for this man.
So, I play geneasolitaire to find him if I can.
I'm told he's buried in a plot, with tombstone he was blessed;
but the weather took engraving, and some vandals took the rest.
He died before the county clerks decided to keep records.
No Family Bible has emerged, in spite of all my efforts.
To top it off this ancestor, who caused me many groans,
Just to give me one more pain, betrothed a girl named JONES.

by Merrell Keworthy.


We need your help!

Who likes to support the Grünhagen-Association?

There are still a lot of church register and other documents in archives, which contain important information for our ancestry research. They are just waiting to be explored.

Therefore we like to ask members of the Grünhagen-Association and also other people, who are interested in the genealogy of Grünhagen, to help us with our research.
We also would like to explain younger persons the work in archives and let them get interested in genealogy.