Premium Member of the Week: Michele Dambach

Hi Michele. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us today. Can you tell us how long you’ve been doing German genealogy and what got you started?

I was dabbling in genealogy for a few years, but really began in earnest in 2019. My Dad and I were planning a trip to Danzig/Gdansk, where he was born during WWII. He got in touch with some of the local officials, who welcomed us with open arms.

 In addition, they discovered marriage certificates and other documents from my great grandparents. This caused me to want to learn even more prior to our trip, and I’ve been hooked ever since. 

That makes sense. A trip to Germany always makes things more fun and exciting. What about websites? Do you have a favorite?
 
Aside from being a Premium member of SK Translations, I use Ancestry, Family Search, and Meyers. Google is also a great friend – with information from around the world sourced with even just a broad search term. 
 
I love those websites too. As you’ve continued your German genealogy journey, have you learned a top tip that you would like to share with our readers?
 

I highly recommend taking a course on reading/translating the German handwriting. With so many letters looking similar or resembling one another, it has become invaluable for me. And as  you begin to become more familiar with the script, it truly does get a bit easier. 

Thanks for the course shout-out! I’m so happy to hear that it has helped you so much. What about any stories? Do you have a favorite story related to your ancestors?

My father and I were able to take a trip to Gdansk in December 2019. Through research and documents, I was able to take photos in front of the house where my father, my grandparents and great-grandparents lived. I also found the building where my great-grandfather ran his freight and moving business, close to the Motlawa River. But the best part was seeing the baptismal font where my father was baptized. The font had just been returned to the sanctuary in St. Mary’s Basilica after years of being in storage. My father and I met with the Monsignor and were able to pray together in front of the font – it was a very moving experience!

 

Wow, that does sound incredible. How special for you to both be able to be there together. 
 
Finally, how has the Premium membership helped your German genealogy research? 
 
The Premium membership provides monthly articles that explore topics in depth that assist in my research. In addition, the Premium Facebook group has become invaluable to me. I anticipate our weekly “meetings” to get assistance with those one or two words on a document that are leaving me stumped. These words, once deciphered, often lead to new clues about where to search next for family records. 
 

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Michele!

Check out our other Premium Member Highlights and their fascinating genealogy stories. And be sure to give them a comment if what they have to share has helped you, or if you like their family stories!

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