This edition of In Search of Your German Roots is designed to help you trace your German ancestry, not only in Germany, but in all the German-speaking areas of Europe, from the Baltic to the Crimea, from the Czech Republic to Belgium. It shows you how to conduct your research from your own home–at your computer, using a variety of online resources and also points you to the most useful repositories of records abroad.
When the first edition of this book was published in 1987, searching for German ancestors was a more cumbersome and likely more expensive proposition. A lot of legwork was required in order to pinpoint what records were available in Germany and where they were housed, letters had to be written and fees paid, followed up by weeks of waiting for responses. Today, all of the major archives and many of the smaller ones, as well as church parishes, have websites containing contact information and information on their holdings; many have put digitized images of their records online. Correspondence can usually now be handled more quickly and less expensively via e-mail. An ever increasing number of searchable databases with information relevant to German ancestor-hunters, passenger lists, vital records, censuses, cemetery records, surname directories, etc. has greatly improved opportunities for research.
The fifth edition of the book highlights all of the recent developments–new facilities, new websites, newly available records–that have made German family history research immeasurably easier.