From Germany to Virginia: Researching Germanna Families

Photo: Germanna Visitor Center – 2013 – JohnnyReb67 – Creative Commons

They came from Germany to America in 1714 originally to provide a buffer zone colony against the French and to work and protect the ironworks of Lt. Governor Spotswood. These colonies of German immigrants to Virginia have been studied and written about for decades.

If you have discovered your ancestry leads you into the unique trees of the Germanna Colonies you might want to learn about some great resources available from the Germanna Foundation.

Photo: Map of Siegen, Germany – Genealogy of the Fishback Family in America – by John Fishback – 1917


My Germanna families are the Weavers and other related and intermarried families. Fortunately, my Grand Aunt left me many editions of the Before Germanna books and other published items and books that she bought from the Germanna Foundation in the 1990’s.

I cannot tell you how valuable these books have been and have saved me a lot of time. Why research something that’s already available in print and has been studied extensively!…Right?

Good News! if you don’t have these books many of them are still in print or reprint and are available on Amazon! Click the links below to review and add to your cart! {I do have several of the out of print Germanna books if you are looking for something specific you can view my library under “Research Assistance” at the top of the blog.} P. S. There are 3 FREEBIES in this post!


FREEBIE:
You can download for free the PDF “The First Decade of the Germanna Foundation 1956-1966” here. This is great history of the beginnings of the Germanna Foundation.


GERMANNA (OVERVIEWS)

Germanna: Outpost of Adventure 1714 – 1956 by John Walter Wayland & Charles Herbert Huffman – 2012


Germantown Revisited – The Germanna Record: The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia; 3rd edition – 2005 by W. B. Hackley, B. C. Holtzclaw and Charles Herbert Huffman


Germanna Road: Three Hundred Year History of the Lower Orange County, Virginia, with Particular Attention to the Alexandria Tract and Lake of the Woods by Dr. Peter G. Rainey – 2010


Germanna by John W. Wayland – 2009


FIRST COLONY FAMILIES

Ancestry and Descendants of the Nassau-Siegen Immigrants to Virginia, 1714-1750: Special Edition – Germanna Foundation/Germanna Record – (Update to the 1964 Book) – by Dr. Benjamin C. Holtzclaw


SECOND COLONY FAMILIES

The Second Germanna Colony and Other Pioneers by John Blankenbaker – Geramanna Foundation – 2019 – Germanna Record #18


Kindle Edition for this book also available:


CLORE FAMILIES

The First Four Generations of the Michael Clore Family by Cathi Clore Frost – 2015 – Germanna Record #16


BLANKENBAKER, WEAVER & WHILHOIT FAMILIES

The Blankenbaker, Weaver & Whilhoit Families – by Charles L. Yowell and John C. Wilhite – – 2nd edition – 2006 – Germanna Record #13


Germanna Studies: Essays Honoring John V. Blankenbaker – Various authors – Germanna Foundation – Germanna Record #20
*Free Kindle edition!


The Willheit Family: The First Four Generations in America by Cathi Clore Frost – 2017 – Germanna Record #21


FISHBACK FAMILIES

Genealogy fo the Fishback Family in America: Descendants of John Fishback by Willis M. Kemper – 2018


FISHER FAMILIES

Fisher Genealogy by Gertrude Fisher Harding – 1942 is available here. Click the link in the bottom of the preview window to access this book in other versions to download, search or print.


HOFFMAN FAMILIES

John Hoffman: 1714 Germanna Colonist and His Descendants – The Germanna Foundation – 2nd edition – 1989


KEMPER FAMILIES

Genealogy of the Kemper Family in the United States: Descendants of John Kemper of Virginia by Willis Miller Kemper – 2015


THOMPSON/SPOTSWOOD FAMILY

Germanna: An historical novel; based upon the “ghost stories” and traditions which haunt the one-time home of “Parson” John Thompson and his wife, the former Lady Spotswood by Jennie Thornly Grayson – 1930


MARTIN FAMILIES

A Martin Genealogy: Tied to the History of Germanna, Virginia by William A. Martin – 2019


YAGER FAMILIES

The Yager Family: The First Five Generations by Cathi Clore Frost – 2010 – The Germanna Record


RECTOR FAMILIES

Rectors Remembered: The Descendants of John Jacob Rector – Vol. 1 by Laura Wayland-Smith Hatch – 2014


Rectors Remembered: The Descendants of John Jacob Rector – Vol. 2 by Laura Wayland-Smith Hatch – 2014


Rectors Remembered: The Descendants of John Jacob Rector – Vol. 3 by Laura Wayland-Smith Hatch – 2014


Rectors Remembered: The Descendants of John Jacob Rector – Vol. 4 by Laura Wayland-Smith Hatch – 2014


Rectors Remembered: The Descendants of John Jacob Rector – Vol. 5 by Laura Wayland-Smith Hatch – 2014


Rectors Remembered: The Descendants of John Jacob Rector – Vol. 6 by Laura Wayland-Smith Hatch – 2014


Rectors Remembered: The Descendants of John Jacob Rector – Vol. 7 by Laura Wayland-Smith Hatch – 2014


Rectors Remembered: The Descendants of John Jacob Rector – Vol. 8 by Laura Wayland-Smith Hatch – 2014


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Preserving Pioneer History: Cemeteries in Nebraska

We have a big problem in Nebraska with our old pioneer cemeteries. Farming continues to encroach on abandoned cemeteries and when those cemeteries are on private property farmers will often destroy the cemeteries. Our cemeteries are protected under state laws, however, only about half of the cemeteries were on the state registry in 2017. An … Continue reading

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Order Your Ancestry DNA Kit on Amazon – Free Shipping for Prime Members

The DNA testing continues! Thus far I have done the autosomal DNA testing through AncestryDNA for myself, my husband, my parents and my 94 year old grandmother. The results have been fascinating and interesting. As the family history researcher I love when the DNA confirms things in the tree. DNA doesn’t lie and helps to sort out interesting puzzles. It also brings you many other questions in some lines. I hope to connect more tests from the immediate family to our tree as there are many lines that are still holding a lot of mysteries.

It’s s simple test, just spit into a vial, activate your test and drop it in the mail..then wait anxiously for several weeks!

Ancestry Genetic Ethnicity DNA Testing Kit


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Dating Old Photos by Fashion: Tips for the 1930’s

1930’s Evening Wear – New Public Library Digital Collections

More great tips on dating old photos by fashion in the 1930’s. Just click the link to go to the familysearch blog.

Family Search Blog: 1930s Clothing: Fashions from 1930–1939

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Family Tree for Beginners: “Dummies” if you prefer…7 Free books to help you get started

Great News! You decided to start working on your family tree! Now what!? Family tree research can be a bit overwhelming. If you inherited someone else’s work like I did with “BoB” you probably want to start but it’s a daunting task. I can say at first my head was swimming too!

Some people like to watch videos, some people like to ask questions and some people like to read. If you like to read I’ve compiled a list of seven beginner books “For Dummies” like my grandmother would say. All of these books are available for FREE at the internet archive online. Just start a free account on the internet archive and start reading!


  1. Genealogy Online for Dummies by Matthew Helm – 2008 – Learn how to search and locate records online. Some info may be out of date but still a good read for free if you are new to online research.

2. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy by Christine Rose & Kay Germain Ingalls – 1997 – Learn quick and easy methods to trace your ancestry.


3. The Family Tree Guide Book by the Editors at Family Tree Magazine – 2002 – Contains web sites, archives, libraries, city guides and more tips. Again, might be slightly out of date but a FREE read where you might find a tip or a clue.


4. The Library: A Guide to the LDS Family History Library by John Cerny & Wendy Elliott – 1988 – Contains information on the LDS Family History Library in Utah, the largest genealogical collection in the world.


5. Cyndi’s List – by Cyndi Howells – 1999 – A comprehensive list of 40,000 Genealogy Sites on the Internet. Cyndi’s List is still active online today – a great index where you will find what you are looking for!


6. How to Do Everything Genealogy – Second Edition by George G. Morgan – 2009 – Everything you need to know to learn how to become an expert researcher.


7. Plugging into your past: how to find real family history records online by Rick Crume – 2004 – How to use online resources and tools to find family history.


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From Mountains to Megabytes: Organizing and Archiving Your Stuff: Pictures and Stories RootsTech Session 2019

Where do you start with your family tree research and organizing a massive amount of family history? This is a great session from RootsTech – about an hour of very helpful information!


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Posted in ancestry, ancestry.com, charts, family tree,, free research, Free Resources, fun stuff, newspapers, obituaries, old newspaper ads, old photos, organizing, photos, research, research assistance, RootsTech, Tricks for Ancestry, User Tips Ancestry.com, vital records | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RootsTech 2021 – Free Online! February 25-27, 2021

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Ten thousand (+/-) people attend RootsTech every year and this year you can too!

I just received an email that the RootsTech Conference 2021 is coming up and this year its free and completely online!

What is RootsTech? It’s a genealogical and technology conference sponsored by FamilySearch International. It’s full of great information and tips and this year you can experience it for FREE online. Need help with anything in your family tree research? You can get help and tips here and many of your questions answered.

Coming to RootsTech 2021

When is RootsTech? February 25-27, 2021 – ONLINE FOR FREE! Register now!


CLICK THIS LINK TO REGISTER – RootsTech 2021 – Online Conference

There are 18 PAGES of topics for this year’s RootsTech! If you want to read more about the individual sessions you can download the list in a PDF file here:


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Posted in ancestry, Ancestry Mistakes, ancestry.com, charts, DNA Testing, family tree,, free research, Free Resources, fun stuff, Genealogy research, genetic genealogy, newspapers, obituaries, old newspaper ads, old photos, photos, public domain, public records, research assistance, RootsTech, Tricks for Ancestry, US Census Records, User Tips Ancestry.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here Lies the Body…The Farber Gravestone Collection

I love finding interesting gravestones as I research the family tree. It’s fun to see the evolution of gravestones throughout the eras as certain materials were used at different times in history. What I love about these gravestones is they are so informative, (dramatic at times) and intricate in their carvings.

Old Gravestones – public domain

The Farber Gravestone Collection is one of my favorites. These gravestones were carved primarily by Daniel Farber in Massachusetts and Connecticut prior to 1800. It is estimated that there are approximately 9,000 Farber Gravestones carved by Daniel Farber, his wife and a few others that carried on the tradition.

The project is supported by the American Antiquarian Society. If you have early ancestors in Massachusetts or Connecticut that died prior to 1800 there is chance you might find one of the Farber Gravestones!

Daniel Farber Gravestone Collection


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Tracing African-American Enslaved Peoples & Families: 10 Free books to get you started

Photo: Maria Weems escapes on the Underground Railroad – 1872 Engraving

The Underground Railroad Collection – New York Public Library Digital Collections

Tracing African-American enslaved people in your family tree can be more difficult due to lack of records or knowing where to look for records. Here is a free book list of helpful resources from the Internet Archive.

You can borrow them and read for free you after you create a free account. Click the links below.


  1. The African-American Family’s Guide to Tracing Our Roots: Healing, Understanding & Restoring Our Families by Roland C. Barksdale Hall – 2005 – Covers many topics like “How to begin”, tracing slave ancestors & looking for free people.

2. Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy by James M. Rose & Alice Eicholz – 2003 (2nd Edition) – Covers overview and survey of states.


3. A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors : How to find and record your unique heritage by Franklin Carter Smith & Emily Anne Croom – 2003 – Covers census and state and local records and archives.


4. Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African-American Family Family Tree by Tony Burrows – 2001 – Includes case histories, illustrations and photos of documents, tips and forms/worksheets.


5. Finding a Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity by Dee Woodter – 1999 – Covers historical overview, Caribbean ancestry, Native American ancestry, records, reconstructing families.


6. Finding Your People: An African-American Guide to Discovering Your Roots by Sandra Lee Jamison – 1999 – Covers lineage and pedigree documents, census and other records, surnames, family reunions.


7. Finding Oprah’s Roots: Finding Your Own by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – 2007 – Host of the PBS TV show “Finding Your Roots” gives tips and guidance on finding African-American heritage.


8. Roots Recovered! The How To Guide for for tracing African-American and West Indian roots back to Africa and going there for free or on a shoestring budget by James E. White & Jean-Gontran Quenum – 2004 – More of a travel guide but contains good information on DNA groups and source information on researching African-American roots.


9. African American Genealogy: A Bibliography and Guide to Sources by Curt Bryan Witcher – 2000 – Guide to sources by State.


10. Family Pride: The Complete Guide to Tracing African-American Genealogy by Donna Beasley – 1997 – Covers how to begin, oral history, resources and writing about your history.


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Missouri Birth & Death Index is now available FREE online!

The Missouri Birth (1920 – 2015) & Death Index 1968 – 2015 are now available online for FREE! Thanks again to the hard fighting group at Reclaimtherecords.org you can access the Missouri Birth (1920 – 2015) & Death Index (1968-2015) online for Free. Visit the links below to start to research the index. Additional years … Continue reading

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Posted in ancestry, ancestry.com, finding your roots, free research, Free Resources, internet archive, National Archives, newspapers, obituaries, public domain, public records, research, research assistance, Tricks for Ancestry, US Census Records, User Tips Ancestry.com, vital records | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Starting an Ancestry Family Tree – Part 2 – Exploring Features

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

Part 2 of the video tutorial series of starting a new family tree.

This video covers the next steps in setting up a new tree and helps you explore the features you will use. This video is about 15 minutes.

Starting an Ancestry Family Tree – Part 2 – Exploring Features

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My books are back…Research Assistance now Available!

I have all of my family tree library out of storage now after nearly 4 years! I can now provide research assistance for those researching the same family lines and locations. To view the resources available in my library you can go to the newly created page on this web site called “Research Assistance“. You … Continue reading

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Starting an Ancestry Family Tree – Part 1 – Starting a new tree

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This is a video tutorial for beginners that want to start building a family tree.

Part 1 will show you how to create a new tree. This video is about 7 minutes long.

Starting an Ancestry Family Tree – Part 1

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