Step by Step Guide to Accessing Browse-only Records on FamilySearch

In my monthly contribution to the Slave Name Roll Project a few days ago, the content of the record I was writing about was more important than the steps I took to find the record featured in the post Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: William, Mary, and Orange.

I prompted my readers to ask me if they were interested in how I found the browse-only records on FamilySearch. Several took me up on the offer to explain how I found this particular record. One suggested I write an entire article talking about some of the shortcuts and easier ways I have learned to search the non-indexed records.

Your post – coupled with the recent announcement that Family Search is discontinuing microfilm distribution – is a good reminder for all genealogists to keep a close eye on the expanding online collections of digitized records. ~ Michael Dyer of Family Sleuther

I spend hours working with the browse-only records at FamilySearch. I also remember the days when I thought I would never get the hang of working with their immense collections. I’m more experienced today and it’s easier for me to find my way around the Library. Yes, I think of the FamilySearch site as a library with a librarian who will answer my questions and a catalog for helping me find the collections or books I’m looking for.

What will you find in the library?

Family history researchers have different levels of experience. A beginner may not get much further than the front desk and feel lost.

FamilySearch has changed and grown since I first began using the FREE site. I’ve gone from using the Search Historical Records box (as a beginner and, even now, as a more experienced researcher) to consulting the Find a Collection to doing geographical research with the Research By Location tool.

Click on Browse all published collections under Find a Collection to see a list of 2237 collections. A collection with a camera icon and the words Browse images in the Records column tell you it is BROWSE-ONLY and not indexed. The collections with a camera icon and the number of records available are indexed and linked to images. The collections with a camera with a rectangle are indexed on FamilySearch but the image will be found on another site which may be free or subscription.

Filter the list by searching for words in the name of the collection or choosing a place, time period, and/or type of collection. At the very bottom on the left under Collections, there is a little box you can check to view only collections with images.

Here I filtered the names of the collections with West Virginia in the title and shortened the list to ten collections. In this list I don’t see Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia, the database where I found birth records of two slaves of Wilson M. DEMPSEY born in 1855 and 1857 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

The Genealogy Girl, Amberly Beck, mentioned in a comment on one of my posts awhile back that FamilySearch is adding browse-only collections at a faster pace. They may not be showing up in the Historical Record Collections list – but they are being added to the catalog.

Let’s click back to the front desk and see if the librarian is available.

The FamilySearch Wiki, in my opinion, is not used often enough by researchers. It is the first place you should look to learn about genealogy research in different areas. I think of the FamilySearch Wiki as the librarian who is there to help – if you ask.

What is the Wiki?
Welcome to the Wiki! The Wiki is a free, online genealogical guide, with links to genealogy databases, images of records, and instructions on how to search for your ancestors. ~ from the FamilySearch Wiki Overview
We’ve taken a short tour of the front desk and seen where the librarian works. Before we check out the catalog, we need to know what we’ll be searching for.
“West Virginia Births and Christenings, 1853-1928,” database, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2014), William Dempsey, 11 Feb 1857; citing Meadow Fork, Fayette, Virginia, reference ; FHL microfilm 34,485.

This is the indexed information from the birth record of William born in 1857. When FamilySearch shows a record with the camera icon and notation that no image is available, this means there is no image attached to the indexed material. However, the film may be browse-only and available online.

Remember the days when you could do a Request for Photo Duplication on FamilySearch?

We were all disappointed when this service was discontinued. But wait! If they could look up the record and send it to us, couldn’t we do our own lookup in the collections of browse-only records – if they are online?

Let’s try looking for the 1857 birth record in the search result above. The GS Film Number or FHL microfilm is 34485.

This is where the catalog comes into play.

Click on Search and then Catalog on the drop-down menu on the main page of FamilySearch.

Under Search for: click on Film/Fiche Number to open the box and fill in the FHL number 34485. Click on the Search button.

This takes you to Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia. Click on the link for more information.

Under Notes you will see this collection is a group of records held at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia. Scroll down to see the 10 films listed. Search for the number in the Film/DGS column.

The magnifying glass indicates this collection is indexed and searchable. We already knew this as the indexed record was found using Search Historical Records tool. The camera icon means the collection is available for viewing. If it were microfilm which has not been digitized you would see a film icon. To browse the records, click on the camera next to film #34485 for Calhoun – Hampshire counties.

This is where many people are overwhelmed as they think they need to click through hundreds of images to find what they are looking for.

On the left side is the tool to zoom in and out and view single or all images. Start with the filmstrip view instead of single images. When records are filmed they do it in a logical order. This is Calhoun – Hampshire counties and, in alphabetical order, these counties would be Calhoun – Clay – Doddridge – Fayette – Gilmer – Grant – Greenbrier – Hampshire.

Tip: If you don’t know the names of the counties, go to the Wiki, search for the state or use the interactive map to get to the state level or county level.

As you scroll down you will notice there are images that look like title pages of books (green arrows). If you click on one of these you will see the title, West Virginia Vital Statistics, and below in very light typewriting, the name of the county. In this collection, you need to zoom in as close as possible to read it. But since you know Fayette is the 4th county in the batch you can go to 4th title image.

Fayette starts on image 107 and goes to 159 as image 160 is the next West Virginia Vital Statistics cover sheet. The collection is for the time period 1853-1860 and we are looking for a birth record for the year 1857. There are a little over 50 images for Fayette County.

How were birth, marriage, and death registers kept at this time? Did they have a register only for births or were the BMD records kept together by year? Look at the small images. Some of the pages are not filled with writing. These could be the last pages of a year’s entries. Getting familiar with the record keeping of the time and place makes it much easier to jump through the images to find records instead of looking at every single image.

Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia; Film # 007499353; Calhoun – Hampshire counties; image 120 of 554. ( : accessed 10 June 2017)

Once you’ve found the record, an important step needs to be performed. You want to save the record AND you want to be able to find it again WITHOUT having to go through all the steps mentioned above.

FamilySearch usually makes this easy to do. Click on Information, scroll down to Citation, copy/paste, and save in your usual manner (in your genealogy software, on the image, in Evernote with the image). In this case, we see No citation is available. This means you need to write your own source citation, similar to the caption of the image above. You want to include the name of the collection, film # and batch name, and image # just in case the URL (which you also want to save) is no longer accessible.

Another example of browse-only records

Instead of using an FHL film number to access a record, you can search by location.

Go to the catalog, in the Place box begin typing West Virginia (or any location you are interested in). The place name is always from largest to smallest: Country, State, County.

You can refine your search by changing the place, for example from state to a specific county in the state, in the box at left. Or, on the right, you can click on Places within….

to get a list of the counties. I want to find a bond taken out by Augustus BLAKE of Fayette County in the 1880s. Clicking on Fayette opens up a list of all collections for the county. Court records should include bonds. Click to open list of all available records.

Bonds, 1870-1926 matches the type of record and the period for the record we are looking for.

Scroll down the page to see if collections are available to browse or search.

Under Note check for the 1880s time period which would be in Vol. 1 1870-1887 or Vol. 2-3 1887-1900. We’ll try the first batch: Film #584751 Item 3. If you’ve browsed through microfilm you know they continue filming collections back to back. Because of this the mention of Item 3 is important for the search.

This is the beginning of the film starting with Item #1. We scroll down to the next black image.

There is a black image with End, an image with the title of the next item, and then a black image with Begin. Scroll to next black image.

Here we see the end of Item #2, info and beginning of Item #3. You can see it is a book and the index is on the front pages. If they aren’t at the front, you’d scroll to the end of the item and check the back of the book for the index.

Tip: There are some collections, for example, Wills where the index to all books in one section.

Item #3 is Releases and Official Bonds 1870-1887 Vol. 1. We are also in the correct location: Fayette County, West Virginia.

The first page of the index had several Blake individuals including the one we are looking for. The bond is indexed as being on page 210. Click on one of the first pages of the batch to see where the page numbers are located and if both left and right pages are numbered or counted.

In this case, each page in the ledger has a page number in the upper corner. Jump forward about 100 images by changing the number in the little box at the top left of the image from 129 to 229.

Image 229 was for pages 178 and 179. We are 32 pages or 16 images away from page 210. Go to image 245 (229+16) to get to page 210 which has the guardian bond taken out by Augustus BLAKE in 1886.

Click the Information tab on the bottom left, grab the top edge and pull it up to expand. We see the entire film is made up of four items. As was the case in the previous record searched for, there is no citation available.

An example of European browse-only records

In November 2015 FamilySearch started using the new viewer with the small images. I wrote an article, The New FamilySearch – I’m loving it! on how I locate the browse-only records in the Luxembourg collections.

Tip: European civil records for births, marriages, and deaths have an index at the end of each year. Instead of browsing through the records searching for the yearly index, check the tables décennales or TD. These are lists of BMD for an entire decade and also know as the 10-year index.

In the first two examples for West Virginia records the citations were not available. Don’t let this keep you from working with the browse-only records. This is not the norm. In The New FamilySearch – I’m loving it!  you will see the source citations are found in the Information tab in the lower left of the window.

If you’ve never had much luck finding non-indexed records on FamilySearch, I hope these steps and tips will help you become a successful browse-only researcher on the FamilySearch site.

P.S. thegenealogygirl left a comment below with another useful tip!

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


Behind the Scenes at Luxracines

Be still my impatient genealogy heart….

logo_klengMy new duties as treasurer and member of the board of Luxracines have kept me busy this summer.

Last year my genealogy association Luxracines bought a very large collection of German family books from Peter Daus of Wittlich, Germany. On 30 September 2015, we moved the library from Wittlich to a temporary storage area in Luxembourg.

Daus BiblioThe permanent location of Luxracines‘ new locale was not yet available. The Commune of Walferdange had agreed to provide a rent-free location which was to be repainted before we could furnish it and move in our new collection of books.

Luxracines Club House (Vereinslokal)

The day the keys to our new locale were given to our president Rob Deltgen finally came. We held our first committee meeting there on June 14. There were a few tables and chairs but the rooms were otherwise bare. Plans were made for obtaining estimates and buying equipment, etc.

By mid-July lockers, computers, and bookshelves had been purchased. Locks were put on the doors to the three rooms we are using. A work plan was drawn up for July 19, 22, 26 and 27 to assemble the lockers for the conference room, the bookshelves for the library, and to set up the computers and printer in the computer room.

The conference room (below) will be shared with the ladies who run the child care center located on the first floor. As it is open in the mornings, Luxracines is only allowed to use the locale in the afternoons or when the center is closed.

conferenceroomThe books were transported from temporary storage to the basement of our building. On July 27 over a dozen members, including some spouses, came in to help carry the heavy boxes filled with books from the basement to the 2nd floor. Due to lack of space, all of the books were placed in the bookshelves as they came out of the boxes.

luxracinesentryOn August 3 several members came in to remove black marks on the floor, clean up and get rid of empty boxes, and hang posters on the empty walls of the computer and conference rooms. We wanted to be ready for our first official visitor the next day. Sara Bamberg of the Luxemburger Wort, Luxembourg’s daily newspaper, was coming to do an interview for an article on Luxracines and our new library.

2016-08-09 Peter Daus visitOn August 9 Peter Daus visited (above) and brought along more books and genealogical material he no longer needed (on the table). This particular item (below) caught my eye.

FamilySearch CD-RomAs more donations of books are expected from other members we bought more bookshelves and set them up in the computer room on August 17 (below). This will likely contain mostly Luxemburgensia. This term is used for all books and media published in Luxembourg, written by Luxembourgish authors, and/or about Luxembourg.

computerroombookshelvesOn August 18 Sara Bamberg’s article “Genealogy per Mouse Click” was published in the Luxemburger Wort. It was good advertisement for our club as many new members subscribed in the days following the piece.

2016-08-04 articlePeter Daus visited again on August 20 and 31 bringing more books and two NAS drives for our computer set-up.

2016-08-04 luxracines computer2016-08-27computer On August 27 we began sorting through the books and re-arranging them in the bookshelves.

beginningsortingAn afternoon’s work and we had A-C alphabetized, arranged in 1 1/2 bookshelves, and entered into an Excel document. It was similar to working one of those sliding tiles puzzles.

slidingtiles1On August 31 we continued our work. Two persons sorted out all the books by letters of the alphabetic, our secretary worked on the Excel document inputting the books from German towns beginning with D through H, while I alphabetized the books from D through P.

Things were busy that day as other workers were in the building including a firm that installed alarms, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers.

luxracinesfireprotectionBy the end of the day, we had four bookshelves completely organized and inventoried and another four bookshelves sorted and ready for inventory.

2016-08-31AtoI2016-08-31JtoP 2016-08-31QtoZOn Saturday afternoon, September 3, we finished sorting of the German family books from R through Z and put some order in the remaining books. In the weeks to come, we will complete the inventory of the family books and begin to work out a system for the rest of the miscellaneous books.

slidingtiles3We will begin the printing unique call numbers for each book for easier access by our patrons as soon as the inventory is completed. And, the sliding tiles puzzle will finally be complete.

The driving force behind this project has been our president Rob Deltgen. Without his leadership, the committee, other members of the club and even spouses of some of the members would not have been as organized as we were to set up the library over the summer months when many people are usually off on vacation.

An official opening is in the planning. Luxracines Club House (Vereinslokal) will open its doors to members and the public on Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. during the month of September.


© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.




























Moving Day! Umzug der Daus Bibliothek

logo_klengIn May 2013 I went on a fieldtrip to Germany with my genealogy society Luxracines. Starting with a cruise of the Mosel River on a Roman ship, followed by lunch at a typical German “Gasthaus” and a tour of Peter Daus’ private library, in Haus Daus.

_MG_5159 a
Peter Daus

The library was made up of about 2000 family books for localities in Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland. In comparison, the Beda Bücherei (library) in Bitburg had a collection of about 150 family books for the Eifel area and the Bistumsarchiv (diocese archives) of Trier had about 1200 family books in 2013.

When we visited Mr. Daus’ library I thought it would be my my last chance to see the amazing collection of Family Books as he had plans to dispose of the collection.

Little did I know two and a half years later my husband and I would be making a trip to Wittlich, Germany, to help move Peter Daus’ library to Luxembourg.

Umzug der Daus Bibliothek
30 September 2015

_MG_5152 aPacking boxes had to be set up.

_MG_5158 aThe cabinets were opened and we began filling the boxes,
labelling with felt tip markers, and taping.

_MG_5157 aConditions were a bit cramped and the room heated up as we worked.

_MG_5160 a The boxes had to be transported down one flight of stairs

IMG_1221and loaded into the vehicles.

_MG_5167 aIn less than two hours we had everything packed, loaded,

_MG_5169 aand the cabinets emptied and once again closed.

_MG_5177 aTen of the eleven helpers taking a break after the hard work.
Romain Krier who took most of these photos is missing here.

IMG_1231We enjoyed a nice lunch on the covered terrace of Restaurant Daus before we left Wittlich with Daus Bibliothek for Luxembourg.

IMG_1238In Luxembourg the moving boxes were removed from the vehicules, placed on wooden pallets for easier transportation with the hand pallet truck.

Daus BiblioThe Daus Bibliothek, in it’s temporary storage space.

The permanent location needs to be equipped, the material catalogued and bookshelves filled with the collection.

Until then, be still my impatient genealogy heart….

Photos courtesy of Romain Krier and Rob Deltgen, used with permission.

logo_klengMany thanks to Erich Singer who did a great job filming, cutting and editing.
Click here to watch the video.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey



A Visit to the Vereinigung für die Heimatkunde im Landkreis Saarlouis e.V.

logo_klengYesterday I participated in another interesting visit organized by my genealogy society Luxracines. This time we went to Saarlouis in Germany and visited the Vereinigung für die Heimatkunde im Landkreis Saarlouis e.V.

Kreisarchiv im Landratsamt built in 1894-95

Vereinigung für die Heimatkunde im Landkreis Saarlouis e.V., an association formed in 1958, deals with genealogy and history in the district of Saarlouis and surrounding areas. They have several rooms at their disposal in the building of the Kreisarchiv im Landratsamt built in 1894-95.

With a little over 800 members, the association has been publishing a quarterly newsletter “Unsere Heimat” (Our Homeland) since 1976. Members work in groups on general history, archaeology, family history, and new medias with the largest group being that of the genealogists. They correspond and exchange publications with over 60 clubs, archives and libraries at home and abroad (including in France, Luxembourg and USA). Their rich family and local history library, a center for family research in Saarland and beyond, is open to the public during the work week (except Wednesdays) from 2 to 5 in the afternoons.

Photo used courtesy of Rob Deltgen
Photo used courtesy of Rob Deltgen








Hans Peter KLAUCK and Helmut GREIM welcomed our group of genealogists, gave us an overview of the history of their association, and explanations of the club’s collections and publications.

More than 2500 family books of towns in Saarland and Rheinland-Pfalz, a huge selection of Ortfamilienbücher (family books) of the Banat, and numerous books on local history of the area and beyond are available in the library –  a collection of 15,000 publications. Everything that a genealogist needs for researching and writing about family history.

We were able to spent about an hour browsing through the library, pulling family books of interesting, taking notes or photographing entries of interest in this or that family book.

Our hour of research was quickly over and we were then taken on a guided tour of the city of Saarlouis by Hans Peter KLAUCK. Saarlouis was built as a fortress in 1680 by the French King Louis XIV.

Hans Peter KLAUCK was a fantastic guide with great knowledge and passion for the history of the fortress city constructed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, France’s famous military engineer.

At noon we took a break from our guided tour for lunch in the restaurantKartoffelhaus” (Potato House“) where specialities of the region were found on the menu card.

After lunch we continued our tour of the city by first visiting the Städtischen Museum (local history museum) where Mr. KLAUCK explained the military importance and functions of the buildings in Vauban’s fortress using the 1726 model of Saarlouis (scaled at 1:625 and built in 1980).

Model of the Saarlouis Fortress ca. 1726 (Scaled at 1:625) in the Städtischen Museum.

Following our museum visit we continued our tour of the city across the Great Market, passing the Saint Louis Church.

The Ludwigskirche (Saint Louis Church) on the Great Market

It was a coincidence that Roland HENZ, Oberbürgermeister der Kreisstadt Saarlouis, was on the market place as Saarlouis’ volunteer fire department, one of the oldest in Germany, were having their yearly exercise in fire fighting. Mayor HENZ took a moment to greet our group and welcome us to Saarlouis.

Roland HENZ, Oberbürgermeister der Kreisstadt Saarlouis (left) and our guide Hans Peter HAUCK (right)

We continued our walk through the Old Town, along the Casemates,

Kasematten (The Casemates)
Kasematten (The Casemates)

through the German Gate,

Deutsches Tor (German Gate)

along the Saar River,

Saar Schleusenbrücke (water gates)

passing the “Ravelin V” park that is currently under construction

“Ravelin V” park (under construction) with the Protestant Church in the background.

before we were back to our point of departure.

The general concensus of the Luxracines participants regarding our visit with the Vereinigung für die Heimatkunde im Landkreis Saarlouis e.V. and tour of the City of Saarlouis was  ~~ Et war e flotten dag!” It was a great day!

Frenn vum Luxracines, et gif mech freen wan dir mir a klengen Kommentar geift hannerlossen. Merci.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey


A Visit to the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg

logo_klengLast Saturday I participated in an interesting visit of the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg (National Library of Luxembourg) with my genealogy society Luxracines.

A Brief History

The origins of the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg (BnL) date back to 1798, a time when French troops occupied the former duchy. In 1802 part of it’s most ancient collections, the manuscripts from the Benedictine Abbey of Echternach, were moved to the National Library of France. The library went from being a central library of the Département des Forêts (during French occupation) to ownership by the city of Luxembourg after 1815. The Luxembourg state, after gaining independence through the Treaty of London in 1839, reclaimed ownership in 1848 when the name was changed to Bibliothèque de Luxembourg. In 1899 following a rise in national sentiment among the Luxembourgish population, the name was changed to the present form, Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg. It’s role as an encyclopaedic library to the education system prevailed during the early years. Today BnL is also a heritage library.

012 fixedThe BnL has been housed in the former Athénée grand-ducal (Athenaeum), located next to the Cathédrale de Luxembourg, since 1973. To give you an idea of the age of the building, the Athenaeum was originally founded in 1603 by the Jesuit Order. Steel beams have been added in the old building to support the weight of the collections housed there.

Luxembourg’s national library is a small institution compared to other national libraries. It is the largest repository in Luxembourg with 1.5 million physical documents and a growing number of digital publications. The library is bursting at it’s seams and at the moment documents are located at several different sites.

Introduction by Mr. Pascal Nicolay

Before taking us on a tour of the premises, Mr. Pascal Nicolay, librarian and documentalist, explained the mission and collections of the library.

An important role of the library is the collection of cultural heritage of Luxembourg. Materials printed on different media (books, periodicals, video, CD, DVD) and produced nationally are preserved for the future generations. Because several languages are spoken in Luxembourg publications are usually simultaneously produced in Luxembourgish, French, German and English. This means that the number of copies kept is greater than in a country with only one language.

Through legal deposit BnL collects and makes all Luxembourgish publications accessable in their comprehensive collection. This is a legal requirement to submit a certain number of copies of a publication to a repository, usually the national library of a country.

Léa Linster signing books Nov 8, 2011 in Bitburg. Photo credit: Egon Meder, used with permission.

They also collect works published in other countries which deal with Luxembourg in some way. If a book published in another country includes a biography of a well known personality from Luxembourg, the library takes steps to acquire the required number of copies of the publication. For example, a German publication on restaurants in Europe may include a section on the Luxembourgish chef Léa Linster, gold medal winner of the 1989 Bocuse d’Or, the first and to date only woman to accomplish this.

More importantly, for the genealogist, the library collects publications that may mention the not so well known people. Top of the list are newspapers followed by town bulletins; political parties paraphernalia; local fire department anniversary brochures which often discuss early members of the corps, history of the “house names” and town; yearbooks. Imagine the stories that can be told about an ancestor mentioned in any of these.

The Tour

We began the tour by visiting some of the rooms accessible to the public. The periodical room where, for example, patrons can read the daily newspapers or recent publications that may be harder to find on the local newspaper stand. The tiny microfilm room where newspapers can be viewed and prints made. Very old newspapers, from 1850 and earlier, can be found and searched on BnL’s eluxemburgensia site. The general reference (dictionaries, encyclopias, etc.) and more specific reference (agriculture, science, etc.) material also has a place in the library.

The best part was when Mr. Nicolay took us “behind the scenes” into the areas not normally accessible to the public. We saw books stored in electrically powered shelving systems and hand crank shelving systems.






Shelves filled with old, old books!





We climbed up a spiral staircase to the attic where old wooden beams held together by wooden dowels could be seen along the full length of the building.


Banana boxes filled with books are stacked in the spaces between shelving.

Fire extinguishers are everywhere. The fire department can be on site in five minutes. However there is no modern sprinkling system in the building.

Back in the public area we saw the multi-media room where material can be viewed or loaned out for a week.

Finally, in the projection room, Mr. Nicolay explained how their collections can be searched from the library’s homepage using the new joint search interface of Luxembourg’s libraries’ network

With a free library card patrons can order material online that they are interested in borrowing or viewing at the library. Orders can be picked up at the library a half hour later.

Unlike other national libraries, the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg is a loaning library and allows patrons to “check out” books, periodicals, multimedia, etc. with a valid library card.

As mentioned in the begining the library has outgrown its location. Last month a ground breaking ceremony took place for Luxembourg’s new National Library. The construction is is estimated to take four years to complete.

This was the first time I’d set foot in a library since I was in college in 1977. One of my favorite pastimes while going to school was the hour once a week when we went to the library. Beelining to the biography section or fiction for the newest Nancy Drew, learning how to use the card catalogue and how to research. I didn’t know at the time that those skills would help me later with my genealogy research.

Next time I go to Luxembourg City I’m going to apply for a library card. I want to learn how to use the National Library before they move into their new premises, hopefully, in 2018!

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey


Luxracines on Tour 2013 – Part II

logo_klengMy field trip to Germany last Saturday was a huge success. It was an enjoyable day and the best part was the RESEARCH! With just one hour to check out the genealogy library it was a good thing I was prepared.

I’d generated ancestral reports in pdf format for all lines with individuals born in what is now Germany and emailed the file to my Kindle Paperwhite so that I wouldn’t be shuffling through all kinds of paper.

In the library I consulted my reports and worked fast pulling the books on the villages that my ancestors came from. With my Nikon Coolpix (set on macro and without flash) I took pictures of the covers/title pages and all entries for surnames that matched mine. Although time was short and there was not much elbow room, I took nearly 120 photos.

Halfway through evaluating these, I have 50 family groups that fit into my tree. On several lines I was able to go back 3 generations further than I had. One ancestral couple, Hubert WELTER (d. 1744) and Anna Margaretha BERNARD (d. 1760), turned out to be my 6th and 7th great-grandparents!

I’m going to be busy inputting all of the data, citing the sources, and planning a trip to the Beda Bücherei (library) in Bitburg to look up the families I missed.

familienbuchA quick explanation of entries in family books: In this photo of family group 822 in Ernzen we see Hubert WEIMANN <858.2> which means that he is the 2nd child of family group 858. Symbols seen are * (birth), oo (marriage), and + (death). Following P.: are names of godparents. Further information for child #3 is found under family group 867.

For the surname PLEIN there were 28 pages in one town – it will take me a while to go through these as the family groups were not numbered or cross-referenced (as in photo).

© 2013 Cathy Meder-Dempsey