Random Resources

Here are some outstanding (and outstandingly random) resources that will help you understand the immense world of genealogy.

My interests include Eastern European genealogy, with a focus on the countries of Poland and Slovakia and Carpatho-Rusyn and Ashkenazi populations.  Closer to home (USA that is), I also study the history and current news in cities that have been home to my ancestors and me: Johnstown, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Cleveland, OH, Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, Fall Creek, WI, Augusta, WI and Osseo, WI.

Audience: Me, myself and I are the primary audience because continuing education is part of being a genealogist, whether beginner or advanced. The learning never stops.  So, I want a single location for all of the sources I’ve accumulated.  Secondary audience: people who have asked for my assistance. I’m at the point where I’m sending the same emails out all the time and would like a single place that I can direct people to.

In no particular order, here are some resources.

Local Genealogical Societies

You might find what you need right in your backyard. For example, in the Twin Cities, we have the CzechSlovak National Genealogical Society, the Sokol,  the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota, and the German Institute. These amazing places often sponsor dances, dinners, language classes, and concerts. These organizations often have libraries and access to professional genealogists in your ares of interest as well.

German Ancestry

My grandfather always claimed to be German, but, when he died and we found his naturalization papers, he listed “Poznan” as his birthplace. As in Poland?  We survivors were more than shocked. What did it mean? Were were Polish?  The answer is not easy as we would find out….depending on the source, he was either an ethnic German, living in Poland, a Prussian, living in Russian Poland, or simply Polish.

In a way, all of this is correct and normal. The problem is the way we sometimes look at history where, in certain parts of the world, countries and their boundaries were fluid at best. They changed and keep changing.

I describe my grandfather as an ethnic German of the Lutheran religion from a region that is now Poland, but  had many different identities and names.  Although it’s more complicated than that, it’s easier to explain.

More about German ancestry.

Genealogy Podcasts

Learn from the best by listening to these podcasts regularly.

Extreme Genes

Genealogy Guys

Family Tree Magazine Podcasts

Genealogy Gems

The Science: DNA, Centimorgans, SNPs, etc.

Molecular Genealogy

If you’ve had your DNA tested, you’ll enjoy these videos. If you’ve ever tried explaining DNA (autosomal vs mtDNA, for example) testing to a family member or friend, this will make you sound as if you know what you’re talking about, because you will!  An Introduction to Molecular Genealogy.