Oberammergau, Germany Wieskirche, Steingaden, Germany

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Friday, April 26
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Doubeltree by Hilton, Laurel, Maryland


(Focusing on German-Americans)

What You Will Learn

This workshop will walk you through the quirky filing schemes the Office of the Secretary of the Interior used to organize pensions.  It will identify key series and how those records are arranged.  It will help you understand how to navigate among numerous records series to find a pensioner's complete story.  There will be extensive attendee participation, during which attendees will examine samples of records, catalog descriptions of records series, and discuss how to develop research strategies.  The session will also include an overview of how archivists are beginning to use technology to help solve some of these problems, such as scanning records to facilitate remote access and creating databases to find records.  

Who Should Attend

Anyone who had an ancestor who served in the American military and received a pension for service in the Revolutionary, War of 1812, Mexican War, or Civil War will benefit from attending this workshop.

presented by Dr. Kenneth Heger

MAGS Spring Conference
Saturday, April 27
MAGS Spring Conference  (Conference)
8:30 am to 4:00 pm
DoubleTree by Hilton, 15101 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD 20707
Morning Program
Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG
He Took Her Name: Understanding German Farm Names
In certain geographic areas of Germany, the custom of German farm names has been in existence since about 1000 A.D. In this custom, a farm carried the surname and anyone who inherited that farm assumed that name as his surname. Usually this was a son of the farmer, but if it was a daughter, her husband would have to change his surname to hers. This lecture explains some of the common pitfalls a researcher may encounter when researching in one of these areas and how to overcome them. Highlights include:
  • The history, origins and geography of this custom
  • Various terms associated with this custom
  • The social structure in these areas
  • How this custom affected naming patterns
  • Techniques to successfully research your ancestor
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hanover Military Records
Military records for Hanover prior to 1866 are available to researchers in the United States through the Family History Library. Hanover’s military records are largely untapped by American researchers because English-language finding aids are non-existent. This lecture will explain what finding aids do exist and tips for using them. Hanover’s history and its impact on military records will be discussed.This lecture will focus on three phases of Hanover’s history:
  • 1708-1803 – Hanover was an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire
  • 1803-1815 – Hanover’s army was disbanded and many soldiers fought for the King’s German Legion, under Great Britain’s command.
  • 1816-1866 – Hanover was a kingdom with its own army
Afternoon Program
Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG
Boost Your Germanic Research: Understand Historical Jurisdictions
Meyer’s Gazetteer is great for determining jurisdictions as of 1912. Germany was not a country until 1871. In the centuries leading up to that, land areas were constantly changing hands. One must understand who controlled a given area in order to find all possible records. Topics included in this lecture are:
  • Use of Meyer’s gazetteer and its impact on the Family History Library catalog
  • Macro jurisdictional changes in historical Germanic areas
  • Tactics for determining jurisdictions of a village or small land holding over time
  • Examples of changing jurisdictions for selected areas
  • Key German vocabulary will be included
Hunting For Henry: A Case Study Using Collaterals
Henry Steren was a German immigrant who lived in Quincy, Illinois. The United States records that were created about him indicate only that he was from the Province of Hanover in Germany. This lecture will detail how his town of origin and parents were identified, in spite of the lack of records naming him. Carefully researching each of his associates and correlating all available evidence reveals the origins of Henry. Use of the Genealogical Proof Standard is demonstrated. Complicating factors in this case are:
  • Very few records available for the person in question
  • Multiple people with the same given and last names
  • Steren is often confused with the common surname Stern
For more information about Teresa Steinkamp, see her website.