Germanic Genealogy Society

Webinar Series

We are excited to announce that GGS now has monthly webinars!

The live webinars are open to the public, however, attendance is limited. Be sure to sign into the Webinar early.
As a GGS Membership Benefit: Handouts and recorded videos will be accessible to signed-in GGS members under the Member Login. Join Now to gain access. Then click on "Webinar handout and archive".
2020 Upcoming Webinars
Watch for more announcements as we fill in our webinar schedule for the year.
Archived Webinars for GGS Members - Located under Member's Log In
photo of Wolfgang GramsThursday, October 15 at 1 pm CT    Wolfgang Grams of Oldenburg, Germany
Travel to Germany: the Joy of Discoveries
During the past 25 years Dr. Grams has prepared and conducted many private excursions all over Germany to ancestral homes for groups or individuals. He presents the best of what has happened. Dr. Grams gives advice on how to prepare for a trip to Germany.
Thursday, Sep 24, 2020 at 8:00 PM CDT Nancy Loe
Photo of Nancy Loe
Prussian Place Name Research
Discover leading and lesser-known online resources to pinpoint geographic locations of German-speaking ancestors from Prussia(Brandenburg, East Prussia, Pomerania, Posen, Silesia, West Prussia).
photo of Wolfgang Grams Wolfgang Grams of Oldenburg, Germany
Speaker - Wolfgang Grams of Oldenburg, Germany will present four webinars
Dr. Wolfgang Grams is the founder (1996), and owner of "Routes to the Roots, Research and Travel (RsRs)" in the city of Oldenburg, Germany.
Thursday, September 10 at 1 pm CT   Wolfgang Grams of Oldenburg, Germany
German Resources to trace your Roots II: Key Documents
We follow the life of a typical 19th century immigrant from his German hometown to America and see what evidence he has left behind.
Wednesday, September 9 at 1 pm CT     Wolfgang Grams of Oldenburg, Germany
Hurra wir fahren nach Amerika. Travel Patterns from the Age of Sail to the Age of Steam
Hurray, we are going to America. Experiences of emigrants during their travel from Germany to their new home in America.
This presentation was repeated due to audio problems with the initial presentation on August 27. Thanks to everyone for your patience!
Thursday, September 3 at 1 pm CT   Wolfgang Grams of Oldenburg, Germany
German Resources to trace your Roots I: Archives, Digitization and Initiatives in Germany
What is online? What may come in the future? How can these projects help you in your research?
Thursday, June 11 at 8 pm CDT  Warren Bittner
"The Fisherman Who Wanted to Marry the Executioner’s Daughter: Stories You Missed from German Marriage Sources"
Learn about German marriage records beyond church books. Hear stories found in documents from many areas of Germany
Thursday, June 4 at 8 pm CDT  Warren Bittner
Photo of Warren Bittner
"Village Family Books"
Learn about thousands of books [Ortssippenbücher + ] that give family details for everyone in town

Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 1 pm CDT  Dr. Wolfgang Grams of Oldenburg, Germany
Photo of Wolfgang Grams
“The Pursuit of Happiness and the Migration Experience: Faith, Land and Hope"
From the colonial days in the 18th century to the Displaced People after World War II immigrants to America millions were driven by individual motives on their journey to a new land. The American Declaration of Independence put in writing what was unknown in Germany’s feudal society, but nevertheless inspired the hope of millions: the pursuit of happiness.
The lecture presents a timeline of the German American migration experience and focuses on living conditions along with social, political and economic patterns in autobiographical studies: from Franz Daniel Pastorius and the passengers of the CONCORD in Germantown PA in 1683 – also named the German MAYFLOWER - to the land-seekers in the 19th century to the German neighborhood delis, shops and work places in the 1920s and 50s.
Thursday, May 14 at 8 pm CDT  Warren Bittner
Photo of Warren Bittner
“Pity the Poor Pfuhl”
Follow two cases from the American Midwest to identify the place of origin in Germany using a variety of techniques
Thursday, May 7 at 8 pm CDT  Warren Bittner
Photo of Warren Bittner
“Bads, Bergs, Burgs, and Bachs”  
Locations in Germany are frequently misspelled, no longer exist, or the names have changed. Gain tools to find difficult places.
Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 8:00 PM CT Melissa Barker
Photo of Melissa Barker
That’s in the Archives: Digging Deeper into Archived Records
Genealogists use archives every day to locate records about their ancestors. Are there records that you are not accessing because you don’t know they exist? Not all records are online, indexed or microfilmed. Digging deeper in the local archives to find unique and relatively unknown records just might be the next step in your genealogy research. This presentation can be viewed by any audience and is not geographic specific.
Thursday, Feb 27, 2020 at 8:00 PM CT Annette Burke Lyttle
Photo of Annette Burke Lyttle
How Advertising Brought Our Ancestors to the Midwest
Learn how massive advertising efforts by states, railroads, and others in the 19th and early 20th centuries enticed people to leave Europe and other U.S. states for the Midwest. Advertising sought to create “pull” factors to entice people to migrate.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 8:00 PM CST Elissa Scalise Powell
Photo of Elissa PowellSailing Into the Sunset: Tips for Finding Your Ancestors on Passenger Lists
Finding ancestors on passenger lists depends on at least three things: being able to recognize the ancestor with the limited information on the list, understanding if a record even exists, and working the transcribed indexes correctly. Various indices, research aides, examples of records and where to find them are all discussed.
Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 8:00 PM CST Judy Russell
Photo of Judy Russell
The Aliens Among Us: Alien Registrations
Not all our ancestors were naturalized. The ones who didn’t suddenly became suspect when war divided their native countries from their new residences, creating the kinds of records genealogists love.
Thursday, Jul 26, 2019 CST 8:00 CST Diane Schmidt
The GGS Library and You: Books for Germanic Genealogy
The GGS Library has one of the best collections of books and magazines for Germanic genealogy. This webinar will talk about how to use the library, including how to find books, periodicals, and maps. In addition we will talk about the major books and book series for doing Germanic genealogy. Many of these books will be found at other genealogy or public libraries, so even people who can't make it to our library can find some useful books to look for in their own areas.
This is a special GGS Webinar that is available to the public.
Thursday, June 27, 2019 8:00 PM CDT Gail Blankenau, "Germans From Russia"
In 1762, Empress Catherine of Russia invited ethnic Germans to immigrate to Russia to develop the country's agriculture, allowing them to retain their language and culture. Thousands of Germans left their native land to settle in their own ethnic and religious groups. In the 1870s Czar Alexander II revoked Catherine's preferential terms, prompting another large migration--this time to the New World. We will explore sources, methods and specific issues facing genealogists who have Germans from Russia in their pedigrees.
Thursday, May 23, 2019 8:00 PM CST Michael Lacopo 
Many of us have German-speaking European ancestors but are afraid to tackle the next research step across the Atlantic. Identifying the proper parish that holds the records of interest, as well as locating and accessing those records, can seem daunting. It does not have to be. Learn to track down German church records, how to decipher them and how to overcome the fear of Old German script.   
Thursday, Apr 25, 2019 8:00 PM CST Ute Brandenburg
Case Study: Using atDNA to Find a German Home Town
With an exceedingly common surname and very few paper records found, the search for Paul Schulze's hometown was at a dead end. The presentation will introduce Paul Schulze and give a brief overview of research as it stood before DNA entered the process. I will show how and why I selected three DNA matches to examine, and how I ultimately struck gold with the third trail I pursued. In addition, I will discuss a second case in which DNA was used to verify suspected relationships in the US, which then allowed us to follow the paper trail to the German hometown.
This presentation relates to DNA as well as traditional record research, and will demonstrate how both disciplines can be combined to solve difficult cases.
Thursday, Mar 28, 2019 8:00 PM CST Fritz Juengling Ph.D.
The Genealogical Value of German Guild Records
The Genealogical Value of German Guild Records  In this lecture, I discuss the history, structure, and purpose of guilds. Then, we look at some of the many record types that guilds created and how they can be of use to the researcher, especially when church records are missing and how these records can fill those gaps.
Thursday, Feb 28, 2019 PM 8:00 PM CST Warren Bittner, CG "How German History Makes a Difference in Your Family History Research, Part 2"
Two semesters of German history in an hour. Hold on to your seats! - It was too much for a single hour - so this is a continuation of the August 2018 Webinar.
Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 8:00 PM CST Luana Darby  "The Palatine Immigrants – Tracing and Locating 18th Century German Immigrants Online"  (Intermediate, Advanced)
Discover how to track your Palatine ancestors who traveled from Germany to the colonies in the 1700s, using techniques that will assist you in determining their place of origin. Use migration patterns of their family and friends to help you in your research. Learn more about online sources of original records for this area that you can research from home.
Nov 1, 2018 8:00 PM CST  Daniel Jones, MS, AG - "From the Alps to the Rhine: Beginning Your Swiss Research"
Do you have ancestors from Switzerland?  Learn how to find your Swiss family. We’ll be discovering the records available online for Switzerland, and resources that can help you be successful at researching your Swiss roots. 
Sept 27, 2018 8pm CST: Michael Lacopo - "Methods For Identifying The German Origins of American Immigrants."
If all you know from conventional records is “Germany” as a place of origin, then this lecture will help you mine other resources to locate WHERE in Germany your ancestor came from. (Intermediate to Advanced)
August 16, 2018 8pm CST: Warren Bittner - "How German History Makes a Difference in Your Family History Research" part 1
Warren Bittner
 Two semesters of German history in an hour. Hold on to your seats! - 1 hour wasn't enough! Stay tuned for part 2!
July 19, 2018 8pm CST: James Beidler - "Online German Church Registers, Duplicates and Substitutes"
No genealogist with German-speaking ancestors avoids using church records, and the good news is that many more of them are coming online in digital form. It’s important, however, to know whether you’re looking at originals, duplicates or extracts from these records – this presentation will explain the differences.
June 28, 2018 8pm CST: Luana Darby, AG® - "They Came by Way of Ontario"         
Many German immigrants chose Ontario, Canada as a stop on their journey to the U.S. Learn why they came, where they settled, and how to find them. Make those connections that will help you find their place of origin in the “old” country.
May 24, 2018 8pm CST: Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG® "Letters & Umlauts & U-Bogen, Oh My!"
Photo of Teresa McMillin
Reading old records written in German script can seem like an overwhelming task. Most modern-day Germans cannot read this script, yet it is an essential technique if you plan to research in older German records. This lecture provides strategies for reading the old handwriting; ways to maximize your chances for success; and resources to use when you are having problems.
April 26, 2018: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG®, FMGS, FUGA - "They Joined, They Wrote, They Associated: Finding Records of Germanic Organizations and Other Collections." 
Photo of Paula Stuart WarrenU. S. libraries, historical societies, archives, and university library special collections sections hold the records from many organizations that our Germanic ancestors joined. The organization may have been a German heritage, charitable, religious, resettlement, political, social, or other organization. Additionally, as parts of our families migrated, so did the records. Frequently genealogists think that there may be no records for some of the family. However, there may be substantial information buried away in a manuscript collection. Finding these collections with records of membership, donations, necrologies, stories, activities, and more has become easier in recent years. Many finding aids online and off lead you to these research nuggets that represent hundreds of years of material. This presentation covers the finding aids, what the descriptions tell us, how to use the descriptions and suggestions for accessing the Germanic family nuggets promised by the cataloging and indexing. The visuals will demonstrate the fantastic ancestral details found in such records, including places of origin in Germanic localities beyond the U.S.
February 22, 2018:  Dr. Fritz Juengling, Ph.D., AG® - "Meyer's Gazetter Now Online, Indexed and Fully Searchable! and New FamilySearch Forums!" 
Photo of Fritz JuenglingWe are pleased to welcome Fritz Juengling, Ph.D., AG® as our first GGS Webinar Speaker! He will be speaking about the very important website and how it is has impacted German researchers. A book that has been a critical German research resource, that is difficult for most to read and decipher, has been transformed into a website that makes information quick and at everyone's figure tips and adds some great features. Also join us in learning about the new FamilySearch forums - there are several that German language researchers will be interested in.
Speaker Biographies:
Dr. Fritz Juengling, PH.D., AG ®
Dr. Juengling received his Bachelor’s degrees in German Studies and Secondary Education at Western Oregon University, his Master’s and Doctorate in Germanic Philology with minors in both English and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota. Germanic Philology is a highly specialized field of study, combining languages, linguistics, paleography and history. For his graduate degrees, Dr. Juengling was required to demonstrate competence in English, German, Medieval Latin and two other modern languages. He chose Norwegian and Dutch.
He is an Accredited Genealogist® for Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Sweden through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, and certified by the Verband deutschsprachiger Berufsgenealogen. Dr. Juengling is a German, Dutch, and Scandinavian Research Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG®, FMGS, FUGA
Paula is an internationally recognized genealogical educator, researcher, and consultant focusing on unusual resources, manuscripts, methodology, and analyzing records. She also specializes in Native American research, the WPA, and railroad records. She spends extensive research time at state archives, historical societies, and at various locations of the National Archives. She is a long-time course coordinator and instructor for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. She presented 3 courses for Ancestry Academy and has presented seminars all across the U.S. and in Canada. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, a former officer of the Association of Professional Genealogists and former president of the Northland Chapter of APG. She has been a Board-Certified Genealogist since 1988.
She is descended from eight ancestral countries and has researched family connections across the U.S. and Canada including the Southern lines of her father-in-law, her own Wisconsin Germans,  and the Central Minnesota German lines of her brother-in-law. She currently has her own educational website and blog at and is enthusiastic about sharing knowledge and continuing family history education with anyone interested at any level.
Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, Certified Genealogist CG®
Teresa is the author of the Guide to Hanover Military Records, 1514-1866 on Microfilm at the Family History Library, is the owner of Lind Street Research, a company dedicated to helping people discover their German ancestry. She is a popular speaker for national, regional, and local genealogical societies. She created and recorded two courses for Ancestry Academy at She has taught at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR). She also researches for the Army to find living family members of American soldiers killed or missing in past wars.

Reading German gothic script found in German records prior to the mid-1900s is second nature to her. Researching ancestors in Chicago and other areas of the Midwest is another of Teresa’s specialty areas. She is a multi-year attendee of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). She has taken college-level German classes.

Teresa is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, as well as many German and local genealogical societies. Teresa chairs the committee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists monthly webinar series. She is the webmaster for the Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society in Arlington Heights, Illinois and is a genealogy volunteer at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

Luana Darby, Certified Genealogist AG®

Genealogy and the recording of family history has always been a passion for Luana. She began organizing photos, documents, and information on her grandmother’s family in 1977 and has researched for others since 1985, working as a professional genealogist since 1995. She specializes in Palatine German, US and Canadian, and western European research. She frequently travels to Europe for genealogical research on site in archives located in Germany, Poland and France.
Luana has a bachelor’s degree in Family History from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. In addition to her education at BYU and SJSU, Luana is an Accredited Genealogist®.
She is a frequent lecturer at local and national conferences and institutes, including the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the British Institute, RootsTech and through Legacy Family Tree Webinars.
Luana is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild, and the National Genealogical Society. She has served as past president and director of the Utah Genealogical Association and currently serves on the board of the Association of Professional Genealogists and as a director of the Genealogical Speakers Guild.
In January 2015, she joined the faculty of BYU-Idaho as an online family history instructor teaching genealogical analysis and genealogy as a business courses.
Luana works as a genealogist for Relative Race, BYU TV’s reality competition show.

James M. Beidler

German Life's Family Research / Familie Forschung columnist James M. Beidler is the author of two successful commercially published German genealogy books (The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide and Trace Your German Roots Online). His newest book is The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide. Beidler writes “Roots & Branches,” a weekly newspaper column and blog (at He is also editor of Der Kurier, the quarterly journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society.
Dr. Michael D. Lacopo is a retired small-animal veterinarian born and raised in northern Indiana. He takes a scientific approach to his research as he does to his profession. Researching since 1980, he has lectured internationally and written for numerous periodicals and journals. A self-described “all-American mutt,” his research skills cover a broad range.
Daniel R. Jones, MS, AG, is an Accredited Genealogist specializing in Swiss and German research. His interest in genealogy began when as a youngster he would pore over his mother's Book of Remembrance, but his love of family history took off at the age of 13 when a Boy Scout merit badge brought him to a Family History Center at a local LDS chapel. Daniel has been working professionally since 2003 in helping several high-profile clients with research all over Europe. He has experience in numerous archives across more than a dozen countries in Europe, North America, and Africa.