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What's New In My Genealogy Research

A few years ago, I organized a genealogy club where I work. We have quarterly meetings, and we try to have some sort of genealogy-related presentation after the business part of each club meeting. After working on my VOGT family genealogy for 20+ years, I decided to try my hand at organizing it as a presentation/lecture for one of our early quarterly club meetings. I have given many work-related briefings over the years, so I know a bit about public-speaking and organizing information into a coherent presentation.

The presentation was a big hit, and my local public library caught wind of it and asked if I'd present it as a library function one Friday night in May 2009. I did, and again it was a hit. It was even video-recorded for presentation on local cable, and the DVD is in the library collection and can be checked out for viewing!

One thing led to another (the president of the county chapter of the state genealogical organization was in the audience that Friday night in May), and I've now given the presentation a number of times, and am scheduled to give it again in the coming months! I signed a contract to present as the MSOG-sponsored lecturer at the NERGC conference in April 2011, and have been asked to present at a Pejepscot Genealogical Society monthly meeting in Brunswick ME!

VOGT Lecture Schedule:

Gone By...
15 Jan. 2009
MITRE Genealogical Club Quarterly Meeting
March 2009
Interested Audience in Stuttgart Germany
15 May 2009
10 April 2010
6 Nov. 2010
MSOG 35th Anniversary Conference, Marlboro, MA
7 April 2011
13 Nov. 2011
Pejepscot Genealogical Society Monthly Meeting
Brunswick ME
17 Nov. 2015

SKIDOMPHA Public Library German Genealogy Club
Damariscotta ME

10 Apr. 2016  
  Presentation on my experiences self-publishing books
Pejepscot Genealogical Society Monthly Meeting
Brunswick ME
Coming Up...

If anyone is interested in a copy of the 15 May 2009 DVD, contact Plasma Films!


March 2009

Another visit to Lich in conjunction with a long business trip. I was able to photograph more of the primary source records for the VOGT research, and obtained some research books for my library (one being a 3-volume "Familienbuch" set of births. marriages, and deaths in Gießen Germany, where some sons of patriarch Heinrich VOGT moved, from Lich).


August 2007

Another business trip to Germany, and the chance for another side-trip to Lich! I drove back up to Lich (~270 km from Stuttgart, 2.5 hour drive at 150 kph [93+ mph] and more at times - love the autobahn!) on Sunday the 5th of August to visit again with the researcher who works on people named VOGT from Lich, whom I found in February (see below). She was the one who was able to add three generations to our VOGT line, and another generation or two beyond that for some of the wives' families.

View the tree via the on-line database - then walk the VOGT line back along the top by clicking the orange triangle at the far right. Lots of display options (# generations, box type, etc.) to play with.

I had previously asked Frau Steul via email before I left if I could use my digital camera to get photo-copies of her records. She said yes, but she must've misunderstood my question because she evidently spent a day in the town church just before I arrived, photographing them for me! I now have all the copies, eleven unique in total, plus photos of other documents from her collection. This hot-linked image is the birth record for Johann Balthasar VOGT, my great-great-great-great-great-great-grand-father.

She also can fluently read the Alte Deutsch handwriting (VERY difficult), so she transcribed all the records in the photos for me on the fly (one example for the attached photo is embedded in the image). Amazing! (She did the transcriptions to German, I did the English translations).

We then hopped in the car with her husband and drove to nearby Giessen (Gießen), where she believes (but has not yet verified) our VOGT line back beyond Hermann VOGT came from. She can find no record of Hermann's birth in Lich, so she suspects he was born in Gießen, where an even larger number of VOGTs can be found, with a lot of metzgers (butchers - the traditional family occupation). Next task will be to pull the LDS microfiches for Gießen for 1600 and before, looking for Hermann's birth record!

While in Gießen we wandered the OLD cemetery (alte friedhof) and found a number of VOGTs! The cemetery is also home to the grave of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, discoverer of x-rays, and first Nobel prize winner in Physics.

After that, I took them both out to dinner to thank them for all the help they provided!

So, I came away with a fair amount of documentation, and a hint on where to continue the quest!!


February 2007

I've had the good fortune of being able to do some on-site genealogical research in Germany every few years or so. On a previous trip to Germany in January 2001, I had spent some time at the Mainz city archives and was able to add two additional generations to the VOGT line.  An excerpt from my notes from that 2001 visit:

 “I found GGG-GF Jean Henri Joseph VOGT's birth card, confirmed as being 28 January 1762.  His father, GGGG-GF Jean Nikolaus (not Nikolas as I have it) VOGT, was a butcher and was born 15 March 1710 in the village of Lich (near Gießen) to Heinrich VOGT (also a butcher - ein metzger) and Anna Maria (nee WOHMANN) - my great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.”

That was then.  This is now.

I went back to Germany on business in February 2007, and had some spare time for research again.  I took a day and drove from Ramstein (where I was working, near Kaiserslautern) up to Lich (about 40 miles north of Frankfurt) to continue the research on the VOGT line.

My first stop was the Rathaus (city hall) to see if they had an archive or clerk’s office equivalent where vital records from the 1700’s could be found.  They did not, and I was told that the civil authorities didn't record such information back then so none existed. BUT… the church did (an evangelical protestant church).  The lady at the city hall office called over to the church office to ask if I could stop by, which was allowed.  After buying a heritage book about Lich (“Licher Heimatbuch”) and getting a map and some other brochures for free, I headed up the street to the Marienstiftskirche office.  There I met Fraü Richtsmann, and she pulled out the original record book from the 1680-1720 range, to look for Jean (or Johann) Nikolaus VOGT, born 15 March 1710.  Nothing.  No record for any child (never mind a VOGT child) born in the village in all of March 1710. February and April, but not March.

She then pulled out note cards that went back before that time organized by last name, looking for a Heinrich VOGT.  Still nothing. That was the extent of her records for that time period, and she said that there were no other churches in the village at that time – everyone in town was evangelical protestant.

She then told me that there was a teacher in town who was also a genealogical researcher and she had an enormous amount of information on the VOGT name, as it was a very common name back then, as well as now.  She gave me her name, address, and phone number, but said that she would be in school now (it was then about 1 pm) and would not be at home until a little after 3 pm when school got out for the day.

I thanked her for her help, walked back to my car and put the books and brochures in the trunk, took my camera and walked around the city center (VERY old buildings in traditional half-timbered style) taking pictures and looking for a place to grab a bite for lunch.  I found the street where the teacher/genealogy person lived, found her house, and had a bowl of potato goulash soup in a café near her house.

After eating, I called her number to see if she was home, but she was not, so I walked back to the car to call occasionally and wait until 3 pm or so.  I called every 20-30 minutes, but there was no answer, even up to 3:30 pm.  I decided to have one last walk around the town center before driving back to Ramstein (2+ hours drive).

While I was walking, she called me back on my German cell phone (caller ID works in Germany too). She had bumped into Fraü Richtsmann from the church, so she knew I was looking to talk to her.

I walked to her house, and we talked for 2+ hours.  It turns out, she specializes in researching VOGT genealogy, and has an 18,000 name database of various VOGTs and VOGT descendants.  She had no record of Jean (or Johann) Nikolaus VOGT being born in Lich (she claims to have all recorded VOGTs from Lich in her database – she’s been collecting them for a long time).  It is likely that I read the birth card in Mainz incorrectly back in 2001, and that Jean Nikolaus was born in Mainz, not Lich.  BUT, she did have Nikolaus’ father, listed as Johann Henrich Vogt, (previously mentioned GGGGG-GF, born October 12 1682 in Lich; baptized October 17 1682 in Lich; Profession: Metzger [butcher] in Mainz 1708). His parents were Johann Balthasar Vogt (GGGGGG-GF, born July 31 1657 in Lich; baptized August 4 1657 in Lich; died April 2 1716 in Lich; Profession: butcher) and Juliana Heller (GGGGGG-GM, born July 30 1662 in Lich; baptized August 2 1662 in Lich; died December 10 1715 in Lich). Johann Balthasar Vogt's parents were Cloß Vogt (GGGGGGG-GF, born 1614 in Lich, died October 21 1692 in Lich; Profession: butcher) and Anna Schmandt (GGGGGGG-GM). Cloß Vogt's parents were Hermann Vogt (GGGGGGGG-GF, Profession: butcher) and Barbara ????? (GGGGGGGG-GM).  This adds three more generations to our VOGT line!



March 2006

I paid some money and revisited the Scottish National Records site, the ScotlandsPeople web site (formerly GRO-Scotland). For £6 charged to a credit card, I got 30 "credits" to be used on the site; each page of query results (effectively a page of extractions from their master database) cost me one credit, and if there was a particular record I wanted to view, it cost 5 credits to view (and optionally save as a TIF file) the microfilmed original! Pretty cool (except for the having to pay part, but oh well).

I had visited the previous site (GRO-Scotland) back in 1998 when all they had were the extractions. But with the originals on-line as well, lots more information was available and I was able to add three generations to Lynn's COPLAND (her maternal grandmother's) line!

Here are some of the images I was able to find and save to my computer (the originals were much bigger and easier to read... as far as old records go):

With these finds I was able to add three generations to Lynn's family history, along with adding seven previously unknown siblings for her great-grand-father.


January 2006

Not much new in my genealogy work. I've been spending most of my genealogy time working on going through my new software database with a fine tooth comb making sure that all references and sources come through the conversion from the old software to the new software without dropping or misplacing anything.

A little background...

My favorite genealogy software package, the program I would always recommend to anyone who asked for a software recommendation, was Broderbund's Generations. It was intuitive, consistent, and a joy to use. Alas, it is no longer in production, and is VERY difficult, if not impossible to find. It went through quite a convoluted family history itself, starting life as Leister Productions' Reunion for Windows, then being bought by Sierra and renamed Generations, then being bought by a French company called Vivendi, then bought by Ancestry.com (the parent company of Family Tree Maker) and left to wither and die with no further development.

I've decided to put my genealogy eggs in the TMG basket (Wholly Genes' The Master Genealogist), and am going through the arduous process of moving my data over to TMG. TMG claims to read Generations data files directly (thus avoiding the problem of incompatible GEDCOM interpreters), but the conversion is not perfect, and the data use mind-set is different, so the way I documented things in Generations is not necessarily the most logical way to document things in TMG. I'm using the conversion process as my learning tool, going through each person in the database (over 5000) to check that every fact and event is recorded correctly and has the correct sources and citations associated with them. It's arduous and time-consuming, but its the only way to be sure that nothing gets lost or left behind in the conversion. It has a PLUS side, though... by eyeball to data record for each person, I'm finding the occasional error that existed in the original database too, so I can correct those as well.


I'm also planning on attending the The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Boston in August!


Previous breakthroughs are listed here as I document them....





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