German Genealogical Research Service
Historische Beratung und Recherche

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Searching for one's own roots and origins ... In my impression, this is one of the core needs of humanity. People have been, and still are, always on the move. Looking back the way we came, we want to know where we came from - but then we usually hit a roadblock at some stage. We may know a bit of our grandparents's history, we may even have heard some fancy family stories about having come from this place or that region.

But what if we want to know more? What if we earnestly want to trace our ancestors in the historic documents, follow them further back, maybe as far as possible? What if we want to "put flesh on the bones", to know not only the names and dates, but more about how they lived, which soil they tilled, what they made their living of?

Genealogical research is always dependent upon the historical structures of a region. The political, religious and administrational history determines what to find in which archive. Economic, cultural and legal patterns, for example those regarding naming, marriage or inheritance rules, determine the types of documents to be found there. Profound historical knowledge is, therefore, a necessary prerequisite for genealogical research.

Yet one does not only need to know what to look for, one also needs to know how to read it. Old German script does not only look very different from the modern one, it also changed considerably over the centuries. A 16th century text looks completely different from one written around 1900. And apart from German, documents may also be written in Latin or French.

Starting in 1994, I have been working as a professional genealogist in South Germany ever since. Based on this experience, I offer to help you in your quest, for your ancestors, your origins, for your elusive emigrant ... I cannot promise to find anything specific. But I promise to try, and to do my best.

A genealogist, and a historian in general, is riding on the hedge - in this case, between past and present. Yet there is, indeed, another part of my life that does not have to do anything with genealogy, but with riding on the hedge between two other realms, and with searching for one's roots a different way - and so the wheel is come full circle.

Sabine Schleichert, Spring 2018