Illinois Ancestors | Historic German newspapers available online

Illinois Ancestors | Historic German newspapers available online

Newspapers can be an import source of family information (births, deaths, marriages, baptisms, intentions to migrate, retirements, etc.) Genealogists have learned to depend on English-language newspapers and noted genealogist Ernest Thode has provided an easy way to conduct similar searches in German-language newspapers in his book, "Historic German Newspapers Online." (This second edition includes many more historic German newspapers that have been digitized since the first edition in 2014.)

Although the largest number of newspapers cited are from Germany, and then Austria, the scope of this book is worldwide — other countries represented include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, France, Georgia (country), Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.

Be sure to read the Introduction, which provides information on some of the most significant websites as well as how to use the book. The more than 2,000 digitized newspapers are 50 years old or older and are online at public, private and commercial websites — most of them searchable.

"Historic German Newspapers Online: Second Edition" is a 330-page, softcover book, ISBN 978-0-8063-2092-2, that can be ordered as Item No. 5760 from Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211 @ $35 plus shipping (first book, $5.50; each additional book, $2.50). Visa and MasterCard orders may be placed by calling tollfree 1-800-296-6687 or by visiting the publisher’s website at

Thode is a graduate of Purdue University and has a master’s degree in German from Stanford University. He has taught German and English, and was a local history and genealogy librarian for 21 years. He is the author of several German-related books. (Conduct a search for “Ernest Thode” on the publisher’s website to learn of his other publications.)

German words translated

German Word List is a FamilySearch website that explains German language characteristics and has a list of key words used in genealogy with German translations (such as birth, death, child, father, mother, husband, etc.). Visit for a wealth of information about the German language.

FamilySearch website lists Illinois collections

FamilySearch, the totally free searchable website of genealogical collections provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at, has posted an Illinois research page "to help you with your research in Illinois" at This seven-page guide provides links to over a million records and images pertaining to Illinois.

For example, after signing in (free) one can search indexed collections of historical records (migration and naturalizations, military, probate and court, Freedmen's Branch Records), catalog material (births, deaths), and image-only historical records (to browse), which include cemetery transcriptions, census schedules, family trees, geographic aids, histories and memories and stories, business records, church histories, institutions, newspapers and periodicals, and repositories. There are also 14 learning courses, including "Research in Iroquois County, Illinois" and "Midwest Region Illinois Overview."

Anyone researching Illinois ancestors can be greatly helped by this important guide to Illinois collections — and all free.

National Archives answers veterans questions

The National Archives has posted a helpful page with answers to many military FAQs (frequently asked questions) at These FAQs include Military Personnel Records, Archival Records, general questions and more. They include:

— "What form do I use to request information from military service records?"

— "How can I get my medals or those of my family?" and

— "How do I apply for my Cold War Recognition Certificate?"

The difference between archival and federal (non-archival) records is also explained.

For more help, phone numbers and addresses are provided.

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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