Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

What is this site about?

This site is a consolidation of my genealogy research in four areas of northern Germany:
  • Western Mecklenburg-Schwerin, primarily in and near Kreis Parchim.

  • Eastern Mecklenburg-Schwerin, primarily in and near Kreis Waren.

  • The Kreis Prenzlau area of the Uckermark and the bordering area in Kreis Stargard, Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

  • In and near Kreis Greifenberg, Hinter Pommern.

The site's 3883 pages include 88 maps, 340 photos, and cross-linked pages of genealogical details on 1906 individuals involving 356 surnames.

Who is included?

The site includes information on:
  • My family's direct ancestors, from my 12th-great-grandfather through my grandparents generation. (People in more recent generations are not on the public web site for privacy reasons.)
  • Siblings of these ancestors (great uncles/aunts) and their spouses.
  • The children of these siblings (the first cousins n-times removed.)
  • Selected other relations

Why are there several spellings for the same surname?

Prior to 1900 or so, there was no modern concept of a 'correct' way to spell most surnames. Family names were spelled phonetically, and any spellings that would give a similar pronunciation were considered to be equally correct. So Thiess, Thies and Ties are all spellings of the 'same' name, since they are all would be pronounced (in German) the same way. Sometimes the spellings changed gradually over time. Sometimes a spelling was simply the preference of a local pastor or other record keeper, with different people spelling the same person's name differently on different records.

Furthermore, many immigrants found their old favorite spelling was not pronounced by Americans as they expected. So many changed the spelling to maintain the desired pronunciation. E.g.Mührke in the Uckermark became Merke in Wisconsin.

The surname index lists on this web site show all equivalent spellings of a given surname together under a single heading.

For an individual, an attempt is made to use the 'most correct' spelling of their surname, based on the following criteria:

  1. Their own preferred usage, if records in their own hand are available.
  2. Otherwise, the consensus of officially recorded documents (birth, marriages, death, births of children, etc.)
  3. Otherwise, if no clear pattern, their original birth certificate, if available.
  4. Otherwise, other contemporary records (census, etc.)

Applying these criteria can cause different people in the same family group to have different surname spellings. But this is unavoidable when the common spelling of a surname changes over the decades.

Why are some names in Italics?

When the name of a married woman is shown, her marital surname is shown in italics after her complete birth name. In cases of multiple marriages, each such marital surname is so appended.

In index lists, married women are indexed both under their birth surname and under their married name or names.

What do the little colored 'LED' beads mean?

The colors of a little LEDs beads indicate how closely the individual is related to the main ancestral line:

Yellow indicates a direct linear ancestor. I.e. (great...) grandparents.
Orange indicates their siblings. I.e. (great...) aunts/uncles.
Red indicates these siblings children. I.e. first cousins (n-times removed).
Brown indicates all more distant blood relations.
Black are affines (e.g. everyone else).

When the LED is blinking, it indicates the person who's page is currently being viewed.

What software was used to create this web site?

The software was custom designed for this site. Please see the Technical Details section for more information.