Apr 072018
 
The Elusive Wesley

I know he existed. But where did he go? One of our family mysteries is Wesley, an orphan boy that lived with my Schott grandparents sometime in the early 1900s. The family lore is that my Grandpa Peter “went to the train station” to pick him up, that he was a bit wild, and that […Read more]

Feb 272018
 
Dabbling in DNA

  You may have seen the Ancestry ad where a man trades in his lederhosen for a kilt after taking a DNA test that shows he is more Irish than German. A word of warning—if you make your wardrobe choices based on a DNA test, you may want to make sure that store takes returns. […Read more]

Oct 222017
 
10 Tips for Finding Your Ancestor's Town

I admire my ancestors’ sense of adventure and determination to seek out better lives by migrating from Germany to Ukraine/Poland/Hungary to North America. But I curse that same sense of adventure, because whenever they moved, they often left their past lives behind so completely that I can’t figure out where they came from. Since most […Read more]

Aug 092017
 
Fun with the Meyers Gazetteer

As children, we used to share what we did on our summer vacations. As an adult genealogist, I can’t wait to share what I learned on my summer vacation about finding ancestral towns in Germany! The Meyers Gazetteer has gone online (not new news), but at the recent IGGP conference, I learned that it has […Read more]

Sep 152016
 
Welcome Back to Osthofen

From the very first email, I felt my ancestral town of Osthofen reaching out to welcome me. The email was, of course, not from the town itself but from my guide for the day, Ursula Feile from the tourist office. Her cheery note: “We’re so excited you’re visiting the town of your ancestors. We’ll show […Read more]

Feb 092016
 
Osthofen, Germany: My Ancestral Town

The town of Osthofen, Germany, was the home of the Schott family from at least1717 to 1809. It is over 1,200 years old, and was first mentioned in 784 in the Lorscher Codex (a manuscript from the Lorsch Monastery). In 784 it was referred to as Ostova. Later names included Osthoven (1262), Osthouen (1268), Ostown […Read more]

Nov 162015
 
Cooking in the Footsteps of My Ancestors

My mother was always blunt, or “direct” if you want to be polite. I learned to live with comments like, “Well, that hairstyle doesn’t look good on you,” or “You just have no sense of style,” (when I preferred my own tailored look to her more flamboyant, sequin-bedecked clothing suggestions). So it didn’t really surprise […Read more]