GGG - German Genealogy Group

          Please check the schedule for meeting dates and speakers

The German Genealogy Group meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month from September through June. Orientation begins at 7:00PM. Meetings begin at 7:30 PM. Building doors open at 6:30.

The meetings are open, and YOU are invited to attend! Please feel free to drop by and check us out.

Hicksville VFW Hall - Post 3211
320 S. Broadway (Route 107)
Hicksville, NY 11801

Map & Driving Directions

**There are no meetings or newsletters during July and August**

                                           Upcoming Meetings

Sep 5, 2019
  "The Changing World of German Genealogy"
   Presenter - Richard Haberstroh, A.G.

The goal of the talk is to help keep those working on German genealogy from across the pond up-to-date with advances in the field. The talk will focus on how digitization and the Internet have changed and continue to change, accessibility to German genealogical records over the last decade, usually (but not always) for the better. This will be discussed in the context of both civil and religious records, and will include reviews of the nature and location of these records. Many examples of useful Internet sites for German genealogy will displayed and explained.

Richard Haberstroh is an accredited genealogist, who has been deeply involved in genealogical research both in the U.S. and Germany since 1984. Richard served as a volunteer librarian at the LDS Family History Center in Plainview, New York, from 1988 to 2001. He is a frequent lecturer on German and New York genealogy, and has published a number of articles, including his family’s own German-American genealogy in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (NYG&B). He is also the author of the book, The German Churches of Metropolitan New York: A Research Guide, published by the NYG&B.

Oct 3, 2019
  "Introduction to German Parish Records"
  Presenter - Gail Blankenau

Gail Shaffer Blankenau will introduce you to the gold mine of German genealogy--German church books, both in the United States and in the Germanic states. She discusses proven strategies to identify your ancestor's home church and how to approach the records when you find them—even if you don't speak German.

Gail Blankenau is a professional genealogist, speaker and author, specializing in German genealogy, land records, and lineage research. She first became interested in family history by looking for treasures in the attic when she was growing up. As a teenager, she started labeling old family photographs and things progressed from there. In addition to performing private client research, Gail enjoys speaking and writing about genealogy. Her articles have appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The Genealogist, Everton’s Genealogical Helper, The National Genealogical Society magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, The Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly and Nebraska Ancestree. 

Nov 7, 2019
  "Through the Golden Door: Immigration After the Civil War" 
    Presenter - Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

America's doors were open to all before the Civil War, with few restrictions. Afterwards, the laws began tightening, with exclusions, quotas, even required visas. How did the immigration laws affect your ancestors who immigrated after the Civil War? What hoops did they have to jump through to enter America's “golden door” -- and what records might we find as a result?

The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree who writes and lectures on topics ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years before her retirement in 2014, was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. On the faculty of numerous genealogy institutes, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠. Her award-winning blog is at

**There are no meetings during July and August**

Past Meetings

Sep 6, 2018
  “Just Three Generations”
   Presenter – Judy G. Russell,  JD, CGsm, CGLsm

Our oral family history can be lost in just three generations. Following genealogy’s best practices can help us keep those losses from happening with our own families - and with our own stories.

A Certified Genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand genealogical issues ranging from how to use DNA in family research to the way the law affected our ancestors’ lives and the records they left behind. A graduate of George Washington University and Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Judy is a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely German on her father’s side. She’s written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and National Genealogical Society magazine and speaks to genealogical groups around the country.

Oct. 4, 2018
  "St. Malachy's Home and Orphanage
  Presenter - Joseph Coen, C.A. - Archivist at R.C. Diocese of Brooklyn

This presentation  will discuss researching the records of the old St. Malachy’s Home, a residence for orphaned and destitute children. St. Malachy’s opened in Brooklyn in the 1870s and later moved to the Rockaways, where it was known as St. Malachy’s Ocean Home. It closed in 1943. His presentation will include information about what records are available and how to request them.

Joseph Coen has been an archivist since 1986 and a Certified Archivist since 1990.  In 1993 he became the Archivist of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.  His previous work experience includes the N. Y. C. Municipal Archives, and Western Suffolk BOCES. A published poet, he enjoys walking, nature and bird watching. His family roots are in Ireland and Germany.

Nov. 1, 2018 
  "Searching for Germanic Roots: How to use American sources to locate the place of origin of your immigrant ancestor."
  Presenter - James E. Pelzer, JD

Connecting immigrant ancestors to records in German-speaking areas of Europe requires you to explore American sources to build a persuasive case that they came from a particular place in the old country where records about them can be found. Jim recommends using the so-called “jurisdictional approach” to research in American sources that can identify the European place of origin of your ancestor. His talk will discuss those jurisdictions and the kinds of useful records that may be found there. Using examples from his research, he’ll show how clues in records here are used to construct a convincing proof that an ancestor is the same person as one named in sources found in a European place of origin.

Jim is a lawyer who retired as Clerk of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in Brooklyn after an almost 40-year career with the New York State Court System. He is now in private practice. Inspired by his grandfather and father to delve into his family’s history, he has been researching in American and German sources since the late 1970s. Together with Richard Haberstroh he served as a volunteer at the Plainview Family History Center on “German Night” for about a decade, assisting its visitors with their research.

Dec 6, 2018
  Christmas Celebration
Come and enjoy our Christmas Celebration. Share in the music, singing, good cheer, good food and good company.
If you can, please bring something to share: cake, cookies, cheese, crackers, cider, or whatever you feel would be enjoyed by all.

Jan 3, 2019 
  "Show & Tell"

Members are encouraged to bring along favorite finds, artifacts, family heirlooms, clothing, and/or stories to share with fellow members. Enthusiasm is catching and new ideas often spawn more successful approaches to our research. 

Feb 7, 2019
  Genealogy Jeopardy!
  Presenter: Phyllis Sternemann

You can play or be an audience member! Join in the fun as a contestant on Genealogy Jeopardy. Two teams will compete for points in categories like “Where There’s a Will…” and “Any Port in a Storm.” Remember to phrase your response in the form of a QUESTION. Teams are forming now. A scorekeeper and technical operator to display the Jeopardy slides are also needed to help the game run smoothly with no commercials! 

Mar 7, 2019
 "City Directories: No Town Too Small, No Clue Too Little"
 Presenter: Thomas MacEntee

Most genealogists aren’t taking full advantage of all the clues available in city directories. Learn how go beyond a mere “lookup” of your ancestor and their family. Understand how city directories were created, the secrets of various abbreviations, and how to use the F.A.N. Club approach to getting the most information possible. Participants will learn the history of city directories, how important they were to even the smallest town, and how to extract every possible clue for your genealogy research. We’ll cover digital/online directories, how to deal with numbering grid and street name changes, what those “weird codes” mean and more.

Thomas MacEntee is a genealogy professional based in the United States who is also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

Apr 4, 2019
"To Honor Fallen Heroes, How a Small German-American Village in New York City Experienced the Great War"
Presenter: James E. Haas

More than six hundred fifty men from College Point, Queens, NY served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the Merchant Marines during World War One. Twenty-eight died. To Honor Fallen Heroes is a historical and biographical study of the men from this compact village who rendered valuable service to their country in the great war. Author James E. Haas will describe how the men and women in this small village, primarily settled by working class people of German origin, experienced the war. Mr. Haas will provide a glimpse into the lives and deaths of several of the men who sacrificed their lives for this country through some of the genealogical records and resources he used to research the book. 

James E. Haas was born and raised in College Point, and is a graduate of St. John’s University. He lives with his wife Lynne in Severna Park, Maryland. Mr. Haas has written four books on the history of College Point the first titled, This Gunner at His Piece: College Point, NY and the Civil War with Biographies of the Men Who Served. It was followed by Conrad Poppenhusen: The Life of a German-American Industrial Pioneer, and St. Fidelis Parish in College Point, NY: The First Seventy-Five Years, 1856-1931. His latest book and focus of this discussion is To Honor Fallen Heroes, How a Small German-American Village in New York City Experienced the Great War. All four of the books, signed by the author, will be on sale at the GGG meeting on April 4, 2019 for $20 each.

May 2, 2019
 "Finding Lost Family... A Genealogy and DNA Journey"
 Presenter: Patricia Ann Kellner

This presentation is about a journey. It’s a path of discovery, and surprise, and shock and bewilderment; and at the end of the jaunt is a story of JOY. Come hear how Patricia Ann Kellner used traditional Genealogy and DNA to FIND LOST FAMILY and prove Sarah was her Grandma’s Sister. In this quest, she will explain how to use the German Genealogy Group search engine... good for anyone with NY ancestors, wild card searches, researching on, DNA cousin matching, DNA Painter, Google and Facebook.

Patricia Ann Kellner has found lost family members using Genealogy and DNA, reunited adoptees to their families, and developed successful Genetic Genealogy strategies. Patricia manages over 35 DNA tests, runs Facebook DNA/Genealogy groups, has hosted family reunions, and created an extensive family tree. Patricia is President of the DNA Genealogy Group of Long Island and is a founding Board Member. She has presented numerous lectures on a wide variety of Genetic Genealogy (DNA) topics to the Long Island community. Patricia is a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and has a B.A. in Speech Communications.

June 6, 2019
Round Table Discussions

We will have ten hosted  tables with Amelia Schiller and John Felbinger doing short German translations, Susan Murphy and Randi Patrick with DNA, Don Eckerle doing database searches, Mark Waldron with, Steve Nathan doing Land, Wills and Surrogate Court Records, Jim Pelzer doing "Finding an Ancestor's German Place of Origin in American Records," Richard Haberstroh doing "Researching German Records/Websites, and Terry Koch-Bostic doing "Church Records." 

Come pick a table of interest! You can switch tables at any time.

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