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In the last three weeks or so I've gotten four genealogical inquiries from strangers who have seen my genealogy website. Is it just because people are on vacation and catching up on their hobbies? Or has my Google rank suddenly shot up? Lord knows I haven't made a significant update to the site in a couple of years.

The first was regarding my mother's father's family, the Wallschlaegers. I dug through some old records and notes and found that I was indeed related to the woman who had emailed me. Then there was a guy who was descended from a Bartelt from Pomerania and was “sure” we are related. Sorry, but “Bartelt” was actually a very common name in that part of world; the odds of us being closely related are very slim. Last week I got an email asking about a Silesian village, Gross Ujeschütz, that another ancestral line (father's father's mother's, if you're keeping score) was from. I was able to pass along a little information that someone else had sent to me some years ago. And then this week I got an inquiry from someone who is descended from Martin Friedrich Bruss of Cammin in Pommern. Not to be confused with my own ancestor, Martin Bruss, or a third person, Martin August Bruss, all contemporaries in the same city. I actually did have some photocopies of records pertaining to her family, though there is no obvious connection to my own.

The most interesting query (to me), though, came at the end of last year. There is strong circumstantial evidence that that correspondent and I are related. My great-grandfather (mother's mother's father) was Hermann Sterz from Stieglitz, Posen. My correspondent's ancestor, named “Stertz”, was from the same village. But I know from the German church records that my ancestral family's name was spelled “Stertz” in the oldest existing records (early 1800s). My ancestors and her ancestors had been baptismal sponsors for each other. And it may be a coincidence, but my great-grandfather and her great-grandfather both look rather short in photos. But there is no actual record of a common ancestor; we can only speculate that perhaps her g-g-g-grandfather and my g-g-g-grandfather were brothers. That's part of the fun and frustration of genealogy.

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particleguy

April 2014

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