When a Genlighten provider creates a new research offering, I get email notification before it goes live. It’s my job to review it to make sure it isn’t a spammy ad for fancy sunglasses or knock-off watches or the like. (Fortunately, our spam filter catches 99.99% of these.) I also give it a quick read to catch obvious misspellings and make sure it’s within the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish with the Genlighten. Then I click the button to publish it on the site.
Last week, I got a message telling me that provider nickmgombash had created a new offering titled “German Church Registers – Per Hour.” Nick is a Chicago-area researcher who specializes in Hungarian and German genealogy and I’ve known him, through email, since the early days of my chicagogenealogy.com website.
One of my current personal research projects involves civil birth registration documents from Wadern in the 1830s and 1840s. I’m researching the family of John A. Hand who was a popular Chicago band leader from the mid-1800s to his death in 1916.
I can read the names on the records well enough to know when I have a match and sometimes I can pick out dates but, other than that, I’m clueless. Even Dean, who speaks German, has a rough time with the handwriting.
So, when I saw Nick’s offering, I sent him a quick message which basically said, “Can you read that stuff?” to which he replied, “Yes!”
I immediately went to Genlighten and created a project request asking for his help with three records. I wanted to keep it simple–I’m on a budget, same as a lot of you–so I asked if he could answer just two questions: Is the father’s occupation listed on any of these register entries? Is there any unique information listed that I should be careful not to overlook? (One of the German records I had translated years ago made mention of a family move and an illegitimate birth.)
Nick came back with a quote. I accepted. And, before the morning was over, he provided three above-and-beyond paragraphs with extracted information.
Here’s the one for John’s brother Peter:
Birth Act No. 194 was registered with the mayor of Wadern on the 5th of December 1834. Peter Hand was born on the 4th of December 1834 at 4pm in Wadern, son of Melchor Hand, musician and his wife Elisabetha München, being 28 years old, both residing in Wadern. The sponsors/godparents were Mathias Ludwig, 34 years old and a ‘gerber’ (tanner); and Peter Wahl, 24 years old, a ‘färber’ (dyer), both residing in Wadern. The informant was the father Melchor Hand, 28 years old, and the registrar was Franz Wahl.
I was ecstatic!
No, I was ECSTATIC!
The information he pulled out of those records is extremely helpful to my search. You can bet that when I’m done gathering records for the other children, I’ll be contacting him for additional help.
The fun part of all this? I learned that John Hand’s father was also a musician, as was his son and his grandson. Four generations of musicians. I love that!
What do I take away from this experience?
- The skills you have to offer can really make someone’s research day. If you provide specialized research services, list them on Genlighten, even if you already have your own website. It gives people one more way to find you.
- Reaching out to an expert can be a real boost. If you’re struggling with a particular research problem, check our Genlighten database. We don’t have a provider for everything, but we’ve got some really great people on the site.
- If you need Hungarian or German research, there’s a good chance Nick can help. (He’s also really good at getting Chicago records fast.)
So, that’s my most recent Genlighten success story. If you have one to share, we’d love to feature it. Send me a quick email and let me know how one of our providers has helped you.