I’m not always a big fan of using genealogical software because I don’t think it is the appropriate tool for every problem. There are times when a database is helpful to manage names and relationships. I’m taking renewed interest in my maternal ancestry and I have a significant number of ancestors from Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany. This is because my maternal relatives were immigrants from the same area of northern Germany and tended to settle in immigrant clusters. Ancestors born in Wiesens are:
- Jans Jurgens Janssen, born 1856–immigrated to United States-my gg-grandfather.
- Antke Hinrichs Fecht, born 1860–immigrated to United States-my gg-grandmother.
- Trientje Eilts Post, born 1803–married a man from Holtrop-my ggg-grandmother-her son, John Ufkes (born 1838 was the immigrant).
- Annepke Janssen, born 1761–married a man from Holtrop-my gggg-grandmother-her grandson, John Ufkes (born 1838 was the immigrant).
- Antje Jaspers, born 1823–immigrated to United States-my ggg-grandmother.
That represents 13/64 of my ancestry. That’s a relatively large part to all have hailed from the same village. Virtually all of the ancestors of these individuals were also from Wiesens. What this means is that I have several ancestors in this village from whom I descend two, three, and four times. Several years ago I obtained a copy of Die Familien der Kirchengemdinde Wiesens (1642-1908) (Gerd Kroom, 1995, Aurich). The information in that publication summarizes in family groups all the individuals who appear in the records of that church from 1642-1908.
Exacting their ancestral information is a project that begs for some sort of database to track the names, locations, and particularly the relationships. It will also eliminate the need to record the same information multiple times and make it easier to determine when I’ve already seen what the book has to say on a certain family.
I’m still of the mind to continue working on most of my other families with a word processor, typing up the documents and the analysis. But when I’ve got a larger project where the individuals have multiple relationships, a database may be a better way to go.
And for those of you who are aware of pedigree collapse–mine definitely has it.