Your phone rings in the middle of the night and someone who does not speak English is on the other end asking you if you might be related to them and if you know your family history. But you don't know that. You don't understand a single word.

You write a letter to a German church archive requesting information about your family. The Pastor opens your letter and wonders why it is in English, why there is no money or German stamps for return postage, and why you didn't check with your local Family History Center located in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), which has microfilmed all of his church records and has them on file in the USA and other countries. Think about it..... While you are thinking, click on this LINK for some important, timely insights.

Don't be discouraged. Just think about the German family awakened in the middle of the night, and the caller doesn't speak German: "Hi, I live in America,  you know, I'm an American, you know, and I got your phone number, you know,  from that guy that has the Hessen site, you know, and my great-grandfather was Joseph Adelman but we think it was spelled Edelmann or maybe Engelhardt or he could have been an uncle and a horse fell on him under a bridge after he dropped a sack of potatos in 1632 right after his cow died are you my cousin?"
What time is it in Europe, anyway? Click Here!   or here  

Under the German Data Protection Law, German citizens have the right to protest listing their telephone number outside of the local directory, and can require the telephone company to indicate in the directory that its use is protected! And think about the German Pastor who was kind enough to allow the Family History Center to spend weeks in his church building, microfilming his archives, to be placed on file in the United States, available to everyone.  Additionally, what would you do if you received a letter from a German researcher written in German, no return envelope, no return postage, and no fee for your services?

Have you been to the FHC at the LDS church? Check out what is available there by clicking on this online research link to their massive files LINK, and please note that the LDS has issued a Research CD-ROM disk with their research guides. It is reasonably priced and available from 1-800-537-5950 in the USA. It is my understanding that as soon as computer hookups to Salt Lake City are in place for all area FHCs, CDs will be phased out. The information you get online will obviously be more current. You can find the address for FHC at LDS in your state and in other countries  by clicking HERE. Call your area FHC for the hours they are open. They are found under the LDS church listings. There is an extensive, additional  list of German FHC at LDS addresses HERE.   Why go to the FHC in the first place? CLICK HERE! What about the FHC at LDS mailing list FAQ? CLICK HERE!

You can find out how to use the Family History Library at Salt Lake City on several pages of this web site. One of those tells you how to use the online site. CLICK HERE. Just scroll down to the FHL link and read the info there before you click again.

It might be a good idea to organize your thoughts and purpose, and then begin. And remember - you can always write a letter to a family in the German language using one our pre-written letters at this site. Include a self-addressed envelope of the appropriate size (they may not use it, but that's their choice), German postage stamps, and at least an offer to pay them for their services. Remember that if you send an email, many Europeans pay an access fee plus online charges for every second they are online - and they are taxed! IF you get a response, you may be asked to write a letter! And remember! Europeans like to read everything in a Newsgroup or on a mailinglist, just like you do! But they have to pay for every second they are doing that! Don't waste their time and money with topics that aren't relevant to genealogy, or by sending your entire family tree! PLEASE! Stay out of the "flaming" rituals! :-)

One other tip: The links the Hessen site provides are endless! You can quickly lose your way! Make sure you bookmark the website and search only ONE topic at a time - BEFORE you get lost!