Sunday, August 5, 2018

This has been a very fruitful and exciting research summer. Ancestry's new App, which I downloaded to my smartphone has produced automatic hints with names of my ancestors and all kinds of supporting documents for each ancestor. Two newly found ancestors were a huge surprise.
   The first was a member of the Scottish Royalty in the 1500s, related by marriage through my sister's husband's last name 'Reinke'. I traced my sister's husband's lineage and found that the Reinke's were related to the Cameron's in Scotland. The Cameron's were a prominent clan in Scotland. My sister's sons live in Texas and they will be very happy when I mail them all the documents telling them they have two great grandparents from the 1500's, namely, Duncan MacMartin Cameron First Earl of Letterfinlay Inverness Scotland 1490-1549, and his son, Martin Clan Chief of MacMartin 2nd Earl of Letterfinlay MacMartin Cameron 1530-1600. Note: The Cameron Clan later changed its name to MacMartin. So, we are all very happy to learn that we do have royalty in our family. The interesting thing to know, is that, today's Earl of Inverness Scotland is nonother than Queen Elizabeth II's son, Prince Andrew Earl of Inverness Scotland. Should we ask Prince Andrew to withdraw his title and give it to our family, since it rightly belongs to my nephews through their DNA!?
  The second big surprise I discovered through research this summer was that through my mother's ancestry line by my great grandfather's surname 'Hefter', I have a very, very famous 7th great grandfather, Hans Jakob Christoffel Von Grimmelshausen 1621/22 -1676, the famous German novelist in the 1700 period. A statue and monument to Hans is in Renchen, Germany. His novels can still be purchased today through Amazon, or through a local library. The title of his most famous novel is: "Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus", or in English, "Simplicius".
  In his later life he was the Mayor of Renchen and is buried there. He's very important to me and my family. He can be found on Encyclopedia Britannia and on Wikipedia. His books are still available for purchase on Amazon.
  What a great summer. Can't wait to share this with our Beth Shalom Temple Center Genealogy Club this October.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Google Groups for my Jewish Family

Google Groups is a great place to connect with others who are searching for answers for their Jewish relatives. You can join for free. Visit the website:!forum/soc.genealogy.jewish

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Google Maps & Google Earth for genealogy

Google Maps is a wonderful tool to use if you wish to go back in time and find your childhood home, or a grandparents home, etc. You can type in "Google Maps" directly into the search bar on your browser. I had great fun using this Google Product. You can use your mouse and fly by holding down the left button on your mouse and clicking up and down a street in the location you found. You may also use the mouse to turn around and do a 360 degree turn to back up a street if you went too far. I was able to find my childhood house in Milwaukee by going into Google Maps and typing in the address in the search bar. This is also a great tool to use for other purposes as well, such as, when renting a vacation home, or hotel. This will allow you to view the entire location. Use your imagination and find your ancestors homes. Don't be surprised if what you're looking for doesn't exist any longer and is now a new building in its place. It happens. If you do find an old homestead you can print out the photo and add it to your genealogy library.
   Google Earth works in the same way, except you can now go to any location on Earth. Great to take a good look at places you'd like to visit and the hotel you want to book. It also will give you a map that you can download and print out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mapping Your Ancestors

Mapping Your Ancestors.
   Many of us have received information on the birth place of our ancestors from searches through Some of the locations have a long string of names in foreign countries. Recently, I learned of a website that will provide a map and photos of your ancestors birth. The website is: It is a website that is a historical collection of maps. You can do a search through your web browser, or through Google Search for this website. Once into the website I was able to locate the birth map of one of my oldest ancestors on my mother's side, Anna Zimmer, 1752-1797. She is a direct descendant and my 4th generation grandmother related to the Wolf family branch on my tree. Her maiden name was Wolff (many surnames are spelled differently throughout the ages). She was born in Houverath, Euskirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. She gave birth to my 3rd generation grandfather, Martin Wolf.
   I was curious about the town in Germany she was came from, so I went into website and typed in Houverath, Euskirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. I was not able to find a map for the 1700s, so I searched for maps in the 1800 era. First I searched under Houverath and found no results. I narrowed my search down to Euskirchen, Germany and a 1800 map of Germany appeared. I had to enlarge the map with the tool provided with the + and - signs to bring the map forward to see the tiny print. I used my mouse to scroll through the map and then found the town of Euskirchen. I brought up information about this town specifically. On the left side of the screen it showed both modern-day and historical photos of the town. I printed out the map once I enlarged it, and also a photo of a very old church from the time of my ancestors.
   I recommend to everyone interested in finding more information about the places your ancestors were born to use this wonderful website. 
   You may also go to: Wikipedia and type in the location and it will also provide extensive historical information on the town you've searched. 
   Much of this information is the result of my relatives that have provided this information in the first place by starting their family trees on, or on another genealogy subscription website, which I was able to use to extend my family history.    

Thursday, June 14, 2018

My Genealogy Research

My name is Karen I. Rautenberg. I'm a genealogist interested in researching my family ancestors and hope that anyone reading my posts can be of help to my research. The following surnames are on my family tree and I am researching each.
  • Rautenberg
  • Baer (Bar)
  • Johnson
  • Wolf
  • Hefter (Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen 7th great grandfather found)
  • Nennig
  • Reinke (did find royalty here. MacMartin 2nd Earl of Letterfinlay, 1530)
  • Collett
  • Dowe
  • Krueger
  • Wenzel
  • Wanke
  • Bohachek