few weeks ago, I traveled to Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota to do some family history research. Unknown to some is that Concordia is home to the Germanic Genealogy Society’s library. Driving up, one can’t miss the statue of the reformer, Martin Luther. Perhaps even more notable is the quote from Proverbs engraved over the library.
Having visited there several times prior, I knew where to look. However, it came as a bit of a surprise to find out that the library had recently undergone reorganization of their collections, resulting in the purging of outdated materials. Needless to say hearing that made my stomach turn.
Fortunately, it seems that the GGS collection remained intact. After asking one of the student employees at the help desk, I was escorted downstairs to the back left corner of the library. In my opinion, the new location more preferable. It’s quieter down there, and I experienced less traffic while reading through the countless books.
Several rows of shelves have volumes upon volumes of German material, everything from Pomerania to Hessen. Don’t get me wrong, the library is not an exhaustive list on every German topic, but it does expand much further than your typical library. For example, there were some Heimat books there on Belgard and Schlawe, but not on Kolberg-Körlin, although a smaller, less detailed compendium was on the shelf.
Concordia’s library has exceptionally reasonable hours for visiting, especially for the working person. I stayed there until close to 9 p.m. That was more than enough time for me to browse through the several shelves and get a feel for what was available. Of particular interest for the Pomeranian researcher is the Germanic Genealogy Society’s holdings of the Ostdeutsche Familienkunde, Archiv ostdeutscher Familienforscher, newsletters from the FEEFHS, older and more relevant copies of Die Pommerschen Leute, an index to their Die Vorfahren, Heimat books on numerous Kreise and others spanning the entirety of Pomerania, immigration history and lists, and information on the neighboring regions of West Prussia. I noticed a couple of books that I am aware are most certainly out of print.
These books are only available on-site and are not available for check-out. Understandably so, many of the books are still in good condition because of these restrictions. I would highly recommend a visit to Concordia’s unique collection to see what can be found on your family history. They have an online search if you would like to browse their catalog before making a visit.