User Registration is now Open!
After extensive testing, My Pomerania is proud to announce–for the first time ever–open public registration for the Family Tree Search: Ortsfamilienbuch. This enables you to share what you know about your Pomeranian lineage with the world.
About the Project
In 1982, Myron Gruenwald published the first issue of Die Pommerschen Leute with the expressed goals to connect researchers through their immigrant ancestors and share with each other the accumulated information of the life of our ancestors in Europe and their new life in the U.S.
At the time, Myron’s work was the first of its kind, generating a tremendous amount of interest in such a relatively short period of time. His work was briefly continued through FEEFHS before being turned over to the IGS in 1999, at which point his database contained over 122,000 names. Myron was so instrumental by both his love of the internet and his love of genealogy that in 1998, FEEFHS named their new server the “Myron Gruenwald Memorial Web Server.”
As editor for two years, my goal was to help make his work more accessible to all people online. While that goal never came to fruition, a new idea was born.
In the last twenty years since, the resources for discovering one’s family history have become more widely available, but typically at a price as companies have rushed to the scene to monetize peoples’ interests and gobble up contracts for exclusive rights to records. Smaller publications have ceased printing but copyright laws have kept that data safeguarded despite a number of them going defunct with few circulating copies available. Other surviving groups have only just started making their research available to the public with some opting to continue closed-door “members only” policies. And most recently, the EU enacted stricter privacy laws which they deemed appropriate to police the world through extra-terrestrially outside of EU borders. Simply put, despite technological advances that should make connecting researchers easier, the last twenty years have turned a two-edged sword on sharing genealogical research.
So why go through the trouble to creating yet another database for research?
The goal is simple. Through shared work and collaboration, together we can rebuild a more complete picture of our Pomeranian ancestry. Trees can be connected, and along with them, the lives of descendants through a shared cultural heritage, one seemingly lost in time to the ravages of war and division.
Not to mention fleeting hopes of connecting with surviving generations due to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I am not kidding when I say that I’ve been told by European researchers that if someone wants to get in touch with me, “They’ll find me.” This does little to solve the problem of the generational gap created by EU privacy laws and finding living relatives, especially being a the fourth generation in the United States. One such part of the effort with the Family Tree Search is to allow users to submit their contact information along with their trees, much like what Myron aimed to accomplish through his printed newsletter over 35 years ago. Brick walls and difficult points in research can be identified and added to the “most wanted” list for others to see and help with. Those sharing their genealogy also have the option of writing an editorial about their family and whom they are interested in finding; these can then be published on the web for others searching the same families to find and make connections, working through dead-ends in research. By posting what they are looking for so others can find them, researchers around the world can meet each other and their interests while maintaining compliance with EU privacy laws.
This effort aims to accomplish a number of these goals:
- Sharing Pomeranian lineages as Myron Gruenwald once did, but in the age of technology
- Staying in compliance with EU laws
- Connecting Pomeranian researchers around the world
- Making research accessible, open-source, and free to the public
It Can Only Work With Your Help…
As Myron stated best in his first newsletter, “The success of this venture is dependent on YOU… We want to share what YOU know with all of our readers.” Genealogy is a team sport. We are stronger together. We are more informed when sharing our knowledge with each other. My Pomerania’s mission is to connect researchers with each other, help them find their ancestry, and preserve Pomeranian history for generations to come–all for free without charging you a nickel.
Our goal is the same as yours: to find our ancestors.
I created this site knowing that if I shared my research, it might benefit someone else somewhere in the world. Research does no good sitting on shelves or in forgotten notebooks. Freeing our knowledge with the world, no matter how large or small, can make a difference for others desperately seeking their ancestry. I encourage you to be a part of our community. Join our efforts and share what you know about your Pomeranian heritage.
So what can you do to help?
- Build your family tree.
- Be a guest author for our website.
- Start your own blog and let us know! We love to help promote your own work.
- Paid for archival records? So have we. Share them so others can access them for free. Why pay for a copy when the research has already been done?
- Share our message.
Together, we can piece together the fragments of our histories and build a larger picture of our ancestors.
The rules for contributing to the Family Tree Search are as follows:
§1. No living persons may be added from the EU-Zone or other places where it illegal to do so. Living U.S. residents may be added where it is legal to do so and with permission from the living person. Tools within the family tree dashboard allow you to mark people as living or private.
§2. All place names must be verified for correct spelling (use www.meyersgaz.org). They should follow this format: Podewils, Belgard, Pommern. (Village, County/Kreis, Territory [Pommern, Neumark, Schlesien, Westpreußen, etc.]). Do not include anything after Pommern, such as Prussia or Germany. Places in the United States should follow this format: City/Town, County, State, USA. If umlauts are used in place names, they MUST be included. To make searching easier for all users, consistency between place names and formatting is essential.
§3. All names of people must be spelled correctly and as shown in documents. When possible, they should follow the German spelling provided in earlier records (Friederike vs. Fredericka, Carl vs. Charles, Emilie vs. Amalia). When multiple iterations of a surname exist, the predominant one should be used as the surname. All other variations should either be listed in fact notes or in the alias/AKA fields.
§4. Do not share your login or password with anyone. You may only edit your tree. When you wish to collaborate with someone else on the same tree, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and specify which users and tree should have collaborative privileges.
§5. Please only include people which have been substantiated by documented evidence. Rumors and family legends should not be formally included. Please feel free to detail these in fact notes, but do not include these people on the actual tree for searching.
Your cooperation keeps us in compliance with international laws. Unfortunately, we cannot accept data on living people in the EU. Please understand that posting such information without the expressed written consent of the living person will lead to account probation or suspension.
We look forward to helping you share your family history and connecting each other with our Pomeranian ancestries!