International Research

International Family History and Genealogical Research is research done outside of the United States and includes specialty areas: British Isles, Scandanavian, Germanic, Hispanic, and others. Our researchers are trained to deal with a variety of specialized skills and knowledge required for each area.

International Research

1. British Isles Research –

British Isles research encompasses primarily the United Kingdom areas of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  It can also include research in other areas of British Colonization or rule such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

A. England –

English research involves researching to Counties records with focus on Church Records, Civil Registrations, Cemetery records, Court Records, and other types of records.

Dates are recorded in day, month, year. Special attention to this can be important.

Church records in England and most of the British Isles are of two types – Conformist and Non-Conformist. Since a mandated Church of England was promoted records were kept in English in Parishes (PR’s) and Diocese (BT’s).

Non-comformist Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran and other church records do exist.  Catholic records are primarily written in Latin worldwide and Lutheran records written in German worldwide.

Church of England Church records are usually broken down into Parish Registers “PR’s” and Bishop Transcripts “BT’s”.  Parishes focus on a small geographic area. They may contain smaller chapelry’s or sometimes have a few parishes lumped together.  Bishops Transcripts are a much larger area and may contain dozens of parish entries. While they usually duplicate parish entries since they were an expanded copy, additional entries or more information have been found in some BT entries.  BT’s became especially useful when parish records are destroyed or have gaps. BT’s however may or may not be indexed.  They may be indexed by catalogue with all letter C for example lumped together but not necessarily alphabetic.  They are often indexed alphabetically by year.  Going through BT’s can be time consuming depending on the indexes existence or type and the number of parishes but can be an only recourse or hold more information than the parish records.  BT clerks have been known to add or write in additional information.

Some counties have been heavily extracted and filmed while others have few records available. Thousands of films, micofiche, and books are available to our researchers.  While some have been data entered into databases, and other imaged, the volume of these records is still limited.

Civil registration records didn’t begin until 1837.

Court records can involve various types and jurisdictions.  Those jurisdictions can change over time just as county boundaries and parish locations can vary.

B. Ireland (Irish) records have considerations as well.  Church records are very important in most cases and knowing the county is usually not enough.  Knowing the parish or town or city area can be critical to success.  Knowing the religion can also be critical to success as there can be hundreds of Catholic Parishes or Lutheran parishes in a county.

C. Scotland (Scottish) records are more similiar to those of England.  They are not as numerous as England’s and areas are somtimes classified for a time as England and later Scotland.

D. Wales (Welsh) records have several additional considerations.  First they are generally in Welsh so language knowledge is required. Second they often use patronymics, which are special naming patterns used before surnames were instituted. (ie. John Williamson, father William Hanson, father Hans Christianson, etc.) Additionally, Wales records and locations were at various times classified as England and other times as Wales.

2. Scandanavian –

Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

Scandanavian records use patronymics, which are special naming patterns used before surnames were instituted. (ie. John Williamson, father William Hanson, father Hans Christianson, etc.)

This difficulty is compounded with male and female spellings of patronymics. (ie. male – Hans Olsen, female- Hannah Olsdatter). Some listings contain patronymics while others listed and kept a surname.  Another variation is the use of farm names.  I.E. Rosvald farm,  Paul Olsen (son of Ole Olsen) could have been listed Paul Olsen, or Paul Rosvald.  A sister of Paul, Hannah, could have been listed Hannah Olsen, Hannah Olsdatter, Hannah Olesdatter, or Hannah Rosvald. These records are also listed in their respective languages.

Norway and Denmark usually use the a – datter spelling while Sweden used the o – dotter spelling.

Farm names and usage are most common in Norway.

It is also important to note that farm names could be the same in various areas of the country.  Ex. Rosvald could be farms named in 4 different locations that could be in different provinces.

Also a farm name and a town name could be the same depending on time period.

3. Germany (Germanic).

Since the German empire encompased many other countries at various times the use of German is common in many countries in written records.  Lutheran records internationally and in the U.S. are almost always written in German.

The german language also has variations for high and low german.  Dominant religion is Lutheran however many Catholic records do exist.

Certain areas classified as German can involve multiple languages. (German, Russian, Swiss/Switzer-deutsch, French, Dutch, Hungarian, Lithuanian, etc.)

Locations and empires that ruled them changed therefore not only language but geography and time periods must be kept in mind. Ex. (Posen, Germany which is Poznan, Poland) Prussia was a german kingdom.  So an area could be listed at various time periods as Prussia, or Germany, or Russia, or Poland.  And the names of the towns during each period could and were usually changed for the empire in control.

In church records spiritual names may have been added. Ex. Johan in Johan August Doberstein. (his brothers were listed as Johan Carl Doberstein, Johan Christophe Doberstein, Johan Henrich Doberstein, Johan Johan Doberstein etc.) Usually they went by their middle names but their are some exceptions. Johan August Doberstein had many variations (ex. John August Doberstein, Johan August Doberstein, Jan Doberstein, John Doberstein, Johan Doberstein, Johann Doberstein, Johannes Doberstein and Hans Doberstein. All these did in this case refer to the same person. Just like in america we might have John, Jonathan, Jon, or Johnny.  Some more formal and others common names.

4. Hispanic –

Countries using the Spanish language exist worldwide.  South America, Mexio, many latin american countries, Spain and various other European areas used Spanish.

The predominant religion in these countries is Catholic hence most records are in Latin.

In some hispanic cultures they use the Fathers Surname a dash and the mothers surname. Ex. – Luis Odiaga-Campos

Also it is common to have multiple given names. These are primarily in church records while their legal or commonly used name had no middle name or only one used given name.

5. Other –

While we research other areas, the demand or lack of records reduces the requests or number of researchers we have specializing in those areas.

Other international research is periodically done but may have limited records for research or limited requests therefore we may not have full-time researchers for that geographic location or language.

ex. Polynesian Cultures. – Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, etc. many have oral genealogies which have limited or no records other than passed down by memory.  Various countries that colonized or did trade with these countries may have had records. Some Church records, shipping records, survey records or other types of records exist.

We look forward to assisting you in your international research.  Give us a call at 801-947-1897 to discuss your specific research needs.

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