Sunday, August 15, 2010

More From the ACPL ~ How We Found Cölpin

[Sorry I didn't update this yesterday as I'm sure you've all been on the edges of your respective seats.  The group went out to dinner after spending the last day in the library and between the somewhat late hour and the wine and the need to get up early today, I opted for sleep rather than blogging.]

So, I left off Friday with the question of where to find Cölpin, or more specifically, in what parish would the church records be found?  I came to the library on Friday morning all ready to tackle what I thought would be an easy "find."  I knew that the ACPL had The Map Guides to German Parish Records books so all I would need to do was grab the appropriate one - Mecklenburg-Strelitz - and find my answer.

First thing on Friday, I grabbed the book out of the stacks and went back to the table to dive in.  Checked the index and NO CÖLPIN!  Now I'm a genealogist after all so I don't let a little thing like spelling deter me.  I immediately look for Kölpin and find not one but two.  The books don't have actual maps - more like general sketches of the area.  They are mostly meant to help you figure out in which parish an already-located town would be.  So I'm trying to figure out generally where these 2 Kölpin's would be but in reading more carefully I see that they are both in Mecklenburg-Schwerin and neither are in Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

 The spelling doesn't concern me, but the location does.  As I mentioned yesterday, William Eickelberg's passport application is very specific in saying he was born in Mecklenburg-Strelitz.  Also, the 1870 census entry that I had recently found shows the birth place of all the members of the family as "Strellitz Mecklenberg."  I have to accept that they knew where they lived and it seemed that neither of the Kölpins in the book could be right.  After dithering around with google maps (and finding in present day Germany both a Cölpin and a Kölpin) and looking at the book for awhile I decided to seek some council from our "guide."

So, Michael looks at the google map locations and we look at a big map in the library but are not further enlightened.  Finally he says that he wants to look at a map resource online that he thinks might help us.  I have to admit that as I am watching him type in "Wisconsin maps German Empire" I'm thinking, "Has he not been listening? - my ancestors were NEVER in Wisconsin, they went to Ohio."  He must have caught that look I have because he sort of chuckled and said that the maps are housed at the University of Wisconsin Madison so that's best way to find them.  OH!

In pretty short order he found an entry for Kölpin as follows:

Please note that the first entry clearly states it's in "Mecklenb-Strel" - YEAH that's what we want!!  So a little more searching and here it is:

What's more in looking very closely at the map I see close by another small town - Spanholz.  In reviewing the passenger list, the people listed right before the Eickelberg family are from Spanholz.  So now, lesson number 27 (or something like that, I've lost count) is re-enforced - look at who else is traveling with your relatives.  Well, maybe not "with" - I don't know that they are together.  But this is definitely another match that tells me this is the correct town.  Wow - I was just so happy at this point.  I've wanted to be able to research my ancestors in Germany and this is the first step in doing that!!

That's not the end of the story however.  With the help of this wonderful map I begin to narrow down, based on the towns around, exactly which parish is correct.  I look up Stargard and some of the others and begin to pinpoint the area.  Then, I decide it's so close to the edge of what I'm looking at, that I need to look at the parish bordering to the south.  I pick a city and find where that is in the book and what do I find?  There, on the page, big as life is listed "Cölpin" the city I was looking for all along!!  I recheck the index a few more times, but it's just not there!

Recounting this story at lunch I came to the realization that I was actually GLAD that it hadn't been there.  If it had I would have simply noted the parish and the numbers of the films that I could look up and been done.  Instead I was introduced to this wonderful map resource.  It's beautiful and I'd encourage anyone with German ancestors to check it out.  If you remember nothing else, just remember to google "Wisconsin map German Empire" and it will be right at the top!

All smiles as we find Kölpin

A big thanks to Wanda Hunter Day, one of the great people I meet on this trip, for capturing the pictures of that fun moment when we spotted Kölpin!


  1. Yeah!!! Great detective work. Going to look at that map collection right now!!

  2. Very nice article! Thanks for the info on the great new map site too. Sounds like you had a fun time locating your Cölpin.

  3. It was so enjoyable to follow along on this mystery story - and a great lesson at the end!

  4. Hi all - thanks for the comments!! It was fun - and it's only my genea-friends that can really understand how exciting it was for me to see that map :-)

  5. Wow, great article. I had not heard of the book or that site. I am going to make sure I bookmark and put it where I can find it. More places to see info than just the ones at ancestry and google books are good.
    I had not realized Teschendorf was there either. I have seen the village, but didn't know.


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