Today I find that my Grandma Rettammel (nee Wendland) family side is difficult to confirm on immigration records and also locating in a former German provinces. I have know this for some time and also have people working on it in Germany right now. The wealth of information on the Wendland name is there but narrowing down to another level of connection is frustrating at times. What do you do when your ancestor left little paper trail and those who knew the person are also deceased?

First of all do not give up! One strategy I have been working on is to re-view all the people possibly connected to my great-grandfather Wendland, i.e., other relatives for one example. I do have a year of possible immigration to U.S. and also a date of Declaration for Citizenship but those details have not been confirmed yet. One of the other obstacles I am encountering and you may also, is that German surnames can come in different spellings due to the person/persons that did the original record in German and English or even those involved with transfer of original records to new technology such as Ancestry.com or the Familysearch.org, among others. So what strategy at this point?

When you get frustrated take a break from that particular person. Also seek advice from others who may face the same difficulty but came across a solution to the challenges with possible dead ends. One last idea I can share is to think about what “pull factor” made my Wendland relative come to Juneau County in about 1880/1881? From this I may also see a pattern for other Germans coming at the same time and small community where they lived. So a visit to the local county genealogical society on the declaration of citizenship document for my great-grandfather is my next step.

Cheers on your research,
Bob