When I began my research, I
knew very little of Germany and even less of the language. Though
I spent 2 1/2 years in Germany (U.S. military), I was only familiar with a few
words or certain phrases. Therefore, I needed to know more of Germany, and
I knew that the Internet would be the way to get this knowledge. Genealogy.net
has an expansive web site covering most aspects of German genealogy, and I still
use this site regularly. My desire to be effective caused me to narrow the focus of my
research to the history and maps of Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. Furthermore, I utilized on-line translation services to translate German
documents and web pages into English. The following are three language services that I use
Bremen lies along
the Weser River about sixty-five kilometers south of Bremerhaven, which sits at the mouth
of the river as it flows into the North Sea. Bremen and Bremerhaven are two major cities
in the Federal State of Bremen, which is the smallest German State in terms of both
population and area. The documentation of Bremen first occurred in the year 782 AD, and it
eventually becomes a center for Christianity in Northern Europe, primarily during the
reign of Charlemagne.
In the time period to which I was interested, Bremen was a free state, and its
location on the River Weser made it an ideal trading center. It became an
independent town in 1646 after fighting with Sweden during the Thirty-Year War.
Since I knew that
my search should naturally begin in Bremen, I immediately posted a message to a Bremen
Genealogy Inquiry Board at gen.rootsweb.com/index/Germany.html.
order to get help, I would have to provide an estimated year of birth for Laurens
Heijneken. And since his wife, Cornelia van Duijnen, was born in 1725, I
then estimated that
he was born five years before her.