Traveling for Genealogy

Here it is September 2021 and our planned trip to Germany where the Kornmeyer family emigrated from 171 years ago is just days away. We had originally planned to go in 2020. That was when everything was cancelled due to COVID. My husband and I decided that we would reschedule our trip for the next year, surely travel will be possible in a year and that will give us more time to plan and save. A year later and the current variant is plaguing the world and keeping us all on alert. Should we travel or not? Will our trip be cancelled again? We are continuing our plans with a positive attitude. This has been my dream trip for the last six years and I had been talking it up with my family and my husbands family. First my sister and my family research buddy decided to come along, and she talked her lifelong friend into joining us. Then a few months ago my husband’s sister decided she and her friend would also join our excursion.

The Plan

  • Visit archives in Radolfzell am Bodensee.
  • Visit St. Nikolaus church in Böhringen.
  • Take the Viking Rhine River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Which could be the possible route the Kornmeyers took to Rotterdam where they boarded the ship for America.

The plan has always been to visit Böhringen, German. This is where the church that holds all the baptisms, marriages and deaths for Martin Kornmeyer and his family back three generations, prior to leaving for America. It was recorded in the church records that Martin Konmeyer and his family left for America in 1848, they did not arrive in New York until 1850 and without Maria Ursula, Martin’s wife.

The question has often been what took so long? The “family story” was that Maria died on the ship to America. But she was not on the manifest and it is unlikely that she ever made it to the ship in Rotterdam. So how did they travel from Böhringen to Rotterdam? Did Maria die in route to Rotterdam? Are there any Kornmeyers left in the area of Böhringen? If Martin Kornmeyer was a farmer in Germany, where was their farm land? These are questions I would love to have answered.

Pre Travel to do list

  • Buy “Researching in Germany”  book by Roger P. Minert, Shirley J. Riemer, and Susan E. Sirrine. This is an excellent guide not only for family researchers but for travelers in general. My husband has commandeered my copy for all the travel tips and language references.
  • Check archives in the area.  I have been fortunate to have made contact with an archivist in the area and have scheduled an appointment in the district archives. Unfortunately with COVID only one person at a time will be allowed in and must wear a PPF2 mask. I am also hoping to get an appointment with the church volunteer archivist prior to leaving. I have been emailing both archivists and they have been very helpful.
  • Learn a little German. The “Researching in Germany” has lists like Money Vocabulary, Finding your way Vocabulary, Emergency Vocabulary, Restaurant Vocabulary, plus much more. My husband and I have been listening to Pimsleur Approach to German. Roy is much better at this then I am. 
  • We have a travel agent ( La Costa Vacations) that has been a tremendous help in making all our travel arrangements for the six of us. I had checked into several companies that specialized in Travel for Genealogy and decided on giving it a go myself. car rental, hotel bookings, airline flights, transfers, travel insurance, etc. has been handled by our agent and I have focused on the research component of the trip.
  • Covid protocol has made a new layer of paperwork that needs to be completed before our departure. “Verifly”, Swiss locator card on our phone, PCR testing appointment, specific face masks, vaccine cards are all taken care of. 
  • Pet sitter scheduled. This was a challenge. We had made arrangements almost six months ago which fell through about a month ago. We then found someone else that after two weeks decided our dog was too big. So two weeks ago we finally secured a place for our “too big” boy. Our new pet sitter has a dog larger then ours. Should work out well.
  • Gather research paperwork for the Kornmeyer family. Made two copies. Include a jump drive, pencil, and notebook or notepad.
  • Pack suitcases. My husband has been watching YouTube again. Lots of helpful hints on packing for our trip. 
  • One of the last things to do before leaving for the airport is stopping the mail.

I am so excited that we may actually get to do this.