Thursday, February 4, 2010
Let's say you're trying to find the village that was mentioned in great uncle Anton's obit. The village was "Niedermuhl". We also know that Anton's brother Mathias claimed a place called Neuhaus in his obit. Both look like they're German names (one translates to Upper Mill and the other, New House). Chances are, these two sons were actually born in the same area of Bohemia, and most likely in the same village.
Ok, you could try searching every inch of a map from the period (I did, and lemme tell ya, it's impossible). Or, try finding a list of villages and guessing which Niedermuhl is the right one...(every little stream had many mills, upper and lower). But you need a Niedermuhl that's close to a Neuhaus (which, btw, was also a popular town name back then). If you start with Neuhaus, you'll see there were SIX towns/villages called Neuhaus.
The best place to check is Jewish Genealogy's ShtetlSeeker online. If you know they came here from Bohemia, type the name of the village and click Czech Republic in the drop-down list for "country/region". ShtetlSeeker works for all the countries on that list because there were Jewish people in all of them.
As it turned out, "our" Neuhaus is the one also known as Jindřichŭv Hradec. Mathias was citing the nearest market town, like someone from Buckman might say "Little Falls". For heavens sake, WHO would ever check anyway?