A few weeks ago, my husband and I visited Frankenmuth, Michigan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenmuth,_Michigan), a city founded by German settlers. I don’t have many German ancestors, but, as a genealogy student, I want to know as much as I can about every type of ancestry.
We started with the Frankenmuth Historical Association, where I purchased Teach My People the Truth: The Story of Frankenmuth, Michigan by Herman F. Zehnder. If you are a compulsive book buyer, you’ll want to check out their online gift shop (http://www.frankenmuthmuseum.org/onlinegiftshop.html). The historical cookbooks might help you learn about your female ancestors.
|Frankenmuth Historical Museum|
The Frankenmuth Historical Association’s website (http://www.frankenmuthmuseum.org) is worth exploring if you have ancestors from Saginaw County. For example, there is a link to the Frankenmuth News Archives (http://www.frankenmutharchives.org), where you can search the Frankenmuth News back to 1906. Also on the Frankenmuth Historical Association’s website is a link to the Cass River Genealogy Society, where you will find online indexes for obituaries, death notices, marriages and anniversaries in the Frankenmuth News (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~micrgs/onlinedata/general.html). There are also links to the Saginaw News Obituary Index (http://obits.netsource-one.net) and Saginaw County on MichGenWeb (http://www.mifamilyhistory.org/saginaw).
The Frankenmuth Historical Association also has a fabulous collection of quilts shown on their website (http://www.frankenmuthmuseum.org/FHA%20Quilt%20Collection.pdf) and, if you are lucky enough to be related to a quilt maker, you will find a mini-biography of that person.
Frankenmuth does a wonderful job of recreating the little Bavaria experience. Here are a few links to places you might want to see:
- Bavarian Inn of Frankenmuth (http://bavarianinn.com/dine/restaurant-history)
- Saint Lorenz Lutheran Church and School (http://stlorenz.org/our-heritage)
- Zehnders Holz Brucke (covered bridge) ( http://my.net-link.net/~michaelf/zehnders.htm)
|Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn|
If you have ancestors who were involved in the brewing industry, you should visit the Frankenmuth Lager Mill Beer Store & Brewing Museum (http://www.frankenmuthmuseum.org/Lager%20Mill/index.html). Here you will find not only endless bottles of beer, but also thousands of pieces of German glassware, photographs, artifacts and more about the history of brewing.
|Frankenmuth Lager Mill Beer Store & Brewing Museum|
I found the following books online about Germans in Michigan:
- Germans in Michigan (Discovering the Peoples of Michigan) by Jeremy W. Kilar (http://www.amazon.com/Germans-Michigan-Discovering-Peoples/dp/0870136194)
- Michigan’s German Heritage: John Andrew Russell’s History of the German Influence in the Making of Michigan by Don Heinrich Tolzmann (http://www.amazon.com/Michigans-German-Heritage-Russells-Influence/dp/078840153X)
There are also a number of interesting articles about German settlers in Michigan:
- “A History of the German Settlers in Washtenaw County: 1830 to 1930” by Dale R. Herter and Terry Stollsteimer (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~miwashte/washtenawgermansettlerhistory.pdf)
- “Our German Story” (http://www.ourstoryof.com/german)
Hopefully, you will have a chance to visit Frankenmuth. If not, thanks to the Internet, you can enjoy a virtual experience.