GOV in

The Germanic Genealogy Society 2018 Spring Conference featured Timo Kracke from Gandetkesee, Germany, (near Bremen). He is a board member of the Computer Genealogy Society, often referred to as CompGen, the host of the website known as I had heard a one- hour lecture by Timo at the International Germanic Genealogy Conference in July 2017 and was eager to hear more, His topics were

Start Your Research for German Ancestors with
Research Former German Territories with the AgoFF
Historical Geo Information System GOV and Historic Address Books
Ortsfamilienbucher, User Family Trees, and Metasearch on

This post examines only one part of this super website, the Historical Geo Information System, known as GOV. (Do not think of GOV as government or GOVT.) It is an information system for finding places, geographically and historically.
GOV provides “a unique worldwide place ID” and “includes the geographical location of a place (coordinates…on a map); key properties such as the postal code, previous or other names, and past administrative, legal, and religious affiliations. It also contains information about churches, parishes, towns, counties, and regions, etc.”
For East Prussia researchers, go toßen/Kirchenbücher

You can search “ostpreussen kirchenbucher” Select a Kreis from alphabetical list left of map; select on Kreis name; for that Kreis, select “Kirchenbuchbestände”; select a parish from alphabetical list left of map; select the parish name.

Across the yellow tool bar on the top you see the downward arrow pointing to GOV.
On the left you see an alphabetical listing of the kreis.
When I selected the one I was interested in, Kreis Insterberg, this is what came up.
The historic gazetteer:

I entered the name of a location in East Prussia I have been researching for family in Willuhnen. This is what appears, a map with locations of that place. I know it is not in northeast Poland. The one I want is in the Kalinigrad Oblast of Russia, formerly Gumbinnen Administrative District, East Prussia. (But if I did not know that, this map would help me determine where to look.)

And when you see the entire table, you see how much information is there.

Name, Typ (type), Ubergeordnete Objekte, Postleitzahl, GOV- Kennung.
Below that you see the legend.
Left arrow: I selected the cross, church records.

At the bottom of this page, under superordinate objects, is a listing of nearby locations.
The columns give me the names, the type, the GOV ID, and the time span.
Now I know that there was a church, but I have no dates…yet. I know it was a village from 1621 to 1945. I know there was a manor there from 1839 to 1945.

Not only was I interested in Willuhnen, but I was also interested in Wingern, a location I found on the microfilmed Willuhnen records. I now know that it was a rural municipality settlement in existence to 1907, but the dates of my records tell me it was there in the 1820s. So when I write up my research, I can include these details with the correct source, of course.

There is also a link for images, but there are none on this village, but sometimes you can find some by googling the name of your location under Google Images.

Once I had an understanding with print and online maps and gazetteers, I could continue.

On the left it gives me the GOV ID: the name, type, denomination, an article about this place in, and the geographic position.

On the right it shows me a regional map of its location and an outline of the object, as the location is called. I consider it an exact map.
Below that are links to other online maps like Bing, Google Earth, Google Maps, Wikimapia, etc.

The purple diagram, called the Superordinate object, shows a diagram of exactly what records are available and for what years.

The Historical Gazetteer is for other locations, not just East Prussia.

About suwalkigermans

I started family research in 1993. My first two books focused on my maternal grandparents. Both families came from Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia, to Big Rapids, Michigan. I left the Spurgats from Wylkowiszki in the Russian Empire as the third book because of the difficult and challenging research it required. After I published the book in 2010, I wondered what to do next. I thought I might try to share some of my research with others and maybe at the same time, by going digital, someone would find me. When you read the comments, you will see that happened. The best part of all this is helping others.
This entry was posted in Conferences, East Prussia, Germanic Genealogy Society, Maps, Records, Research, Resources, Web Sites and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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