Tip 3, General Tips for Finding a Town or Location

You know the name of your village:

If you know the name of your village and want to find its location or details about it, click on Finding a Village in Galicia.

You don't know the name of your village:

If you don't know the name, the tips below will help you determine which village is the one you want. 

  1. Try to find the surnames of your family in our surname listing of Manfried Daum's Family Books. See GGD website, menu item "Family Books". A list of villages plus the dates included therein is included online. What you would want to do is to use the surname search (try both search engines) to find the surname that you are seeking.  Look at each resulting village list to see if the persons listed have the first name and birth dates of those you are seeking.

  2. The Family Books are primarily extracted from church and some civil records by Manfred Daum. Each village is $10.00. The files include birth/baptism, marriage and death records with sources referenced. If the info was available, spouses and children’s names, birth dates and birthplaces, etc. are recorded as well as connections to other family members.

  3. If you want to trace your ancestor in Galicia or back to Germany, I would suggest looking at Das Kolonisationswerk Josefs II in Galizien (The Colonization Programs of Josephs II in Galicia, Austria) by Ludwig Schneider. Schneider's book lists 3,404 heads of household names of settlers. It gives much detail of the history, reasons for emigration, organization, recruitment, village descriptions and, most importantly, lists of German settlersin two surveys 1790s and 1820.  This book is arguably the best reference for emigration from Germany to the Galician province of Austria. However, it is written in old German script and can be hard to read. See the description of this book and where you can view it at Das Kolonisationswerk Josefs II in Galicia. Look for the 4th book listed.


To help you determine your ancestral village if you do not know it or are unsure, here are suggestions:

Written by Betty Wray, founder of Galizien German Descendants.   This discussion largely overlaps with our web page "Finding a Village in Galicia."

  1. Ask your relatives or sometimes friends of your family, if they know the name of the village.

  2. Look through any family documents you may have:  baptism papers, birth records, marriage documents, travel papers/passports, steamer tags, baby books, photographs with the name/place photography took place written in corner or reverse of photo; letters, diaries, journals, postcards, family obituaries or funeral home papers.

  3. Church or civil records.

  4. Newspapers (birthday congratulations possibly, and obituaries, marriage or death announcements).

  5. Cemetery - tombstones or the cemetery office might have some records you are unaware of.  Possibly other relatives have info on themselves on their cemetery records that your specific relative or family may not know.

  6. Census records and Passenger or Immigration Records - You can access some these records easily online without cost.  If you cannot find what you seek easily, visit your local Public Library or one of the Family History Libraries (see website:  www.familysearch.org - bottom, middle of their homepage, enter in your state or province, or country, and a listing of FH Library locations will appear).  These facilities have FREE access to   www.ancestry.com   If you can't easily visit one of these locations, you can subscribe to Ancestry.com for a short time frame and search online yourself.  From the www.ancestry.com  website you can access both Canadian and US federal census records, immigration records and passenger ship records online.  Follow the census line all the way to the far right to see if any mention is made as to village.  Ellis Island records (www.ellisislandrecords.org ) can be accessed online without going through Ancestry.com.   However, not everyone came in through Ellis Island so you may still need to use Ancestry.com records.  

  7. In the USA and Canada, it is possible to access homestead records.  In order to homestead a settler needed to be a citizen.  To obtain citizenship, the individual needed to answer questions as to birthplace, parents names and other questions which could be most helpful in your search.  It may be necessary to order homestead records (from Canada through the Provincial offices) or you can visit the Family History Library  (www.familysearch.org) and order and view microfilm(s) on homestead records from the nearest FH Library  where you reside.

    In ordering naturalization records or "Oaths of Allegiance" that were required to obtain homestead records, you will need the contact address and view information at this site:   www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy

  8. If your ancestor married in the USA or Canada, you should try and obtain their "application" for marriage records, which often included names of parents, birth dates and places.  I don't mean the actual marriage document, but the application thereto.  These may be found in some local court houses, etc.

  9. Naturalization records.  These records should contain their birthplace, date, parents names, etc.  These may take some time when ordering from the government facilities, but worth the time, effort and cost.   U.S. Declaration of Intent (papers leading towards citizenship).

  10. Other legal documents:  Wills, probate court records etc.

  11. If you have a garbled village name, but know the name of nearby villages or the parish, look at the 1880s military maps on the German Settlements in Galicia & Bukovina in Google Maps page or at the other maps listed in "Finding a Village in Galicia."

  12. GGD members who cannot find a village/town name may try to contact GGD atresearchIf our researcher is available, he could check Brian Lenius' Gazetteer of Galicia for correct spelling of your village or locate the name of the parish.  Several villages often comprised one parish.  The Family History Library files their church records under the name of the parish thus while you may seek to locate the village name on their site, you may not find it because it is filed under parish name. 

  13. US and Canadian Border Crossing Records (often found online - see Ancestry.com).

  14. USA Draft Registration Records for both World Wars (see Ancestry.com, Family History Library or Library and Archives of Canada).

  15. Pension Files

  16. Tax Records or Land Records - see municipal or county offices.

  17. City Directories (see Public Libraries for holdings or check with www.familysearch.org for film availability). 

  18. Write or contact the local Family History Societies of where your ancestor's lived.  These Societies over the years have kept many records that you may not be aware of. 

  19. In Canada, many of the villages in the provinces of Saskatchewan (SK), Alberta (AB) and Manitoba (MB) have libraries that contain "local history books".  Visit your local library or Provincial Genealogy Library to see if you can find any mention of your family in one of these sources.