I'm a little slow when it comes to reading some of my journals. Typically I read my NGSQ right away. This summer has seen me reading it more casually as I wait out swimming lessons poolside. I like the NGSQ because I always learn something. That's what makes it my favorite genealogy journal.
Today I read an article from the June 2010 NGSQ called "Johann Henrich Klocke of Lippe-Detmold: An Identity Hidden by a German Farm Name" by Carolyn L. Whitton, CG.
Now I have to admit to you that I know nothing about German research. Honestly, I know nothing about European research with a slight exception for the UK. Really, I mean nothing, it kind of scares me. But part of the fun of genealogy for me is reading about topics that I know absolutely nothing about. I always find it interesting.
Well, I was floored when I read this article and learned about German Farm names. I never knew there was such a thing. In the back of my mind I made a mental note for my German ancestors in case I am ever brave enough to research them.
This article introduced to me the concept that a man could give away his own surnames and take his wife's if she happens to be a farm owner and he is not. I'm sure that is an over simplification of what is really going on. Carolyn Whitton did a thorough and excellent job of explaining what a farm name is and how to use it in German research and provided a complicated example to boot. And now I am an inch closer to trying to research my German ancestors. But honestly, I think it will take a little bit bigger push than that.