German Special Interest Group of The Villages Genealogical Society (Florida)
Purpose: The German SIG, of the 1,200-member closed Villages Genealogy Society (VGS) in Florida, is its second largest. As part of the educational mission of the VGS, our group aims to help members overcome the particular challenges of German genealogy by keeping them abreast of the latest developments in genealogical research. In addition to Germany, we cover Austria and Switzerland and erstwhile majority German ethnic areas of Eastern Europe.
Membership: Limited to residents of the Villages, Florida only. $10 yearly for initial membership, with $5 for renewal. This includes participation in all monthly programs at no extra charge.
Membership Benefits: Attendance at monthly VGS meetings and special seminars, as well as all 20 Special Interest Groups. Access to secure downloads and archives of past presentations. There is also a bi-annual visit from Christa Cowan of Ancestry.com.
Events: Monthly meetings of VGS and German SIG as well as other 15 SIGS, not all of which meet every month, plus a yearly Seminar in February with a nationally-known speaker, for an additional fee. German SIG offers formal presentations September through May, with summer months dedicated to member success stories and tackling brick walls. The parent VGS also offers one or two webinars monthly webinars by prominent genealogists. Members can participate in most monthly meeting programs remotely via their computer. These programs are also recorded & made available for re-viewing on the website for a limited period, usually 90 days.
Research & Library functions are not provided by VGS or the German SIG. Informal German translation services are provided by Coordinator Bernhard Guenther.
Publications: There is a monthly newsletter, with an archive of past issues, available to non-members going back to 2009. The weekly blog is only available to members on a subscription basis (gratis).
--The surnames Kepner, Sieber Sommers, Flowers & Bockle (Bickley) in the Philadelphia area.
--Eastern Long Island, New York City & Connecticut as well as Dutch New Netherlands/New Amsterdam.
--Mennonites in Eastern Europe, especially the Russian Empire.
--Russian Poland, aka Congress Poland or Mittelpolen (areas never part of German/Prussian Empire).