Resources & Research / Ressourcen & Forschung

German-English Translation Tool Do you have little or no knowledge of reading and writing in German?  Simply click here to take you to which has an extremely useful language tool to translate text, webpages and documents from German to English or English to German!  I studied German for two years in college but forgot most of them because I never had the chance to practice or use it on a daily basis.  I hope our ancestors will forgive us for a lack of German knowledge by using this wonderful language tool.
Spanbauer Coat of Arms  This is what my father found before it was about to be destroyed in a burning pile dumped by my grandparents.  He later framed and hung it in the living room for many years at my old home in Decatur, Illinois.  I have yet to learn about this coat of arms because it only has one "n" instead of two nn's.  Any information about the coat of arms you can share about this will be appreciated.

Immigration Records in the United States of America  You may find your ancestor came to America through Ellis Island.  The earliest known Spanbauer came to Pennsylvania around 1890 or 1892.  Canadian immigration records are not available to the public after 1935.   Wenzel & Elizabeth Spanbauer with Frank and Liz were likely the first Spanbauers to settle in Canada in 1947 or 1948.  As far as I know, no other Spanbauers were known to be in Canada prior to that time.

Bohemian Forest Museum /Bohmerwald Musuem located in Vienna, Austria.  This museum is maintained by a group of former and descendants of the Bohemian Forest region led by Dr. Gernot Peter.  I found his museum by searching through the internet and later he connected me to the Roman Catholic Parish records from Bohmisch-Rohren, and I am grateful for his assistance.

Roman Catholic Parish Records  Give our eternal thanks to the government of the Czech Republic State Archives for leading their regional archives that have digitally scanned old German and Czech records click here to see if you can find the parish records of your ancestors from the Bohemian Forest!  Having a basic knowledge of German and old German script is a must skill to locate your ancestors.  Most of them are written in old German script, but you can locate some expert translators for a small fee to get the actual information you need at or or google it with "old German script translations" and you'll find what you'll like to choose from.  I had a birth record translated and it gave me more information on my great-grandmother's parents and village they lived in. Nice!

Family Search at is a free genealogical service provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, USA.  It has the largest genealogical collection in the world.  A trip to the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah USA is a must experience, but you also can find a Family History Center (FHC) connected to the FHL within your local areas.  However, my research experience at this library did not have much information on the Spannbauers and its associated families, but other sources may be readily available about on other lineages.  Neverthless, keep checking back from time to time since it may yield some surprises long to be thought lost or never known.
Books to read:
Valley of the Shadow by Erich Anton Helefert, Creative Arts Book Company. An account of a 14-year old boy living in the Sudentenland prior and after World War II, family hardships, deaths and his expulsion from Communist Czechoslovakia to Germany and later settlement in America.  An excellent moving story to understand how Germans lived through this at that time.  Written in English.
Der Bohmerwald by Erich Hans, Book Publisher unknown.  Written in German, but an English translation is not known to be available.  An historical account of the people's way of life in the Bohmerwald during the old days before Hitler and after the war.  It contains many pictures depicting their peaceable lives of their time.
More Bohmerwald books at and click icon "Buchverkauf" (Book Sales).  They are all written in German on historical accounts on their way of life, cookbooks, music CDs, and a map for sale.  It does not have specific genealogical information, but knowing the history in this region can be very helpful in tracing your family tree.
Give Me Back My Legions! by Harry Turtledove, St. Martin's Press, New York (First edition: April 2009).  A historical novel of ancient Rome who tried to romanize the Germans as the Gauls had before them.  Some Germans join the Romans but to learn the arts of war and policy as practiced by the Romans, they learn what is essential for the survival of Germany, they must unite the German tribes before they become enslaved by the Empire and lose their way of life forever.  An epic battle brews of what is known as the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (Teutoburger Wald) in 9 A.D. - a ferocious, bloody clash that changed the course of history after Rome lost three legions.  To this day, the division between Romanized and non-Romanized people sin Europe is easily visible in the languages and cultures of the nations that grew up on the wreckage of the Roman Empire in the West.  Although the story is historical fiction because of scarce records of this famous battle, but the author has given us a general idea how they lived and fought that brought on the destiny of Germany since to this day.  

Movies to watch:
Sound of Music (1965).  A former nun leaves the convent to become a governess for the seven children of a wealthy, Austrian widower who has grown into a cold disciplinarian. Soon, the she opens the children to the wonders of life and the joy of music - and eventually softens the heart of their father and gains his love.  Keep in mind although this movie is historical fiction, there is an actual family account of their musical life and their experience of Nazis occupation in Austria.  This movie is a must see as it demonstrates the family's torn feelings about their homeland because of the political landscape which I saw a reflection of our older generation who lived during the time of Nazism.  In fact, about 1970 I remember my Grandmother took me to watch it together at a local theater and after the movie was over (being young, I thought the movie was so boring), I saw she was in tears.  I asked her why she cried, she said "nothing."  It was not until many years later, I finally understood how she felt about her family's experiences in Austria and Yugoslavia being trapped by polarized political ideologies and wars while living back here in America at the faces of anti-German sentiments.
Das Boot (1981).  This is the story of 42 raw recruits in a German U-Boat caught up in a war they didn't understand, and the Captain who must lead them in their struggle to survive.  A true portrayal of their feelings when the hunters became the hunted.  It is 1942 and the German submarine fleet is heavily engaged in the so called "Battle of the Atlantic" to harass and destroy English and American shipping. With better escorts of the Destroyer Class, however, German U-Boats have begun to take heavy losses. "Das Boot" is the story of one such U-Boat crew, with the film examining how these submariners maintained their professionalism as soldiers, attempted to accomplish impossible missions, while all the time attempting to understand and obey the ideology of the government under which they served. Hitler sent out 40,000 men aboard U-Boats to the Atlantic ocean during World War II and less than 10,000 returned.  You may either find the movie in English subtitles or dubbed in English.
Confession​s of a Nazi Spy (1939).  In a small Scottish town in the late 1930's, a female Nazi sympathizer operates a secret international Nazi postal office out of her home where she maintains a network of American and German Nazi spies. Her services are provided to agents working all over the world, including  some Americans in the military and normal civilian life.  A Nazi agent in America sends a letter to Nazi officials in Germany, but when the  letter is intercepted in Scotland by British Intelligence, the female operative is arrested and reveals a spy ring extending to the United States.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is tipped and mounts a nationwide dragnet which nets several confessed spies and sympathizers.  The spy case  goes before a grand jury, and four of the major participants in the spy ring are convicted and sentenced.  This movie made in 1939 at the eve of World War II, set another rising anti-German sentiments in American society against many German-born naturalized people who became citizens of the United States long before the war found themselves facing hostility and biased treatment because of their nationality and they feared that the old prejudices and political persecution was to follow them again from Old Europe.  Actually a majority of the Germans as well as Austrians and other Germans from other European lands did not want to care for the political, religious and ethnic problems that had existed in their homelands for many centuries.  They simply wanted to pursue the American dream but put away their German language, customs and heritage into oblivion, out of fear they would be investigated that could cause them to be imprisoned with foreiture of personal property.  The mood became a terrifying time for the German-Americans when after the Imperial Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and soon thereafter, the Japanese-Americans suffered the actual fate with the nationwide American viligante justice that sent them packing to resettlement camps.