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Sarah Ella Giefer



Sarah Ella Giefer talks about a book belonging to her family,a personal encyclopedia of Giefers. The book is called "The Giefer Family in Germany and the United States". It has 2 volumes, 700 pages, and has information in it on hundreds of Giefers.




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Hi, my name is Sarah Ella Giefer, and this story is about a book belonging to my family, our own personal encyclopedia of Giefers. The book is called "The Giefer Family in Germany and the United States". It has 2 volumes, 700 pages, and has information in it on hundreds if not thousands of my ancestors. It’s a history of my family- not just our genealogy, but our stories.
So, where did the book come from? It was written by Tracy Giefer Fullerman, though she didn’t initially set out to write anything like this when she first started the project. In 1976 she went to Germany to learn more about her family history. When she was visiting Germany she got stranded in the middle of the night at a bus stop. A random passerby tried to help her but as she spoke only English and he spoke only German there was not much to do, and the only thing he understood was her name, Giefer. So he went to a pay phone and called up a local Giefer he knew to come pick her up!
That random Giefer not only spoke English and was willing to give her a bed for the night, but she ended up being a distant relative of Tracys! The house Tracy was in had belonged to her great great great grandfather Wilhelm Giefer, who built that house himself in 1830. After that fateful trip to Germany, Tracy Giefer's project exploded, and 30 years later it was finished enough for her to publish it.
So, what all is in here? Well, most of the pages look like this. At the top is the Father of a lineage. The further back in time he is, the more space is generally dedicated to him. In this case Ludwig gets that whole top paragraph and a couple pictures for his story, along with a picture of himself and his wife Gertrude. Ludwig here is my Great Great Great grandfather, and the brother of the man who built the house Tracy stayed in that night in Germany. Next on the page are his children listed in the order they were born, along with their birth and death dates and a few fun facts about them. His first born son JJ is my Great Great grandfather. There will also be family trees, like this one, which will show a more consolidated lineage.
Also in the book are the resources Tracy used to write it. Birth, death, and marriage records make up the majority of the sources. Thanks to these sources Tracy was able make maps like these ones which show the growth of Giefers after immigrating to the US. These couple maps show where Giefers were living in 1860, 1900, and 1920, for example, and how we ballooned and spread out.
This picture is of the death certificate of Johannis Giefer, the common ancestor of every one of these hundreds of Giefers in this book. He was born around 1720, and its thanks to this book I can trace 10 generations to myself, Sarah Elizabeth Giefer, born 1993. This is my page.
While all these pictures in this video are of my Grandpa's personal copy of the book, the book of the history of the Giefer family is actually now available for Giefers and non-Giefers alike to read anytime thanks to the Minnesota Historical Society, who have a copy of it for anyone interested in my sprawling family tree.