Next meeting: Friday, April 6, 2018, 1-3 pm.

Topic: A travelogue through ancestral German homelands, with a little side trip into World War II France.  Join Jon and Marilyn Schunke as they travel through Germany discovering the origins of Jon Schunke’s paternal immigrant ancestors – Schunke in Sachen-Anhalt, and Himmelsbach and Stumpf in Bavaria. Along the way, you’ll see how using information at home led them to the correct research facilities in Germany to search for birth records and land locations.

Their study of maps, current and historical, was critical in finding the right locations…and oh the benefits of visiting the local Landeshaupt. Is it Bobbe and Wulfen or Bobbau and Wolfin? It makes a difference of 25 miles.

Discover why you should “like” Facebook pages and join Facebook groups. This led to learning about the recent discovery of the German origins of Jon’s maternal “Volga German” or “Germans from Russia” ancestors. The Conrad and Anna Margaretha “Reuswig” family emigrated to Norka, Russia, on the Volga River in 1766. See a “Pleve Chart” which shows their descendants down to the three generations of their “Reispich” descendants who immigrated to America in 1878. Jon’s “Reisbick” grandparents migrated to Portland, Oregon, by 1901. Prime example of why you can’t say spellings of names don’t change over time.

And finally, they’ll take a look at Marilyn’s most recent ancestor, her father, who landed on Omaha Beach 13 days after D-Day. They’ll journey through Normandy and along the Brittany coast. While retracing her dad’s footsteps, they discovered firsthand how the French have not forgotten the American servicemen.

Presenter: Marilyn A. Schunke has been researching her family for 20 years. She is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Genealogy and Family History Certificate Program. She is currently a member of the New York Genealogical Society, Washington State Genealogical Society, Eastside Genealogical Society, as well as South King County Genealogical Society (SKCGS). She has supported genealogy education in Puget Sound as Education Coordinator at Heritage Quest Research Library for several years and presenter of a Microsoft Windows 10 class. Marilyn is currently serving on the SKCGS Board as circulating librarian.

Come at 12:45pm and network with fellow GIG members.  Visitors are always welcome.

Time & Location: GIG holds their meetings on the first Friday of each month, except July, August & December from 1 to 3 pm in the Relief Society Room of the LDS Church at 10675 NE 20th St, Bellevue, WA 98004. That room is located just to the left of the main Church.

For more information, send us an email at or use the Contact tab on this webpage.

Past Meetings

The German Interest Group strives to bring topics of interest to members at its meetings. Below are current year and links to previous years’ topics.

Meeting Date Topic Presenter
Mar 2018 The Updated Windmill Story Ken Passé
Feb 2018 A Website Used by German Genealogists Dorothy Pretare
Jan 2018 Using US Records to Search for an Immigrant Ancestor’s Village Dorothy Pretare, Melanie Matway, Janet O’Conor Camarata
Nov 2017 Applying for German Naturalization Carol Shafer
Oct 2017 German Village 1500-1850: Marriage, Religion & Inheritance Janet O’Connor Camarata
Sept 2017 What I Wish I Had Known…before I started researching my ancestors Janet O’Connor Camarata

Sep 2016-Jun 2017
Sep 2015-Jun 2016
Mar 2007 – Jun 2015