Caroline Gries from Denver, Colorado has long wanted to visit her ancestral villages in Germany, where her Jewish forefathers lived before emigrating to the United States in the 1840s. That trip was made possible in April, 2017 by European Focus. Caroline visited more than a dozen villages connected with her extensive family tree. The first village we visited was Niedernberg, on the banks of the Main River near Aschaffenburg. A local historian was standing by to help Caroline appreciate the history and locations connected with her ancestors.
The “wows” of this trip started when we had lunch at the local Gasthaus prior to meeting the local historian. James noticed old photos hanging on the walls, and he photographed them. It turned out that one of the houses shown in a photo was of an ancestor’s house, torn down during a road widening project in the 1960s.
Photographs show Caroline being shown the sights by a local historian, Albert Wagner. Caroline had a journal written by her great-grandfather in which he details his visit to the village while on the way to Strasbourg, France in the late 1800s. He wrote about having beer at a Gasthaus. We found that Gasthaus and Caroline posed for a photo at the door where perhaps her ancestor had walked more than 100 years ago.
Without the help of local experts our trips would not be a success. We work hard at this, and it’s one of the main reasons why a trip with European Focus is a smart investment. Too many genealogists just drive into a town and expect everyone to speak English and for all doors to suddenly be opened. This is not the case. We eliminate the unknowns and make your time productive and enjoyable.