Still Making Wicker Baskets in Neupotz

Karl Heid will turn 80 in a couple of months but he’s still busy making wicker baskets the “old-fashioned” way in the village where he was born along the Rhein River. His hometown of Neupotz has a history dating back to pre-Roman times. Surrounded by the serpentine “Old Rhein,” the village has maintained an uneasy […]

A Visit to Stetten Part II

No visit to a German small town is complete without being invited over to someone’s house for “Kaffee und Kuchen,” or in this case, “Zweite Fruhstueck.” (Second Breakfast) When we met Frau Probst out on the Steigstrasse, she said “come back to my house after you see the church and you can join us for […]

A Visit to Stetten, Rheinland-Pfalz Part I

Just getting to the right Stetten for genealogist Virginia Packwood was a challenge. There are more than 20 villages in Germany with the name of “Stetten,” and finding the correct one related to her Merkel ancestry took some time and work, not to mention a couple of decades when she and her husband Bill were […]

Falkenstein on Donnersberg

Every family historian should have a castle or two in their genealogy. Virginia (Gini) Packwood now has one, and it’s the former “Reichenburg” fortress located in the hamlet of Falkenstein, located in a high valley on the Donnersberg, Rheinland-Pfalz. We drove there on the 27th on a narrow road which was being worked on and […]

Weitersweiler Secrets Revealed, Why Bury Our Dead In Dreisen?

Gini and Bill Packwood had a question for the mayor of Standenbuehl when we sat down with him in his dining room one sunny day recently. It’s sort of an odd question, but it would make perfect sense to a family historian. “Mr. Mayor. Our ancestors lived in Standenbuehl. They went to church in Weitersweiler, […]

Genealogy Success in Standenbuehl and Roland Geiger Does it Again

Thanks to genealogy research Roland Geiger, who is headquartered in the lovely town of St. Wendel, Saarland, Bill and Gini Packwood were able to break through one of their “Brick Walls” in genealogy and find the origin of their emigrant ancestor, Johann Merkel, of Standenbuehl and later, Stetten in Donnersbergkreis near Kirchheimbolanden, Germany. We also […]

Another Postcard from Brugge

This is such a gorgeous city, it’s difficult not to just fill up our entire blog with shots. Here’s one of the most photographed corners in the city, with the belfry in the background.

A Moving Visit to Ieper, Belgium

We spent half a day touring around the region of Ieper, Belgium the other day and it was quite and experience. WWI battlefields nearby still bear the scars of the turbulent months near the end of the war when thousands of men died in the Flanders Fields. Especially poignant is the fact that many thousands […]