Katherine Schober, Owner
With more than a decade of experience professionally translating German to English, Katherine loves helping clients discover the fascinating lives of their German ancestors. Deciphering the old handwriting and finding the perfect words to unlock the secrets of family letters, diaries, and records – as well as teaching people how to do this themselves – is a true passion.
A native of St. Louis, Katherine earned her Master’s degree in the German language through Bowling Green State University/University of Salzburg. After several years of living in Salzburg, she moved back to the States with her Austrian husband. She then founded SK Translations: German-English Genealogy Translations, which eventually became Germanology Unlocked.
Today, Katherine is a well-known German genealogy speaker, author, and translator specializing in the old German handwriting. She is the author of The Magic of German Church Records and Tips and Tricks of Deciphering German Handwriting, as well as the creator of the online courses Reading the Old German Handwriting and German for Genealogists. Katherine lives in Bend, Oregon with her Austrian husband and their one-year-old son – who is learning both German and English himself!
Favorite Project: Baby Book from 1921, documenting the day to day life of the new baby and his parents in Germany
Amy Paraskevas, Executive Assistant
Amy has been with Germanology Unlocked since 2019. She helps Katherine and the team with client communication, project quotes, workflow management, and more! Although she doesn't speak the language, she has come to appreciate all things German. In addition to her work with Germanology Unlocked, Amy works as a director of a consulting group that helps large national charities manage their beneficial interests in trusts. She lives in beautiful New England with her husband and their cat.
Ginny Lewis, Transcription-Translation Team
Dr. Virginia L. “Ginny” Lewis received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in German literature from the University of Pennsylvania. As a recipient of the German Academic Exchange Service fellowship, she spent the academic year 1987-1988 working on her doctoral thesis at the Universität Hamburg. A German professor who has written many scholarly publications over the past three decades, Dr. Lewis has also been active as a translator since 1988, working not only in German, but in French and Hungarian as well, among other languages.
Her interest in hand-written documents was piqued during her tenure as a professor in South Dakota, which is home to a large population of Germans-from-Russia. She designed and implemented a certificate program in Germans-from-Russia Studies and is a prolific translator of handwritten journals, letters, legal documents, articles, and genealogical records from German, French, and Hungarian. She has published several literary translations from both German and Hungarian into English and recently published a book on one of the authors she translates, Hungary’s famed twentieth-century novelist, Zsigmond Móricz.
Favorite Project: A 600-page handwritten journal, complete with watercolor images, photographs, and memorabilia, on an illustrator’s life in his prior homeland of Germany from ca. 1930-1950
Charlotte Champenois, Transcription-Translation Team
Charlotte Noelle Champenois, a native of Denmark and a long-time resident of Utah, is an Accredited Genealogist® in Germany Northwest, Denmark, Sweden, and Austria and has a BA in Family History–Genealogy and German Studies (with minors in Editing and Scandinavian Studies) from Brigham Young University. Having previously lived in Germany for two years, she later spent three months in Austria, researching families in repositories in and near Vienna and online to document family trees back to the 1600s. She has presented at IGGC, SGGS, FGS, NGS, RootsTech, SDGS GIG, FEEFHS, and the FamilySearch Library.
Charlotte works as a German and Nordic Research Specialist at the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is also an Associate Records Analyst for the German Immigrants in American Church Records (GIACR) project (extracting information from church records written in the old German script and determining the standard spellings of listed German birth towns), has been a transcription and translation assistant for Germanology Unlocked since January 2021, and is a freelance genealogist and translator. Charlotte has co-published a book and two articles and has collaborated on twelve GIACR volumes. She is a native Danish speaker and an advanced German paleographer, and she regularly works with records in German and Danish; she also periodically works with genealogical records in Latin, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, and French.
Favorite Project: The Danish 1878 adoption file of my maternal great-great-grandparents’ previously unknown adoptive daughter (who died as an infant), which my mother and I accessed in the Danish National Archives reading room, along with the adoptive father’s daily log mentioning her birth and death
Marisa Irwin, Transcription and Translation Team
Marisa Irwin is a German and Russian to English translator based in Milwaukee, WI. She received her MA in German and Russian to English Translation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition, she has a BA in German, Russian, and history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been learning German since the age of four and has lived and worked abroad in Germany, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Marisa loves getting to play “history detective” and bridging the gap between the past and the present through historical translations.
Favorite Project: A series of postcards from a frontline soldier in WWI to his family back home
Andrea Menz, Transcription and Translation Team
Andrea L. Menz holds M.A. degrees in Translation (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and German and a Ph.D. in Germanic Linguistics (University of Wisconsin-Madison). She is also certified by the American Translators Association for German to English. She completed a translation internship at the Oregon Historical Society in 2018-2019, where she worked with 19th century German letters and documents relating to attempts to introduce German songbirds to Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Andrea has lived in many parts of the US and Europe (including Finland and Germany) over the years, but she now resides near Portland, OR, where she has worked full-time as a freelance German to English translator since 2019. Although she works with many different kinds of texts, historical and genealogical letters and other documents are her favorite because of the personal snapshot they provide of a different time and place.
Favorite Project: A pair of bar mitzvah speeches from a father and son in 1872 and 1905
Nastassja Myer, Transcription and Translation Team
Nastassja “Stassi” Myer is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s translation program who specializes in 19th- and 20th-century documents. She has previously worked on WW2-era hospital records, WW2-era letters from the Eastern Front, and late-19th-century family letters within Milwaukee’s Pabst family. With a lifelong interest in history and genealogy, she uses her knowledge of German language and old German script to rediscover the past through family letters, church documents, and more. Stassi is based in the Bay Area in California.
Favorite Project: An 1880s letter from a young German girl to her relatives in America, asking for a golden watch
Anne Merrell, Social Media Manager
Anne Merrell graduated from BYU with a degree in Family History and Genealogy. After working as a professional genealogist for 5 years, she shifted her focus to social media and email marketing for genealogical societies and genealogy professionals. She loves helping people find their ancestors and connect with their heritage through both traditional genealogy research and building online family history communities..