Premium Member of the Week: Donna Jones

Hi Donna! Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us today. Can you tell us how long you’ve been doing German genealogy and what got you started?

I’ve been doing German genealogy for at least 25 years. My dad had given me a handwritten pedigree chart that his aunt had created. His mother and her family had emigrated from Canada to Cleveland, Ohio. This was before the internet and I went to the state archive to see if I could find any information.

I was shocked to learn my ancestors were Loyalists in the Revolutionary War. They were mostly German from the Palatinate area and I had nine 6th great grandfathers that were in the war. They were from the Mohawk Valley, New York.

On my dad’s paternal side, all I knew was they said they were from Bavaria in the 1880 census. Thanks to some kind, generous people in the Genealogy Bavaria Facebook group, I learned my 2nd great grandfather was from Marktheidenfeld, Germany. Oh, but his wife was more elusive. I eventually found her in Rostock, Mecklenbur-Vorpommern, Germany.

Wow, Loyalists in the Revolutionary War! That’s definitely an interesting family story. Any other favorite family stories that you have?
Yes! One day I received an email through Ancestry from someone asking how I was related to my 2nd great uncle, Albert Brod. I had never received any inquiries on the Brod’s and was quite excited. As it turned out, this person’s 2nd great aunt Viola Stoll had married Albert. It was through this couple that we connected and have collaborated on helping each with our research. I like to think that they would be happy that we have connected.
I bet they would be. That’s great that you’ve been able to help each other with your research. Speaking of research, what’s your favorite genealogy website that you like to use?
I have found that you have to use multiple sites since there is different indexing, search engines, and collections.  I mainly use but also

You can’t go wrong there! Speaking of tips, what would be your #1 genealogy tip you’d share with others?

At first my goal was to go back as far as I could. Now I am slowly going back and looking at my tree and finding mistakes. There are people I had added without sources. My research tip is to periodically review your tree since more collections may have been added. When researching a person, using a timeline and research log will greatly help improve the quality of your work.

That’s a great tip – and definitely very important. Finally, what is one way in which the Premium membership has helped your research?

The premium articles have been extremely helpful. The June 2020 article on occupations included the website Genwiki Berufsbezeichnung. I knew my Brod ancestors were Schiffers on the Main River back to the early 1600’s. This website said that a Schiffer was boatmen.  What was so exciting was there was a picture from a book from 1567 of a Schiffer:

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Donna!

Check out our other Premium Member Highlights and their fascinating genealogy stories. And be sure to give them a comment if what they have to share has helped you, or if you like their family stories!

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