The original purpose of German Roots was to link to the most informative resources for doing German genealogy research with a focus on Americans of German descent. These resources were divided into searchable topics. The original site was basically a collection of my own personal bookmarks, which were becoming quite a mess. So I organized them the way I wanted on my own mini website. In October 1998 I decided to share this site with the online genealogy community and uploaded it at Worldnet. This was sometimes known as the "wee-monster" genealogy website because of the URL. Monster was the name of my dog at the time. In 2010 the website was moved to this location at www.germanroots.com.
I soon began to add my own research ideas and tips to the site, which now consists of more than 100 pages of material. Many general resources have also been added. The site may be helpful for finding passenger lists, vital records, census material, and naturalization records.
One of the most popular pages on the site is Finding Passenger Lists 1820 to the 1940s, which is a resource guide for finding ship passenger lists for US arrivals. It includes information about online indexes, microfilmed indexes, and book resources. Separate webpages were later added for Passenger Records before 1820 and a directory of Online Passenger Lists and Records.
Since first joining the Internet community I have been doing an online search for my missing grandfather, Anthony Nelke. Assuming he had passed away, I began searching online death indexes, and collected the ones I had searched on a list offline. I decided to make this list into a webpage and it was added to the German Roots site in November 2000. It quickly became the most popular page on the site. That webpage was later expanded into a much larger website at: Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records.
Aside from maintaining this website, I have worked as a professional genealogy researcher. I have helped several clients find their ancestors. I also occasionally help out at online genealogy newsgroups and mailing lists. I use this website as my own research assistant. I also write fiction and I published my second book, Exchanging Van Goghs, a novella, in June 2016. Visit the Swan Light Stories Website for information about the book.
-Joe Beine, September 2001