Families in Beckedorf
GEDCOM Database

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Last updated: January 14, 2009
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About the Database and "Families in Beckedorf"
by Wesley Johnston

This web site provides downloadable copies of the files (the list, the GEDCOM version, and the auxiliary files for creating the list and the GEDCOM database) of as much of the in-progress "Families in Beckedorf" records that I have assembled from Karen Rowe's databases behind her indices of the Beckedorf, Germany St. Godehardi Church records at her marvelous KarensGen web site. [Karen and I are both descended from ancestors in this area of Germany.] Karen writes: "my Beckedorf family studies and documentations were with the help of now deceased Wolfgang Wilkening (Berlin, Germany). He died a few years ago. His ancestor was Wilhelm Wilkening (1870-1943) and wife Justine Dolle, son of Christian Wilhelm Wilkening from Beckedorf (1837-1885). Wolfgang provided me with transcriptions of most of the records I sent you, I just put them in database form, we corresponded for years about the Beckedorf families."

The model for the "Families in Beckedorf" structure is Kurt Hitzeman's "Families in Probsthagen" and later "Families in Lindhorst". I have put the Probsthagen list into a GEDCOM database and am in progress on the many-year task of putting the Lindhorst list into a GEDCOM database. (See my separate web pages on each of these in the links list at the bottom of this page.)

This web page is an interim web page. I am looking for the right place for it to be included in an on-going web site. I had hoped that Karen Rowe would include it in her astounding Karen's Gen website, but she has told me that she too is looking for someone to inherit her web site since she is no longer able to maintain it. So my search continues.

Contents of this Web Page

Creation of the List and Database

I began the process by downloading all of Karen Rowe's index entries from the web pages into Excel spreadsheets, one spreadsheet for each record type -- Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, and Burials. I even wrote Visual Basic programs to convert the Baptisms and Confirmations spreadsheet entries into GEDCOM records. However, I then realized that the indices lacked critical information. So I asked Karen about it, and she sent me her Microsoft Works databases from which she created her indices.

At this writing, I have received all of Karen's databases and an associated spreadsheet. However 12 straight days without sun set me back a bunch, so that I am still trying to catch up enough to resume work on this project.

Before the stamina setback, I had just begun to examine Karen's Works databases, in order to figure out how to deal with standardizing them. For example, the burial information is contained in at least four databases, each of which has a different format. Each of her Works databases covers a different period of years, with some overlap where some entries are contained in two different databases. And I realized that there is also page information (the page numbers in the original church books) in the online index that is not in the corresponding database. So I have a fair amount of work just to consolidate the different databases into a single file before even beginning the work of converting them to GEDCOM records. And all of that will precede the beginning of my work on assembling the linkages of the people in the records to their own other types of records and to the other people who were in their family. So there is a great deal of work ahead.

My main priority in this German family history work is to continue my "Families in Lindhorst" GEDCOM database creation: do one Lindhorst family each day. That is, I want to input one family from Kurt Hitzeman's "Families in Lindhorst" list into the Lindhorst database every day. So, after the initial GEDCOM generation and other set-up work, the Beckedorf work will be a lower priority for me than the Lindhorst work. And during my stronger months (April-September), my World War II work will have the highest priority. So the Beckedorf work will proceed slowly. I will post occasional updates and latest versions of the files here.

Things to Keep in Mind
  1. It is very important to keep in mind that there was no such thing as the standard spelling of names in most of the years covered by these records.
    • Thus someone whose name is spelled Margrete Hardekopfs in one record might be shown as Margretha Harkop in another record. I have tried to enter all alternate names.
    • Some are even more complicated. For example, Molner and Wolter both descend from the same paternal ancestor (in the Probsthagen database), as do Bekemyer and Widdel (in the Lindhorst database).
    • Place names also had varied spellings, such as Bekedorf and Beckedorf. In addition the German u-umlaut (ü) can also be written as "ue", which is how I have carried the Luedersfeld entries (which could also have been written as "Lüdersfeld").

  2. While the records on which this is all based are the church records of Beckedorf, the people included in the record lived in towns all around Beckedorf -- towns that did not have their own church or towns (such as Lindhorst and Probsthagen) that did have their own church but for some reason (e.g. a marriage in which one of the people came from the other town) they chose to have the event at the church in Beckedorf. So do NOT assume that because the person is in these records that they must have lived in Beckedorf; that is a wrong assumption for many of the people.

  3. Do look at the NOTES information if there is any. It gives background information that clarifies decisions that were made about individuals and families. It also includes references to where in the indices the information was found.

  4. Recognize typical variants of the same names.
    • Johan / Johann -- But Johan and Hans were not interchangable.
    • Herman / Herm / Harm / Harmen
    • Cord / Cordt / Conrad
    • Gerdt / Gerke / Gerck

How to Use the Database and Auxiliary Files

The -- still incomplete -- database is in a GEDCOM file. You must first download the GEDCOM file to your computer and then use your genealogical software to import the file. If you do not have genealogical software, the Standard Version of the Legacy Family Tree product is an excellent tool, which is freely downloadable at http://www.legacyfamilytree.com.

Some import problems have been reported, and so far all of these have been due to control options that can be set on your genealogical software. Here are the problems reported so far:

  1. Import generated double dates for dates prior to the calendar change
    The GEDCOM file does NOT use double dates. Check your genealogical software's customizable preferences to turn off double-dating of dates prior to the calendar change.
  2. Import did not import CAL (calculated) dates
    The GEDCOM file contains many calculated dates, such as "Cal 1659". For example, a marriage or death record may contain the age of a person, so that the person's birth year can be calculated. Use of "Cal" makes it clear that this date did not appear in the original record and also that it is not merely an approximation. Some genealogical software offers an import control option to import all dates as they appear in the GEDCOM file; use that option if it exists in your software. If the option does not exist, sometimes there is an option to handle dates or other information that the software can not handle by placing the information into a note or an event record for that person.
    You can quickly check to see if the import retained the CAL dates. Ludeke Hidsemann (RIN #15) should have birthdate of "Cal 1625".

There will be auxiliary files to help with use of the database. But these have not yet been created.

Until I have finished the database, I will not have an "Index of MRINs and family IDs".
The family IDs that I created were stored in the user ID field within Legacy Family Tree's screen of the marriage record. All GEDCOM-based databases rely on a unique identifier to keep track of each family; this identifier is called the MRIN (Marriage Record Identifier Number) and is NOT the same as Kurt's family ID number. All genealogical software will display the MRINs, but most genealogical software does not provide an easy way to view and go to Marriage User IDs (which I call MUIDs). So I have created an index of MRINs and MUIDs, in order to find a family from the "Families in Probsthagen" list in the Probsthagen database by family ID number.

Now that you have read all of the above and know what this is all about, here are the links to the GEDCOM file and the auxiliary files:

  • GEDCOM file: SAVE it to your PC and import it with your genealogical software.
    (If you click OPEN, you will see what the GEDCOM file looks like, but it is a big file that will take a long time to open, and it is not particularly interesting.)
    • Version 1: This version simply has the generated baptismal entries. There are no linkages of any kind -- neither to other records (confirmations, marriages, burials -- none of which are yet in the database) of the same person nor of a person to another person.
  • ...

Related Links

There are some excellent web sites on the family history of the area around Beckedorf.

Copyright © 2009 by Wesley Johnston.
All rights reserved for this page.
However, the contents of all of the linked files
(the GEDCOM file and the auxiliary files)
are placed in the public domain for free use.

Click here for information about contacting me.