Thursday, February 24, 2011


Someone please help me figure out what the hell Icedoth is.

The underlying goal of my research is to find where in Germany my family originally came from and to go back and visit that town. So naturally when I found that “Icedoth, Ger” was listed as my great-great-great grandfather's country of birth in the 1920 census, I became super-excited thinking I had already accomplished what I set out to do. I was wrong.

I do not know what Icedoth is supposed to be, but I'm starting to believe it's a cruel joke planted by either my ancestors or the 1920 census taker (or maybe both) that's playing out 90 years later. Through me.

I have searched countless sites through Google, Cyndi's List, and other genealogy blogs. I even found Kartenmeister, a nifty site that has a searchable list of old Germanic towns with a spell guesser that's supposed to help German language lightweights such as myself. Even with all those resources and references at hand I still can't find diddly squat that even comes close.

Now I'm not sure what you see when you read the picture above, but I see Icedoth and apparently I'm wrong. I even tried searching for alternative spellings (Iceduth, Iceduth, Fceduth, etc.) and have the scratch pad I scribbled all this gibberish on to prove it. This doesn't mean there aren't other ways to source my family's origins – it just means it will take that much more digging and ponying up cash for NYC record requests.

I've come to find in a very short amount of time that misspellings are such a pain in the butt when it comes to genealogical research and have been a hindrance to my research on more than one occasion. I recently received my great-grandfather's birth certificate from 1894 where they decided to spell the last name “Kahler.” I was able to confirm it was him through his mother's last name and through cross-referencing other documents but his birth certificate also uncovered an additional odd factoid. Apparently my great-great grandmother's name, despite being Mary Zugner on some documents I have in my possession, is also Lena Zugner. What a shock it was to me that after finding this out and plugging the info into, I was able to find an enormous wealth of hits on my family that I wasn't able to find before. And I'm talking big finds, like birth dates and anniversaries.

For anyone that's starting out and having a terrible time locating any information on their ancestors, my best advice is to just stick it out and keep digging. If the information isn't coming up with what you're searching on, try alternative spellings of names where you can. As I found out, it can literally mean the difference between wasting your time and finding gold.

Except, of course, if your family is from Icedoth. Then you're SOL.


  1. The last letter could be an A?
    First two - maybe Go? or Fo? The little thing before the c could be an o...

  2. Great post. I have no idea what that word is..Sorry!


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