Frequently asked questions

How can I find someone on the website?
Who is eligible to be included on the website?
Who can access the information on the website?
What are the policies for registering for an account on the website?
How can I contribute facts to the website?
How can I contribute photos to the website?
What are the guidelines for data entry?
What help is available?

How can I find someone on the website?

There are several ways to find a person or family in the Saxon Lutherans Genealogy tree, or to discover that they are not currently in the tree.


One way is to search for the name is by using the Search button (shaped like a magnifying glass).  If more than one person meets your search criteria, you will be presented with a list that you may select from.  Select the one you want and you will be taken to their individual page or to the family page, if you searched for a family.


The List button in the middle of the menu bar allows you to produce a list of all individuals or all families in the tree.  First you are presented with an alphabet from which you select the first letter of the surname.  From the next list, select the surname you are interested in.  From the following list, select the person or family and you will be taken to the appropriate page in the tree.


If you do not find the name you are looking for, try the Phonetic search from the drop down menu of the Search button.  The name might be spelled differently in the tree than you expect.


If you do not find the person you are interested in, and they ought to be in the Saxon Lutherans tree, please consider contributing what you know about this individual or family.  (See other FAQs for how to contribute.)  We want the tree to grow and need your participation.

Who is eligible to be included on the website?

In early 1839 a group of German-Lutheran immigrants, led by Pastor Martin Stephan and several other Lutheran pastors, established settlements in East Perry County, Missouri.  Following shortly thereafter, additional settlers came from New York and another group led by Pastor C. F. Gruber arrived from Germany.  The immigration story, colloquially known as the “Saxon Immigration,” has been documented by Walter O. Forster in the book Zion on the Mississippi. (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Missouri, 1953.)  Appendices of this book contain lists of the names of the immigrants.  Seven settlements were established at Altenburg, Dresden, Frohna, Johannisberg (in Cape Girardeau County), Paitzdorf (now Uniontown), Seelitz, and Wittenberg.


The focus of this website is on the settlers of these communities for the years circa 1839 to circa 1880.  The settlers need not be German or Lutheran, but they must have a genealogical connection to the German-Lutheran immigration to the region in that time period.  Members of other communities established in Perry County during this time frame are also eligible if they have a genealogical connection to the core group.  Ancestors and descendants of the settlers will be included on the website.  The privacy of living descendants will be respected and access to their personal information controlled.  Ancestors of spouses of settlers, beyond one generation, are outside the scope unless they also meet the criteria for inclusion.  Families from the 1839 immigration who remained in St. Louis are outside the scope of this website.

Who can access the information on the website?

Visitors to the website are able to view the data for deceased people only.  We take very seriously the importance of protecting data related to living people in the genealogy tree.  Visitors cannot access any data on living people, including their names.  They also cannot add or change any data.


Visitors to the website may request a free account if they have new information to contribute for someone in the Saxon Lutherans Genealogy tree or someone who should be in the tree.  Those who have accounts on the website are allowed to also access data for living people who are close relatives.   Please see the FAQ about membership policies for more information about registering and becoming a contributor.


No one who uses the website is authorized to use information found here for commercial purposes.

What are the policies for registering for an account on the website?

The purpose of providing accounts on the website is to allow others to contribute new data to the Saxon Lutherans Genealogy tree.  In order to obtain an account you must meet the following criteria and complete the registration form.  


  1. You must be related to someone who is in the Saxon Lutherans tree or to someone who should be in the tree (see the FAQ on who is eligible).  
  1. You must pledge to protect the privacy of the data of all living people on the website.
  1. At a minimum, you agree to provide information about yourself and your immediate family for inclusion in the tree.


The benefits of obtaining an account include affiliation with the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum and receipt of their newsletter.  Two types of accounts are available:  member and editor.


As a member you receive a username and password and a login page on the website from which you may customize certain features of your account.  It is your responsibility to protect your password and not to share it with others.  You have the privilege of viewing information about close living relatives.  You also obtain access to a variety of genealogical reports that can be printed from the website. 


As an editor you receive the same benefits as a member plus the capability to add or change information in the tree.  To maintain consistency, changes to the Saxon Lutherans tree are subject to approval by the administrator before they appear.


The creation of accounts is a manual process and may sometimes take a few days.  You will receive an email from the administrator when your account is ready.

How can I contribute facts to the website?

There are several ways in which you can contribute, depending of the format of the information that you possess.


If you have already entered your genealogy into a genealogy program, you can export the information from the program in the format of a GEDCOM file.  This file may be sent to the website administrator via email or other electronic media.  The file will be processed through some consistency checks and then merged into the Saxon Lutherans Genealogy tree on the website by the administrator.  This is the easiest way to provide large amounts of information.


If your information is not in a genealogy program but is available in some other structured electronic format such as a word processing file, we can usually incorporate it into the tree without re-keying it.  Software has been developed for parsing files and converting the information into the GEDCOM format.  The resulting GEDCOM will then be processed as explained above.


If your information is in the form of typed notes or is in a printed book that can be scanned and converted to text, it can also hopefully be parsed and converted to the GEDCOM format for incorporation into the website.  Information from books will have to first be free of copyright restrictions.  You may be asked to sign a form indicating that you own the copyright and have given permission to digitize the work for use on the website.


If your information consists of handwritten notes, it will have to be entered through the user interface to the webtrees software on the website.  Contributors will be given the rudiments of a separate family tree to which they can add their information.  When they are “finished,” the administrator will merge the new tree into the existing Saxon Lutherans tree on the website.


If you are viewing the website and find an error, you may email the correct information to the administrator who will make the correction.


Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to participate, so if none of the above scenarios describes your situation, please contact the website administrator and we will try to accommodate you.

How can I contribute photos to the website?

Photos add interest to the website, and we would like to include them where possible.  However we must balance this desire with issues of resolution and storage space.  High resolution images are not necessary for onscreen viewing, and they take a long time to render on a slow internet connection as well as wasting storage space unnecessarily.


Professional photographs may be subject to copyright restrictions, depending upon when they were taken.  This may prevent us from using certain photos, or you may be asked to sign a form giving us permission to digitize photos for which you own the copyright.


In general, we would like to include photos of major events in the person’s or family’s life.  We cannot include large family albums, although we may be able to link to your online albums if you wish. 


If possible please submit images with a size of < 200 KB via email to the website administrator.  If you do not have digital images or a scanner, please contact the administrator to make other arrangements.


The website administrator reserves the right to accept, reject, and edit all images that are submitted.

What are the guidelines for data entry?

A new person is added as the parent, child, sibling, or spouse of someone who is already in the Saxon Lutherans Genealogy tree.  Navigate to the person that you want to create a relative for, select the Families tab on their page, and within the family select the type of relationship you want to add.  Fill in the dialog box that pops up, using the “?” icon as necessary to obtain definitions of fields.  Fill in what you know; all fields do not have to be completed.  Try to include all children born to a family, even those who died at birth.


The basic events in the typical person’s life are birth, marriage, death, and burial.  Try to provide dates and places for these events whenever possible.  Baptism and confirmation events are also important to Lutherans.  To add a new event for an existing person, navigate to the person, select the Facts and Events tab, select the fact that you want to add from the drop down list, and select Add.  Fill in the dialog box that pops up; all fields do not have to be completed.  Use the edit button (shaped like a pen) to open the dialog box for an existing fact that you want to change.


There are also facts and events that are associated with families rather than individuals, one example being a divorce.  You can access these by selecting the Families tab for a person, within the family select View Family, and within the Family Group Information that is displayed, you may add a new fact.


Please report facts and relationships objectively.  It is a disservice to other family members and genealogists to alter the truth about someone who does not meet your own social standards.  Remember that the impact of your family on society is determined by the positive contributions of its many ordinary and illustrious members, and not by a few so-called “black sheep.”


The user interface provided by webtrees is pretty self-explanatory, especially if you use the context-sensitive help provided by the “?” icon.  Fields that are highlighted in yellow have the auto-complete feature.  As you begin typing, suggestions from elsewhere in the tree will be presented for you to select if appropriate.  A few additional guidelines are provided here in order to maintain consistency across the genealogy tree.


  1. Names
  • Surnames should not be entered in all capital letters or enclosed within slashes (/).
  • Enter the maiden name of a married woman as her surname.
  • If you wish to include a nickname for a person, use the nickname field on the dialog box.  The nickname will be displayed in the Name field enclosed within double quotes (“).
  • Placing an asterisk (*) immediately after a name will cause that name to be displayed underlined.  This can be used to indicate that a person was known by a name other than their first given name.
  • It is possible to create a person with an unknown name, although it should be rare that neither the given name nor the surname is known.  The unknown portion of the name will be displayed as an ellipsis (…).


  1. Dates

The context-sensitive help (“?” icon) for dates is comprehensive.  Refer to it to see how to enter approximate dates or date ranges when you don’t know an exact date for an event.


  1. Places

The Google Maps module is integrated into the webtrees software, which means that the location of an event can be displayed on a map.  In order to utilize this feature, places must be entered into the tree in the format expected by the mapping module.  It is not an error to use a different format, but we strongly encourage that the standard format be used.  The standard format for a place is: city, county, state, country.  Here are some typical examples:

  • Altenburg, Perry County, Missouri, USA
  • Altenburg, Perry, Missouri, USA    (use of the word County is optional)
  • Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Altenburg, Perry County, Missouri, USA   (the city may be preceded by a more specific location, but only the location of the city will be mapped)
  • Missouri, USA  (unknown city and county)

States are not abbreviated.  Use USA for the United States of America.  For other countries, write out the country name, i.e. Germany, Canada, etc., rather than using the country abbreviation.


Data entry for Places is greatly facilitated by using the auto-complete feature.  As you begin typing the place, you are presented with a list of possibilities that match what you are typing.  Select the entry that meets your needs.  Using auto-complete saves time and helps eliminate misspellings.  Most places in the USA should already be in the list.  This is less true for other countries, but more of these places will be added as needed.  You may view the entire list of places in the Saxon Lutherans tree by selecting Place Hierarchy from the drop down menu of the List button in the menu bar.  (Note that the place elements are listed in the reverse order of how you type them.)


St. Louis is an interesting special case because it is an “independent” city, i.e. it is not a part of St. Louis County or any other county.  Both St. Louis (meaning city) and St. Louis County appear in the list.  Choose the city entry if the event happened in the city; choose the county entry if the event happened in some unknown suburb.  Other independent cities exist and are treated similarly.


Submitters of GEDCOM files with place locations that do not include the county or country names for USA places need not go back and insert these in their files.  I have developed software that automatically looks up counties and inserts them into the GEDCOM that will be merged into the Saxon Lutherans tree.


  1. Sources

A source is the original record from where information was obtained.  Examples are a book, a church record, a letter, an online database, a photo, etc.  A source citation is the location within a source where the information was found, such as a page number or the URL of an online page.


It is important to document your sources because they can allow someone to go back to the original record if later information conflicts with what currently appears in the genealogy tree.  Sources should be entered for every person and family in the Saxon Lutherans tree, and for the individual events when possible.


A source for a person can be added by selecting the Sources tab on their individual page and then selecting “Add a new source citation.”  In the dialog box that pops up, the Source field is used to enter a reference number for the source.  If the source record you need already appears in the Saxon Lutherans tree, and many frequently used sources do, you can find its ID using the “find source” button (shaped like a book) next to the field. 


If your source is not in the list, add it using the “create source” button (shaped like a book with “+”).  This opens another dialog box with additional fields to fill in.  When creating a new source, the Title field is the only required field.  The Author and Publication fields should also be filled in when the source is a book.  Create the new source and close this window.


Once the source field on the source citation dialog box has been filled with a Source ID, you can proceed to add Citation Details such as a page number within the source.  In some cases there are no additional citation details and the Source ID is sufficient.


The source citation dialog box just described is accessible from all dialog boxes in the user interface where providing a source for the information being entered would be beneficial.  Add sources to families via the Family Group Information dialog box.  Add sources to events via the dialog box for the event.


  1. Notes

Notes are a way of providing additional details about a person, family, or event that are not otherwise captured through the user interface.  Type the desired text into the dialog box; there is no specific format.  Some examples include a birth note that states that the person is a twin, a death note that lists survivors, or a name note stating that the person has no middle name.


  1. Age

There is no context-sensitive help (“?” icon) for the Age field.  The GEDCOM standard permits several special entries in addition to simply entering years, months, and/or days.

  • The symbol “>” followed by an age means greater than the indicated age.
  • The symbol “<” followed by an age means less than the indicated age.
  • The entry “CHILD” may be used for an age less than 8 years.
  • The entry “INFANT” means an age less than 1 year.
  • The entry “STILLBORN” means died just prior, at, or near birth, 0 years.


Modifications to the Saxon Lutherans Genealogy tree are not immediately included on the website.  They must first be examined and accepted by the website administrator who is notified by email when changes are pending.  We endeavor to approve changes as quickly as possible, and will contact you if there will be a delay of more than a few days.

What help is available?

Context-sensitive help (“?” icon) is available throughout the webtrees user interface.  It should be the first thing you try if you are lost or confused.  Don’t hesitate to try clicking on items that highlight as you move the mouse around on a page.  Exploration can be the fastest method of learning your way around the website.


You have obviously already discovered the website FAQ list, which we hope has anticipated some of your questions.  Feel free to suggest additional topics for inclusion in the FAQ list.


Additionally the website administrator is available to answer your questions via email.