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About the study
Welcome to the Hellfritzsch One-Name Study
Please get in touch if you are a Hellfritzsch, are related to a Hellfritzsch, or would just like to know more about the project! My own interest stems from my partner, who's late mother was a Hellfritzsch from Pößneck, Germany. As my partner is fluent in German, ich kann auf E-Mails auf Deutsch antworten (forgive my own poor language skills!).
Progress Update - December 2017
AncestryDNA has thrown up numerous 4th cousins of my root subject, but not yet via the Hellfritzsch line.The "trawl" of social media websites and the internet for Hellfritzsch and variants has added 213 individuals named Hellfritzsch - mostly living - and a dozen or so people with variants, e.g. Hellfritzschens.
Variants on the surname include Helfritzsch, Hellfritsch, Hellfritsh... but even in Germany it seems to be a rather unusual name so I expect this to be a medium-sized study compared with others I've undertaken.
Frequency of variants so far is:
- Helfritsh (6)
- Helfritzsch (6)
- Helfritzschens (1)
- Helfritzschin (1)
- Hellfritsch (1)
- Hellfritzsch (213)
- Hellfritzschens (1)
The Hellfritzsch surname - so far as I can make out - has its origins in the state of Thüringen (Thuringia), the 'green heart of Germany' (das grüne Herz Deutschlands), but one of the aims of the study is of course to provide or disprove that. It could be that Thüringen simply had the highest concentration of Hellfritzsch's in the genealogical records available to me.
20th Century individuals added to the tree so far are concentrated in the Thuringen, Germany area.
Historical occurrences of the name
I will add any historically notable family members here. So far I've found footballers, DJs, published authors and academics and soldiers.
Distribution of the name
There are Hellfritzsch's across Europe and North America and I will publish a map showing the distribution of the name around the world in due course (see below).
In the USA the surname or similar variants can be found in Louisiana, Alabama, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Missouri, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
European hotspots seem to be Dresden (state of Saxony, Germany) and the German state of Thuringia. The smaller hotspots in Hamburg/Flensburg and Denmark seem to be of more recent ancestors. My guess is that the family spread north and west from its heartland in Saxony/Thüringen.
My primary data source is currently Ancestry.com. I also have a British Library Reader's Pass giving me access to FindMyPast and of course the library's records. Within reason I am very happy to assist other GOONS members who are unable to visit the British Library in person. I'm often found in the India Office Records room on the 3rd floor!
To construct the family tree website I am using the Gigatrees program on top of a WordPress/PHP website via Ancestry and RootsMagic. It is proving a rewarding process, in many respects, and is briefly described here for those interested.
- Using RootsMagic (free version) I download my Ancestry.com tree including all media (photos, documents and records)
- I then export a GEDCOM file from RootsMagic
- I process the GEDCOM file through Gigatrees
The end result is a website with the following benefits:
- I have all the info held in my Ancestry tree, in case I ever leave Ancestry
- the website fits into my WordPress site, inheriting its look and feel
- it is database-driven, avoiding having thousands of HTML pages
- it can be refreshed with new data by uploading a single database file (plus any documents) no matter how many records have been changed or added
- it runs multiple trees from the same set of code (currently 15 family trees)
- I can edit any images to, for example, trim off unnecessary white space around census returns
- as with other products it comes with in-built data checks and 'heatmaps' for locations
- it is customisable, letting me build new features such as a text search
The results of the first AncestryDNA test of a Hellfritzsch are in! If you have a DNA report related to this project please get in touch.
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