== '''History''' ==
== '''Published Records and Indexes''' ==
In order to access published records and indexes for Black Sea Germans, you must first understand a bit about where your ancestral hometown was located and which religious and political jurisdictions existed at the time that your ancestor lived there. These jurisdictions play an important role in record keeping and preservation. To learn about how you can determine the religious and political jurisdictions for your ancestor's hometown, please see the [[Germans from Russia Gazetteers]] page.
Because many Germans from Russia genealogical records were kept in either German or Russian, indexes are a great place to start. There are four main record types: compiled genealogies, church record indexes, revision list indexes and Einwandererzentralstelle (EWZ, or Immigration Control Center) indexes.
=== '''Compiled Genealogies''' ===
Before beginning your genealogical research in the Black Sea area, it is important to see what research has already been performed by other family members or researchers. After consulting your own family sources, turn to online compiled genealogies to discover research performed by others. Investigating this research allows you to prevent duplication, collaborate with others and connect with your family. However, keep in mind that information included in these sources is secondary information and will require research in original records to verify the data.
'''Black Sea German Database''': This database is an excellent first step in searching for your Germans from Russia ancestors. To access the database, visit http://www.blackseagr.org. The '''Black Sea German Database''' is available on the right-hand side of the main page. You can search using just the first and last name or click on '''Advanced Search''' to search using other information including gender, birth/christening, death/burial and spouse’s last name. If no results are found, adjust the search terms by trying alternating spellings, or selecting options such as “contains,” “starts with” or “ends with” from the drop-down menu. Sort through the search results and make note of new or additional information. Be sure to pay special attention to the sources the researcher used to build their family tree – these citations not only provide credibility, but they can help you locate the original records later in your research. For a deeper discussion of the ''Black Sea German Database'', and how to contribute your own data, consider reading [http://www.blackseagr.org/research/database-qa.html “Q&A on Using the Black Sea German Database.”]