Sample Maps from the
Distribution of the SCHMID family in Germany:
SCHMID is also one of the the most frequent surnames in Germany. There are 46,916 SCHMID listings. But, unlike SCHMIDT, this spelling of the surname shows significant regionalization. The vast majority of the SCHMID families are located in the south of both Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
While finding a distribution like this example is not gong to tell you the name of your ancestor's village of origin, it can help in your search by restricting the area you have to search in. What is important in a case like this, is to be sure that you have the spelling that the immigrant himself used, not just the spelling used by others to record his name. The only sure way to know is to find a copy of the person's actual signature.
Original signatures can sometimes be found on wills, on some of the passenger ship lists, naturalization papers, oaths of allegiance, road petitions, and various other original documents. Deeds recorded in books at the court house do not carry an original signature. The signature on deeds is a copy written in by the clerk. Original signatures would most likely be in the old-style German script. Obviously, this strategy will only work for those who could write their name. Many of the early immigrants just signed their name with an X because they couldn't write.
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Copyright 1998 by McCrea Research, Inc.