Featured Books

Ancestors of Lawrence Casper Watry

This 140-page book traces the lineage of Lawrence Watry, telling the story of his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. It also includes family trees and documents for three more generations before that! Truly a labor of love, born of a pandemic. P.S. I wrote this 🙂

by Rebecca (Bley) Shamblin

Luxembourg to America: An Immigrant Experience

This book follows the story of one man, John Weiland, on his journey from Luxembourg to America. The author writes in a very narrative fashion and draws you in with an incredible amount of detail and context.  Weiland is also in my own family tree!

by Michele Weiland

Lake Church, Wisconsin: A Pictorial History

I waited months for this book to be released, and it was worth the wait! A delightful look at this village in Ozaukee County. Many of my ancestors are mentioned, along with a deep history of the area. So many wonderful photos!

by Kevin Wester

Luxembourg-Focused Books

Tapestry of Luxembourgers by Beatrice Wester Krier

Luxembourgers in the New World by Nicolas Gonner

Luxembourg On My Mind, Vol 1-3 by Fausto Gardini


LuxRoots is an incredibly comprehensive, volunteer-run website, dedicated to transcribing and indexing many years of Luxembourgish history. The interface is quite a challenge to master, but it’s worth it in the end!

Family-Specific Books

BIESSENER-DECKER Family History by Devora Corcoran

The History of the BLEY Family by Eileen Galles

John B. KRIER and Susan HUBING: 1862-1982 by Beatrice Wester Krier

John William WEILAND’s Luxembourg Ancestors by Michele Weiland

My Mother’s Family – including RASSEL by Carol (Weyker)Bares

One Family of MANS by Lloyd Mans

PFC Ralph G. SCHMIDT, USMC: A Personal Memoir by Ralph Schmidt

ZIEGER/SCHMIDT Family History by Edwin and Doreen Zieger 

Helpful In-Person Archives

Sign leading toward the family displays at Luxembourg Fest 2003 in Belgium, Wisconsin

Luxembourg American Cultural Society & Center

LACS is the first place you should turn when getting started in researching Luxembourgish heritage. The research center there is second to none! So many “last name” folders on the shelves – I have spent many hours in there, and it’s never enough!

Ozaukee County Historical Society

“The Society has for over 50 years developed and maintained the Ozaukee County Pioneer Village, and the County Archival Records”. I have yet to visit the OCHS, but have been dreaming about it for the last several years. My trip to Wisconsin for Luxembourg Fest 2021 is going to my first experience there!

Wisconsin Historical Society

You know, I lived in Madison, Wisconsin for 8 years (I did my undergrad and graduate studies there). It kills me that I never made use of the WHS archives! What a treasure trove.

Saukville Area Historical Society

Since 1988, the SAHS has been dedicated to preserving, recording and maintaining the historical information and antiquities of the Saukville Area, as well as promoting the awareness of the area’s historical culture, to develop an understanding of, and pride in, our past, and to recognize its importance in the future”. This place is another one I dream of visiting someday.

Port Washington Historical Society

Many of the families on this website also lived in nearby Port Washington for at least a few years. Definitely worth a visit to their Resource Center!

Helpful Genealogy Websites & Software


Family Search is a collaborative attempt to create a single family tree for the entire world. The goal is to have exactly one entry for every deceased person in history. A lofty goal, to be sure, but I find it extremely helpful. For awhile, I did use it as my main tree, but a disagreement with another user led me to seek out something I had more control over. Still, I use it constantly to cross-reference information and for guideposts on what evidence to look for.

Another huge benefit of the site is their ridiculously extensive library of scanned documents. They literally travel the worlds, popping into local churches and archives and scanning the content there. The vast majority is not indexed (meaning it’s just a picture of handwriting, and needs a human to read and interpret it), thus not searchable, but it’s fantastic when you know what you’re looking for.

Family Tree Maker

I first started using Family Tree Maker in December 2020*, and it changed my genealogy world. It took a little getting used to, but now it feels essential. Having my family tree on my own computer and under my control and ownership is a very powerful thing. I never need to worry about letting a subscription lapse or having a company go out of business and leave me in the lurch.

Plus, it’s a far superior way to organize my supporting documentation and photos. So important to cite your sources! And I don’t miss the mess of folders on my hard drive, trying desperately to stand in for a proper database.

I adore the Web Merge facility when combined with an Ancestry subscription, and the automatic tree upload has been invaluable when exploring DNA test results.

* Okay, actually I used the very early version of this software back in 2002, but both the software and I have changed considerably in almost 20 years 🙂


Sigh. I have so many complex feelings about Ancestry.com. I mean … it’s the juggernaut of the industry. It has some very strong features, especially the ThruLines feature of their DNA testing branch. Their library is fairly comprehensive and the search function is strong. The integration with FamilyTreeMaker is critical.

However – I have a fundamental objection to the way they both charge me as a user and then sell my data to other users. I feel they should have to pick one! Their pricing is exclusive, keeping some users left out. At the same time, I can’t send my family members a link to my own tree without it forcing them to sign up for an account (free or not, it’s a huge barrier.)

I also think their “hint” system sets a bad precedent. People don’t realize how unreliable the other trees are, and they end up accepting any hint that comes there way, propogating bad information and fostering bad practices across the web.