Jacob Bertschinger was born on Nov 20, 1828 in Aldingen (near Spaichingen) on the right side of the Neckar river in southern Germany). He came from a long line of farmers who had been living within about a ten kilometer radius of there for several centuries.

Genealogy.com is trying to tell me that he resettled to Calw in the Black Forest, a distance of almost 100 kilometers, which I view as highly suspicious and quite unlikely. I am bothered as much by the distance as by the cultural differences, and suspect that Genealogy has it wrong.

How could I verify whether Jacob really did move from Aldingen to Calw?

I will be going to Germany in early December and have a few hours to spare so I am also interested in how to find any information while I am "on location".

  • I hope you don't mind me editing your question to try and get it closer to being a single focussed question. I think you have some good content but I find all the questions and question marks distracting.
    – PolyGeo
    Oct 5, 2016 at 0:45
  • I think you should start by constructing a timeline within your question for the records you have of Jacob's life in Aldingen, and any that you may have for a Jacob Bertschinger in Calw. With that you will be in a better position to determine, perhaps with help from users here, whether those records appear to belong to the same man.
    – PolyGeo
    Oct 5, 2016 at 0:53
  • 100km is far, but not impossible. Do you have any hints about his profession? And did he move to Calw directly or a place nearby?
    – Stephie
    Oct 16, 2016 at 15:57
  • And I'm quite interested in how your research turns out, I know the city quite well. So if you need local addresses or similar, I'm here.
    – Stephie
    Oct 17, 2016 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


There are several facets to resolving the question you've posed:

  • How reliable is the source of the information? You did not specify the details or format of the conflicting information, but Genealogy.com has a number of sub-sections, including family trees and a question forum. Examine the reference, especially if there are primary source citations, or a contact name, to follow-up.

  • How do you know the information references YOUR Jacob Bertschinger? Does the birth date or some specific characteristic match? How widespread is the surname (the more common, the more likely the name is a coincidence)? "Bertschinger" is rare today, and is concentrated in the Kreis Tuttlingen and nearby Kreise. (Variant spellings should be considered when determining whether 2 persons are the same).

  • Is it reasonable that YOUR Jacob was in both locations? Here a timeline, as suggested by PolyGeo, comes into play. You didn't say if the move was supposed to have been permanent (i.e. death in Calw) or if he returned to Aldingen at some date. How closely can you date the time of the supposed move? Does the reference include a motive or context for a stay in Calw?

Although rare for a farmer, other occupations or particular circumstances might explain a re-location. Journeymen and men in military service would travel, merchants made contacts in other towns, and community obligations might entail travel. There might have been other family members already in Calw. There don't seem to be administrative links between the 2 towns (same local nobility); these might need to be explored in another example.

I don't know what you mean by "cultural differences;" both towns belonged to the Kingdom of Württemberg.

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