According to her tombstone in the German Cemetery in Haifa, Israel, my great grandmother Anna Minna Martha Oldag (her maiden name) was born in Warmbrunn on 10 Oct 1866. I have tentatively identified Warmbrunn as Cieplice, Jelenia Gora, Lower Silesia, now Poland. Anna died in Meissen, Saxony, Germany on 26 Dec 1922, but she lived with my great grandfather in Beirut and possibly Haifa (for a year or two after World War I).

Because she is buried in the German Cemetery in Haifa, there may be a connection to the German Temple Society (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templers_(religious_believers)), but I have no direct evidence of this. The Templers were a fringe protestant group that engaged in mass emigrations from Germany to regions more conducive to their radical Christian life style. Some moved to Russia, others to Palestine. There were successful Templer settlements in Jaffa, Haifa, Jerusalem, as well as some satellite settlements in other parts of the country.

Comments asked about the religion of my great-grandmother. The short answer is, I do not know. The region where Anna comes from was populated both by Catholics and by Protestants, although during the counter-reformation and the Thirty-Years War the Protestants did not have an easy life there. Anna definitely was not Jewish, and my most likely guess is that she was Protestant (Lutheran or Templer).

I also do not know when and why Anna came to be in the Middle East, who her parents were, or anything like that. It is possible that her parents joined one of the Templer groups that settled in Palestine, but I have found no evidence of this. All I know is that her oldest child was born in Beirut in 1894, and that her ashes were transferred from Germany to Haifa shortly after her death.

I have also been unsuccessful with the usual on-line search engines, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, even though (or perhaps because?) Oldag is a fairly common last name all through northeastern Germany. Ask for exact matches, you will find none, relax the search parameters, and there are upwards of 20,000 hits. I need a more focussed search strategy. The Silesian region was, of course, ravaged during World War II and changed hands thereafter, so I am not even sure in which jurisdiction I should start my search.

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    For a more focused question than "looking for information about ..." I am thinking that you could make trying to locate her baptism record the focus of your question. That should give you her parents' names (or at least her father's) and verify her birth/baptism details. Alternatively, or in a separate question, you could seek an immigration record for her arrival in the Middle East.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 21, 2018 at 0:33
  • @PolyGeo Given the question, I think jumping straight to looking for a baptism record would be premature. The basic principle is to start with what you know and to work in small steps rather than making big leaps. This link might be helpful. Ten Minute Methodology: How to Ask Good Research Questions as well as our advice in the help center.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 21, 2018 at 3:17
  • I assume when you say "Ancestry.com does not know her" that means you have searched for her by name. Did you search historical records, the message boards, or something else? Making an explicit statement of what you have searched and how helps us see what you have already tried. Did you use surname variants? If so, which ones?
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 21, 2018 at 3:19
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    @user3697176 - The question suggests that Anna was Jewish (please confirm her religion), so baptismal records would not apply. Civil registration did not start in Silesia until 1876, so unlikely that an official birth record was created. Likely starting with the death and burial records might be better, especially if her body was actually transferred from the death place in Germany to the burial site in Israel (or is it a cenotaph?). A marriage record might have her parents' names, but you'll need to know where and when that happened in order to find it (was Oldag her maiden or married name?).
    – bgwiehle
    Jan 21, 2018 at 12:49
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    If Anna was Catholic, her baptism may be recorded in "Taufen 1843-1870" see familysearch.org/search/catalog/… The microfilm has been digitized but NOT INDEXED and can only be viewed at a FamilyHistory centre or affiliate library.
    – bgwiehle
    Jan 21, 2018 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


You said at the start that Anna died in Meissen in 1922. If so, her death would have been recorded at the local Standesamt (the German registrars office). While the information recorded there is usually sparse, it does include birth place & date.

If you request a photocopy of the entry you may be lucky and the official recorded the name of the Standesamt, date and register number for birth and marriage details in the margin. This was sometimes done to be able to cross-reference these documents.

As for the birth certificate itself, it maybe still be with the Polish-equivalent of the registrars office or it may be at the Standesamt I Berlin, which keeps any documents salvaged from former German and occupied territories.

Finally, from the death certificate you might be able get the place and date where your great-grandmother and -father were married. The marriage certificate will include both their parents' names and often where they lived at that time plus their occupation. Hopefully that will help you track down more information about her.

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