Monday, December 01, 2008

READER'S FEEDBACK: Google Patent Search

RE: "Patent search at Google provides new ancestral locality" originally cross-published at the TeachGenealogy and DearMYRTLE blogs.

From: Betty
I receive your email blogs and they have been very helpful. I enjoy the family atmosphere of your blogs. The Patent Search information was very helpful to me.

Although I had seen my grandfather's name on a list of patent holders through, it didn't show the thing patented. The Patent Search website showed me three pages of written information, plus a drawing of the "Self Playing Stringed Musical Instrument." I loved seeing it. I was going to write off to the patent office to see if I could get exactly what I found using "Patent Search."

Thank you so much for passing along so much useful information for doing family history.


Learning from the research experience of others can certainly open up new avenues for us, can't it? Let's send out a out a BIG THANKS to "Binbag" of the Family History Centre VOICE chats in for sharing her experience using the Google Patent Search. Binbag, your write-up certainly has helped Betty in her search!

Being ever-so-curious, and not knowing your grandfather's name, Ol' Myrt here used the words "Self Playing Stringed Musical Instrument" at Google's Patent Search. From this I was able to discover Friedrich Schneider of Leipsic, Saxony, Germany filed his patent 1 Jun 1900, and it was issued 26 Feb 1901, and it was assigned to Oscar Schmidt of New York, New York. Witnesses were Siegmund Weis and John Lavy. [Original spelling is preserved.]

So we now know we search Google's Patent Search search using any part of the description of a patented item, not merely the name of the inventor.

Where to go from here
Keep the names of the witnesses to the patents in mind. I am wondering if they are anything like witnesses to a marriage or will -- next of kin or very dear friends from the old country. Maybe they were merely prominent men in the new community whose signatures might appear to add credence to the patent application.

In addition to locating the US Patent, you now know that Leipzig is perhaps the home town of your grandfather, or at least a former place of residence. You'll want to look at FamilySearch's Germany Research Outline, where I found the following notation "Large cities often have many civil registration districts. City directories can sometimes help identify which civil registration district a person lived in. The Family History Library Catalog lists books showing registration districts for street addresses in Berlin, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Breslau,
and Stettin. "

The Germany Research Outline also explains "Police began keeping records of each German's
residence in the 1840s. Citizens were required to tell the police at the local registration office [Meldeamt or Einwohnermeldeamt] when they moved. The records created are called registrations [Melderegister] or residents lists [Einwohnerregister]. They are usually found at the city archives. To use the records, you must know the approximate years a person lived in a town. The records usually give a person's name, birth date, birthplace, occupation, each
residence in the city, and where he or she moved. These records supplement church records and civil registration. The Family History Library has a selection of these records, most notably in Hamburg, Sachsen, and Thüringen. For example, the library has over 4,000 films for Leipzig (1890-1949)."

This period is too late for Ol' Myrt's Ferd & Nancy (Swanker) GOERING family who are in the US prior to the US Civil War, but it might help you to look at the police records in the ten years prior to the patent being filed for any mention of your grandfather. If you find his associates, that might tell you more about a specific neighborhood in Leipzig, to more readily locate church records of christenings, marriages, etc.

See also the Genealogical Handbook of German Research.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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