German SIG

German Interest Group

German Flag

German Flag

The group meets on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the IGS library.

628 E Grand Ave
Des Moines IA 50309-1924

Offers the opportunity to share knowledge of German research. You will find experienced researchers, translators and travelers with extensive personal knowledge of the various regions in Germany.

GIG Coordinators Diane Mason, LuAnn Julstrom, Diane Green

For more information on the German Interest Group, contact Diane Green at

Programs 2021

June 7th  at 7:00 pm –  Zoom and IGS West Wing

TopicAmericans or Enemies: German Americans in World War 1

Speaker:  Dr. Patricia Calkins, recently retired professor of the German Dept. at Simpson College

World War 1 proved to be a pivotal time for the German American community in the United States. Whereas before the war German Americans had been accepted as Americans who spoke a language other than English, by the time the war ended, the German language and German American culture were under attack in most of the US. This presentation will focus on the precipitous decline in German American culture starting in 1914.


July 5th  

No meeting for July since it’s 4th of July weekend and people may be traveling; GIG will be taking a break for the month


Aug 2nd  at 7:00 pm –  Zoom Only

Topic:  TBD


Sept 13  at 7:00 pm –  Zoom & West Wing Note a week later because of Labor Day

Topic: German heritage in Iowa using material in Special Collections & Archives. 

Speaker:  Elizabeth Riordan, Univ. of Iowa


GERMANS TO AMERICA Because of the many generous donations from German Interest Group members and others, IGS now has the complete set of Germans to America, consisting of 74 volumes.The Germans to America series lists passengers arriving at U.S. ports from 1840 through June 1897. For a small fee, ALL OF WHICH WILL GO TOWARD ADDITIONAL GERMAN RESEARCH MATERIALS FOR THE LIBRARY, a German Interest Group member will look up your surname in the appropriate volume(s).Include $10.00 for a search, any additional information which may help the researcher find the right person (especially the probable year of immigration and the names AND AGES of anyone likely to be traveling with your ancestor).NOTE: Some resources added to the IGS Library through these services:+++ Meyers   Orts-und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs, 3 volumes+++ subscription to several German genealogical magazines


Address all requests and include a SASE to:
German Interest Group
628 E Grand Ave
Des Moines IA  50309-1924 | 515-276-0287 | FAX: 515-727-1824 |
Send us an e-mail.
General information about the group. The German Interest Group (GIG) was formed about 1992 and meets on the first Monday evening of each month. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Iowa Genealogical Society (IGS) library and have a freewill offering. (Meeting moves to second Monday if a holiday would conflict.) The December meeting is our traditional potluck with entertainment afterwards. Anyone interested in German research is welcome to attend, although regular attendees are requested to be Iowa Genealogical Society members. After a short business meeting there is usually a program, varying from helping each other with brick walls, members who have traveled to Germany, how to use books in the German section, internet tips, putting your history into book or scrapbook form, etc. For a small fee we offer research services using the Germans to America series.
IGS’s extensive collection of German resources is due to the efforts of this group. The GIG has held many conferences in the past and will continue to do one every three-four years. Several members have also given a “Searching for Your German Roots” class at IGS. The more we learn about good research tips, the more interesting our ancestors’ lives become.