Brandt, Edward R(eimer) 1931-

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BRANDT, Edward R(eimer) 1931-


Born November 17, 1931, in Dudley Township, KS; son of Abraham U. (a carpenter and farmer) and Anna (a homemaker; maiden name, Reimer) Brandt; married Marie Schmidtke (a radiologic technologist), October 24, 1953; children: Rosemarie Diana, Eileen Juliana Brandt Johnson, Douglas Edward Abraham, Bruce William Kenneth (deceased). Ethnicity: "Frisian-Flemish-Dutch-German." Education: University of Minnesota, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1954, Ph.D., 1970; attended Vanderbilt University, 1954-55; George Washington University, M.A., 1965. Politics: "Anti-partisan advocate of the needy and critic of the powerful." Religion: "Humanitarian." Hobbies and other interests: Reading history, geography, biography, and historical fiction; listening to music, especially western and country; "decreasingly enthusiastic baseball and hockey fan."


Home—13 27th Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414-3101. E-mail—[email protected].


Tennessee Department of Mental Health, Nashville, administrative positions, 1955-58; U.S. Information Agency, Washington, DC, staff member, including assignments in Germany and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), 1958-67; College (now University) of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, assistant professor, 1970-76; Harrisburg Urban Semester, Harrisburg, PA, director, 1976-78; Minnesota Senate, St. Paul, Republican caucus researcher, 1979; teacher at various colleges in Europe, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Minnesota, between 1980 and 1991; genealogist, translator, and public speaker, 1992—. Also taught at a state penitentiary, at U.S. military bases overseas, and in a one-room rural elementary school in Canada. Minnesota House of Representatives, state representative, 1969-73; Southeast Minneapolis Planning and Coordinating Committee, president, 1973; Association for Non-Smokers Rights (lobbyists), cofounder and president, c. 1973-76; Minnesota World Affairs Center, college representative, 1973-76; Paxtang-Lenker Manor Community Library, board member, 1977-78; Mental Health Association of Hennepin County, board member, 1980-81.


Federation of East European Family History Societies (cofounder, 1991; past vice president), Germanic Genealogy Society (cofounder, 1980; past vice president), Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, Galizien German Descendants, Hanover Steinbach Historical Society, Anglo-German Family History Society (England; honorary member), Polish Genealogical Society of Minnesota (cofounder, 1991), Phi Beta Kappa, Minnesota Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Toastmasters Club.


Award for Cleaning the Minnesota Indoor Air, 1976; service plaque, Federation of East European Family History Societies; several awards from poetry contests.



Lecture Series on Researching Germanic Ancestors, nine volumes, privately printed (Minneapolis, MN), 1990–93.

(With others) Research Guide to German-American Genealogy, 1991, revised edition published as Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns, Germanic Genealogy Society (St. Paul, MN), 1995.

(Compiler, with Bruce Brandt) Where to Look for Hard-to-Find German-speaking Ancestors in Eastern Europe: Index to 16,372 Surnames, privately printed (Minneapolis, MN), 1992.

Where Once They Toiled: A Visit to the Former Mennonite Homelands in the Vistula Valley, Masthof Press (Morgantown, PA), 1992.

Contents and Addresses of Hungarian Archives: With Supplementary Material for Research on German Ancestors from Hungary, privately printed (Minneapolis, MN), 1992, new edition published as Contents and Addresses of Hungarian Archives, 2nd edition, Clearfield Co. (Baltimore, MD), 1993.

Resources for Polish-American and Polish-Canadian Genealogy, privately printed (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

(With Adalbert Goertz) Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia (Ost-und-Westpreussen): Records, Sources, Publications, and Events, privately printed (Minneapolis, MN), 2002, revised edition, 2003.

Contributor to history and genealogy journals, including Minnesota Genealogist, East European Genealogist, Heritage Quest, Palatine Immigrant, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Journal, Heritage Review, and Germanic Genealogy Journal. Past contributing editor, Mennonite Family History.


(Editor, with Millard L. Gieske) Perspectives on Minnesota Government and Politics, Kendall/Hunt Publishing (Dubuque, IA), 1977.

Minnesota State Representatives: Performance and Conflict, 1977-78, Carter & Locey Publications (St. Paul, MN), 1978.

Author of a book of sonnets; editor of an anthology for Minneapolis Poetry Society. Contributor of more than 200 poems to poetry journals and other periodicals.


Revising Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns; expanding Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia (Ost-und-Westpreussen): Records, Sources, Publications, and Events "to include at least Pomerania and Poznania, hopefully eventually also Silesia and Brandenburg," completion of first expansion expected in 2005; research on the ancestry of his grandchildren.


Edward R. Brandt told CA: "My primary motive for writing is my love of learning and eagerness in sharing and disseminating information. Much of this work has been done as a volunteer. Only in old age has the idea of providing my family with supplementary income become a matter of some significance.

"Basically, I have written about topics where I perceived a need for published information and felt that I was capable of rising to the challenge of meeting it to a reasonable degree.

"The nature of what I have contributed varies greatly, with Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns known for its universal scope and the Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia (Ost-und-Westpreussen): Records, Sources, Publications, and Events for its depth in identifying all potentially relevant sources.

"I was transformed from a hobbyist (with interests limited to my Mennonite ancestors) to a genealogy addict in May, 1966, when I happened by chance to find two books with a lot of information about my mother-in-law's Galician German ancestors in the Austrian National Library. It led to my first family history, privately printed in 1975.

"From 1984 to 1987 I taught at U.S. military bases in four European countries (Germany, England, Greece, Spain), with half of my assignments in or near Rhineland-Palatinate, from where most of my mother-in-law's ancestors had migrated to Galicia. There I did extensive onsite research, utilizing mostly pre-1785 German parish registers, to build upon my prior research.

"Another major event was my trip to Europe in 1991, which began as a Mennonite group heritage tour, but included retracing the footsteps of my deceased Volhynian-born German father-in-law's ancestors in Poland, a weekend trip to the original hometown of our grandchildren's Swiss ancestors (with a well-documented male lineage, to which I added the lineages of the women who had married into that family), research in numerous German and Polish archives and libraries, and a sightseeing end to the heritage tour, as a result of which I ended up in the Hungarian National Archives. Although I began to write genealogical articles and family histories earlier, all my more significant publications have been produced since 1991.

"Because my ancestors, my father-in-law's ancestors, and my mother-in-law's ancestors all lived in the three different partitions of Poland and moved to Canada and the United States from three different parts of what is Ukraine today, I naturally developed an interest in the history of, and genealogical sources for, our German-speaking ancestors' neighbors and the countries in which they lived, sometimes as refugees, sometimes as privileged guests, and sometimes simply to find more land. This in turn led to an interest in the entire subject of the German diaspora, especially in east central, eastern, and southeastern Europe. That accounts for my publications about resources for Polonians in the former Soviet Union, as well as, more or less by accident of fate, about those with roots in Hungary.

"One of my foremost goals is to seek the truth by trying as hard as possible to free myself from any nationalistic, religious, or other biases. I believe strongly in the importance of universal, inter-cultural, and inter-faith cooperation and harmony.

"When I write about factual subjects, I strive for maximum accuracy and precision, but I am not afraid to make errors when it comes to the margin between the known and the uncertain. Error is an inevitable part of the learning process. While it is difficult to correct a widely disseminated error in genealogy, for example, it is much worse to leave genealogical researchers with a blank slate, leaving no clues as to where to start their search. I have found that uncertain probabilities (which should, of course, be indicated by a question mark or an explanatory note) turn out to be correct surprisingly often, even though they occasionally lead to a big disappointment. There is no such thing as a reliable primary source, as several twentieth-century official records pertaining to our family prove. When an opinion accompanies facts, I seek balance or emphasize what receives little attention elsewhere so as to provide an overall balance of published information.

"Major genealogical works have been produced by highly intense efforts over months or years, including international communications (by phone, letter, and more recently e-mail), which may ultimately become stressful, interspersed with periods devoted mostly to reading in order to expand my knowledge and pass it on to others. Personal research and volunteer work have contributed much more to my expertise and effectiveness than the often counterproductive kinds of 'business-like' steps the Internal Revenue Service uses, in part, to try to separate self-employment from a hobby.

"To write, read voraciously, and cast a wide net: that is my philosophy and my advice."



Booklist, November 15, 1995, Barbara Bibel and Sandy Whiteley, review of Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns, p. 580.

German Genealogical Digest, fall, 2002, Horst A. Reschke, review of Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia (Ost-und-Westpreussen): Records, Sources, Publications, and Events.

National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June, 2003, review of Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia (Ost-und-Westpreussen), p. 153.


Ed Brandt Genealogy: Genealogy Books, Articles, Lineages, Consulting Services, (August 23, 2004).