VGS German SIG

The Villages Genealogical Society


German-American Int’l Partnership Re-brands Itself

International German Genealogy Partnership LogoNews release

from the German-American Genealogical Partnership

Nov. 21, 2016 — For immediate release

Contact: Kent Cutkomp, (612) 920-8118,

NOTE TO EDITORS: Feel free to cut this to fit your publication. It is written in standard journalism news style, where you can cut it off at any point or cut a particular paragraph, or run the whole thing if you choose.

International German Genealogy Partnership is new name of young organization, reflects growing global participation

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—International German Genealogy Partnership is the new name adopted by members of a new and rapidly growing global organization known since its founding less than two years ago as the German-American Genealogical Partnership.

“New member societies are coming into the Partnership from around the world. There is a growing international participation in the Partnership, and our members decided on a new name that better describes the organization’s international presence,” said Kent Cutkomp, a Minneapolis resident and co-founder of the partnership.

The Partnership was founded in 2015 by genealogy society leaders in America and Germany. Today, the Partnership joins Germanic societies across America, Germany, Canada, England and other European countries.

“The purpose of the Partnership is to expand cooperation among societies nationally and internationally. It’s a great way individual societies can become more successful in serving their members, and that includes helping their members make personal connections worldwide. We’re delighted to see such interest coming from so many parts of the world,” Cutkomp said.

He said organizations joining the Partnership range from small to large. For instance, the Germany-based Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Genealogischer Verbände, a founding member of the Partnership, comprises more than 65 societies serving 22,000 individual members.

Several major initiatives are being undertaken by the Partnership, including the 2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference, scheduled for July 28-30, Minneapolis, Minn., and themed “CONNECTIONS: International. Cultural. Personal.”

Other initiatives include sharing of knowledge and resources such as exchanging periodicals, sharing researcher and speaker lists, and creating a list of most valuable references, resources and websites. Communication and connections between Partnership organizations are important parts of the process.

For information about the Partnership, visit the website of the Minnesota-based Germanic Genealogy Society at, click “German Partnership.” The Partnership’s official website is expected to launch soon.

The VGS Joins the IGGP

International German Genealogy Partnership Logo



VGS Board Says “We’re In!”

On June 15, 2016, the Board of Directors of The Villages Genealogical Society voted to join the International German Genealogical Partnership (IGGP) through our large German Genealogy Special Interest Group. The German Genealogy SIG is co-led by Bernhard “Bernie” Guenther and Margaret Sgritta. Bernie brought forward the concept of joining the IGGP, and was the major impetus in bringing it to fruition. Bernie plans to attend the groups first Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota July 28-30 2017.

What is the IGGP?

  • The International German Genealogy Partnership is the new name adopted by members of a new and rapidly growing global organization known since its founding less than two years ago as the German-American Genealogical Partnership.
  • News release about the name change
  • A growing collection of societies and organizations interested in working together to help every society make connections with their Germanic family wherever they are found.
  • Currently it has 30 partners, with others in the process of joining. List of current partners.


  • One of the greatest needs for ethnic genealogy societies is to make connections with the ancestral home.  This can be a daunting task without assistance.  Partnering with societies all over the world can help all of our members to find willing volunteers to assist them in their research.
  • Together, we can do great things.  We have come up with several common projects to work on together.  The largest one is the International Germanic Genealogy Conference that will be held in Minnesota in July 2017.


  • Who can join?  This is a partnership at the organizational level, and not for individuals.  Our common goal is to make each organization stronger by working together.   We encourage organizations to get their members involved in the community projects.
  • Join the partnership

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Yesterday, my real life human alter-ego, Jim Lannin, remembered that his Ancestry membership was about to auto-renew today at the sky-high price of $299.40/year. Calling Ancestry’s Customer Service line to grovel and beg seemed to be the only last minute option. Besides, he embarrasses me when he gets like that!

Robot on PhoneWhen “Little Mary Sunshine” came on the line, her cheerfulness and friendliness immediately began to soften his cynicism. When he started to whine about getting stonewalled at renewal time last year, only to have his friends tell him all year stories about the discounts they had received… well, it was just plain ugly!

Things got better when “Little Mary” interrupted him and asked: “Sir, are you a member of AARP?” He responded: You bet! I’m surrounded by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people here in The Villages who are both customers and AARP members.”

Little Mary Sunshine“Mary” then told him about the discount now available to AARP members of 30% off on Ancestry subscriptions. “That will cut your annual subscription cost to $209.00″, she said. After a feeble attempt to grind another $10.00 off, he gave in, saying: ” OK you win! Just don’t take the payment out again tomorrow!”

Jim then proceeded to give “Little Mary Sunshine” his card number for a one year subscription. This, of course, gives new meaning to the old expression: “Pay a “Little”, save a lot”! For more info on this deal, please check out the AARP Benefits Page on the subject at: Save 30% on an® membership for a year .