Re: Where to begin with Rhineland-Palatinate ancestry?
Daniel, first of all, a language matter:"Pfalz" is simply German for the "Palatinate", just like "Deutschland" is German for "Germany".So in this regard, you're actually referring to the PALATINATE.
You have to be aware that just like the U.S., Germany, too, has always been made up of STATES.
It would have been impossible for your ancestors to have come from Rhineland-Palatinate, because today's western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (in German: Rheinland-Pfalz) is a post-World War II creation that only came into existence 65 short years ago!
Until 1945, Germany's largest state by far was PRUSSIA (in German: Preussen, or if written with the German character "scharfes S", Preußen; pronounced: PROY-s'n), the capital of which was the city of BERLIN.(Following German unification in 1871, Berlin became Germany's national capital as well.)Because of its vast size, Prussia was divided into PROVINCES.
Until 1945, one of Prussia's provinces was the RHINELAND (in German: Rheinland), the provincial capital of which was the city of KOBLENZ, and the largest city in which was COLOGNE.
Following World War II and the break-up of the vast state of Prussia by the Allies, the southern half -- only the southern half -- of the Prussian Rhineland, the Palatinate, which from 1816 to 1945 was governed as part of the southern German state of BAVARIA (in German: Bayern), and the region of the pre-1945 state of HESSE (in German: Hessen) known as Rhenish Hesse (in German: Rheinhessen) combined to form today's new postwar western German state of RHINELAND-PALATINATE, with the Rhenish Hessian city of MAINZ as its capital.
So your next step has to be to determine which state your ancestors were from:Were they from Prussia, and to be precise, from the Prussian Rhineland?Or were they from Bavaria, and to be precise, from what was the Bavarian Palatinate?Or were they from Hesse, and to be precise, from the region known as Rhenish Hesse?
Then you have to find out which city, town, or village they were from.That kind of research can only be done in the U.S.!You have to forget any research in Germany until you've found out through U.S. research which city, town, or village your ancestors were from.
You are going to supply a lot more information if anybody here is going to be able to give you any guidance:
What were the full names of the actual immigrants to America?And when did they come to America?And where in the U.S. did they settle?And something always of the most vital importance in German genealogy: What was the family's religious denomination?