J.D. Smith will present “It's All 'Dutch' to Me: Using the Sounds of German to Improve Your German-American Research.” Have you ever come across a German or German-speaking ancestor in U. S. records, only to find their name spelled five different ways? Those "misspellings" might be important clues. Because many U. S. records before 1890 used phonetic rather than actual spellings for names, learning the basic sounds of German can help untangle even the trickiest of these situations, and may even help you learn useful details about your ancestor's German-language heritage or even their place of origin. This talk will cover the sounds of spoken German, as well as a few regional dialects, and how to use those sounds to decode difficult records in both English and German. It will also introduce the basics of reading German-language church records.