I think I am probably my own Madness Monday entry because I drive myself crazy with an approach-and-avoid response to German records. And since I have German, Austrian, Prussian and Pomeranian ancestors, I think I need to get over myself.
Lately I've had some great luck using the Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850-1934 aka the Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 at Ancestry. In typical fashion, the Germans were more thorough about completing forms, so I have found more of the all-important information about hometowns / birthplaces in these emigration records than I've found in the corresponding immigration arrival records in New York.
Ancestry helpfully notes that since the records are in German, it helps to search in German, and only the years 1877-1914 have been indexed at this point. They also suggest browsing the Handwritten Indexes, 1855-1934 if your ancestors have not yet been included in the index.
I find it helpful to get translations for the categories in foreign records, so I know what kind of information to expect.
Here are the headers for those fields in the Hamburger Passagierlisten.
And a German-speaking friend supplies the English translation:
1. Surname (family members are grouped together using brackets)
4. Previous residence (may or may not be birthplace)
5. State or Province
8. Number of people
9. Children under 10
10. Children over 10
11. Children under 1 year
Using my Surname Saturday Kirschstein family, I was able to find a Residence for Bruno in the Hamburger Passagierlisten that wasn't noted in the New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957.
Have you had better luck with Hamburg or New York records in your German research?