Brandenburg, German Empire Church Records

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Brandenburg German Empire Wiki Topics
Beginning Research
Brandenburg Major Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Brandenburg Record Types
Brandenburg Background
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background

Church records (parish registers, church books) are an important source for genealogical research in Germany before civil registration began. They recorded details of baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. The vast majority of the population was mentioned. To learn more about the types of information you will find in church records, click on these links:

For a comprehensive understanding of church records, study the article Germany Church Records.

Finding Church Records[edit | edit source]

In this region, part of Germany which was lost to other countries after World War II, many records, both church/parish registers and civil registration records, were damaged, destroyed, or misplaced.

Parish Register Inventories[edit | edit source]

Online[edit | edit source]

Church record inventories are essential tools for finding German records. They identify what records should be available for a specified parish and where to write for information on these records. They list the church records, their location, and the years they cover. Sometimes inventories explain which parishes served which towns at different periods of time.

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Georg Grüneberg, “Kirchenbücher, Kirchenbuch-Duplikate und Standesamtsregister der Neumark” (Lenzen (Elbe) : Druckerei & Verlag G. Grüneberg, c2011); included in Quellen und Schriften zur Bevölkerungsgeschichte der Mark Brandenburg; Bd. 12. Inventory of parish and civil records from former districts of Brandenburg, Prussia, Germany. Includes Arnswalde, Bomst, Crossen, Friedeberg, Königsberg, Landsberg, Meseritz, East and West Sternberg, Schwerin, Soldin, Sorau and Guben (east of the Neiße River), and Züllichau-Schwiebus. Includes all of Neumark AND Kreise Arnswalde and Friedeberg which went to Pommern in 1938. Also, remember that Neumark includes Kreise Meseritz and Schwerin, which were added to Brandenburg in 1938 from Grenzmark Posen- Westpreußen. (FHL Location 1: FHL INTL Ref), (FHL Location 2: FHL INTL book 943.15 K23k 2011)WorldCat

1. Online Church Records[edit | edit source] ($)[edit | edit source] collections can be viewed free-of-charge at a Family History Center near you.

  • 1518-1921 - Germany, selected Protestant church books 1518-1921 - at ($), index and images. There are two categories found under "Browse this collection" (in the right sidebar). Under the (mistakenly labelled) "Schuldistrikt" drop-down menu, search through Brandenburg and Not stated.
Under Brandenburg this collection covers: Berlin, Beutnitz, Birkenau, Brandenburg, Brielolw, Buch, Charlottenburg, Damsdorf, Forst, Friedrichsfelde, Gollwitz, Herzsprung, Heygendorf, Laasow (see Calau), Leeskow, Leuten, Lienitz, Klein Schönebeck, Lichtenberg, Lichtenberg Glaubenskirche, Lichterfeld, Mariendorf, Marzahn, Münchhausen, Muschaken, Oderin, Petershain, Rheinsberg, Rosenthal, Rudow, Saarmund, Seddin, Spandau, Spremberg, Stolpe, Treuenbrietzen, Vetschau, Wernburg, and Wriezen, Zechlen und Zempow (see Vieselbach), and Zehlendorf (see Teltow).
Under Not stated this collection covers: Beyersdorf (Bacyna) and Zielenzig (Sulecin).
Link to list of parishes covered.

FamilySearch Historical Records[edit | edit source]

Other Contributors[edit | edit source]

2. Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Try to find records in the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Many microfilms have been digitized for online viewing. Gradually, everything will be digitized, so check back occasionally. Some have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the Places within Germany, Preussen, Brandenburg drop-down menu] and select your town.
b. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Taufen" are baptisms/christenings. Heiraten are marriages. "Tote" are deaths.
d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Research in Church and State Archives[edit | edit source]

Church records or duplicates may have been gathered from the local parishes into central archives, either by the churches or the state. Older records are frequently given to these archives for safekeeping. Some gaps in the church records of local parishes could be filled using these records.

  • Pdf Archive Inventory: "Part 1 of 2: Church records in Archives" - is an inventory of localities and the location or archive where their records should be found. The sixth column, "Archives", gives a number. To find the name and contact information, look up that number in the second column of this .pdf: Part 2: Archive Addresses.  It is not clear how up-to-date this inventory is.

Some archives offer searches for a fee. Archives might be unable to handle genealogical requests, but they can determine whether they have specific records you need, sometimes perform very brief research, such as just one record, or they may recommend a researcher who can search the records for you. Archivists are required to speak English.

E-mail[edit | edit source]

  • You can e-mail archives and ask whether they have records for a parish. Also, you should inquire whether they provide research services and what their fees are. You can communicate with the archives in English.

Lutheran Archives[edit | edit source]

Evangelical State Church Archive in Berlin
Bethaniendamm 29
10997 Berlin
Germany Tel .: 030-225045-0
Online records: Archion: Berlin, Brandenburg, Silesian Oberlausitz: Landeskirchliches Archiv in Berlin, ($)

Evangelical Central Archive in Berlin
Bethaniendamm 29
10997 Berlin
Germany Tel .: 030-225045-0
Tel .: 030-225045-20

Contact to the church book office:
Online records: Archion: Evangelical Central Archives, Berlin, for the Neumark, ($)

Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Berlin[edit | edit source]

Dioezesanarchiv Berlin
Bethaniendamm 29
10997 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0) 30 22504580
Fax: +49 (0) 30 22504583
Please provide your full name and postal address for all inquiries.
List of holdings

State Archives[edit | edit source]

Duplicate records from some parishes are in the state archives. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. However, for records that are not microfilmed, you can sometimes write to the state archives to request searches of the duplicates. For more information, see Germany Archives and Libraries.

Brandenburg National Archives Potsdam
An der Orangerie 3
14469 Potsdam
(Postal address: Postfach 600499, 14404 Potsdam)
Tel. 0331/292971, Fax: 0331/292971

Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv Service
Am Mühlenberg 3
14476 Potsdam, OT Golm
Postal address:
Postfach 600449
14404 Potsdam
Phone: 0331 5674-0
Fax: 0331 5674-212
Brandenburg State Archives. Go to “Suche”. Choose "Full text search. Enter keyword, such as a locality, a name, or both. Click ”Suchen”.

4. Writing to a Local Priest for Church Records[edit | edit source]

Most church registers are still maintained by the parish. You might obtain information by writing to the parish. Parish employees will usually answer correspondence written in German. Your request may be forwarded if the records have been sent to a central repository.

Protestant[edit | edit source]

Catholic[edit | edit source]

E-mail[edit | edit source]

  • Because many churches now have known e-mail addresses, you can quickly check whether the parish records are stored at the parish church or have been moved to archives. If possible, do this before sending a more detailed inquiry or any money. Links for church addresses are found on the wiki pages for the individual states and counties of Germany.

I. Are the parish records for _________to ___________ (time period range) at your church still?  

1. Sind die Kirchenbücher für den Zeitraum von _____ bis _____ noch in Ihrer Kirchengemeinde?

2. If they have been moved to an archive, can you tell me where they are now?

2. Falls sie nun in einem Archiv sind, können Sie mir bitte sagen, wo sie sich jetzt befinden?

Write a brief request in German to the proper church using this address as a guide, replacing the information in parentheses:

For a Protestant Parish:

An das evangelische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)

For a Catholic Parish:

An das katholische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)

How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

Other Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

To learn how to determine the location of other religious records, namely Jewish, French Reformed, German Reformed, etc., watch Hansen’s Map Guides: Finding Records with Parish Maps beginning at 48:00 minutes, to learn how to locate these congregations. Then go back and watch from the beginning to understand how to use the reference book. Also, you can read Map Guide to German Parish Registers. This video and handout teach you how to use a set of reference books found at the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

5. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources[edit | edit source]

Caution sign.png

Compiled genealogies and published genealogies are secondary sources, not original or primary sources.

As such, they are subject to human error through translation or transcription errors, mistaken interpretations, and opinion decisions of another researcher.

You should make every effort to base your research on the actual, original records or their digitized images.

Town Genealogies (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch)[edit | edit source]

See the class, Online Ortsfamilienbücher at, and Wiki article, Germany Town Genealogies and Parish Register Inventories on the Internet. Published town genealogies, Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book), generally include birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families based on the opinion of the author. If one is available, it should only be used as an index or guide to finding the original records. They usually contain errors. Always verify their information in original records.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

German Records[edit | edit source]

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French and German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
German Genealogical Word List
French Genealogical Word List
Latin Genealogical Word List
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:

Downloadable Handouts[edit | edit source]

  • These printable handouts can be used for ready reference when reading German Handwriting.
Vocabulary found on Specific Records:
Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations:
Miscellaneous Vocabulary:
  • Fraktur Font -- Many forms and books are printed in this font.
German Given Names:

Latin Records[edit | edit source]

Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:

Feast Dates[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find their birth record, search for the births of their brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of their parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Calculate the birth date of the parents, using age at death and/or marriage to search for their birth records.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.