Germany locating civil registration records not at the Family History Library
Germany has no single repository of civil registration records. A person's records may be found in one or more locations. Civil birth, marriage, and death records may be found by contacting or visiting the local civil registration office or archive.
Civil registration offices[edit | edit source]
Most civil records are still maintained by the civil registration office in the local towns. Older records may be at the local office or in the town archives. Use search engines, such as http:www.google.de, to enter the name of your town and find town web sites with contact addresses, etc.
The civil registration office is usually called "Standesamt", but may also be part of the "Bürgerbüro" [citizens' office], "Bürgerdienste" [citizens' services] or some other unit. If you cannot find the Standesamt on the website, send your record request to the address given under "Kontakt" (usually the webmaster) or "Impressum" (the person or office responsible for the Website). Usually the request is then forwarded to the proper office. Requests for records should be written in German or simple English. Electronic translators should not be used to translate letters that will be sent to someone. Either find a German-speaker who can write a letter for you, or use the German Letter Writing Guide. It's best to ask for one or two records at a time.
Civil officials will usually answer correspondence that is written to them in German. Your request may be forwarded if the records have been sent to an archive or central repository.
City archives[edit | edit source]
Large cities have many civil registration offices. Most civil registers are still located at the local offices, but some are collected in city archives. Many German cities have established archives to preserve their older records. Often they cannot handle genealogical requests, but they can determine whether specific records are available for you or your agent to search.
State archives[edit | edit source]
Duplicate registers from some towns are kept in state archives. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. However, for more recent records and for those not yet microfilmed, you may write to the state archives of Germany and request searches of the records. See Germany Archives and Libraries. If the archivist cannot do the research your request, you can hire a professional genealogist to search the records for you.
You may also find archive inventories that describe the record-keeping systems and available civil registration records in Germany (see Germany Archives and Libraries). These and other guides are found in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:
GERMANY - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
GERMANY, [STATE] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
After determining who has jurisdiction over the records for the time period you need, write a short request to the proper office. Be careful not to ask for too much when writing German archives. They can briefly answer questions about the records in their collection, but are often reluctant to do research in these records. You may have more success if you ask for a referral or a list of local researchers you could hire to search the archive's records. See German Letter Writing Guide for more information about writing letters to Germany.
Records from Towns now in Poland[edit | edit source]
Extracts of German records requested from towns now in Poland will be written in Polish. Addresses of civil registration offices in formerly German areas of Poland, along with an inventory of available German civil registration records, are found in:
Brόzka, Tomascz. Deutsche Personenstandsbücher und Personenstandseinträge von Deutschen in Polen 1898 bis 1945. Frankfurt a/Main und Berlin: Verlag für Standesamtswesen, 2000. ISBN 3-8019-5674-1. (Int’l Ref area 943.8 V23b copy 3). The addresses of Civil Registration Offices in Poland can also be found online at the Polish website Platforma Usług Stanu Cywilnego (http://www.usc.pl/zasieg).