Hamburg, Germany Genealogy

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Guide to Hamburg ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Hamburg, German Empire Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Major Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Hamburg Record Types
Hamburg Background
Ethnic Groups
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background
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History[edit | edit source]

  • Hamburg, (officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, was a fully sovereign city state before the 1871 unification of Germany.
  • Before 1919,Hamburg formed a civic republic, headed constitutionally by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten.
  • Hamburg was briefly annexed by Napoleon I to the First French Empire (1804–1814/1815). Russian forces finally freed the city in 1814. Hamburg re-assumed its pre-1811 status as a city-state in 1814.
  • The Vienna Congress of 1815 confirmed Hamburg's independence and it became one of 39 sovereign states of the German Confederation (1815–1866).
  • Hamburg became a member of the North German Confederation (1866–1871) and of the German Empire (1871–1918), and maintained its self-ruling status during the Weimar Republic (1919–1933).
  • Hamburg was a "Gau" (a region within a country, often a former or actual province) from 1934 until 1945.
  • Hamburg surrendered to British Forces on 3 May 1945. After the Second World War, Hamburg formed part of the British Zone of Occupation; it became a state of the then Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. Wikipedia

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Getting Started with Germany Research

Links to articles on getting started with German research:

See More Research Strategies

Germany Research Tools

Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:

See More Research Tools
Ask the
Community

Research to Find the Town of Origin[edit | edit source]

If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Today's state of Hamburg was created in 1937-38 by uniting parts of the city of Hamburg with parts of Schleswig-Holstein and parts of Hannover. For exact localities included see 1937-1938 Boundary Changes of Hamburg Regional Gains and Territories Given Away.

Hamburg 1871-1938


For a larger map, click here.

Hamburg city center.png

Hamburg After 1938 Changes
(Exchanges With Schleswig-Holstein)

Hamburg annexations north.png For a larger map, click here.

Hamburg annexations south.png
For a larger map, click here.


Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. For German research prior to 1945, the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records are organized by the place names in use from 1871 to 1945. For research in that time period, use the Wiki links in the chart below:


History of Hamburg in the German Empire
Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Pages

Hamburg, officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

1937-38: Exchanges of several small areas with Schleswig-Holstein (List and Map)
1987-8: the city Geesthacht, and the municipalities of Großhansdorf and Schmalenbeck merged to Schleswig-Holstein

Hamburg

Finding Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

After 1945, the main source for research will be civil registration. Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In Brunswick (Braunschweig), they were started 1 January 1876. German terms for these records include Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister. They are an excellent source for information on names and dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. These records are kept by the civil registrar (Standesbeamte) at the civil registry office (Standesamt). Study these links to learn what information can be found in them:

Melderegister[edit | edit source]

Since 1874, there is an official registration of residential addresses in Germany. These data were collected by the police stations. They are kept in the civil registration office. Some offices keep them historically from their start. Other offices destroyed records for people once they died.

These registration cards were available for each respective householder. Noted on the card were his wife and any children, dates of marriage or death, and a history of resident addresses. The value of these cards is their use to determine which civil registration office might hold birth, marriage, and death certificates for the family members.

Follow the German Letter Writing Guide, and use questions 16 and 17 to request these records.

Privacy Laws[edit | edit source]

Since 2009, birth records have been public after 110 years, marriages after 80 years and deaths after 30 years. A direct relationship (direct descendants and direct ancestors) to the subject of the record sought will be required in cases where the required time period has not yet elapsed. Even then, the records may be accessible if it can be shown that all "participating parties" have died at least 30 years ago. Participating parties are both parents and the child in birth records, and both spouses in a marriage.


Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In Hamburg, they were started in 1799. German terms for these records include Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister. They are an excellent source for information on names and dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. These records are kept by the civil registrar (Standesbeamte) at the civil registry office (Standesamt). Study these links to learn what information can be found in them:


For a comprehensive understanding of civil registration, study the article Germany Civil Registration.

1. Online Records[edit | edit source]

2. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates[edit | edit source]

For time periods more recent than the online or microfilm records, you will want to write for certificates.

Writing to a Local Registrar[edit | edit source]

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

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

Registrar General[edit | edit source]

In Hamburg there is the Registrar General through which one can search all Hamburg offices. You will be charged for search time in addition to document fees.

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg
Standesamtliches General Register
Eiffestrasse 74
D- 20537 Hamburg
Germany

Phone: 040 / 42839-2688 Fax: 040/42839 - 4461


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.

More Research Strategies and Tools[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.
  • The marriage certificate will show the birth date, birth place, and parents of the bride and the groom.
  • 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.