How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Baden-Württemberg

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How to Find Records

Most of your genealogical research for Baden-Württemberg will be in three main record types: civil registration, church records, and, when available, a compiled town genealogy ("Ortssippenbuch" or "Ortsfamilienbuch" in German). This article will teach you how to use these records

  • on digital databases,
  • as microfilms,
  • or by writing for them.

Town Compilation of Records (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch)[edit | edit source]

See class Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net.

  • An Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book) generally includes birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families. If one is available, it can act as an index or guide to finding the original records. However, they may contain errors, so it is best to verify their information in original records.
  • Sources may include the local parish registers, civil registration records, court and land records, and sometimes published material. In the printed book, this information is then arranged in a standardized format, usually alphabetically by surname and chronologically by marriage date.

Finding an OFB[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration (Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister)[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records were kept at the local civil registration office (Standesamt). To find the records, you need to first determine the town where your ancestor lived, then determine the location of the civil registration office for that town.  The civil registration office may have been located in the same town or, for smaller towns and villages, the civil records may have been kept in a larger nearby town. Use gazetteers to help identify the place where your ancestor lived and the civil registration office that served it (see Germany Gazetteers). Large cities often have many civil registration districts. City directories can sometimes help identify which civil registration district a person lived in.  

1. Locating Records at the Family History Library[edit | edit source]

Try to find church 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 the Family History Centers near you. To find records:

a. For civil registration of localitues that were in Baden, click here. Open the link Places within Germany, Baden.
For civil reigstration of localities that were in Württemberg, click here. Open the link Places within Germany, Württemberg.
For civil registration of localities that were in Hohenzollern, click here. Open the link Places within Germany, Hollenzollern.
b. Click on your town or parish.
c. Click on the "Civil registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
d. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.
e. 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.

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

Many civil registration records, especially those created in 1876 or later, are still only available in the local civil registration office or archive in Germany that has the originals.

  • If the records are not online or on microfilm, civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing to the local civil registry (Standesamt). Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the Standesamt. It is indicated by the abbreviation "StdA". However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.
  • For a municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box. An article about the town will start with a first line such as: "Besse with about 3200 inhabitants is the largest district of the municipality Edermünde in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the municipality (in this example Edermünde).
  • Email the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there. From the town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article. There will usually be an infobox on the page that lists the address and the website of the municipality. From the website, look for Kontakt (Contact) information with an email address.
  • For a town:
  • Follow the same instructions as for a municipality. However, in this case, the first line will read, for example: "Borken is a town in the Schwalm-Eder-Kreis with about 13,000 residents.
  • The infobox with the website will appear directly on a town page.

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

Local Standesamt Addresses[edit | edit source]


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

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.

Church Records (Kirchenbuch or Kirchenbuchduplikate)[edit | edit source]

See Germany Church Records to learn more.

  • Entries for baptisms/christenings, marriages, and burials in the local church records are the main source to use prior to 1876, when civil registration began. Also after 1876, these records might be intact when the civil registers were destroyed, or vice versa. In addition, either the church records and civil records might contain information not in the other record.
  • Try to determine whether your ancestors were Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical).
  • Often two or three generations are included in family registers (called "Familienbuch" or "Familienregister"). Family registers are exclusive to Württemberg and are a great source of help, as they usually list birth, marriage, and death dates for multiple family members.
    • A register (usually two pages) was created at the time of a couple's marriage and would be added to as children joined the family. The registers are thus very trustworthy as they were often kept by the priest who entered the births, marriages, and deaths in the regular church book.

1. Online Records[edit | edit source]

The church books at Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg are fully digitized and no longer available for searching in the archive.

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

Try to find church records in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. These microfilms may be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers around the world. To find a microfilm:

a. For church records of parishes that were in Baden, click here. Open the link Places within Germany, Baden.
For church records of parishes that were in Württemberg, click here. Open the link Places within Germany, Württemberg.
For church records of parishes that were in Hohenzollern, click here. Open the link Places within Germany, Hollenzollern.
b. Click on your town or parish.
c. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
d. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. "Taufen" are baptisms/christenings. "Heiraten" are marriages. "Tote" are deaths. Familienregister" is the family register.
e. 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. Writing to Local Parishes[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.

Evangelical-Lutheran Parish Addresses[edit | edit source]

Catholic Parish Addresses[edit | edit source]

Archdiocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart: Clickable map of churches
Archdiocese Freiburg: Their online address list or use The Catholic Directory for Germany

Writing the Letter[edit | edit source]

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)
GERMANY

For a Catholic Parish:

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


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.

4. Contacting Archives[edit | edit source]

State Archives[edit | edit source]

The church books at Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg are fully digitized and no longer available for searching in the archive.



Some areas of Württemberg have deposited their books at district archives. This is mostly the case with Catholic church records. For many places duplicate records for the time frame 1808 to 1875 are located  in the State Archive of Ludwigsburg.
State Archives Ludwigsburg Arsenal
Square 3
71638 Ludwigsburg
Germany

Phone: 07141 / 64854-6310 (Lesesaal -6337)
Fax: 07141 / 64854-6311
E-Mail: staludwigsburg@la-bw.de

Lutheran Archives[edit | edit source]

Many records are digitized and online at Archion. However, digitizing the records is not complete. For records held by these archives but not yet digitized, you may wish to visit the archives.

Landeskirchliches Archiv in Baden
Evangelischer Oberkirchenrat
Blumenstraße 1
76133 Karlsruhe
Germany

Phone: 0721 / 9175-795
E-Mail: archiv@ekiba.de
Website: http://www.ekiba.de/html/content/landeskirchliches_archiv_karlsruhe.html?&

  • Family Research page
  • Research Requests The archive will honor requests taking less than two and a half hours. Fees apply. A list of recommended professional researchers is provided for longer research.



Landeskirchliches Archiv in Württemberg (includes Hohenzollern)
Balinger Str. 33/1
70567 Stuttgart
Germany

Tel .: 0711-2149-373
Fax: 0711-2149-180
E-Mail: archiv@elk-wue.de
Website: http://www.archiv.elk-wue.de

  • Inventory of holdings
  • Family Research page Also includes information on research requests and recommended professional researchers.
    • "We own microfilms of the church registers (Kirchenbücher) of all parishes of the Evangelical Church of the State of Württemberg (Evangelische Landeskirche in Württemberg). Since 1952 the State of Württemberg (up to 1918 Kingdom of Württemberg) has been part of the present day State of Baden Württemberg (see map). There are more than 1200 protestant congregations in Württemberg whose registers we have microfilmed.These microfilms include all registers (baptisms, marriages, deaths) in some cases beginning in the late 1500s up to the year 1875. From 1876 to the present day births, marriages and deaths are recorded at the local Register offices (Standesamt). Our microfilms also include the family registers (Familienregister) that were begun in 1808. One entry in the family register gives the name of the father (Hausvater) and the mother (Hausmut­ter) with the dates of their births, mar­riage and deaths. There are also men­tioned the names of the parents of this couple as well as their children. Thus there are three generations on one sheet. These microfilms can be viewed at our archives. In this case an appointment has to be made by phone beforehand (0711/2149-373). The microfilms will be loaned by written request in Germany and Europe to people willing to refund the postage. Copies of all our microfilms are also in the possession of the Genealogical Society of Utah. " [1] See above, 2. Microfilm Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Catholic (Katholische) Archives[edit | edit source]

Archbishop's Archives Freiburg (Baden and Hohenzollern)
Schoferstraße 3
79098 Freiburg i.Br.
Germany

Postal address:
Archbishop's Archives Freiburg
Postfach <
79095 Freiburg i.Br.
Germany

Tel .: 0761 / 2188-260
Fax: 0761 / 2188-439
Reservations required.


Diocesan Archives Rottenburg (Württemburg)
Eugen-Bolz-Platz 1
72108 Rottenburg
Germany

Phone: 07472 - 169305
Fax: 07472-169617
E-mail:Dar@bo.drs.de
Web site: http://www.katholische-archive.de/Di%C3%B6zesanarchive/RottenburgStuttgart/tabid/94/Default.aspx


Reading the 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
German Handwriting
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
  • Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:

This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:

  • Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)

Latin Records[edit | edit source]

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

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • 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.