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How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Bremen, German Empire

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Bremen, German Empire
Wiki Topics
BremenMarktplatz.jpg
Getting Started
Major Bremen Record Types
Additional Bremen
Record Types
Bremen Background
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background
Birth, Marriage, and Death Records

Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Bremen[edit | edit source]

Most of the information you need to identify you ancestors and their families will be found in two major record groups: civil registration and church records. To locate these records, follow the instructions in these Wiki articles.

1. Find the name of your ancestor's town in family history records.[edit | edit source]

Records were kept on the local level. You must know the town where your ancestor lived. If your ancestor was a United States Immigrant, use the information in the Wiki article Germany Finding Town of Origin to find evidence of the name of the town where your ancestors lived in Germany.
Also, see:

2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.[edit | edit source]

Bremen and Bremerhaven have several smaller towns or parishes. Find the location of the Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical) parish that served your ancestor's locality. Find the name of the civil registration office (Standesamt) that serves your ancestor's locality. Use the Wiki article Finding Aids For German Records for step-by-step instructions. The records you find might not state the specific smaller town or parish.

Parish Register Inventories[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.

  • Kirchenbuch-Inventar der freien Staat Bremen
  • Wilhelm Jensen “Die Kirchenbücher Schleswig-Holsteins, der Landeskirche Eutin und der Hansestädte” (Neumünster: Karl Wachholtz Verlag, 1958); included in Quellen und Forschungen zur Familiengeschichte Schleswig-Holsteins, 2. Bd. Description of the parish registers of Schleswig-Holstein, the principality of Lübeck in Oldenburg, and the cities of Lübeck, Bremen and Hamburg. (FHL Location 1: FHL INTL Ref) (FHL Location 2: FHL INTL book 943.512 D2q v. 2)(FHL Location 3: FHL INTL film 1183522, it. 5, 1936 version) WorldCat

3. For birth, marriage, and death records beginning in 1811, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In Bremen, they were started in 1811. 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.

Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office[edit | edit source]

Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the registry office (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 small town within a larger 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).
  • To e-mail the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
  1. From the Wikipedia town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article.
  2. There will usually be an infobox on the right side of page that lists the address and the website of the municipality.
  3. Click on the website. Look for "Kontakt (Contact)" information, which should provide an e-mail address.
  4. Send a message asking whether you have the correct office for your ancestors' home town. You can also use e-mail to request records and arrange payment.
  • For larger towns which constitute a municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box.
  • This type of article will not state that the town belongs to another municipality, because it is itself a municipality.
  • The infobox that lists the address and the website of the municipality will appear directly on a this first page that comes up.
  • Follow the above instructions #2-4 above.

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.

Finding Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

1. Online Records[edit | edit source]

2. Digital Copies of Civil Registration From FamilySearch[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 the Family History Centers near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the Places within Germany, Bremen drop-down menu and select your town.
b. Click on the "Civil registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" 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. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing to the local civil registry (Standesamt) or the district and state archives. Records may have been lost at one location of the other, so you might end up checking both. The first office you contact might choose to forward your request to the other location if necessary.

How to write a letter[edit | edit source]

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.

State Archives[edit | edit source]

Duplicate registers from some towns are kept in state archives. The advice from these state archives is to use the Standesamt-Nord and Standesamt-Mitte records from the local offices first.

State Archives Bremen
Postal address:
Staatsarchiv Bremen
Am Staatsarchiv 1
28203 Bremen
Germany

Phone: 0421 / 361-6221
Fax: 0421 / 361-10247

E-mail: office@staatsarchiv.bremen.de


Standesamt Addresses[edit | edit source]

Standesamt Bremen-Mitte
(Registry Office of central Bremen)
Hollerallee 79
D-28209 Bremen
Email:Standesamtmitte@stadtamt.bremen.de


Standesamt Bremen-Nord
(Registry Office of north Bremen) 
Weserstrasse 75
D-28757 Bremen
Email:StandesamtBremen-Nord@Stadtamt.Bremen.de


Standesamt Bremerhaven
(Registry Office of Bremerhaven)
Stadthaus 5
Postfach 210360
D-27524 Bremerhaven
Email:Standesamt@magistrat.bremerhaven.de Standesamt@magistrat.bremerhaven.de


4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]

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]

Parish Register Inventories[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.

  • Kirchenbuch-Inventar der freien Staat Bremen
  • Wilhelm Jensen “Die Kirchenbücher Schleswig-Holsteins, der Landeskirche Eutin und der Hansestädte” (Neumünster: Karl Wachholtz Verlag, 1958); included in Quellen und Forschungen zur Familiengeschichte Schleswig-Holsteins, 2. Bd. Description of the parish registers of Schleswig-Holstein, the principality of Lübeck in Oldenburg, and the cities of Lübeck, Bremen and Hamburg. (FHL Location 1: FHL INTL Ref) (FHL Location 2: FHL INTL book 943.512 D2q v. 2)(FHL Location 3: FHL INTL film 1183522, it. 5, 1936 version) WorldCat

1. Online Records[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, Bremen drop-down menu and select your parish. Use the sources above to determine the parish.
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.

State Archives[edit | edit source]

  • The Staatsarchiv Bremen holds most of the church books from before 1920.


State Archives Bremen
Postal address:
Staatsarchiv Bremen
Am Staatsarchiv 1
28203 Bremen
Germany

Phone: 0421 / 361-6221
Fax: 0421 / 361-10247

E-mail: office@staatsarchiv.bremen.de



  • The church books (with a few missing) of Bremen and formerly surrounding areas are available at the genealogical society "Die Maus". One can obtain copies up to 1875.

Please contact:

Die Maus
Gesellschaft für Familienforschung in Bremen e.V.
Am Staatsarchiv 1
28203 Bremen
Germany

E-Mail: Luetjen@die-maus-bremen.de

Central Church Archives[edit | edit source]

In a few parts of Germany, church records or duplicates have been gathered from the local parishes into central archives. Some gaps in the church records of local parishes could be filled using these records. Church archives are often unable to handle genealogical requests, but they can determine whether they have specific records you need, or they may recommend a researcher who can search the records for you.


Catholic Diocese of Osnabrück
Dioezesanarchiv des Osnabrück
Grosse Domfreiheit 10
49074 Osnabrück
Germany

  • E-mail:KulturundArchiv@bistum-os.de
  • Website

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.

Evangelical Lutheran (Protestant)[edit | edit source]

Catholic Addresses[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?

Writing to a Local Parish[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[edit | edit source]

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. If you are not in Salt Lake City, use the Contact Us feature to request information from the books.

Also,

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 Genealogy.net and the 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.

Finding an OFB[edit | edit source]

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
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:

List of Names in Old German Script A comprehensive list of German given names, written in old script, with possible variations.

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)

Downloadable Handouts[edit | edit source]

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.
  • The marriage certificate will show the birth date, birth place, and parents of the bride and the groom. If you only have a church marriage record, 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.