Oldenburg, German Empire Genealogy
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Guide to Oldenburg, German Empire ancestry, family history, and genealogy before 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records, both church and civil registration, compiled family history, and finding aids.
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
The Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (German: Großherzogtum Oldenburg) (also known as Holstein-Oldenburg) was a grand duchy within the German Confederation, North German Confederation and German Empire which consisted of three widely separated territories: Oldenburg, Eutin and Birkenfeld.
As a result of the Greater Hamburg Act of 1937, Eutin passed from the Free State of Oldenburg to the Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein.
After the Second World War, Birkenfeld belonged to the French zone of occupation, and since 1946, it has been a district seat in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Today, the Oldenburg region is in the state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen); the Eutin region is in the state Schleswig-Holstein; and Birkenfeld is in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). Wikipedia
Getting Started[edit | edit source]
Getting Started with Germany Research
Links to articles on getting started with German research:
Germany Research Tools
Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:
Historical Geography[edit | edit source]
Notice the three different areas, separated from each other.
Notice the three different areas, separated from each other: Oldenburg, Eutin, and Birkenfeld.
1937: Eutin area became part of Schleswig-Holstein. Birkenfeld became part of Prussian district of Birkenfeld 1946: Oldenburg area merged into Lower Saxony. Eutin is in the state of Schleswig-Holstein; Birkenfeld is in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). (Map)
Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Oldenburg[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:
- Emigrants from the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
- Niedersachsen Archives Search Page, enter "Auswanderer" and surname.
- Emigrant families from the old district Wildeshausen
- Emigrants from the former Amt Damme, Oldenburg (now Niedersachsen), Germany, mainly to the United States, 1830-1849.FamilySearch Digital Book
2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.[edit | edit source]
Your ancestor's town might have been too small to have its own parish church or civil registration office. 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.
Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. An important gazetteer, Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, "Meyer's Gazetter" for short, details the place names of villages, towns, counties (kreise), and higher jurisdictions used at that time. In the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records, the records of Germany are organized using those place names.
You can also consult Oldenburg Parish Record Inventories to learn the Lutheran or Catholic parish that would have kept records for your town.
At the end of both World Wars, the boundaries of the states were changed dramatically, as areas of Germany were distributed among the Allied nations. Eventually, after re-unification in 1990, the states of Germany settled into what they are today. It is also necessary to understand Germany by this system, as it affects the locations of civil registration offices, archives, and mailing addresses used in correspondence searches.
3. For birth, marriage, and death records from 1799-1814, and then beginning again 1 January 1874, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Oldenburg, German Empire Civil Registration.
4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Oldenburg, German Empire Church Records.
More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]
- Germany Online Classes and Tutorials
- Reading German Handwritten Records Practice exercises to build your skills and confidence.
- Old German Script Transcriber (alte deutsche Handschriften): See your family names in the script of the era. Type your name or other word into the font generator tool. Click on the 8 different fonts. Save the image to your computer and use it as you work with old Germanic records.
- Finding Aids for German Records
- Research Tips and Strategies
- Print these handouts for ready reference when reading German Handwriting:
- German Research, BYU Independent Study, no cost.