Rhineland (Rheinland), Prussia, German Empire Genealogy
Guide to Rhineland (Rheinland), 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.
|Rhineland (Rheinprovinz) |
|Major Rhineland (Rheinprovinz) Record Types|
|Reading the Records|
|Additional Rhineland (Rheinprovinz) Record Types|
|Rhineland (Rheinprovinz) Background|
|Local Research Resources|
|Germany Record Types|
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
- The Rhineland (Rheinland) or Rhine Province (Rheinprovinz), also known as Rhenish Prussia (Rheinpreußen), was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia.
- In 1815, Prussia gained control of the following territories, which were amalgamated into the new Prussian Rhine Province (Rheinprovinz) in 1822:
- the duchies of Cleves (Kleve), Berg, parts of Gelderland, and Jülich,
- the ecclesiastical principalities of Trier and Cologne (Köln),
- the free cities of Aachen and Cologne (Köln), and
- nearly one hundred small lordships and abbeys which would all be amalgamated into the new Prussian Rhine Province.
- In 1920, the Saar regionwas separated from Rhineland (Rheinland), and the districts of Eupen and Malmedy were transferred to Belgium.
- In 1946, the Rhineland (Rheinland) was divided up between the newly founded states of North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) and Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). The town of Wetzlar became part of Hesse (Hessen). 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]
1946: Divided into the newly founded states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Rhineland-Palatinate. The city of Wetzlar became part of the state of Hesse (Hessen).
Use this clickable map to find the correct Wiki article: Map
Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Rhineland (Reinland)[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.
- Emigrants from the Rhineland (19th century), click on "Zum Findbuch 211.22.01" at the bottom of the page and it will download an excel spreadsheet with the full list of emigrants.
- Male immigrants from Rheinland and Westfalen, Prussia
- Female immigrants from Rheinland and Westfalen, Prussia
- Die Amerika-Auswanderung aus dem Regierungsbezirk Trier : Band VIII, die Amerika-Auswanderung aus dem Kreis Daun. Emigration to America from Kreis (County) Daun of the Trier district.
- Amerika-Auswanderungen aus den Regierungsbezirken Bitburg und Trier im 19. Jahrhundert. Emigrations to America during the 19th century from the districts of Bitburg and Trier, Rheinland, Germany, with notes on migrations to various other countries.
- Auswanderungsakten, 1816-1925. Emigration from the district of Aachen, Rheinland, Germany. Includes Erkelenz, Eupen, Geilenkirchen, Heinsberg, Jülich, Malmédy, Gemünd, Montjoie (Monschau), Schleiden, St. Vith (Eifel), Elsaß-Lothringen and Düren.
- Auswanderungsakten, 1822-1920. Emigration from the district of Düsseldorf, Rheinland, Germany. Includes Barmen, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Elberfeld, Essen-Oberhausen, Geldern, München Gladbach, Grevenbroich, Kempen, Cleve, Crefeld, Lennep, Mettmann, Moers, Mühlheim, Neuss, Rees, Ruhrort (Duisburg), and Solingen.
- Emigration to America from the district of Trier (Germany) during the 19th century = Amerika - Auswandrung aus dem Regierungsbezirk Trier im 19 ten Jahrhundert
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 Rhineland (Rheinland) 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 after 1 October 1874, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Rhineland (Rheinland), German Empire Civil Registration.
4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Rhineland (Rheinland), German Empire Church Records.
More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]
- Germany Online Classes and Tutorials
- German Paleography Seminar - Lessons on German Handwriting
- 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
- German Research, BYU Independent Study, no cost.
- These printable handouts can be used for ready reference when reading German Handwriting.
- Vocabulary found on Specific Records:
- Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations:
- Miscellaneous Vocabulary:
- Fraktur Font -- Many forms and books are printed in this font.
- German Given Names:
- List of Names in Old German Script -- A comprehensive list of German given names, written in old script, with possible variations.