Studying Your German Locality
Studying Your German Locality for Important Details==*To begin using the records of Germany, knowing that your family came from Germany will not be enough to use the records of Germany. Records are kept on the '''local level''', so you will have to know '''the town they lived''' in. Even when you know the town, the records for that town might be stored in the '''records of a church in a nearby town'''.
*Here are important details you must identify about your ancestors' town:
**if you have only a village name,
you will need the name of the larger '''municipality''' it was part of .**the county (Kreis) snd the '''province or duchy''' governing that town, **where the '''civil registration office ("Standesamt")''' was and now is,
**where the ''' Evangelical Lutheran or Catholic parish church''' overseeing that town was (depending on their religion),
**Eventually, you might need to know the names of '''neighboring towns''' and the '''churches who served them. ''' When you come to a dead-end in your research, you will need to look at the records of near-by towns. People tended to not move very far away, and sometimes you will be able to pick up the research again in these towns.
*Use [[Germany Finding Town of Origin|'''Germany Finding Town of Origin''']] as a guide in exhausting every possible record to find what you need.<br>
Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office == Research your town name in [ http://www. meyersgaz.org ''' MeyersGaz.org'''] to find the location of the registry office (''Standesamt''). It is indicated by the abbreviation ''' "StdA"'''. <br>
'''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 [ https: //de. wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Hauptseite '''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 right side of page that lists the address and the website of the municipality. ::*From the website, look for Kontakt (Contact) information with an email address. Send a message asking whether you have the correct office for your ancestors' home town. *For larger towns: :*Follow the same instructions above. :*The infobox with the website will appear directly on a this page. ==Determining the Location of Churches===== 1. Consult Meyers' Gazetteer for Parish Information=== To find out where the Evangelical Lutheran or Catholic parish church overseeing your ancestor's town was (depending on their religion), start with Meyer's Gazetteer , '''''Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs'' ''', the gazetteer on which the FamilySearch catalog for Germany is based. *Use [http://www.meyersgaz.org/ '''MeyersGaz'''], the digital gazetteer, to find the details you need, particularly: **the province or duchy it belonged to **whether it had its own Catholic and/or Evangelical Lutheran parish, and, if not, **the closest Catholic and/or Evangelical Lutheran parishes
*[http://www.meyersgaz.org/help/help.html '''MeyersGaz Help Guide''']
*[[Abbreviation Table for Meyers Orts und Verkehrs Lexikon Des Deutschen Reichs|'''Abbreviation Table''']]
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/872 '''Meyer's Gazetteer Now Online, Indexed and Fully Searchable!''']
=2. Consult '''Kartenmeister''' for parish information.===For the provinces of East Prussia (Ostpreussen), Posen, Pomerania (Pommern), Silesia (Schlesien), parts of Brandenburg, and West Prussia (Westpreussen), areas which no longer belong to Germany, the online gazetteer '''Kartenmeister''' most efficiently tells you parish information :<br>
*Class: [https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/363 '''Kartenmeister.com Finding Places in the Former German Area of Poland''']
3 . Parish Register Inventories===
A parish register inventory is a reference book which lists all the localities in a region and then identifies the Catholic or Protestant parish that served them. Some are available online.
For more information, see [[Germany Websites--Reference and Training#Parish Register Inventories|'''Parish Register Inventories''']] and [[Germany Church Directories|'''Germany Church Directories.''']]<br>
If you are able to visit the FamilySearch Main Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, go to the international floor of the library. Consultants at the help desk there are familiar with their large collection of parish register inventories. They will be able to assist you in researching which parishes served your ancestors' town.
4. Hansen's Map Guides===If you are at the FamilySearch Main Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, these excellent reference volumes will identify parish boundaries.
*Hansen's Map Guides''' - [[Media:1-Map_Guide,_Instruction.pdf|Instruction]], [[Media:2-Map_Guide,_Assignment.pdf|Activity]], [[Media:3-Map_Guide,_Answer_Key.pdf|Answer Key]]<br>
===5. Ask the Community===
[https://community.familysearch.org/s/group/0F93A000000LhYOSA0/germany-genealogy-research '''The Germany Genealogy Research Group'''] is a community of volunteers with experience in German research.You can post questions on their website, and they can assist you with tracking down these details.
===Kartenmeister Links for Maps===