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→Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office
Germany has many "cultural regions" and "geographical landscapes", smaller, informal areas that were not political entities, for example, "The Black Forest" or "Frisia". Your ancestors might have left records or family traditions that they were from one of these areas. This list of [http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Kategorie:Landschaft '''"landscapes" by GenWiki'''] can help you identify these regions. Once you know that the information is a cultural region not a town, you will know that you need to search further to narrow down your ancestors' town.
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"'''. <span style= "color:DarkViolet">''''This is the Standesamt location you will use when searching for civil registration records anywhere in the FamilySearch catalog and collections.'''</span><br> '''However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the modern record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz. <span style= "color:DarkViolet"> When writing for records, first find the modern registrar for your town.'''</span> :*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'''''...." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the larger '''municipality''' (in this example, Edermünde). :*For larger towns which constitute a 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. ::*This type of article will '''not''' state that the town belongs to another municipality, because it is itself a municipality. :*To e-mail the municipality to '''verify that the civil registry for your town is there'''. ::#Consult this address list for the exact contact information, which should include an e-mail address: [https://www.standesamt.com/ '''Standesamt.com''']. In the horizontal menu bar, hover over "+registry office" or "+Standesämter", then the name of the modern state, for a drop-down list of links to modern cilvil registrars. ::#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. Use the [[German Letter Writing Guide|'''German Letter Writing Guide''']] to write your questions in German.
==Determining the Location of Churches==