===2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.===
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|'''Finding Aids For German Records''']] for step-by-step instructions.
Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. An important gazetteer, [http://www.meyersgaz.org '''''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. <br>