User:Amberannelarsen/sandbox90

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Germany Research Topics
Muehlhausen Thueringen .jpg
Beginning Research
Reading the Records
Record Types
Germany Background
Local Research Resources
Moderator
The FamilySearch moderator for Germany is Baerbel

Guide to German ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Country Information[edit | edit source]

Germany is a vibrant country with a rich history and heritage. As with many countries of Europe, Germany has seen dramatic changes to its borders and even its internal regions. Over the centuries, Germany consisted of numerous independent kingdoms, duchies, principalities, and states. Then in 1871 all German-speaking states except the Austrian states were consolidated into the German Empire. [1] This construct is still seen in Germany today.

Place-names and county, province, and state jurisdictions also changed, often more than once. Because of these changes, you may discover that it is difficult to find the name of your German ancestor's town on a modern map. You may also have trouble determining the jurisdiction where their records were kept. Various resources are available to help you find that information and will be included here.

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Due to its complex history, the boundaries of Germany have changed extensively. If your ancestor lived in Germany before 1945, use this map to do your research.

Getting Started with Germany Research

Links to articles on getting started with German research:

See More Research Strategies

Germany Research Tools

Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:

See More Research Tools


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German Empire (pre-1945)[edit | edit source]

To locate records for your ancestor, you need to know the town they came from. If you do not know the town, see these instructions to identify it.

Deutsches Reich 1871-1918.png

English

  • Alsace-Lorraine
  • Anhalt
  • Baden
  • Bavaria
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Brunswick
  • East Prussia
  • Hamburg
  • Hanover
  • Hesse-Darmstadt
  • Hesse-Nassau
  • Hohenzollern
  • Lippe
  • Lübeck
  • Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  • Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  • Oldenburg
  • Pomerania
  • Posen
  • Province of Saxony
  • Reuss-Greiz or Older Line
  • Reuss-Gera or Younger Line
  • Rhineland
  • Saxony
  • Saxe-Altenburg
  • Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  • Saxe-Meiningen
  • Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
  • Schaumburg-Lippe
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
  • Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
  • Silesia
  • Thuringia
  • Waldeck and Pyrmont
  • Westphalia
  • West Prussia
  • Württemberg

German

  • Elsass-Lothringen
  • Anhalt
  • Baden
  • Bayern
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Braunschweig
  • Ostpreussen
  • Hamburg
  • Hannover
  • Hessen-Darmstadt
  • Hessen-Nassau
  • Hohenzollern
  • Lippe
  • Lübeck
  • Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  • Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  • Oldenburg
  • Pommern
  • Posen
  • Provinz Sachsen
  • Reuss ältere Linie
  • Reuss jüngere Linie
  • Rheinland
  • Sachsen
  • Sachsen-Altenburg
  • Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha
  • Sachsen-Meiningen
  • Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach
  • Schaumburg-Lippe
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
  • Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
  • Schlesien
  • Thüringen
  • Waldeck und Pyrmont
  • Westfalen
  • Westpreussen
  • Württemberg



Modern Germany (1945-Present)[edit | edit source]

To locate records for your ancestor, you need to know the town they came from. If you do not know the town, see these instructions to identify it.

Schleswig-HolsteinMecklenburg-VorpommernHamburgBremen|Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony)Berlin|BrandenburgNordrhein-WestfalenSaxony-AnhaltHessenThüringenSachsen (Saxony)Rheinland-Pfalz (Palatinate)SaarlandBaden-WürttembergBayern (Bavaria)Modern Germany map2.png

English

German




Jurisdiction Chart[edit | edit source]

This table will help you coordinate information from the two geographic systems, enabling you to find your desired records within each system.

1871 Region
Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Page

Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen)

1919: ceded to France (Map)

Elsass-Lothringen

Alsace-Lorraine, France or Germany Genealogy

Anhalt 

1945: Merged into current state of Saxony-Anhalt with the Province of Saxony, Magdeburg, Halle, and the Brunswick enclaves of Calvorde and eastern Blankenburg. (Map)

Anhalt

Saxony-Anhalt, Germany Genealogy

Baden

1952: Merged into current state of Baden-Württemburg (Map)

Baden

Baden-Württemberg, Germany Genealogy

Bavaria (Bayern)

1920: current state of Bavaria, merged with Coburg
1945: Lost the Pfalz (Palatinate) to Hessen
1957: The Saar-Pfalz became part of the current state of Saarland (Map)

Bavaria: Bayern
Coburg: Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha

Bavaria, Germany Genealogy
Hamburg, Germany Genealogy

Berlin

1990: City-state of Berlin (Map of subdivisions)

Germany, Preußen, Brandenburg, Berlin

Berlin, Germany Genealogy


Brandenburg

1945: Established as a state. A large section of Brandenburg, the Neumark, was ceded to Poland.
1952: Dissolved as a state
1990: Re-established as a current state (Map)

Preussen, Brandenburg

Brandenburg, Germany Genealogy
Neumark (region), Brandenburg, Germany Genealogy


Bremen, officially (Free Hanseatic City of Bremen)

1949: Current state of Bremen (Map)

Bremen

Bremen, Germany Genealogy


Brunswick (Braunschweig)

1919: Enclaves of Calvorde and Blankenburg became part of the current state of Saxony-Anhalt.
1946: The rest became part of the current state of Lower Saxony. (Map)

Braunschweig

Brunswick, Germany Genealogy


East Prussia (Ostpreussen)

1945 partition: (Map)
Southern East Prussia, (Warmia, (Masuria), and Soldau:to Poland
Northern East Prussia was divided between:

Preussen, Ostpreussen

East Prussia, Germany Genealogy
Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy
Lithuania Genealogy
Russia Genealogy


Elsass-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine)

1919: ceded to France (Map)

Elsass-Lothringen

Alsace-Lorraine, France or Germany Genealogy


Hamburg, officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

1949: Current state of Hamburg (Map)
1987-8: the city Geesthacht, and the municipalities of Großhansdorf and Schmalenbeck merged to Schleswig-Holstein

Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany Genealogy
Schleswig-Holstein, Germany Genealogy


Hannover 

1946: Merged into Lower Saxony (Map)

Preussen, Hannover

Hannover, Germany


Hessen

1945: Merged with Hessen-Nassau to become current state of Hessen (Map)

Hessen

Hessen, Germany Genealogy


Hessen-Nassau

1945: Merged with Hessen to become current state of Hessen (Map)

Preussen, Hessen-Nassau

Hessen, Germany Genealogy


Hohenzollern

1952: Merged into current state of Baden-Württemberg (Map)

Preussen, Hohenzollern

Baden-Württemberg, Germany Genealogy


Lippe

1947: Merged into current state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Map)

Lippe

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Genealogy


Lübeck

Part of the current state of Schleswig-Holstein (Map)

Lübeck

Lübeck, Germany Genealogy


Mecklenburg-Schwerin

1945: Merged with Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Western Pomerania to form the current state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Map)

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany Genealogy

Mecklenburg-Schwerin



Mecklenburg-Strelitz

1945: Merged with Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Western Pomerania to form the current state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Map)

Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany Genealogy


Oldenburg

1946: Merged into Lower Saxony (Map)

Oldenburg

Oldenburg, Germany Genealogy


Pomerania

1945: The western part became part of the current state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
1945: The eastern part, Pomeralia became the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland (Map)

Preussen, Pommern

West: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany Genealogy
East: Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy


Posen

1945: Became Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland Map

Preussen, Posen

Posen, Germany Genealogy
Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy


Province of Saxony 

1945: Merged into current state of Saxony-Anhalt with the Free State of Anhalt, Magdeburg, Halle, and the Brunswick enclaves of Calvorde and eastern Blankenburg. (Map)

Preussen, Sachsen Note: "Sachsen "(without Preussen) is used for the Kingdom of Saxony.

Saxony-Anhalt, Germany Genealogy


Reuss-Greiz or Older Line (Reuss ältere Linie)

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Reuss ältere Linie

Thuringia, Germany Genealogy


Reuss-Gera or Younger Line (Reuss jüngere Linie)

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Reuss jüngere Linie

Thuringia, Germany Genealogy


Rhineland (Rheinland)

1946: Divided into the newly founded states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Rhineland-Palatinate.
1957: All of the Saar except the Saar-Pfalz became part of the current state of Saarland

Preussen, Rheinland

Use this clickable map to find the correct Wiki article: Map

Saxony(Sachsen)

Current state of Saxony (Map)

Sachsen Note: "Preussen, Sachsen" is used for the Province of Saxony.

Saxony, Germany Genealogy


Saxe (Sachsen)-Altenburg

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Sachsen-Altenburg

Thuringia, Germany Genealogy


Saxony (Sachsen)-Coburg-Gotha 

1945: Saxe-Coburg merged into Bavaria. Saxe-Gotha merged into Thuringia. (Map)

Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha

Saxe-Coburg: Bavaria, Germany Genealogy Saxe-Gotha: Thuringia, Germany Genealogy

Saxe (Sachsen)-Meiningen 

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Sachsen-Meiningen 

Thuringia, Germany Genealogy


Saxe (Sachsen)-Weimar-Eisenach 

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach 

Thuringia, Germany Genealogy


Schaumburg-Lippe

1946: Merged into current state of Lower Saxony (Map)

Schaumburg-Lippe

Lower Saxony, Germany Genealogy


Schleswig-Holstein

Preussen, Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein, Germany Genealogy
Lübeck, Germany Genealogy
Hamburg, Germany Genealogy
Åbenrå County, Denmark Genealogy
Haderslev County, Denmark Genealogy
Sønderborg County, Denmark Genealogy
Tønder County, Denmark Genealogy


Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt 

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt

Thuringia, Germany Genealogy


Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

Thuringia, Germany Genealogy


Silesia (Schliesien)

  • 1919:Upper Silesia became Opole, Lesser Poland, and Silesian Voivodeships, Poland
  • 1945: Hlučín Area of Moravian-Silesian was ceded to Czechslovakia.
  • 1945: the small Lusatian strip' west of the Oder-Neisse line merged into Saxony
  • 1945: the rest of Poland became Lubusz, Lower Silesian, and Opole Voivodeships of Poland

(Map)

Preussen, Schliesien

Use the Kartenmeister Gazetteer to determine the Polish name and Voivodeship of your German town.

Silesia, Germany Genealogy
Opole Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy
Lubusz Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy
Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy
Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy
Silesian Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy


Thuringia (Thüringen)

1920: Became the state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990, with minor changes to the boundaries. (Map)

Thüringen

Thuringia, Germany Genealogy


Waldeck and Pyrmont

1946: Merged into current state of Lower Saxony (Map)

Waldeck

Lower Saxony, Germany Genealogy


Westphalia (Westfalen)

1945: Became part of the current state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) (Map)

Preussen, Westfalen

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Genealogy


West Prussia  (Westpreussen)

1919: Became Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland (Map)

Preussen, Westpreussen

West Prussia, Germany Genealogy
Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy


Württemberg

1951: Merged with Baden and Hohenzollern to become the current state of Baden-Württemberg (Map)

Württemberg

Baden-Württemberg, Germany Genealogy


Finding Your Ancestors' Town[edit | edit source]

  • To begin using the records of Germany, knowing that your family came from Brunswick 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.
  • Details about the town will also help:
    • the county or "Kreis" of that town,
    • where the closest Evangelical Lutheran or Catholic parish church was (depending on their religion),
    • where the civil registration office ("Standesamt") was, and
    • if you have only a village name, you will need the name of the larger town it was part of.

How To Find the Town[edit | edit source]

If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.



If You Know the Town, Use Meyers Gazetteer[edit | edit source]

Once you know the town name you need, the other facts you need are contained in Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, the gazetteer on which the FamilySearch catalog for Germany is based.


Here is part of an entry from MeyersGaz.org. (The whole entry can be studied at Heusenstamm, MeyersGaz.)

The most important facts here are:

  1. Heusenstamm is in Offenbach Kreis (Kr).
  2. It has its own Standesamt (StdA) or civil registration office.
  3. It has its own Catholic parish church.
  4. By clicking on the "Ecclesiastical" option, we learn that the closest protestant church is 2 miles away in Bieber.


MeyersGaz.png
  • If you find several towns of the same name, checking each one for the birth record of your ancestor may be needed to narrow down the field.

More Germany Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]




References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Germany," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany, accessed 23 March 2016.