West Prussia (Westpreussen), German Empire Civil Registration
Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In West Prussia (Westpreussen), they were started in October 1874.
German terms for these records include Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister. They are an excellent source for information on names and dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. These records are kept by the civil registrar (Standesbeamte) at the civil registry office (Standesamt). Study these links to learn what information can be found in them:
For a comprehensive understanding of civil registration, study the article Germany Civil Registration.
Finding Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]
Use Westpreussen.de for detailed information.[edit | edit source]
This important online gazetteer gives detailed information on church records, where they can be found, and in some cases, links to online records.
Example entry: This information will be on the details page. Notice that the listed names of the registry office, Protestant church, and Catholic church are links. Clicking on those links will give even further details. Some links lead to online records.
1. Online Records[edit | edit source]
2. Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]
Try to find records in the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Many microfilms have been digitized for online viewing. Gradually, everything will be digitized, so check back occasionally. Some have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:
3. Archives[edit | edit source]
Several different archives have civil registration records. In fact they are "all over the place", literally. There are several "finding aids" that help with locating them.
1. Online Finding Aids and Databases[edit | edit source]
2. Civil Registration information in Berlin For Poland[edit | edit source]
Standesamt I Berlin officially holds the civil registration information for the former areas of Germany.
Standesamt I Berlin
3. Holding Lists Provided by Archives[edit | edit source]
You can also consult holding lists and use search engines to search which records might be held at each archive. Brief inquiries by email about whether a record group for your locality and time period is available at that archive are generally honored..
DZfG Leipzig[edit | edit source]
German Central Office for Genealogy
GStA Berlin[edit | edit source]
Secret State Archives Prussian
Poland[edit | edit source]
Writing a Letter to Archives[edit | edit source]
How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus Polish translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the Poland Letter Writing Guide.
4. Societies[edit | edit source]
Societies are also active in collecting, transcribing, and indexing records.
Association for Family Research in East and West Prussia e. V. (VFFOW)[edit | edit source]
"VFFOW is an independent, non-partisan and independent association. The intention and the goal of the association and in its interest is, in a trusting and friendly relationship with institutions and persons who today have their homeland in the research area of the association, to jointly pursue family research and regional historical research."
Ahnenforschung im Kreis Sensburg und Masuren[edit | edit source]
"The research group Sensburg, within the AGoFF eV - Research Center East and West Prussia , is dedicated to genealogical research and the demographic history in the former city and district of Sensburg in the borders of 1945."
5. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources[edit | edit source]
Town Genealogies (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch)[edit | edit source]
See the class, Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net, and Wiki article, Germany Town Genealogies and Parish Register Inventories on the Internet. Published town genealogies, Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book), generally include birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families based on the opinion of the author. If one is available, it should only be used as an index or guide to finding the original records. They usually contain errors. Always verify their information in original records.
Finding an OFB[edit | edit source]
Reading the Records[edit | edit source]
Downloadable Handouts[edit | edit source]
Latin Records[edit | edit source]
Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:
Polish[edit | edit source]
Because West Prussia is now in Poland, these articles will help:
Search Strategy[edit | edit source]