Berlin, Brandenburg, German Empire Civil Registration

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  • Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government.
  • In Berlin, they were started on 1 October 1874.
  • German terms for these records include Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister.
  • These records are kept by the civil registrar (Standesbeamte) at the civil registry office (Standesamt).


Since 1874 deaths, marriages and births have been recorded in the each German by registry office (Standesamt). Germany was covered nationwide with a network of registry offices. They registered births, marriages and deaths in certificates. The certificates were always duplicated for security purposes. For search purposes, register directories AZ were created annually. All these documents are handwritten. Source: Landesarchiv Berlin

  • On October 1, 1874, thirteen civil registration offices were formed for Berlin the city at that time (often referred to as "Alt-Berlin"), each assigned a number. With the increase in population new branch offices were added to the system with a number and a letter such as 13a and 13b added to district 13. Note that this system only covered today's central Berlin, Berlin having subsequently mushroomed into the third largest city in the world.
  • In 1912, the civil registration offices in Berlin were reorganized. The many outlying areas of Berlin were incorporated into Berlin's civil registration system. As a result 49 new offices were created. These offices remained the same until 1920.
  • From 1920 to 1991, the number of offices sometimes reached over 150. This chart from Landesarchiv Berlin lists the various offices that existed over the years and the office that holds responsibility for the records today. It also gives the call numbers for any registers currently deposited in Landesarchiv Berlin.
Ortsliste zur Berliner Standesamtsüberlieferung im Landesarchiv Berlin
Locations List of Berlin Civil Registration Office Records in Landesarchiv Berlin (with changes over time)
Ort Beginn Ende Repositur Standesamtsbezeichnung / Gebiet Zuständiges Amt
Place Beginning Date of Records Ending Date of Records Registry Call Number in Landearchiv Berlin Registry Office Name/Area Current Responsible Office


Accessing the Records Method 1: Indexed Civil Registration

There are comprehensive indexes of Berlin civil registration records available at Use your personal membership or can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center.

The collection also contains the civil registers of births from cities and communities in the Teltow, Niederbarnim and Osthavelland rural districts in Brandenburg, which were later incorporated into greater Berlin starting October 1, 1920:

Adlershof, Altglienicke, Biesdorf, Blankenburg, Blankenfelde, Bohnsdorf, Boxhagen, Britz, Buch, (Französisch) Buchholz, Buckow, Charlottenburg, Dahme-Forst, Dahlem, Eiche, Falkenberg, Friedenau, Friedrichsfelde, Friedrichshagen, Frohnau, Grünau, Grunewald, Haselhorst, Heiligensee, Heinersdorf, Hellersdorf, Hermsdorf, Hohenschönhausen, Karlshorst, Karow, Kaulsdorf, Kladow, Köpenick, Johannisthal, Lankwitz, Lichtenberg, Lichtenrade, Lichterfelde, Lübars, Mahlsdorf, Malchow, Mariendorf, Marienfelde, Marzahn, Müggelheim, Niederschöneweide, Niederschönhausen, Nikolassee, Oberschöneweide, Pankow, Pfaueninsel, Pichelsdorf, Rahnsdorf, Reinickendorf, Rixdorf/Neukölln, Rosenthal, Rudow, Ruhleben, Rummelsburg, Schmöckwitz, Schöneberg, Schöneweide, Siemensstadt, Spandau, Staaken, Steglitz, Sternfeld, Tegel, Tempelhof, Treptow, Wannsee, Weißensee, Wilhelmsruh, Wilmersdorf, Wittenau, Zehlendorf.

Accessing the Records Method 2: Landesarchiv Berlin

To find a birth, marriage, or death certificate from the Landesarchiv, you will follow these steps:
1. Find your ancestors' street address in a directory.
2. Find out which civil registry office kept records for people living in the community of that street address.
3. Look at the alphabetical indexes of that civil registry office.
4. Fill out the application for a copy of the record and mail it to the Landesarchiv Berlin.

The Landesarchiv Berlin provides a new research portal to search for archived civil registration records. The indexes of names on the birth, marriage and death registers are systematically scanned in the Landesarchiv Berlin.

  • from 1874 to 1906 for birth certificates
  • from 1874 to 1936 for marriage certificates
  • from 1874 to 1986 for death certificates.

For full instructions, see the website page, Family research in the Landesarchiv Berlin.

1. Find the street address for your ancestors' residence in Berlin.

To determine where civil registration records were kept, you must find the actual address(es) where your ancestors lived.

Find your ancestors' address in a directory. Write down the street address and, if given, the district.

  • Use the online directories at BERLIN ADDRESS, TELEPHONE AND SECTOR BOOKS 1707 - 1991/1992 to find your ancestors' address in Berlin.
  • In an address directory for the time period your ancestor lived in Berlin find the alphabetical listing of names section. This should list your ancestors' address and possibly the civil registration district number and/or the name of the district. (Other sections of the directories are businesses, public offices, societies, inhabitants' addresses listed under the street they resided, rather than by their name. Skip over these.)

  • Since 1874, there is an official registration of residential addresses in the Berlin. These data were collected by the police stations. The central file was kept at the police headquarters. These registration cards are an ideal medium for people search because they are sorted by name, regardless of addresses. And they may include information about family relationships or registry office records.
  • The Berlin registration card collection was outsourced in 1943 for protection against bomb destruction. After the war, it was still preserved. A return to the city was indeed planned, but then probably omitted. The Altkartei is considered lost.
  • In 1948, when Berlin was politically and administratively divided, the files were in East Berlin and remained there. In West Berlin, a new file has been created from all available old maps as well as new versions. This file, which reaches back to the prewar period in some parts, is now preserved in the State Archives. It covers about 2.8 million cards.
  • The file contains the registration data of all residents of West Berlin, who were in the city after 1945 and who were unsubscribed until 1960. They also occasionally recorded cases from before 1945. The oldest date of birth so far found is from 1846. Source: Berlin Landesarchiv

A request form for records is available: Order Form. Read the detailed instructions and information on fees.

2. Determine the civil registry office (Standesamt) with jurisdiction over that address (1874-1920).

The next step is to determine which office had jurisdiction for your ancestors' addresses at the dates covered in the Landesarchiv Berlin indexes.

  • Street Indexes were included in the city directories from 1874-1919. These tell the civil registration office that each address was assigned to.
  • The reference book, Berlin Civil Registration Jurisdictions,is intended to help you identify the civil registration district in which your ancestor may have been recorded.
  • In this register, you will find a listing of all the streets in Berlin and the civil registration jurisdictions for three different years including 1876, 1892, and 1919. If you find your ancestors in directories for interim years, you can still look up their address in this research aid.
  • This is a typical page in the register.

Berlin directory2.png

Tips For Searching

  • All listings are street names (Straße) unless otherwise noted as an alley or lane (Allee), (Gasse), place, square (Platz), or other similar designations.
  • The inconsistent spelling of street names from one directory to the next is a problem.
    • In the cases where alternate spellings were used, such as the street name of "Colonie" which was also listed as "Kolonie", they are listed twice in the Street Register for easier reference.
    • Other variations in street names are handled the same way as in the case of "Ostbahnhof" which is also listed as "Am Ostbahnhof".
    • In the original street indexes the street called "Unter den Linden" is listed as, "Linden, Unter den". The register lists this Street alphabetically as "Unter den Linden". This method has been applied consistently also for "Am, An der, Alte, Neue, Hinter dem, Klein, Groß," and similar prefixes on street names.
    • Words with an Umlaut (ä, ë, ï, ö, ü) are alphabetized as though there were no Umlaut.
    • The German letter "ß" is alphabetized as "ss".
  • Some directories list civil jurisdictions by house numbers; others list the jurisdictions by a street-to-street description such as "From Mühlen street to Spree". When only descriptions are given, it may be necessary to search the records of each civil registration district listed for the street your ancestor lived on.

3. Search indexes of birth, marriage, or death registers for your Standesamt in the Landesarchiv Berlin civil registration collections.

The Landesarchiv Berlin provides a new research portal to search for archived civil registration records. The indexes of names on the birth, marriage and death registers are systematically scanned in the Landesarchiv Berlin.

  • from 1874 to 1906 for birth certificates
  • from 1874 to 1936 for marriage certificates
  • from 1874 to 1986 for death certificates.
  • These date ranges are as of 2019. New records become available each year. For updates on records available, see The civil registry (Landesarchiv Berlin).

To browse the indexes, go directly to the Search Engine and enter the name of the Standesamt (registry office) you wish to search. Detailed Instructions.

  • Search under the "old" Standesamt name, found in Berlin Civil Registration Jurisdictions (instructions below).
  • If you have found the person you are looking for, please make a note of:
    • the registry office (preferably with archive abbreviation)
    • type of certificate (death, marriage or birth)
    • year
    • number of the entry.

4. Order the needed certificate online.

For Records in the Landesarchiv Berlin

Next, using listed document numbers found in the Landesarchiv Berlin indexes in step #3 above, copies of the respective civil status certificates can be ordered directly from the Landesarchiv Berlin.

Send your application in writing to Landesarchiv Berlin. An order form can be found here::

  • By email: info@landesarchiv.Berlin.De
  • By mail:
Landesarchiv Berlin
Eichborndamm 115-121
D - 13403 Berlin

Instructions and translation for filling out the form:

  1. In the section labeled "Absender", fill in your name, address, telephon, and e-mail.
  2.  Sterbeurkunde  Heiratsurkunde  Geburtsurkunde: Check Sterbeurkunde for death certificate, Heiratsurkunde for marriage certificate, or Geburtsurkunde for birth certificate.
  3. zu folgender Person: Fill in the name, birthdate, parents, spouse, marriage date, death date, any of these that you know about the person you are requesting the record for. It is O.K. to use English labels like "death, husband, etc.
  4. Urkundennummer …/… des Standesamts………………"""Fill in the reference numbers you found in the index and the name of the office (Berlin I, Berlin II, etc. or oder: Berliner Adresse und (vermutliches) Jahr der Urkundenausstellung:If you found the family in a directory and know their address at the probable year of the event, fill that in here.
  5. Ich benötige eine Beglaubigung der Kopien (6,- € pro Vorgang/Dokument). Check the box. You are asking for copies at the cost of EU 6.00 each.
  6. Bemerkungen: Here you describe the copies you want, such "one copy of each", "two copies of the birth certificate", and so on.
  7. Die mit der Bearbeitung meiner Anfrage entstehenden Gebühren und Kosten (mind. 30 €) werde ich übernehmen/ wird mein Auftraggeber (Rechnungsadresse bitte angeben) übernehmen. Datum……(Date)………………… Unterschrift: ……(Signature)………..…………………: Sign and date this. You are agreeing to pay the minimum cost of EU 30.00 and asking them to send you an invoice with the address where you will send payment.

Accessing the Records Method Three: Determine the current Standesamt and write to request records.

For More Recent Records in Civil Registries (not in Landesarchiv Berlin)

Records too recent to be available in Landesarchiv Berlin may still be obtained by writing to the local civil registry office (Standesamt). Especially for areas later annexed into Greater Berlin, you will have to use this method. For the most part the civil registration districts follow the boundaries of the 12 districts, with some of the larger districts being split into more than one civil registration district. The steps you follow will be:

  1. Use a directory to find your ancestors' street address.
  2. If your ancestors lived in Old Berlin, and the directory, determine whether their records would be stored with the Berlin Mitte Registration Office, Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, or Berlin Pankow.
  3. If their address is in Greater Berlin and the directory gives the name of the community, use the convenient chart by Landesarchiv Berlin to find out which current civil registration district now olds the records for that community.
  4. Or, if you cannot tell from the street address in the directory which community it is in, use the map provided below and Google Maps which of the 12 modern districts and 96 communities it lies in.
  5. Enter the district name into Search Engine of the Standesamt address finder.

Determining Which Standesamt to Contact

Use the online directories at BERLIN ADDRESS, TELEPHONE AND SECTOR BOOKS 1707 - 1991/1992 to find your ancestors' address in Berlin for a given year when you know they lived there. Some directories may give the Standesamt number and the district.

For Old Berlin (Alt-Berlin) Registry (Standesamt number stated in directory)

Earlier directories can give the registry number as a Roman numeral. Registry Office Berlin Mitte: As of 2000, Berlin Standesamt Mitte manages records for the former registry offices:

  • Center (Mitte) of Berlin,
  • Tiergarten of Berlin and
  • Wedding of Berlin, and the registry offices before the 01.07.1938
  • Berlin 1,
  • Berlin 2,
  • Berlin 3,
  • Berlin 6
  • Berlin 9
  • Berlin 10a
  • Berlin 11
  • Berlin 12a and 12b
  • Berlin 13a and 13b
  • RVK

Records for the other offices in Old Berlin:

Original Berlin
Standesamt Number

Current Standesamt
4, 4A, 4B (IV, IVa, IVb) Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
5, 5A, 5B (V, Va, Vb) Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg

7, 7A, 7B, 7C (VII, VIIa, VIIb, VIIc)

Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
8 (VIII) Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
10B, 10C (Xb, Xc) Berlin Pankow

For Greater Berlin (Standesamt not stated)

If the directory only gives the street address, use these methods to find the Standesamt for that street. Through growth and annexation, Berlin now includes a much larger metropolitan area, consisting of 12 districts and 96 communities. Some directories might name the district for the street address. This district may at one time had its own Standesamt, but many changes and office consolidation make it likely that the records have been moved to a different Standesamt

A. When the Directory Address Also States a District or Community
The directory you are using might state the district for the street. Also, Google Maps labels these districts with titles. Clicking on a district title will bring up the boundary outline. Consulting the following lists for the name of the district can help you determine the current Standesamt that became responsible when the offices were consolidated:

Ortsliste zur Berliner Standesamtsüberlieferung im Landesarchiv Berlin
Locations List of Berlin Civil Registration Office Records in Landesarchiv Berlin (with changes over time)
Ort Beginn Ende Repositur Standesamtsbezeichnung / Gebiet Zuständiges Amt
Place Beginning Date of Records Ending Date of Records Registry Call Number in Landearchiv Berlin Registry Office Name/Area Current Responsible Office

B. When the Directory Gives the Street Address But No District
Use Google Maps to locate the street address in modern Berlin. Enter the street address, including the house number, then "Berlin, Germany" in the search field. Then compare the modern Google map to this district and community map. Determine the district and community for your address.


Find the Current Standesamt Address

Find the address for the Standesamt by entering the name of the Standesamt here if given in the directory, or the name of the district from the above map. Districts may be broken down into more than one registry office according to the community covered.

German Letter Writing Guide

For help writing a request letter or e-mail in German, use the German Letter Writing Guide.

Reading the Records

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French and German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
German Genealogical Word List
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:

Search Strategy

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find their birth record, search for the births of their brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of their parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • The marriage certificate will show the birth date, birth place, and parents of the bride and the groom.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.