Finding Aids For German Records

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If You Know the Town, Next 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.

  • Use MeyersGaz, the digital gazetteer, to find the details you need, particularly the Amt or Oberamt (county) it belonged to, found after "A".or "OA". The Kreis (Kr.) is the next higher administrative level.
  • MeyersGaz Help Guide
  • Abbreviation Table

Here is part of an entry from (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.


  • 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.

Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office[edit | edit source]

Research your town name in to find the location of the registry office (Standesamt). It is indicated by the abbreviation "StdA".

However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.

  • For a small town within a larger municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the 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 in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the municipality (in this example Edermünde).
  • Email the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
  • From the town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article.
  • There will usually be an infobox on the right side of page that lists the address and the website of the municipality.
  • From the website, look for Kontakt (Contact) information with an email address. Send a message asking whether you have the correct office for your ancestors' home town.
  • For larger towns:
  • Follow the same instructions above.
  • The infobox with the website will appear directly on a this page.