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Newspapers printed during your ancestor's lifetime may contain birth or marriage notices. Death notices and war casualties are especially common in old German papers. Death notices typically list birth and death dates and burial places. Sometimes they list the birth place or immediate family members. Newspapers may also include notices of property and estate sales, business licenses issued, intentions to emigrate, patent applications, and other official business. Historical information, such as local events, grocery prices, and advertisements can help you understand your ancestor’s world and add color to your family history.
Some digitized newspapers are full-text searchable, but many still have to be searched page by page. Since few indexes are available, you must know the approximate date of the newspaper to search. Newspapers became more common in Germany after 1855, when a tax on paper was lifted.
German terms for newspapers[edit | edit source]
The standard term for a newspaper is “Zeitung”, but other terms are often used in the name that may allude to the publication’s primary purpose, frequency, or intended audience.
· Amtsblatt/Amtsblätter (official newspaper/s)
· Polizeiblatt/Polizeiblätter (police newspaper/s)
· Intelligenzblatt/ Inteligenzblätter (intelligence paper/s – „intelligence“ = „news“)
· Gesetzblatt/ Gesetzblätter (law paper/s, publish government information)
· Kurier/ Amtskurier (Courier- disseminate information)
· Rundschau (newsy, often includes entertainment sections)
· Presse (publication)
· Tages-, Wochenblatt (daily-/ weekly publication)
· Anzeiger (literally: notices)
· Beilage – (supplement)
Resources for German Newspapers[edit | edit source]
Online Resources[edit | edit source]
A good resource for learning about effective research in newspapers and links to online newspaper collections is TheAncestorHunt. Articles cover important topics like the difference between “picture-only” and searchable images, and effective search strategies (search not only by name!).
Libraries and Archives[edit | edit source]
To find newspapers in German repositories, use this source:
- Hagelweide, Gert, ed. Deutsche Zeitungsbestände in Bibliotheken und Archiven = German newspapers in libraries and archives Düsseldorf: Droste,  (FHL book 943 B3h.) This book covers the years 1700 to 1969, citing 2,018 papers from 222 towns and stored at 579 German and foreign repositories. It does not list every paper ever published, but it is still an excellent list.
German Papers in the United States[edit | edit source]
Newly arrived immigrants and their home towns are often listed in old newspapers.
Recently published guides include:
- Beidler, James M., The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide- How to Find your Ancestors in Archived Newspapers. Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, 2018.
- Thode, Ernest, Historic German Newspapers Online, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2014. This book includes links to approximately 2,000 German-language newspapers available online.
For a bibliography of about 5,000 historical German-interest newspapers and the repositories, see the following source:
- Arndt, Karl J. R., and May E. Olson. The German Language Press of the Americas, 1732-1968: History and Bibliography = Die Deutschsprachige Presseder Amerikas, 1732-1968: Geschichte und Bibliographie. 2 vols. München, Germany: Verlag Dokumentation, 1973-1976. (FHL book 973 B33a1976.)
In most places where Germans settled around the world, they published a German-interest newspaper.
The directory below lists modern newspapers by language and title:
- Wynar, Lubomyr R., and Anna T. Wynar. Encyclopedic Directory of Ethnic Newspapers and Periodicals in the United States, 2nd ed. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1976. (FHL book 973 E4w.)
Newspaper Directories[edit | edit source]
- Benn's Media Directory International. Tonbridge, England: Benn's Business Information Services, annual. (FHL book 011.35 B439.) This is arranged by the nation and city of the newspaper.
- An online newspaper directory is available at German Newspaper databank. The intro page says it "does not contain contents, i. e. journal articles", however, the site also links to many libraries that provide free access to the newspapers online. To browse a list of newspapers available online, in the Newspapers section -- select a country from the drop-down list, select "Digitisation of newspapers according to original layout" and perform a blank search. (German language, click on British flag at top left for English)
Digital Issues Online[edit | edit source]
- A helpful website for some digitized newspapers can be found here digitized newspapers (German language)
- Another website for newspapers comes from Aachen and can be located at this link: Internationales Zeitungsmuseum. (German language)
- The Digitale Bibliothek has many interesting newspapers including occupational papers, such as locomotives and Germans in Argentina, etc. (German language)
- Historic German Newspapers Online. images
- World Newspapers Online
- Wochenschau - German Newsreels.
- EuroDocs Historic German Newspapers and Journals Online
Family History Library[edit | edit source]
The Family History Library has virtually no German newspapers. A few related items may be found in the Place Search of the catalog under the name of the town or state and the topic NEWSPAPERS. For example, copies of the Augsburgisches Intelligenz-Blatt 1797-1827 and the Intelligenz-Blatt und Wochentlicher Anzeiger von Augsburg 1827-1899 can be located in FamilySearch.org in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under Germany, Bayern, Augsburg - Newspapers. The Amts-Blatt der Koenigl. Bayer. Stadt Augsburg 1900-1917 is listed under Germany, Bayern - Newspapers.
- "Newspapers, Unique Sources for German Family and Local History, Part II," German Genealogical Digest, 3 (1987): No. 4.