Germany Newspapers

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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]

Effective Newspaper Research[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!). Links to numerous helpful articles and online newspaper collections are also included.

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:

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:

Chronicling America[edit | edit source]

The largest free collection of historic newspapers is found at Chronicling America. The site also includes a U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present.

The “Advanced search” options allows searches by state, county, or town, name of a specific newspaper. Other search terms include ethnicity, language, and specific time periods.

Example:

A search for German newspapers published in German in Iowa brings up numerous titles with the publication places and dates. Many newspapers were only published for a few years. The full entry also includes other details: intended audience, alternate titles, political editorial line etc., and which libraries have copies. Some of these publications can be accessed on the Chronicling America website.

Libraries and Archives[edit | edit source]

To find newspapers in German repositories, use this source:

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]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject: List of online newspaper archives

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.[1]



  1. "Newspapers, Unique Sources for German Family and Local History, Part II," German Genealogical Digest, 3 (1987): No. 4.