Open main menu

How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Brandenburg, German Empire

How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
Brandenburg German Empire Wiki Topics
300px-SansSouciNeuesPalais.JPG
Beginning Research
Brandenburg Major Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Brandenburg Record Types
Brandenburg Background
Ethnicity
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background



Guide to Brandenburg, German Empire ancestry, family history, and genealogy before 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records, both church and civil registration, compiled family history, and finding aids.

  • In this region, part of Germany which was lost to other countries after World War II, many records, both church/parish registers and civil registration records, were damaged, destroyed, or misplaced.

The Neumark

The Neumark, also known as the New March or East Brandenburg, was a region of the Prussian province of Brandenburg, Germany, located east of the Oder River. The Neumark became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701 and part of the German Empire in 1871. The majority of the Neumark was placed under Polish administration in 1945 after World War II; its expelled German population was replaced largely with Poles. Most of the Polish territory is part of Lubusz Voivodeship, while the northern towns Choszczno (Arnswalde), Myślibórz (Soldin), and Chojna (Königsberg in der Neumark) are in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. Some territory near Cottbus remains in Germany. Wikipedia

For help with research, see The Neumark (region), Brandenburg, German Empire Genealogy

Kreise of the Neumark in 1873
1. For the 1871 Meyers Gazetteer and the Family History Library Catalog, these counties will be listed as part of Brandenburg.
2. When dealing with modern locations, archives, and parish correspondence, they will be part of Poland.

Neumark1818.jpg

Berlin

Berlin belonged to Brandenburg during the German Empire. Eventually it became an individual state in today's Germany. Genealogically speaking, it consists of many separate record-keeping districts. Therefore, research instructions for Berlin are not given in the Wiki under Brandenburg, but merit their own instruction pages.

Map Berlin 2.jpg Click on the map to see a larger version.

Getting Started

Getting Started with Germany Research

Links to articles on getting started with German research:

See More Research Strategies

Germany Research Tools

Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:

See More Research Tools

Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Brandenburg

Most of the information you need to identify you ancestors and their families will be found in two major record groups: civil registration and church records. To locate these records, follow the instructions in these Wiki articles.

1. Find the name of your ancestor's town in family history records.

Records were kept on the local level. You must know the town where your ancestor lived. If your ancestor was a United States Immigrant, use the information in the Wiki article Germany Finding Town of Origin to find evidence of the name of the town where your ancestors lived in Germany.
Also, see:

Ancestry.com ($)

Ancestry.com can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center.

Excerpts from Files of Emigrants From the District of Frankfurt, Brandenburg Landeshauptarchiv

2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.

Your ancestor's town might have been too small to have its own parish church or civil registration office. Find the location of the Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical) parish that served your ancestor's locality. Find the name of the civil registration office (Standesamt) that serves your ancestor's locality. Use the Wiki article Finding Aids For German Records for step-by-step instructions.

Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. An important gazetteer, Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, "Meyer's Gazetter" for short, details the place names of villages, towns, counties (kreise), and higher jurisdictions used at that time. In the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records, the records of Germany are organized using those place names.

At the end of both World Wars, the boundaries of the states were changed dramatically, as areas of Germany were distributed among the Allied nations. Eventually, after re-unification in 1990, the states of Germany settled into what they are today. It is also necessary to understand Germany by this system, as it affects the locations of civil registration offices, archives, and mailing addresses used in correspondence searches.

3. For birth, marriage, and death records from 1 October 1874 on use civil registration.

Civil registers are government-kept records of births, marriages, and deaths. In Brandenburg, civil registry offices were introduced on 1 January 1876.

Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In Brandenburg, they were started in 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.

Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office

Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the registry office (Standesamt). It is indicated by the abbreviation "StdA". 'This is the Standesamt location you will use when searching for civil registration records anywhere in the FamilySearch catalog and collections. Ancestry.com collections will also use this location name. Records in archives will use this location prior to the consolidation of registration offices in the 1970's.

However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the modern record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz. When writing for records, first find the modern registrar for your town.

  • 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...." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the larger municipality (in this example, Edermünde).
  • For larger towns which constitute a municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box.
  • This type of article will not state that the town belongs to another municipality, because it is itself a municipality.
  • To e-mail the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
  1. Consult this address list for the exact contact information, which should include an e-mail address: Standesamt.com. In the horizontal menu bar, hover over "+registry office" or "+Standesämter", then the name of the modern state, for a drop-down list of links to modern cilvil registrars.
  2. Send a message asking whether you have the correct office for your ancestors' home town. You can also use e-mail to request records and arrange payment. Use the German Letter Writing Guide to write your questions in German.


Privacy Laws

Since 2009, birth records have been public after 110 years, marriages after 80 years and deaths after 30 years. A direct relationship (direct descendants and direct ancestors) to the subject of the record sought will be required in cases where the required time period has not yet elapsed. Even then, the records may be accessible if it can be shown that all "participating parties" have died at least 30 years ago. Participating parties are both parents and the child in birth records, and both spouses in a marriage.

Finding Civil Registration Records

1. Online Records

Ancestry.com ($)

Ancestry.com can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center.


  • These records for Angermünde cover: Altkünkendorf, Angermünde, Biesenbrow, Bruchhagen, Crussow, Frauenhagen, Gellmersdorf, Greiffenberg, Güntersberg, Neukünkendorf, Polssen, Steinhöfel, and Stolpe.
Angermünde Births, 1874-1903---Marriages, 1874-1923---Deaths, 1874-1950, index and images.


  • These records for Barnim County (Kreis) cover: Biesenthal, Biesenthaler Forst, Blumberg, Britz, Brodowin, Chorinchen, Eberswalde, Eichhorst, Golsow, Gross Schönebeck, Grüntal, Heegermühle, Hohenfinow, Klosterfelde, Lanke, Lichterfelde, Liepe, Löhme, Lunow, Mehrow, Mehrow and Ahrensfelde, Niederfinow, Oderberg, Parstein, Pechteich, Ruhlsdorf, Schönerlinde, Schönerwalde, Stolzenhagen, Trampe, Wandlitz, Werbellin, Werneuchen, Willmersdorf, Wolfswinkel, and Zerpenschleuse.
Barnim County (Kreis) Births, 1874-1906---Marriages, 1874-1936, index and images. For deaths, see Eberswalde.


  • These records for Berlin cover: Adlershof, Alt Glienecke, Berlin Districts I-XII a and b, Berlin-Lichtenberg II, Biesdorf, Blankenfelde, Blankenfelde und Rosenthal, Blankenfelde und Schildow, Bohnsdorf, Boxhagen-Rummelsburg, Britz, Buch, Buchholz, Buckow, Charlottenburg, Dahlem, Dalldorf-Wittenau, Deutsch-Willmersdorf, Falkenberg, Friedenau, Friedrichsfelda, Friedrichshagen, Frohnau, Grunau, Grünau und Müggelheim, Grunewald, Grunewald Forst, Haselhorst, Hasenheide (see Tempelhof), Heerstrasse, Heiligensee, Heinersdorf, Hellersdorf, Hermsdorf, Hohenschönhausen, Johannisthal, Karlshorst, Kaulsdorf, Kietz bei Köpeneck, Kolonie Grunewald, Königlich Spandauer Forst, Köpenick, Köpenick Forst, Lankwitz, Lichtenberg, Lichtenrade, Lichterfelde, Lubars-Waidmannslust, Malsdorf, Malchow, Mariendorf, Marienfelde, Marzahn, Müggelheim, Neu Rahnsdorf, Neukölln, Niederschoeneweide, Niederschönhausen, Nikolassee, Oberschoeneweide, Pankow, Pfaueninsel, Pichelsdorf, Plotzensee, Rahnsdorf, Reineckendorf, Rixdorf, Risenthal, Ruhleben, Rimmelsburg, Schildow, Schmargendorf, Schmöckwitz, Schöneberg, Spandau, Staaken, Steglitz, Sternfeld, Stralau, Tegel, Tegel Schloss und Forst, Tempelhof, Treptow, Wannsee, Weissensee, Wilhemshagen, Wilmersdorf, and Zehlendorf.
Berlin Births, 1874-1906---Marriages, 1874-1920---Deaths, 1874-1920, index and images.


  • These records for Dahme-Spreewald cover: Bornsdorf, Langengrassau, and Wehnsdorf.
Dahme-Spreewald Births, 1874-1899---Marriages, 1874-1928--- Deaths, 1874-1950, index and images.


  • These records for Eberswalde cover: Ahrensfelde, Altenhof (Werbellin), Amt Neuendorf, Basdorf, Biesenthal, Biesenthaler Forst, Blumberg, Britz, Brodowin, Chorin, Chorin (Sandkrug), Chorin (Theerofen Forsthaus), Chorin (Neuehütte), Chorinchen, Eberswalde, Eiche, Eiche (Hellersdorf), Eiche (Mehrow), Eichhorst, Finow, Finowfort, Golsow, Gross Schönebeck, Grüntal, Grüntal (Sydow), Heegermühle, Hirschfelde, Hohenfinow, Klosterfelde, Kupferhammer, Kwydzin, Lanke, Lichterfelde, Liepe, Lindenberg, Löhme, Lunow, Mehrow, Niederfinow, Oderberg, Parstein, Prenden, Rüdnitz, Ruhlsdorf, Schönerlinde, Schönerwalde, Schöpfurth, Schwanebeck, Spechthausen, Steinfurth, Stolzenhagen, Trampe, Vorwerk Steinberg, Wandlitz, Werbellin, Werneuchen, Willmersdorf, Wolfswinkel, Zepernick, and Zerpenschleuse.
Eberswalde, Germany, death register 1874-1966, index and images. For births and marriages, see Barnim County (Kreis).


  • These records for Ostprignitz-Ruppin cover: Alt Ruppin, Babitz, Bantikow, Barsikow, Bechlin, Blasindorf, Blumenthal, Breddin, Brunne, Dabergotz (Kränzlibn), Dabergotz (Werder), Dessow, Dierberg, Dossow, Dransa, Dreetz, Fehrbellin, Flecken Zechlin, Fretzdorf, Freyenstein, Friedenshorst, Gadow, Ganzer, Garz, Gross Zetlang, Heiligengrabe, Herzberg, Katerbow, Königsberg, Köritz, Kyritz, Lindow, Linow, Linum, Lohm, Manker (Lüchfeld), Mechow, Nackel, Neuendorf, Neuglienicke, Neuruppin, Neustadt/Dosse, Papenbruch, Plänitz, Radensleben, Rheinberg, Roddahn, Rüthnick, Schönberg, Schönermark, Segeletz, Sieversdorf, Teetz, Vielitz, Walchow, Walsleben, Wildberg, Wittstock, Wulfersdorf, Wusterhausen/Dosse, Wustrau, Wuthenow, Zaatzke, Zechlinerhütte, Zempow, and Zernitz.
Ostprignitz-Ruppin Births, 1874-1905---Marriages, 1874-1935---Deaths, 1874-1971, index and images.


  • These records for "Prenzlau cover: Dedelow, Klinkow, Prenzlau, and Seelübbe.
Prenzlau Births, 1874-1901---Marriages, 1874-1923---Deaths, 1874-1950, index and images.


2. Digital Copies of Civil Registration From FamilySearch

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 the Family History Centers near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the Places within Germany, Preussen, Brandenburg drop-down menu and select your town.
b. Click on the "Civil registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.
d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates

Civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing to the local civil registry (Standesamt) or the district archives. Records may have been lost at one location of the other, so you might end up checking both. The first office you contact might choose to forward your request to the other location if necessary.

Local Standesamt Addresses

Write a brief request in German to the proper office using this address as guide, replacing the information in parentheses:

An das Standesamt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY

How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

4. State Archives

Duplicate registers from some towns are kept in state archives. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. However, for more recent records and for those not yet microfilmed, you may write to the state archives of Germany and request searches of the records. See Germany Archives and Libraries. If the archivist cannot do the research your request, you can hire a professional genealogist to search the records for you.
Here are the addresses for the state and district archives, should you decide to write there instead of or in addition to the local Standesamt.

  • You can send a simple email to inquire whether the archive has the civil registration for the locality you want.
  • The archive does not provide search services. See Cyndi's List of German professional genealogists, or visit the archive in person.
  • Advance reservations and advance ordering of records you wish to study is required.


Brandenburg National Archives Potsdam
An der Orangerie 3
14469 Potsdam
Germany
(Postal address: Postfach 600499, 14404 Potsdam)
Tel. 0331/292971, Fax: 0331/292971

Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv Service
Am Mühlenberg 3
14476 Potsdam, OT Golm
Germany
Postal address:
Postfach 600449
14404 Potsdam
Germany
Phone: 0331 5674-0
Fax: 0331 5674-212
E-mail: poststelle@blha.brandenburg.de

4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.

Church Records (Kirchenbuch or Kirchenbuchduplikate)

Church records (parish registers, church books) are an important source for genealogical research in Germany before civil registration began. They recorded details of baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. The vast majority of the population was mentioned. To learn more about the types of information you will find in church records, click on these links:


For a comprehensive understanding of church records, study the article Germany Church Records.

Finding Church Records

Church record inventories are essential tools for finding German records. They identify what records should be available for a specified parish and where to write for information on these records. They list the church records, their location, and the years they cover. Sometimes inventories explain which parishes served which towns at different periods of time.

1. Online Church Records

Ancestry.com ($)

Ancestry.com collections can be viewed free-of-charge at a Family History Center near you.

  • 1518-1921 - Germany, selected Protestant church books 1518-1921 - at Ancestry.com ($), index and images. There are two categories found under "Browse this collection" (in the right sidebar). Under the (mistakenly labelled) "Schuldistrikt" drop-down menu, search through Brandenburg and Not stated.
Under Brandenburg this collection covers: Berlin, Beutnitz, Birkenau, Brandenburg, Brielolw, Buch, Charlottenburg, Damsdorf, Forst, Friedrichsfelde, Gollwitz, Herzsprung, Heygendorf, Laasow (see Calau), Leeskow, Leuten, Lienitz, Klein Schönebeck, Lichtenberg, Lichtenberg Glaubenskirche, Lichterfeld, Mariendorf, Marzahn, Münchhausen, Muschaken, Oderin, Petershain, Rheinsberg, Rosenthal, Rudow, Saarmund, Seddin, Spandau, Spremberg, Stolpe, Treuenbrietzen, Vetschau, Wernburg, and Wriezen, Zechlen und Zempow (see Vieselbach), and Zehlendorf (see Teltow).
Under Not stated this collection covers: Beyersdorf (Bacyna) and Zielenzig (Sulecin).
Link to list of parishes covered.


FamilySearch Historical Records


Other Contributors

2. Microfilm Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog

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 the Family History Centers near you. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Brandenburg, Germany.
b. Click on Places within Germany, Preußen, Brandenburg and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Taufen are christenings/baptisms. Heiraten are marriages. "Tote" are deaths.
f. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Research in Church and State Archives

Church records or duplicates may have been gathered from the local parishes into central archives, either by the churches or the state. Older records are frequently given to these archives for safekeeping. Some gaps in the church records of local parishes could be filled using these records.

  • Pdf Archive Inventory: "Part 1 of 2: Church records in Archives" - is an inventory of localities and the location or archive where their records should be found. The sixth column, "Archives", gives a number. To find the name and contact information, look up that number in the second column of this .pdf: Part 2: Archive Addresses.  It is not clear how up-to-date this inventory is.


Some archives offer searches for a fee. Archives might be unable to handle genealogical requests, but they can determine whether they have specific records you need, sometimes perform very brief research, such as just one record, or they may recommend a researcher who can search the records for you. Archivists are required to speak English.

E-mail

  • You can e-mail archives and ask whether they have records for a parish. Also, you should inquire whether they provide research services and what their fees are. You can communicate with the archives in English.====State Archives====

Duplicate records from some parishes are in the state archives. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. However, for records that are not microfilmed, you can sometimes write to the state archives to request searches of the duplicates. For more information, see Germany Archives and Libraries.

Lutheran Archives

Evangelical State Church Archive in Berlin
Bethaniendamm 29
10997 Berlin
Germany

Tel .: 030-225045-0
E-Mail: elab@ekbo.de


Evangelical Central Archive in Berlin
Bethaniendamm 29
10997 Berlin
Germany

Tel .: 030-225045-0
Tel .: 030-225045-20

Contact to the church book office:
E-Mail: kirchenbuchstelle@ezab.de

Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Berlin

Dioezesanarchiv Berlin
Bethaniendamm 29
10997 Berlin
Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 30 22504580
Fax: +49 (0) 30 22504583
E-Mail: info@dioezesanarchiv-berlin.de
Please provide your full name and postal address for all inquiries.

State Archives

Brandenburg National Archives Potsdam
An der Orangerie 3
14469 Potsdam
Germany
(Postal address: Postfach 600499, 14404 Potsdam)
Tel. 0331/292971, Fax: 0331/292971


Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv Service
Am Mühlenberg 3
14476 Potsdam, OT Golm
Germany
Postal address:
Postfach 600449
14404 Potsdam
Germany
Phone: 0331 5674-0
Fax: 0331 5674-212
E-mail: poststelle@blha.brandenburg.de

4. Writing to an Priest for Church Records

  • Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting the local Catholic or Lutheran church or the Catholic diocese archives.

Lutheran Parish Addresses

  • Click here for a searchable address list of Lutheran parishes.

Catholic Parish Addresses for Diocese of Berlin

Brandenburg is in the Diocese of Berlin.

Writing to a Local Parish

Write a brief request in German to the proper church using this address as a guide, replacing the information in parentheses:

For a Protestant Parish:

An das evangelische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY

For a Catholic Parish:

An das katholische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY


How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

Other Religious Groups

  • To learn how to determine the location of other religious records, namely Jewish, French Reformed, German Reformed, etc., watch Hansen’s Map Guides: Finding Records with Parish Maps beginning at 48:00 minutes, to learn how to locate these congregations. Then go back and watch from the beginning to understand how to use the reference book. This course teaches you how to use a set of reference books found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you are not in Salt Lake City, use the Contact Us feature to request information from the books.

5. Town Compilation of Records (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch)

Caution sign.png

Compiled genealogies and published genealogies are secondary sources, not original or primary sources.

As such, they are subject to human error through translation or transcription errors, mistaken interpretations, and opinion decisions of another researcher.

You should make every effort to base your research on the actual, original records or their digitized images.

Town Genealogies (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch)

See the class Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net and the 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

Reading the Records

German 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
German Handwriting
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
  • Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:


This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:

  • Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)

Latin Records

Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:

Downloadable Handouts

Feast Dates

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. If you only have a church marriage record, calculate the birth date of the parents, using age at death and/or marriage to search for their birth records.
  • 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.


Other Resources