Posen, German Empire Church Records

German Empire
Wiki Topics
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Getting Started
Major Posen Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Posen
Record Types
Posen Background
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background

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.

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.

Parish Register Inventories

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.

  • Geschichte der evangelischen Parochieen in der Provinz Posen WorldCat. Not strictly an inventory, but gives a history of protestant parishes in Posen, which includes the beginning of the parish, what parishes it was created from, what localities belonged to the parish, chronological biographies of pastors, etc. See chronological list of parishes formed at the beginning.

Online Class on Locating Posen Parish Registers

  1. Watch the General Resources portion, beginning at 13:47 minutes, to learn how to check for parish registers using:
    1. The PRADZIAD Database
    2. Szukaj w Archiwach; Tutorial - Polish State Archives
    3. Archion, Cooperative of protestant archives ($)
    4. Archives Portal Europe
  2. Watch the Posen portion, which begins at 36:19 minutes.

1. Church Records on the Internet

Online records for Posen are found in Archion in the Evangelical Central Archives in Berlin. Among its collections there are about 6,000 church records of Protestant church communities in the former Eastern Church provinces of Prussia. They come from the provinces of East and West Prussia, Pomerania, Posen, Silesia, Brandenburg (east of the Oder and Neisse). Some of the provinces are represented by numerous, others because of the loss of war, with only a few church books.

FamilySearch, Ancestry.com ($), and MyHeritage.com ($)

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

  • 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 Posen and Not stated.
Under Posen this collection covers: Brätz, Bauchwitz (Bukowiec), Deutschdorf, Dürrlettel, Kurzig, Meseritz (Miedzyrzecz), Pieske, Prittisch, and Tirschtiegel.
Under "Not stated" this collection covers: Bromberg (Bydgoszcz), Brostowo (Brzostowo), Crone (Koronova), Tirschtiegel (Trzciel), Wirsitz (Wyrzysk), Politzig (Policko), Putzighauland (Gajewo), Schneidemühl (Pila), Strelno (Moglino und Strzelno),
These record collections cover the following parishes for Posen: Alt Höfchen, Altenhof, Bauchwitz, Betsche, Blesen, Bomst, Brätz, Brausendorf, Dürrlettel, Eibendorf, Falkenwalde, Firmungen, Goray, Groß Krebbel, Hochwalde, Kalau, Karge, Klastawe, Kleistdorf, Koschmin, Kranz, Kurzig, Kuschten, Kutschkau, Meseritz, Neudorf, Neu Kramzig,Ober Görzig, Oscht, Paradies, Parafja, Pieske, Politzig, Poppe, Prittisch, Rogsen, Rokitten, Samst, Schweinert, Schwerin Warthe, Semmritz, Tirschtiegel, Trebisch, Unruhstadt, Waitze, and Weißensee.

Other Indexing and Collection Projects

2. Digital 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 a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.

a. Click on the Places within Germany, Preussen, Posen drop-down menu and select your town.
b. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Taufen" are baptisms/christenings. Heiraten are marriages. "Tote" 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. Records in 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.


  • 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.


EZA Berlin (Lutheran)

Evangelical Central Archives Berlin ( EZA )
Bethaniendamm 29
10997 Berlin

Family Research: 030 / 22504-536
Space reservation: Fax. 030 / 22504-540 or Email to reservierung@ezab.de

BZ Regensburg (Catholic)

Bishops' Central Archives Regensburg
St. Petersweg 11-13
93047 Regensburg

Telephone: 0941 / 597-2520
Fax. 0941 / 597-2521
E-Mail: archiv@bistum-regensburg.de

DZfG Leipzig

German Central Office for Genealogy
State Archives Leipzig
Schongauerstraße 1
04328 Leipzig

Email: poststelle-l@sta.smi.sachsen.de
Telephone: 0341 / 255-5500


State Archive in Poznań
ul. 23 February 41/43
60-967 Poznań

tel. (61) 852-46-01
Fax (61) 851-73-10
E-mail: archiwum@poznan.ap.gov.pl

4. Writing a Letter to a Local Church



In Poland approximately 134 protestant parishes exist. Some records formerly found in such parishes may now be archived in local Catholic parishes. For a list of the Protestant parishes in Poland, and their addresses, you can visit the Lutheran Church in Poland for a listing of Lutheran parishes which are in existence today.

Addressing the Letter

Using these addresses as guides, replacing the information in parentheses. If you do not know the street address of a church, you can omit it.
For State Archive
Urząd Stanu Cywilnego
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)

For a Roman Catholic Parish
Parafia Rzymsko-Katolicka
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)

For a Protestant Parish
Parafia Ewangelicka
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)

For an Orthodox Parish
Parafia Prawoslawna
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)

Letter Writing Guides

How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus Polish translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the Poland Letter Writing Guide.
In some cases, the records are held in archives in Germany. For letters in German, including addressing the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently needed, use the the German Letter Writing Guide.
Because part of Posen is now in Russia, this article may help: Russian 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. Also, you can read Map Guide to German Parish Registers. This video and handout teach you how to use a set of reference books found at the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

5. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources

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 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.

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
French Genealogical Word List
Latin Genealogical Word List
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:

Downloadable Handouts

These printable handouts can be used for ready reference when reading German Handwriting.

Vocabulary found on Specific Records:

Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations:

Miscellaneous Vocabulary:


Latin Records

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

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.
  • 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.