Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen), Prussia, German Empire Genealogy
Guide to Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen), 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.
- Up to 1815, the Province of Saxony [German: Provinz Sachsen, also known as Prussian Saxony (Preußische Sachsen)] was part of the Kingdom of Saxony (Sachsen).
- The Province of Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia (ater the Free State of Prussia) from 1816 until 1945. Its capital was Magdeburg. The Province of Saxony was one of the richest regions of Prussia, with highly developed agriculture and industry.
- The majority of the population was Protestant, (with a Catholic minority about 8% as of 1905), and was part of the diocese of Paderborn until 1994, when a split of the diocese placed it in the modern diocese of Magdeburg.
- In 1945, the Soviet military administration combined the Province of Saxony (including Magdeburg and Halle-Merseburg) with the State of Anhalt into the Province of Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt), with Halle as its capital. The eastern part of the Blankenburg exclave of Brunswick and the Thuringian exclave of Allstedt were also added to Saxony-Anhalt. In 1947, Saxony-Anhalt became a state. Wikipedia
Getting Started with Germany Research
Links to articles on getting started with German research:
Germany Research Tools
Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:
(Sachsen-) Anhalt 1945: Merged into current state of Saxony- (Sachsen-) Anhalt with the Free State of Anhalt, Magdeburg, Halle, and the Brunswick enclaves of Calvorde and eastern Blankenburg. (Map)
Preussen, Sachsen Note: "Sachsen "(without Preussen) is used for the Kingdom of Saxony.
Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen)
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.
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.
You can also consult Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen) Parish Record Inventories to learn the Lutheran or Catholic parish that would have kept records for your town.
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.
Follow the instructions in Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen), German Empire Civil Registration.
4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.
Follow the instructions in Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen), German Empire Church Records.
5. Use census records as clues to finding family members in church and civil registration records.
You can find probable families in census records, then use church and civil registration records to determine if the family is a match, find additional information on the family, and document your family accurately. Church and civil registration records are primary sources and everything you find in a census record should be proven in primary sources.
Follow the instructions in Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen) Census.
More Research Strategies and Tools
- Germany Online Classes and Tutorials
- German Paleography Seminar - Lessons on German Handwriting
- Old German Script Transcriber (alte deutsche Handschriften): See your family names in the script of the era. Type your name or other word into the font generator tool. Click on the 8 different fonts. Save the image to your computer and use it as you work with old Germanic records.
- Finding Aids for German Records
- Research Tips and Strategies
- German Research, BYU Independent Study, no cost.
- These printable handouts can be used for ready reference when reading German Handwriting.
- Vocabulary found on Specific Records:
- Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations:
- Miscellaneous Vocabulary:
- Fraktur Font -- Many forms and books are printed in this font.
- German Given Names:
- List of Names in Old German Script -- A comprehensive list of German given names, written in old script, with possible variations.