Difference between revisions of "Westphalia (Westfalen), German Empire Civil Registration"

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==How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records in North Rhine-Westphalia==
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[[Category:Westphalia (Westfalen), German Empire]]
Most of your genealogical research for North Rhine-Westphalia  will be in three main record types: civil registration, church records, and, when available, a compiled town genealogy ("'Ortssippenbuch" or "Ortsfamilienbuch" in German). These articles will teach you how to use these records in digital databases, as microfilms, or by writing for them.
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*[[How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records in North Rhine-Westphalia|'''How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records''']]
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Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In DUCHY(DUCHYGERMAN), they were started  1 January 1876. 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:
*[[North Rhine--Westphalia Civil Registration|'''Civil Registration''']]
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*[[Germany Civil Registration#Births (Geburtsregister)|'''Births (Geburtsregister)''']]
*[[North Rhine--Westphalia Church Records|'''Church Records''']]
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*[[Germany Civil Registration#Marriages (Heiraten, Ehen, or Trauungen)|'''Marriages (Heiraten, Ehen, or Trauungen)''']]
*[[North Rhine--Westphalia Ortsippenbücher|'''Town Genealogies''']]
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*[[Germany Civil Registration#Deaths (Sterberegister or Totenregister)|'''Deaths (Sterberegister or Totenregister)''']]
 
<br>
 
<br>
 +
 +
'''For a comprehensive understanding of civil registration, study the article''' [[Germany Civil Registration|'''Germany Civil Registration.''']]
 
<br>
 
<br>
__TOC__
 
  
==Definition==
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== Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office ==
[[Image:Herne Stadtarchiv Standesamt Baukau.jpg|left|369px|Herne Stadtarchiv Standesamt Baukau.jpg]]Civil&nbsp;registration&nbsp;records&nbsp;are&nbsp;records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. 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 [German: Standesbeamte] at the civil registry office (Standesamt). Because they cover about 98% of the population and often provide more information than church records, civil registration records are important sources for German genealogical research. <br><br>
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Research your town name in [http://www.meyersgaz.org '''MeyersGaz.org'''] to find the location of the registry office (''Standesamt''). It is indicated by the abbreviation '''"StdA"'''. <br>
==Time Period==
 
Civil registration became mandatory in all German states on 1 January 1876.
 
=== Privacy Laws  ===
 
Until recently, stringent rights-to-privacy requirements in Germany&nbsp;limited access to all civil registration records created in 1876 or later to the subject of the document and their parents, siblings, and direct-line descendants.
 
  
A law passed in February 2007, the [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personenstandsrechtsreformgesetz Personenstandsrechtsreformgesetz], makes civil registration records more accessible for family history research. Since 1 January 2009 the records are accessible to any researcher after these time periods have passed:  
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'''However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.'''
 +
*For a small town within a larger municipality:
 +
:*To find the '''current Standesamt''', go to the [https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Hauptseite '''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''''' in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ."  It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the '''municipality''' (in this example Edermünde).
 +
:*To e-mail the municipality to '''verify that the civil registry for your town is there'''.
 +
::#From the Wikipedia town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article.
 +
::#There will usually be an infobox on the right side of page that lists the address and the '''website of the municipality.'''
 +
::#Click on the website. Look for '''"Kontakt (Contact)"''' information, which should provide an e-mail address.  
 +
::#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.
 +
*For larger towns which constitute a municipality:
 +
:*To find the '''current Standesamt''', go to the [https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Hauptseite '''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.
 +
:*The infobox that lists the address and the website of the municipality will appear directly on a this first page that comes up.
 +
:*Follow the above instructions #2-4 above.
  
*births: 110 years  
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==Privacy Laws==
*marriages: 80 years  
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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)
*deaths: 30 years
+
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.
  
A direct relationship to the subject of the record sought will only 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.
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==Finding Civil Registration Records ==
 
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==1. Online Records==
== Information Recorded  ==
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*'''1574-1912''' - {{RecordSearch|1646446|Germany, Prussia, Westphalia, Minden, Miscellaneous Collections from the Municipal Archives, 1574-1912}} at [https://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] — index and images
=== Births (Geburtsregister)  ===
 
 
 
Birth records usually give the child's name; sex; and birth date, time, and place. The father's name, age, occupation, and residence are also usually listed. The mother's maiden name, age, and marital status are usually given, although her age is sometimes omitted. The names, ages, and residences of witnesses are usually provided. The parents' religion is also listed in some states.
 
 
 
=== Marriages (Heiraten, Ehen, or Trauungen)  ===
 
 
 
Marriages were usually recorded where the bride lived. After 1792 a civil marriage ceremony was required in areas of Germany under French control. In 1876 this law was applied to all of Germany. Most couples also had a church wedding, so records may exist for both the civil and church ceremonies. The civil marriage records may include more information than the comparable church records. When possible search both the civil registration and church records.
 
 
 
You may find the following records documenting civil marriages:
 
 
 
*'''Marriage Registers [Heiratsregister].''' Marriage registers give the date and time of the marriage. They list the bride's and groom's names, ages, birth dates, birthplaces, residences, occupations, and whether they were single or widowed. The registers also give the parents' names, residence, occupations, marital status, and whether they were living at the time of the marriage. Witnesses' names, ages, and relationships to the bride or groom are supplied. Often a note is made as to whether a parent or other party gave permission for the marriage. The couple's religion is often mentioned, especially after 1874.
 
*'''Certificates [Heiratsscheine].''' Some couples were given a marriage certificate or a book [Stammbuch] with the marriage entry and space for entering children's births. The certificate or book may be in the possession of the family or the civil registrar.
 
=== Intention to Marry  ===
 
 
 
Various records may have been created to show a couple's intent to marry:
 
 
 
*'''Proclamations&nbsp;'''[Aufgebote or Eheverkündigungen] were made a few weeks before a couple planned to marry.
 
*'''Marriage Supplements''' [Heiratsbeilagen] were often filed by the bride or groom to support their marriage application. Information included may document their births, their parents' deaths, and the groom's release from military service. Sometimes the records contain information about earlier generations.
 
*'''Contracts '''[Ehekontrakte] are documents created to protect legal rights and property of spouses. These may give the same information as the marriage supplements noted above. They also list property and are usually found in court records rather than in civil registration records.
 
*'''Marriage Permission Papers '''[Verehelichungsakten] are documents created in the process of obtaining permission to get married. Some states required prospective spouses to get permission fom the local city council or mayor before they could be married.
 
=== Deaths (Sterberegister or Totenregister) ===
 
 
 
Death records are especially helpful because they may provide important information on a person's birth, spouse, and parents. Civil death records often exist for individuals for whom there were no birth or marriage records. Deaths were usually registered within a few days of death in the town or city where the person died. Early death records usually give the name of the deceased and the date, time, and place of death. The age, birthplace, residence, occupation, and marital status of the deceased may also be given, along with the name of the parents or spouse and their residences. The informant's name, age, occupation, residence, and relationship may also be listed. Post¬1874 death registers also include the person's religion. Information about parents, the birth date, the birthplace, and other information about the deceased may be inaccurate, depending on the informant's knowledge.
 
 
 
== Accessing Records  ==
 
 
 
Civil registration records were kept at the local civil registration office (Standesamt). To find the records, you need to first determine the town where your ancestor lived, then determine the location of the civil registration office for that town. &nbsp;The civil registration office may have been located in the same town or,&nbsp;for smaller towns and villages, the civil records may have been kept in a larger nearby town. Use gazetteers to help identify the place where your ancestor lived and the civil registration office that served it (see [https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Germany_Gazetteers Germany Gazetteers]).&nbsp;Large cities often have many civil registration districts. City directories can sometimes help identify which civil registration district a person lived in. &nbsp;
 
 
 
Most civil registers are still located at the local civil registration offices, but some are collected in city or state archives. Civil registration records from many towns and states are available on microfilm or online. <br>
 
  
=== 1. Locating Records at the FamilySearch Library===
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=== 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 [https://familysearch.org/locations/ Family History Centers] near you.  To find records:
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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 [https://familysearch.org/locations/ '''Family History Centers'''] near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.  To find records:
:::a. For civil registration of localities that were in '''Lippe''' [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=37058&query=%2Bplace%3A%22Germany%2C%20Lippe%22 '''click here.'''] Open the link '''Places within Germany, Lippe'''.
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:::a. Click on this link to the [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=50659&query=%2Bplace%3A%22Germany%2C%20Preu%C3%9Fen%2C%20Westfalen%22 '''Records of Germany, Preussen, Westfalen'''.] Open the link '''Places within Germany, Preussen, Westfalen'''.
:::For civil registration of localities that were in '''North Rhine''' [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=44415&query=%2Bplace%3A%22Germany%2C%20Preu%C3%9Fen%2C%20Rheinland%22 '''click here.'''] Open the link '''Places within Germany, Preussen, Rheinland'''.
 
:::For civil registration of localities that were in the '''Westphalia''' [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results?count=20&placeId=50659&query=%2Bplace%3A%22Germany%2C%20Preu%C3%9Fen%2C%20Westfalen%22 '''click here'''.] Open the link '''Places within Germany, Preussen, Westfalen'''.
 
 
:::b. Click on the '''"Civil registration"''' topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
 
:::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.   
 
:::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. [[File:FHL icons.png|75px]].  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.
 
:::d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. [[File:FHL icons.png|75px]].  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.
  
====Online Records====
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==3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates==
*'''1574-1912''' - {{RecordSearch|1646446|Germany, Prussia, Westphalia, Minden, Miscellaneous Collections from the Municipal Archives, 1574-1912}} at [https://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] — index and images
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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.<br>
 
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===Local Standesamt Addresses===
=== 2. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates===
 
Many civil registration records, especially those created in 1876 or later, are still only available in the local civil registration office or archive in Germany that has the originals.
 
====Determining the Current Standesamt====
 
*If the records are not online or on microfilm, civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing to the local civil registry (Standesamt). Research your town name in [http://www.meyersgaz.org '''MeyersGaz.org'''] to find the location of the Standesamt. It is indicated by the abbreviation '''"StdA"'''. However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.  
 
 
 
*For a municipality:
 
:*To find the '''current Standesamt''', go to the [https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Hauptseite '''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 in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ."  It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the '''municipality''' (in this example Edermünde).
 
:*Email the municipality to '''verify that the civil registry for your town is there'''. From the town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article. There will usually be an infobox on the page that lists the address and the website of the municipality. From the website, look for Kontakt (Contact) information with an email address.
 
*For a town:
 
:*Follow the same instructions as for a municipality.  However, in this case, the first line will read, for example: "Borken is a '''town''' in the Schwalm-Eder-Kreis with about 13,000 residents.'''
 
:*The infobox with the website will appear directly on a town page. <br>
 
 
 
====Writing to a Standesamt====
 
 
*[http://www.standesamt.com/Standesaemter-Nordrhein-Westfalen/10 '''Standesamt Addresses for North Rhine-Westphalia''']
 
*[http://www.standesamt.com/Standesaemter-Nordrhein-Westfalen/10 '''Standesamt Addresses for North Rhine-Westphalia''']
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
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===Archives===
Write a brief request in German to the proper office using this address as guide, replacing the information in parentheses:<br>
 
 
 
::An das Standesamt<br>
 
::(Insert street address, if known.)<br>
 
::([http://postalcode.globefeed.com/Germany_Postal_Code.asp Postal Code]) (Name of Locality)<br>
 
::GERMANY <br>
 
 
 
*[http://postalcode.globefeed.com/Germany_Postal_Code.asp '''Click here''' ]for postal code help for 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 [[German Letter Writing Guide|the '''German Letter Writing Guide'''.]]'''
 
===3. Records in Archives===
 
 
'''ARCHIVES OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF WESTPHALIA (BIELEFELD)'''<br>
 
'''ARCHIVES OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF WESTPHALIA (BIELEFELD)'''<br>
 
Bethelplatz 2 <br>
 
Bethelplatz 2 <br>
Line 113: Line 67:
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
This archive has the civil registers for these towns:
 
This archive has the civil registers for these towns:
Alswede, Aplerbeck, Blasheim, Bockhorst, Börninghausen, Borgholzhausen, Brockhagen, Bruchhausen, Bünde, Burgsteinfurt, Dielingen, Dornberg, Enger, Exter, Fröndenberg, Gemen, Gohfeld, Gütersloh, Halle, Hamm, Haßlinghausen, Hausberge, Heepen, Herne, Hiddenhausen, Hille, Hörde, Hörste, Höxter, Holtrup, Holzhausen (Vlotho), Hüllhorst, Jöllenbeck, Klosterbauerschaft, Ladbergen, Lahde, Lerbeck, Levern, Lienen, Lippstadt, Löhne, Lohne, Lotte, Lübbecke, Lütgendortmund, Mennighüffen, Paderborn, Petershagen, Preußisch Oldendorf, Stift Quernheim, Rehme, Rheda, Rödinghausen, Schildesche, Schnathorst, Schwelm, Spenge, Sprockhövel, Unna, Valdorf, Veltheim, Versmold, Vlotho, Volmerdingsen, Wallenbrück, Wehdem, Wengern, Werther, Westerkappeln, Witten.
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Alswede, Aplerbeck, Blasheim, Bockhorst, Börninghausen, Borgholzhausen, Brockhagen, Bruchhausen, Bünde, Burgsteinfurt, Dielingen, Dornberg, Enger, Exter, Fröndenberg, Gemen, Gohfeld, Gütersloh, Halle, Hamm, Haßlinghausen, Hausberge, Heepen, Herne, Hiddenhausen, Hille, Hörde, Hörste, Höxter, Holtrup, Holzhausen (Vlotho), Hüllhorst, Jöllenbeck, Klosterbauerschaft, Ladbergen, Lahde, Lerbeck, Levern, Lienen, Löhne, Lohne, Lotte, Lübbecke, Lütgendortmund, Mennighüffen, Paderborn, Petershagen, Preußisch Oldendorf, Stift Quernheim, Rehme, Rheda, Rödinghausen, Schildesche, Schnathorst, Schwelm, Spenge, Sprockhövel, Unna, Valdorf, Veltheim, Versmold, Vlotho, Volmerdingsen, Wallenbrück, Wehdem, Wengern, Werther, Westerkappeln, Witten.
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
<br>
Line 129: Line 83:
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
Stadtarchiv Bielefeld took over 1,590 volumes of civil registration at the end of January / beginning of February 2009. These are the birth books 1874 to 1898, the books of marriage 1874 to 1928 and the death books 1874 to 1978. These are now available for evaluation according to archival legislation. They can be viewed free of charge, requested searches, copies or certified copies are calculated according to time and number.
 
Stadtarchiv Bielefeld took over 1,590 volumes of civil registration at the end of January / beginning of February 2009. These are the birth books 1874 to 1898, the books of marriage 1874 to 1928 and the death books 1874 to 1978. These are now available for evaluation according to archival legislation. They can be viewed free of charge, requested searches, copies or certified copies are calculated according to time and number.
 +
====How to Write the Letter====
 +
'''Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in [[German Letter Writing Guide|the '''German Letter Writing Guide'''.]]'''
 +
<br>
 +
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==4. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources==
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{|
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|-
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|
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[[File:Caution sign.png|200px]]
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|
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Compiled genealogies and published genealogies are <span style="color:Red">'''secondary sources''',</span> not <span style="color:Red">'''original or primary sources.'''</span> <br>
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As such, they are subject to human error through <span style="color:Red">'''translation or transcription errors, mistaken interpretations, and opinion decisions of another researcher.'''</span> <br>
 +
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You should make every effort to base your research on the <span style="color:Red">'''actual, original records or their digitized images.''' </span>
 +
|}
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====Town Genealogies (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch )====
 +
See the class {{LearningCenter2|502|'''Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net'''}} and the Wiki article, [[Germany Town Genealogies and Parish Register Inventories on the Internet|'''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====
 +
*[http://ofb.genealogy.net/ '''Click here'''] to see OFBs at GenWiki.  These are indexed and searchable. [https://s3.amazonaws.com/ps-services-us-east-1-914248642252/s3/research-wiki-elasticsearch-prod-s3bucket/images/b/bf/1-Online_Ortsfamilienb%C3%BCcher-Instruction.pdf '''OFB Instructions''']. 
 +
*A bibliography of OFBs held by the [http://www.ahnenforschung-hessen.de/zentralstelle/zentralstelle.html Central Office for Person and Family History,] and available in their archive in Frankfurt am Main-Höchst, is listed [http://www.ahnenforschung-hessen.de/zentralstelle/ortssippenbuecher.htm '''here'''.] You can arrange for copied pages to be sent to you for a fee or donation. Use the "Find" function on your keyboard to search the bibliographies, as they are not alphabetical.*A bibliography of OFBs held by the [http://www.ahnenforschung-hessen.de/zentralstelle/zentralstelle.html Central Office for Person and Family History,] and available in their archive in Frankfurt am Main-Höchst, is listed [http://www.ahnenforschung-hessen.de/zentralstelle/ortssippenbuecher.htm '''here'''.] You can arrange for copied pages to be sent to you for a fee or donation. Use the "Find" function on your keyboard to search the bibliographies, as they are not alphabetical.
  
 
==Reading the Records==
 
==Reading the Records==
 
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===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.
 
*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 Word List|German Genealogical Word List]]
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:::[[German Word List|'''German Genealogical Word List''']]  
:::[[Germany Handwriting|German Handwriting]]
 
 
*These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
 
*These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
:*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/375 Old German Script Part 1]
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:*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/375 '''Old German Script Part 1''']
:*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/377 Old German Script Part 2]   
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:*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/377 '''Old German Script Part 2''']   
:*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/426 Old German Script (German Church and Civil Records) Part 3]
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:*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/426 '''Old German Script (German Church and Civil Records) Part 3''']
*Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:
 
:*{{LearningCenter2|38|'''Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 1: Kurrent Letters'''}}
 
:*{{LearningCenter2|39|'''Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Making Words in Kurrent'''}}
 
:*{{LearningCenter2|40|'''Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading Kurrent Documents'''}}. In this lesson, you will explore several types of German genealogical records, including birth, baptismal, marriage, and death records.
 
 
:*[https://script.byu.edu/Pages/German/en/intro.aspx '''German Script Tutorial''']
 
:*[https://script.byu.edu/Pages/German/en/intro.aspx '''German Script Tutorial''']
This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:
+
*[https://script.byu.edu/Documents/List_of_Names_-_German.pdf '''List of Names in Old German Script'''] A comprehensive list of German given names, written in old script, with possible variations.
*[http://www.kurrentschrift.net/index.php?s=schreiben: Kurrentschrift Converter] (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)
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*[http://altdeutsche-schrift.de/adsschreiben.php#schrifftfeld '''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.<br>
===Latin Records===
 
Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:
 
*[[Latin Genealogical Word List|'''Latin Genealogical Word List''']]
 
 
 
  
 
==Search Strategy==
 
==Search Strategy==
*Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his '''brothers and sisters'''.  
+
*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 his parents.''' The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.  
+
*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.  
*You can '''estimate the ages''' of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.  
+
*Search the '''death registers''' for all known family members.
*Search the death registers for all known family members.
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*The marriage certificate will show the birth date, birth place, and parents of the bride and the groom.
*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.  
+
*'''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.
+
*If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, '''search neighboring parishes.'''
 
+
<br>
{{GermProv}}
 

Revision as of 18:37, 20 June 2019

Westphalia (Westfalen),
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Westphalia (Westfalen), German Empire Civil Registration

Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In DUCHY(DUCHYGERMAN), they were started 1 January 1876. 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[edit | edit source]

Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the registry office (Standesamt). It is indicated by the abbreviation "StdA".

However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.

  • For a small town within a larger municipality:
  • 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 in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the municipality (in this example Edermünde).
  • To e-mail the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
  1. From the Wikipedia town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article.
  2. There will usually be an infobox on the right side of page that lists the address and the website of the municipality.
  3. Click on the website. Look for "Kontakt (Contact)" information, which should provide an e-mail address.
  4. 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.
  • 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.
  • The infobox that lists the address and the website of the municipality will appear directly on a this first page that comes up.
  • Follow the above instructions #2-4 above.

Privacy Laws[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

1. Online Records[edit | edit source]

2. Digital Copies of Civil Registration From FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

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 this link to the Records of Germany, Preussen, Westfalen. Open the link Places within Germany, Preussen, Westfalen.
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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]


Archives[edit | edit source]

ARCHIVES OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF WESTPHALIA (BIELEFELD)
Bethelplatz 2
33617 Bielefeld
Germany

Tel .: 0521-594-164
Fax: 0521-594-267
E-Mail: archiv@lka.ekvw.de


This archive has the civil registers for these towns: Alswede, Aplerbeck, Blasheim, Bockhorst, Börninghausen, Borgholzhausen, Brockhagen, Bruchhausen, Bünde, Burgsteinfurt, Dielingen, Dornberg, Enger, Exter, Fröndenberg, Gemen, Gohfeld, Gütersloh, Halle, Hamm, Haßlinghausen, Hausberge, Heepen, Herne, Hiddenhausen, Hille, Hörde, Hörste, Höxter, Holtrup, Holzhausen (Vlotho), Hüllhorst, Jöllenbeck, Klosterbauerschaft, Ladbergen, Lahde, Lerbeck, Levern, Lienen, Löhne, Lohne, Lotte, Lübbecke, Lütgendortmund, Mennighüffen, Paderborn, Petershagen, Preußisch Oldendorf, Stift Quernheim, Rehme, Rheda, Rödinghausen, Schildesche, Schnathorst, Schwelm, Spenge, Sprockhövel, Unna, Valdorf, Veltheim, Versmold, Vlotho, Volmerdingsen, Wallenbrück, Wehdem, Wengern, Werther, Westerkappeln, Witten.

Stadtarchiv and the Landesgeschichteliche Bibliothek
Postal address: 33597 Bielefeld
Delivery address: Kavalleriestr. 17
33602 Bielefeld, Germany

Visiting entrance: Neumarkt 1
Tel. 0521 51-2471
Fax 0521 51-6844
E-Mail: stadtarchiv@bielefeld.de


Stadtarchiv Bielefeld took over 1,590 volumes of civil registration at the end of January / beginning of February 2009. These are the birth books 1874 to 1898, the books of marriage 1874 to 1928 and the death books 1874 to 1978. These are now available for evaluation according to archival legislation. They can be viewed free of charge, requested searches, copies or certified copies are calculated according to time and number.

How to Write the Letter[edit | edit source]

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. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources[edit | edit source]

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 )[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

  • Click here to see OFBs at GenWiki. These are indexed and searchable. OFB Instructions.
  • A bibliography of OFBs held by the Central Office for Person and Family History, and available in their archive in Frankfurt am Main-Höchst, is listed here. You can arrange for copied pages to be sent to you for a fee or donation. Use the "Find" function on your keyboard to search the bibliographies, as they are not alphabetical.*A bibliography of OFBs held by the Central Office for Person and Family History, and available in their archive in Frankfurt am Main-Höchst, is listed here. You can arrange for copied pages to be sent to you for a fee or donation. Use the "Find" function on your keyboard to search the bibliographies, as they are not alphabetical.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

German Records[edit | edit source]

  • 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
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • 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.
  • 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.