Brandenburg, Prussia, German Empire Genealogy

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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.

Brandenburg German Empire Wiki Topics
Beginning Research
Brandenburg Major Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Brandenburg Record Types
Brandenburg Background
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background

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.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

  • Brandenburg was established in 1815 from the Kingdom of Prussia's core territory, and comprised the bulk of the historic Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Lower Lusatia region.
  • It became part of the German Empire in 1871.
  • From 1918, Brandenburg was a province of the Free State of Prussia.
  • It was dissolved in 1945 after World War II, and replaced, with reduced territory, as the State of Brandenburg in East Germany, which was later dissolved in 1952.
  • Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, Brandenburg was re-established as a federal ‘’’state of Germany, becoming one of the new states. Wikipedia

The Neumark[edit | edit source]

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.


Berlin[edit | edit source]

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.

1436px-BerlinDistricts new.svg.png
Click on the map three times to see a larger version.

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

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
Ask the

Historical Geography of Brandenburg[edit | edit source]

Brandenburg within the German Empire

German Empire - Prussia - Brandenburg (1871).svg.png

Brandenburg Prior to Partition The eastern region of the Neumark was given to Poland in 1945 to create modern Brandenburg.
Province of Brandenburg Kingdom of Prussia, 1905, Administrative Map-1.png

(Click on the map, and then click on link "Original version" to see a larger version. Click on the map a couple of times. It gets larger each click.)

Modern Brandenburg

Karte der Ämter in Brandenburg.png
(Click on the map, and then click on link "Original version" to see a larger version. Click on the map a couple of times. It gets larger each click.)

History of Brandenburg in the German Empire
Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Pages


1945: Established as a state. A large section of Brandenburg, the Neumark, was ceded to Poland.
1952: Dissolved as a state
1990: Re-established as a current state (Map) Berlin was separated and became a state.

Preussen, Brandenburg

Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Brandenburg[edit | edit source]

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.[edit | edit source]

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. ($)[edit | edit source] can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center.

Excerpts from Files of Emigrants From the District of Frankfurt, Brandenburg Landeshauptarchiv[edit | edit source]

2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.[edit | edit source]

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 Brandenburg 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.[edit | edit source]

Follow the instructions in Brandenburg, German Empire Civil Registration.

4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]

Follow the instructions in Brandenburg, German Empire Church Records.

More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]

  • 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:

For The Neumark Region[edit | edit source]

Take These Online Classes to Prepare[edit | edit source]

  1. Watch the Specific Geography portion to learn how to use and to get the details of the German and Polish names of your town and its higher jurisdictions.
  2. Watch the General Resources portion to learn how to check for parish registers using
    1. The PRADZIAD Database
    2. Szukaj w Archiwach; Tutorial - The Polish Archives
    3. Archion, Cooperative of protestant archives ($)
    4. Archives Portal Europe
    5. Brandenburg State Archives, Online Research
  3. Watch the Brandenburg portion, which begins at about 41:00 minutes.