Germany Empire and Current States

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Germany Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Germany Empire and Current States

Current States of Germany and Their Territory From the German Empire Provinces and Duchies[edit | edit source]

After East Germany and West Germany were reunited, these jurisdictions of the government were put in place. Generally, when researching genealogical records, it is important to discern what government entity would have jurisdiction over the records of that locality at the time the record was made. For example, if the town your ancestor came from is in Baden-Württemberg today, the records in 1890 might be found in a library catalog under just Baden. If you learn that your ancestor lived in Baden in 1890, and you want to write to the local church to enquire about records, use Baden-Württemberg in the address.

Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen)[edit | edit source]

In 1919, the Elsass-Lothringen region was awarded to France as a result of World War I.

Alsace Lorraine, German Empire 1870

Departments[edit | edit source]

Each department has a Wiki page giving instructions and links to online records.

Department Evolution Map

Baden-Württemberg[edit | edit source]

Historic areas now
in Baden-Württemberg

  • Baden
  • Württemberg
  • Hohenzollern

B-W location in Germany.png

Former States Now
in Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Wuettemberg regions.png

Modern Baden-Württemberg

Modern Baden-Württemberg map.png

Bavaria[edit | edit source]

areas now in Bavaria:

  • Bavaria
  • Coburg (part of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha)
  • The Pfalz (Palatinate) belonged to Bavaria until 1945, and then became part of the modern state of Rhineland-Palatinate
Bavaria 19th Century and Beyond

Duchy of Coburg
(now part of Upper Franconia, Bavaria)
Historic bavaria.png

Modern Administrative Regions of Bavaria

WV-Bavaria regions.svg.png

Comparison of Brandenburg in 1871 and Modern Brandenburg[edit | edit source]

At the end of World War II, a large section of 1871 Brandenburg, the Neumark, was ceded to Poland. As the Neumark lay east of the Oder-Neisse line which formed the new border between Allied-controlled Germany and Poland, the region was put under Polish administration. Germans remaining in the region were expelled and their land and possessions confiscated. A small part of the German population, mostly technicians for the water supply companies, were retained and used for compulsory labour; they were allowed to emigrate to Germany in the 1950s. According to the Centre Against Expulsions, 40,000 Neumarkers were killed in action as soldiers, 395,000 fled to West or East Germany by 1950, and 208,000 died, disappeared, or were murdered during the course of flight or expulsion by Polish and Soviet troops.
"Neumark" For research help, go to

Brandenburg Prior to Partition The eastern region of the Neumark was given
to Poland in 1945 to create modern
(Click on the map to see a larger version.)

Province of Brandenburg Kingdom of Prussia, 1905, Administrative Map-1.png

Modern Brandenburg

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

Kreise of the Neumark in 1873

1. For the 1871 Meyers Gazettee 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.


Brunswick (Braunschweig)[edit | edit source]

The enclaves of Calvorde and Blankenburg are now in Saxony- (Sachsen-) Anhalt. The rest of Brunswick is now in the state of Lower Saxony.

Duchy of Brunswick, 1914 (in orange)

Duchy of Brunswick, 1914.png

After World War II, Brunswick was divided into the state of Lower Saxony, West Germany (dark gray background), and Saxony- (Sachsen-) Anhalt, East Germany (light gray background).

Brunswick post WW II.png

Hamburg[edit | edit source]

In 1937-38, several municipalities from neighboring Schleswig-Holstein and Hannover were annexed to Hamburg. These boundary changes will have an impact on where you will find records. These maps show the original areas of Hamburg during the time of the German Empire and the annexed areas which are part of Hamburg today.

1937-1938 Boundary Changes of Hamburg[edit | edit source]

Regional Gains of Hamburg[edit | edit source]

The country of Hamburg was in detail:

  • From the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein
    • The municipality of Altona with 248,589 inhabitants (1937)
    • The district of Wandsbek
    • From the district of Stormarn the municipalities Bergstedt , Billstedt , Bramfeld , Duvenstedt , Hummelsbüttel , Lemsahl-Mellingstedt , Lohbrügge , Poppenbüttel , Rahlstedt , Sasel , Steilshoop and Wellingsbüttel
    • From the district Pinneberg the municipality Lokstedt with Niendorf and Schnelsen
    • From the administrative district Herzogtum Lauenburg the place Kurslack in the Achterschlag of the municipality Börnsen
  • From the Lüneburg district of the Prussian province of Hanover
    • Of the administrative district Harburg-Wilhelmsburg with 112,293 inhabitants (1937)
    • from the district of Harburg, the municipalities Altenwerder , Finkenwerder [8] , Fischbek , Francop , Gut Moor , Kirchwerder [9] , Langenbeck , Marmstorf , Neuenfelde , Neugraben , Neuland , Rönneburg , Sinstorf and the town Over Hook the municipality Over
  • From the government district Stade of the Prussian province of Hanover
    • from the district of Stade , the municipality Cranz

All the above mentioned cities and municipalities were merged with the city of Hamburg and the municipalities remaining with the Land of Hamburg as of April 1, 1938, into a unitary community, which was called Hansestadt Hamburg .

Territories of Hamburg Given Away[edit | edit source]

In exchange for this, the Hamburg enclaves went to Prussia

  • To the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein
    • To the administrative district Herzogtum Lauenburg the city Geesthacht
    • To the Landkreis Stormarn the municipalities Großhansdorf and Schmalenbeck
  • To the administrative district Land Hadeln in the government district Stade of the Prussian province of Hannover
    • The city of Cuxhaven with Neuwerk and Scharhörn as well as the municipalities Berensch and Arensch , Gudendorf , Holte-Spangen, Oxstedt and Sahlenburg , with the exception of the Amerika-Hafen.

With this exception in the fourth implementing regulation to the Hamburg Act of March 22, 1937, Hamburg secured the America port in the city of Cuxhaven as an exclave. --Source: Greater Hamburg Act

Hamburg annexations north.png

Hamburg annexations south.png

Alt-Hamburg, the city center. All of these areas were in the city-state of Hamburg during the time of the German Empire. This is a blowup of the central part of the preceding map (Kreise 2, 4, and 6.)

Hamburg city center.png

Hessen Refers to Several Different Localities[edit | edit source]

When your ancestors reported their homeland as Hessen, it could have meant Hessen and Hessen-Nassau is the maps above. It also could refer to one of these territories. Basically, these are areas that went by other names prior to the unification of Germany in 1871. Then they were merged into Hessen and Hessen Nassau.

These areas combined to make up Hessen-Nassau in 1871.

Hessen-Kassel (a.k.a. Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, 1567-1803; Electorate of Hessen or Electoral Hessen, 1803-1866; Hessen-Nassau, 1866-1945; Province of Kurhessen, 1945-46)

Hessen-Homburg, 1668-1806

(a.k.a. part of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1806-1815)

Free City of Wetzlar

Hessen-Kassel 1871 Kreis

City of Hanau
City of Kassel
City of Marburg

Kassel Kreis

Homburg 1871 Kreis
Oberlahnkreis, now Limburg-Weilburg
Meisenheim (kreis), Rheinland, now Rheinland-Palatinate

Wetzlar 1871 Kreis
Wetzlar, exclave of Rhein Province

Hessen areas 2.png

This area became Hessen in 1971.
___________________________________________ Hessen-Darmstadt

(a.k.a. Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt; Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine (1816-1867); Hessen, 1867-1919; People's State of Hesse, 1919-1945; Greater Hesse (Groß-Hessen), 1945-1946)

It consisted of three areas: Rhenish-Hessen or Rhein-Hessen, Oberhessen, and Starkenberg.

1871 Kreis
City of Worms
City of Mainz

1871 Kreis

1871 Kreis

Hessen-Darmstadt 2.png

Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)[edit | edit source]

Historic areas now in Lower
Saxony (Niedersachsen):

233px-Deutschland Lage von Niedersachsen.svg.png

Former States Now in Lower Saxony

Niedersachsen regions.png

Modern Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)

Modern Niedersachsen.png

Lower Saxony component states.png

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern[edit | edit source]

Historic areas
now in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
(Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania):

233px-Deutschland Lage von Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.svg.png

Former States Now in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)


Modern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern map.png

North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen)[edit | edit source]

Historic areas
now in Nordrhein-Westfalen:


Former States Now in Nordrhein-Westfalen

1024px-Map of NRW showing Lippe.svg.png

Modern Nordrhein-Westfalen

Modern Nordrhein-Westfalen.png

Prussia[edit | edit source]

Brandenburg: the Neumark region, 1945: Poland
East Prussia, 1945:

Free City of Danzig, 1945: Poland
Pomerania, 1945:

Posen, 1919: Wielkie Księstwo Poznańskie, Poland
Silesia (Schlesien),1945:

Czech Republic

Upper Silesia, 1919: Poland
West Prussia, 1919: Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland

1920px-German territorial losses 1919 and 1945.svg-1.png

Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz)[edit | edit source]

Historic areas now in Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz):

  • (the Rhenish Palatinate), part of Bavaria
  • parts of Hessen-Darmstadt
  • the southern parts of the Prussian Rhine Province
  • Rhineland (Rheinland)
  • parts of the Prussian Province of Hessen-Nassau
  • the District of Birkenfeld, formerly part of Oldenburg

Clickable Map[edit | edit source]


North Rhine (Nordrhein)Rhineland (Rheinland)BirkenfeldSaarlandMainz-BingenAlzey-WormsUnterlahnkreisWesterwaldkreisBavarische PfalzScreen Shot 2017-04-18 at 4.36.22 PM.png

Saarland[edit | edit source]

Historic areas
now in Saarland:
(created after World War I.)

  • the Saar-Pfalz (kreis or county) was from Bavaria
  • all the other counties were from Prussia

233px-Deutschland Lage des Saarlandes.svg.png

Modern Saarland and Former Areas Now in Saarland

Saar-Pfalz-(kreis or county) Was Bavarian

All Other Counties Were Prussian (Rheinland)

2000px-Saarland, administrative divisions - de - colored.svg-1.png

Saxe-Coburg-Gotha[edit | edit source]

Coburg--became part of Bavaria

Gotha--became part of Thuringia


Saxony[edit | edit source]

The Kingdom of Saxony became
modern Saxony (Sachsen).
155px-Deutschland Lage von Sachsen.svg.png

Kingdom of Saxony
German Empire, 1871

German Empire - Saxony (1871).svg.png

Modern State of Saxony
Former Kingdom of Saxony

Modern Saxony Map.png

"Old Saxony"' is the original homeland of the Saxons in the northwest corner of modern Germany and corresponds approximately to the modern German states of:

Old Saxony.JPG

Saxony- (Sachsen-) Anhalt[edit | edit source]

Historic areas
now in Saxony- (Sachsen-) Anhalt:

  • Free State of Anhalt
  • Province of Saxony
  • Brunswick (Braunschwieg) enclaves of Calvorde and eastern Blankenburg
  • Magdeburg, Saxony
  • Halle, Saxony
233px-Deutschland Lage von Sachsen-Anhalt.svg.png
Former States Now in Saxony- (Sachsen-) Anhalt

Sachsen-Anhalt Landesteile Beschriftet.png
Green: Anhalt
Orange: Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen)
Brown: Brunswick (Braunschwieg):
Blankenburg and Calvorde enclaves

Yellow: Thüringen

Modern Saxony- (Sachsen-) Anhalt

Modern Sachsen-Anhalt.png

Anhalt Detail 1747-1793

Map of Anhalt (1747-1793).svg.png

Schleswig-Holstein[edit | edit source]

From these historic areas now in
Schleswig-Holstein, click below
on the related article for the

Areas annexed from Hamburg

  • the city Geesthacht
  • municipalities: Großhansdorf, Schmalenbeck

Lost Areas[edit | edit source]

From the province of Schleswig-Holstein, these areas were
annexed to Hamburg in 1937-8

  • The municipality of Altona
  • The district of Wandsbek
  • From the district of Stormarn: the municipalities Bergstedt, Billstedt, Bramfeld, Duvenstedt, Hummelsbüttel, Lemsahl-Mellingstedt, Lohbrügge, Poppenbüttel, Rahlstedt, Sasel, Steilshoop and Wellingsbüttel
  • From the district Pinneberg: the municipality Lokstedt with Niendorf and Schnelsen
  • From the administrative district Herzogtum Lauenburg: the place Kurslack in the Achterschlag of the municipality Börnsen

Areas Now in Denmark,
By Kreis
[edit | edit source]

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 4.20.11 PM.png

Modern Schleswig-Holstein State in Germany
Kreise Schleswig-Holstein.svg.png

Silesia[edit | edit source]

Silesia 1825-1950.png

County (Kreis) Map of Silesia

Administrative districts: Oppeln=Violet , Breslau=Gold, Liegnitz=Green
Schlesien Verwaltungsgliederung 1905.svg.png

Thuringia (Thüringen)[edit | edit source]

Historic areas
now in Thuringia (Thüringen):

  • Reuss Older Line (Reuss ältere Linie)
  • Reuss Younger Line (Reuss jüngere Linie)
  • Saxony-Altenburg (Sachsen-Altenburg0
  • Gotha, part of Saxe (Sachsen)-Coburg-Gotha
  • Saxony (Sachsen)-Meiningen
  • Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach)
  • Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
  • Schwarzburg Sondershausen

155px-Deutschland Lage von Thüringen.svg.png

Former States Now in Thuringia (Thüringen)