Baden-Württemberg, Germany Genealogy
How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records in Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is formed from the historical territories of Baden, Prussian Hohenzollern, and Württemberg, parts of Swabia.
The Holy Roman Empire was later established. The majority of people in this region continued to be Roman Catholics, even after the Protestant Reformation influenced populations in northern Germany. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous people emigrated from this largely rural area to the United States for economic opportunity. After World War II, the Allies established three federal states in the territory of modern-day Baden-Württemberg: Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Baden, and Württemberg-Baden. Baden-Württemberg officially became a state in Germany on 25 April 1952.
Guide to Baden-Württemberg ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
- 1 How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records in Baden-Württemberg
- 2 History
- 3 Information about Baden-Württemberg: Baden, Hohenzollern, and Württemberg
- 4 For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town
- 5 Research to Find the Town
- 6 If You Know the Town, Next Use Meyers Gazetteer
- 7 Figure Out the Parish for Your Town
- 8 Jurisdictions and Records
- 9 Research Tools
Information about Baden-Württemberg: Baden, Hohenzollern, and Württemberg
Today's state of Baden-Württemberg was created after the Second World War by uniting the countries of Baden, Hohenzollern, and Württemberg.
For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town
- To begin using the records of Germany, knowing that your family came from Baden-Württemberg will not be enough to use the records of Germany. Records are kept on the local level, so you will have to know the town they lived in.
- Historically, Baden and Württemberg were two separate states or countries.
- Details about the town will also help:
- the county of that town, called "Amt" in Baden and "Oberamt" in Württemberg. (NOTE:Württemberg is also divided into regions called "Kreise", which should not be confused with a "Kreis" in other states where it represents the "county" level of jurisdiction.)
- where the closest Evangelical Lutheran or Catholic parish church was (depending on their religion),
- where the civil registration office ("Standesamt") was, and
- if you have only a village name, you will need the name of the larger town to which it belonged.
Research to Find the Town
If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.
- Use Gathering Information to Locate Place of Origin as a guide in exhausting every possible record to find what you need.
- Or watch this webinar: Online Class: Finding German Places of Origin
*Or watch this webinar: Online Class: Finding German Places of Origin
- State archive index of emigrants from Baden and Württemberg (Glatzle Collection)
- Offenburg, Baden Emigrant database
If You Know the Town, Next Use Meyers Gazetteer
Once you know the town name you need, the other facts you need are contained in Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, the gazetteer on which the FamilySearch catalog for Germany is based.
- Use MeyersGaz, the digital gazetteer, to find the details you need, particularly the Amt or Oberamt (county) it belonged to, found after "A".or "OA". The Kreis (Kr.) is the next higher administrative level.
- MeyersGaz Help Guide
- Abbreviation Table
Here is part of an entry from MeyersGaz.org. (The whole entry can be studied at Heusenstamm, MeyersGaz.)
The most important facts here are:
- Heusenstamm is in Offenbach Kreis (Kr).
- It has its own Standesamt (StdA) or civil registration office.
- It has its own Catholic parish church.
- By clicking on the "Ecclesiastical" option, we learn that the closest protestant church is 2 miles away in Bieber.
Figure Out the Parish for Your Town
Your town might be too small to have its own parish church. Or it might have a Catholic church, but the Lutheran church is in a neighboring town. You might have to do a little reference work to determine where the church (and therefore the church records) was for your ancestors' town. Methods for doing this are described in:
Jurisdictions and Records
In April of 1952 Baden-Württemberg officially became a state in Germany. This occurred upon a referendum of the three federal states, Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Baden, and Württemberg-Baden that had been established at the end of World War II.
Today Baden-Württemberg is divided into thirty-five (Landkreise) and nine independent cities (Stadtkreise), then grouped into the four administrative districts, in German Regierungsbezirke (singular, Regierungsbezirk). The four districts are Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart and Tübingen.
- German Word List
- Latin Word List
- Handwriting Guide
- German Handwriting Tutorial
- Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)*German Chronological Jurisdictions