Berlin, Germany Genealogy

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Guide to Berlin ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Berlin

Berlin, the capital of Germany, is also Germany's largest city.  Because of its size, research can be time-consuming.  In Meyer's Orts und Verkehrs Lexicon published in 1912 we find that at this time there were 70 Evangelical chapels, 15 Catholic chapels, 15 synagogues, 3 Reformed churches and 2 Baptist churches. 

For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town

  • To begin using the records of Germany, knowing that your family came from Berlin 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.
  • Details about the town will also help:
    • the county or "Kreis" of that town,
    • 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 it was part of.

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.

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.

For Berlin Localities:

Enter "Berlin" in the Search field. A list of locations within Berlin will appear with hyphenated names. You will need to be able to narrow down your town of origin further than just "Berlin".

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Here is part of an entry from (The whole entry can be studied at Heusenstamm, MeyersGaz.)

The most important facts here are:

  1. Heusenstamm is in Offenbach Kreis (Kr).
  2. It has its own Standesamt (StdA) or civil registration office.
  3. It has its own Catholic parish church.
  4. By clicking on the "Ecclesiastical" option, we learn that the closest protestant church is 2 miles away in Bieber.


Using Berlin Directories to Narrow Down Your Place of Origin

See, Berlin Evangelical Parish Jurisdictions and Berlin Civil Registration, to learn how you can use city directories to find the parish in Berlin where your ancestors lived.

Research Tools

Latin Records

Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:

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