Bremen, German Empire Civil Registration
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Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In Bremen, 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:
- Births (Geburtsregister)
- Marriages (Heiraten, Ehen, or Trauungen)
- Deaths (Sterberegister or Totenregister)
For a comprehensive understanding of civil registration, study the article Germany Civil Registration.
- 1 Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office
- 2 Privacy Laws
- 3 Finding Civil Registration Records
- 3.1 1. Online Records
- 3.2 2. Digital Copies of Civil Registration From FamilySearch
- 3.3 3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates
- 3.4 4. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources
- 4 Reading the Records
- 5 Search Strategy
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". 'This is the Standesamt location you will use when searching for civil registration records anywhere in the FamilySearch catalog and collections. Ancestry.com collections will also use this location name. Records in archives will use this location prior to the consolidation of registration offices in the 1970's.
However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the modern record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz. When writing for records, first find the modern registrar for your town.
- 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...." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the larger municipality (in this example, Edermünde).
- 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.
- To e-mail the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
- Consult this address list for the exact contact information, which should include an e-mail address: Standesamt.com. In the horizontal menu bar, hover over "+registry office" or "+Standesämter", then the name of the modern state, for a drop-down list of links to modern cilvil registrars.
- 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. Use the German Letter Writing Guide to write your questions in German.
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]
- Standesamt records on Die Maus, 1876 to privacy limit, indexed.
- Bremen, German Deaths of Sailors and Ship Passengers, 1834-1875 - at Ancestry.com, ($). Index and images. In German. Incomplete.
- Bremen, Germany Births on Ships, 1867-1911 - at Ancestry.com, . Also available at Ancestry.com, ($). Also available on MyHeritage.com, ($). Index and images.
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 the Places within Germany, Bremen drop-down menu and select your town.
- 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. . 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 and state 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.
How to write a 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.
Standesamt Addresses[edit | edit source]
- Standesamt Bremen-Mitte
(Registry Office of central Bremen)
- Standesamt Bremen-Nord
(Registry Office of north Bremen)
- Staatsarchiv Bremen
(State Archive of Bremen)
Am Staatsarchiv 1
- Standesamt Bremerhaven
(Registry Office of Bremerhaven)
Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
State Archives[edit | edit source]
Duplicate registers from some towns are kept in state archives. The advice from these state archives is to use the Standesamt-Nord and Standesamt-Mitte records from the local offices first.
State Archives Bremen
Am Staatsarchiv 1
Phone: 0421 / 361-6221
Fax: 0421 / 361-10247
4. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources[edit | edit source]
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]
- Ortsfamilienbücher on Die Maus
- 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.
- Ortsfamilienbuch Bremen und Vegesack Familiennamenliste Searchable.
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.
- These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
- List of Names in Old German Script A comprehensive list of German given names, written in old script, with possible variations.
- 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.
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.