Brunswick (Braunschweig), German Empire Genealogy
Guide to Brunswick (Braunschweig), German Empire ancestry, family history, and genealogy before 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records, family history, and military records.
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
The territory of Wolfenbüttel had been a portion of the medieval Duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg since the 1200's. It was recognized as a sovereign state by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Congress turned it into an independent country under the name Duchy of Braunschweig.
- The Duchy of Braunschweig remained sovereign and independent and was never part of Prussia. It joined first the North German Confederation in 1866, and in 1871, the German Empire.
- At the end of World War I, in 1919, the enclaves of Calvörde and part of Blankenburg became part of the Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen), which in 1946 merged into the current state of Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt). Saxony-Anhalt was part of East Germany, until the re-unification of Germany in 1990.
- At the end of World War I, in 1919, the rest of the duchy became the Free State of Brunswick (Braunschweig), which in 1946 merged into the current state of Lower Saxon (Niedersachsen). This was part of West Germany, until the re-unification of Germany in 1990.
- The division of Blankenburg: the larger eastern part of the district with the district seat of Blankenburg is now in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The smaller western part with the city Braunlage and the municipalities Hohegeiß, Neuhof, Walkenried, Wieda, and Zorge is now in Lower Saxony. 
This article explains research in the Duchy of Brunswick (Braunschweig) as it existed until 1945. For research after 1945, see Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt), Germany Genealogy and Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany Genealogy.
Getting Started[edit | edit source]
Getting Started with Germany Research
Links to articles on getting started with German research:
Germany Research Tools
Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:
Historical Geography[edit | edit source]
Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Brunswick (Braunschweig)[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. Also, see:
- Emigration lists of the former Duchy of Braunschweig,1846-1871, index
- Niedersachsen Archives Search Page, enter "Auswanderung" and surname.
2. Use gazetteers and/or parish 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 Studying Your German Locality 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.
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 after 1 January 1876, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Brunswick (Braunschweig), German Empire Civil Registration.
4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Brunswick (Braunschweig), German Empire Church Records.
More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]
- Germany Online Classes and Tutorials
- Reading German Handwritten Records Practice exercises to build your skills and confidence.
- 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.
- Finding Aids for German Records
- Research Tips and Strategies
- Print these handouts for ready reference when reading German Handwriting:
- German Research, BYU Independent Study, no cost.