Census Records for Germany

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A census is a count and description of the population. A few censuses have been taken by various German states, provinces, and cities, and by some ecclesiastical officials. Censuses were taken primarily for taxation or military purposes.

German censuses may not be as helpful as census from other countries because better sources, such as church records and civil registration, are available.

Census were not taken nationally in Germany and therefore exist for only a limited number of places and times. Only the compiled statistical information that was gathered from the census is generally available. Census records of some towns and regions may be accessible at various archives, but most are presently not available to researchers.

Use census information carefully since accurate information may not have been given to or understood by the census taker.

Read this article about censuses in Germany: Census Taking-Before 1871

For additional context see "German census records 1816-1916 : the when, where, and how of a valuable genealogical resource".

Some statistics on population censuses in Germany can be found at: Census in Germany

Demographics before 1816[edit | edit source]

Population statistics before 1816 may be found and collected in church registers.

Censuses before 1834 (1816 - 1833)[edit | edit source]

In Prussia there were from 1816 census the number of public and private houses and the population was listed by sex and age;those under 14, those 14-60 and those over 60. Religion was also an important factor; how many were married, how many were neophytes.

Zollverein before and after 1834[edit | edit source]

The Zollverein was an association of German states formed to ease heavy customs and trade policies; for example, to transport goods from Königsberg to Cologne without heavy dues and assesments. The idea of a duty-free single market came from the Confederation of the Rhine. Here are two maps that show which countries belong. Confederation of the Rhine
and Zollverein

The following explains the various states and their enclaves that belonged before and after 1834 to the Zollverein.
Before 1834:
1. Prussia with its associated States and affiliated enclaves - Anhalt-Bernburg (since June 17, 1826), Insert non-formatted text here Anhalt-Dessau (since July 17, 1828), Anhalt-Köthen (since July 17, 1828), Waldeck (since 16th April 1831), enklavierte areas of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen (since October 25, 1819), enklavierte areas of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (since June 24, 1822), enclave Allstedt (Saxony-Weimar) (since June 27, 1823), Enclave Oldisleben (Saxony-Weimar) (since June 27, 1823), Enclave Rossow (Mecklenburg-Schwerin) (since 2 December 1826), Enclave Netzeband (Mecklenburg-Schwerin) (since 2 December 1826), Enclave Schoenberg (to Mecklenburg-Schwerin) (since 2 December 1826), Enclave Volkenroda (Saxony-Coburg and Gotha) (since July 4, 1829), Enclave Oberamt Meisenheim (to Hesse-Homburg) (since 31 December 1829), the Principality of Birkenfeld enclave (Oldenburg) (since July 24, 1830) 2. Grand Duchy of Hesse (since February 14, 1828 and during the Prussian-Hessian Customs Union) 3. Electorate of Hesse (since July 25, 1831 during the Prussian-Hessian Customs Union) without the county Schaumburg (Hesse-Kassel was since 1828 already a member of the Central German Trade Association) 4. Bavaria (since January 18, 1828 at South German Zollverein) with the connected enclave Office Königsberg Office (Saxony-Coburg and Gotha) (June 14, 1831) 5. Württemberg (since January 18, 1828 at South German Zollverein) with its associated States - Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (since 28 July 1824), Hohenzollern-Hechingen (since 28 July 1824) 6. Saxony (by the Treaty of Accession of 30 March 1833) (Saxony was since 1828 already a member of the Central German Trade Association) 7. "Tariffs and Trade Association of the Thuringian States" (by the Accession Treaty of 11 May 1833), ie Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, Sachsen-Altenburg, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (without their enklavierten areas ; see Prussia), Schwarzburg-Sondershausen (without their enklavierten areas; see Prussia), Reuss-Greiz Reuss-Schleiz, Reuss-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf, district Schmalkalden (to Hesse-Kassel) (member since May 10, 1833), Urban and district Erfurt (Prussia) (member since May 10, 1833) (The Thuringian states were since 1828 members of the Central German Trade Association)
After 1834:
1. Hesse-Homburg (by contract of 20 February 1835) (here the Oberamt Homburg was assigned to the customs territory of the Grand Duchy of Hesse and the Oberamt Meisenheim the customs territory of Prussia, Hesse-Homburg was therefore only an indirect member of the Customs Union) (Hesse-Homburg was already since 1828 a member of the Central German Trade Association) 2. Baden (by agreement of 12 May 1835) (this was part of Klettgau (including the town of Büsingen) outside the customs territory of the customs union (see Article 6 of the Zollverein agreement of 8 July 1867)) 3. Nassau (by agreement of 10 December 1835) (Nassau was already since 1828 a member of the Central German Trade Association) 4. Frankfurt am Main (by agreement of January 2, 1836) (Frankfurt am Main was already a member since 1828 of the Central German Trade Association) 5. Lippe-Detmold (by agreement of 18 October 1841) (where the territory was assigned to the customs territory of Prussia, was only an indirect member of the Customs Union) (Lippe-Detmold was a member of the Central German Trade Association since 1828) 6. Braunschweig (by agreement of 19 October 1841) (Braunschweig was already since 1828 a member of the Central German Trade Association) 7. County Schaumburg (part of Hesse-Cassel) (by agreement of 13 November 1841) (the county was since 1828 a member of the Central German Trade Association) 8. Hannover (by contract of 7 September 1851 entered into the force on 1 January 1854) (Hannover was since 1828 a leading member of the Central German Trade Association; Hannover accession to the German Zollverein was extinguished by the Central German Trade Association) 9. Schaumburg-Lippe (since 1828 Schaumburg-Lippe was already the customs territory of Hannover; it came up with this with the German Zollverein) 10. Oldenburg (by contract of 1 March 1852 in force since January 1, 1854) without the Principality of Luebeck and the Principality of Birkenfeld (this but the Prussian customs territory assigned) (Oldenburg was already since 1828 a member of the Central German Trade Association)
Free Cities:
1. Hanseatic City of Lübeck (by the Treaty of 1868) 2. City of Hamburg (passed through contract of 1881, in force 1888) 3. Bremen (entered by the Treaty of 1884 in force in 1888

Censuses during the period of the German Customs Union and of the German Empire (1834-1919)[edit | edit source]

Between 1834 and 1867, the German Zollverein every three years resulted in a census: 1834, 1837, 1840, 1843, 1846, 1849, 1852, 1855, 1861, 1864 and 1867.
censuses were conducted during the German Reich (1871 -1918):
December 1871
December 1875
December 1880
December 1885
December 1895
December 1900
December 1905
December 1910
December 1915
December 1917

Censuses in the Weimar Republic (1918-1933)[edit | edit source]

October 8, 1919
June 16, 1925

Censuses in the Third Reich (1933-1945)[edit | edit source]

June 16, 1933 May 17, 1939

Minorities Census 1938[edit | edit source]

In 1939 were excerpts from the 1939 People's trains on non-German minorities who lived in Wroclaw and other cities, carried out with an emphasis on the Jewish population. An example of a count form you see here:

Census format 19380001.jpg

Here is a table listing geographic localities with Family History Library film numbers:
German 1938 Census Film list

Censuses in the zones of occupation (1945-1949)[edit | edit source]

October 29, 1946

Censuses in the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990)[edit | edit source]

August 31, 1950 December 31, 1964

January 1, 1971 December 31, 1981

Census in the Federal Republic of Germany (since 1949)[edit | edit source]

September 13, 1950 September 25, 1956

June 6, 1961
May 27, 1970 May 25, 1987

December 5, 2001 (test counting)
May 9, 2011

Methods of census[edit | edit source]

The format of the census recording was more or less underdeveloped. The implementation of the census la in the hands of local police. The focus was on the level of the population to appropriate taxes, etc. to be able to raise. In the period from 1834-1852, the censuses were divided according to civilian and military population, gender, age: for example, the under 14 and over 14-year-old, married women and married women. As these figures were recorded was left to the individual states. Hotels In 1843, the Directive has been issued to carry out the counting house by house. This method was more accurate and brought better results. In 1867 for the first time a census in all states was carried out simultaneously. Still, the results were not vergleichbar.Innerhalb the States of the Zollverein, the residents were counted, and the North German Confederation, Baden and Hesse were the actual population. Data were collected via household lists that had to fill every householder. He needed include:
All persons who lived in his household on the night of the census
All members of the household who were absent on the day of the census
The census had every person - full name, sex, age , profession, nationality, present or not - included. Was a person not of German nationality had to be answered the following questions: the person was a citizen of the state or of another state, if so, what state? The earlier censuses were mostly statistical and tax purposes, Mur in 1870, the Commission decided to raise more information: name, status in the household, sex, place of birth, marital status, religion, profession, nationality and place of residence.

In the year 1834 the guidelines of the customs union were complied with and additional information was collected in 1842 (marital status and merit), in 1846 (surnames in some cities) and in 1864 each person was recorded by name. In 1867 only the population was counted with customs facilities.

Michel, Harald. Censuses in Germany. The registration of the population from1816-1933 see The Erfasung the population prior 1816 -1933

Records of censuses in the Family History Library[edit | edit source]

The census records from some areas have been filmed and are in the Family History Library. The 1819, 1867-, 1890- and 1900 & nbsp; censuses of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and various census records of Schleswig-Holstein are the main censuses available in the Library. There are also some census records from 1938, mainly the Jewish population concern. (See above: Minorities Census 1938)

Mecklenburg-Schwerin[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library has the 1819 census on 60 rolls of microfilm. This census provides information about all the people who live on an autonomous budget.This includes age, sex, place of birth, municipality to which the birthplace belongs, the birthplace, marital status and occupation. It also contains the length of stay at the residence and some additional comments. The census is divided into districts and cities - records are available for virtually every location in Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Index for the 1819-Census:

Schubert, Franz Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census 1819: Register of surname '. Berlin, Germany: Göttingen: Ditterich: self-published, 1981-1986. Two Volumes in Five. (FHL book 943.17 B4s water. 4.) The indexes are appended to the end of each tape.

The index is also available on microfilm 6,001,784-788.

The census is listed in the site Search the Family History Library of the catalog under:


The exodus of the 1819 Mecklenburg-census can be found at working group people number-register

Census year 1867, 1890 and 1900 have been indexed and are available to search on FamilySearch.org.

Schleswig-Holstein[edit | edit source]

By 1864, Denmark dominated Schleswig-Holstein, including Lübeck and parts of Hamburg and Oldenburg. Denmark led several censuses in this area. The first census was in 1769 followed by censuses in 1801, 1803, 1834, 1835, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855 and 1860. The censuses are written in German or Danish written, and sometimes in both languages on the same page. The information content varies, according to the year in which the census took place.

  • 1769. The census results on the household and the number of people in the house - grouped by age and sex. Military personnel were not recorded, and the researchers will not find: property, assets and Gottorfer areas.
  • '1801-1860. Censuses from 1801 to 1860 included about each person name, address, position in the family, age, marital status and occupation.
  • 1845 and subsequent censuses. From 1845 every census contains the birthplace, the church in place of birth, residence at the place of census.

It is often difficult to decide which village belongs to which census district. Some good sources to find the competent office, are the two volumes by Johannes von Schröder. "Topographie der Herzogthums Schleswig" (Topography of the Duchy of Schleswig) (1854) and  Johannes von Schröder and Hermann Biernatzki's "Topographie der Herzogthümer Holstein und Lauenburg ..."(Topography of the duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg...) (1855)

The censuses are filmed, but not indexed. They are arranged by district and city.  Search the FamilySearch Catalog under:

GERMANY, Prussia, Schleswig-Holstein - CENSUS

or enter the parish of interest in the "keyword" search field of the FamilySearch Catalog.

Efforts are the records of Schleswig-Holstein to extract. The results can be searched online at: AGGSH e.V.

Some indexes are available online at: CinnamonToast Genealogy

1803 Census available on: Dansk Data Arkiv

"Small" censuses[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library has some less important census records a number of German states. These are listed in the site Search in the catalog under:


Searching census records[edit | edit source]

If you search census records, you should always remember:

  • Information may be incorrect.
  • The age information may be incorrect.
  • A first name may be different from the name that is used in other important records.
  • Other names may be written as they sound.
  • Place name may be misspelled.
  • Some parts of the census may be illegible.
  • If you can not find the family in the expected location, you should search in the surrounding area.