Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg and Posen, Church Book Duplicates (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Access the Records
Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg and Posen, Church Book Duplicates, 1794-1874 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Brandenburg, Prussia,  Germany
Flag of the German Empire.svg.png
Flag of the German Empire, 1871-1917
German Empire - Prussia - Brandenburg and Posen (1871).svg.png
Location of Brandenburg, Prussia, Germany
German Empire blank map.svg.png
Map of the German Empire, 1871-1917
Current Location
Parts of Brandenburg are now in Poland. All of Posen is in Poland.
Record Description
Record Type Church Records
Collection years: 1794-1874
Languages: German, Polish
Title in the Language: Deutschland, Preußen, Brandenburg und Posen, Kirchenbuchduplikate
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv

What is in This Collection?

This collection includes records from 1794 to 1874. German states successively began creating church book duplicates from 1792 to 1876. This collection of church records covers the years 1794–1874 and are good sources to find information of ancestors before the institution of civil registration in 1876.

In Germany, a parish was an ecclesiastical jurisdiction made up of many villages and hamlets, with one of the villages designated as the main parish town. This set of church book duplicates do not usually include records from all of the villages within a parish, but only records from one village, or from a few of the villages within the parish. In larger cities, where there was more than one church, each church is listed separately.

Outside of Prussia, the clergy were required to record the vital events (births, marriages and deaths) of people living within their jurisdiction regardless of their religion. For example, Catholic or Jewish people living in an area that did not have a Catholic church or Jewish synagogue were often recorded in the Lutheran records. The reverse was also true in Catholic areas, where Lutherans and Jews were recorded in Catholic records.  However, in Prussia--including Brandenburg and, from 1793 onward, Posen--this was not the common practice.Some Posen church books have entries for Jews during the period 1807-1814, i.e., the Napoleonic occupation.

German church book duplicates, like the originals, are the most reliable and accurate family history source until 1876 when civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in all of Germany.Church book duplicates may differ slightly from the originals because of transcription variations. They are often more legible than the originals. Entries are usually arranged in chronological order in a column format. The baptisms, marriages and deaths for one year are grouped together before the baptisms, marriages and deaths for the next year.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg and Posen, Church Book Duplicates, 1794-1874.

Collection Content

As noted, this collection contains church vital records. Due to the location of the collection, approximately ninety percent of the records are written in German, and the other ten percent are written in Polish. For help with these languages, see below.

Sample Images

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Marriage Records generally contain the following information:

  • Names of bride, groom, their parents, and witnesses
  • Date and place of marriage and marriage proclamations or bans
  • Age of bride, groom, and their parents
  • Residence of bride, groom, and their parents
  • Religion of bride and groom
  • Occupation of groom and fathers

Death Records generally contain the following information:

  • Names of deceased, spouse, and parents
  • Date and place of death and burial
  • Age and residence of deceased (sometimes date and place of birth)
  • Cause of death

Baptismal Records generally contain the following information:

  • Names of child, parents, and witnesses or godparents
  • Date of birth and place of baptism
  • Residence and religion of parents
  • Occupation of father
  • Whether child was legitimate or illegitimate

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before beginning a search in these records, it is best to know the full name of the individual in question, as well as an approximate time range for the desired record. When entered into the search engine on the Collection Page, this information provides the quickest, most reliable path to finding the correct person. Of course, other information can be substituted as necessary.

Search by Name by Visiting the Collection Page

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page to return a list of possible matches. Compare the individuals on the list with what is already known to find the correct family or person. This step may require examining multiple individuals before a match is located.

View Images in This Collection by Visiting the Browse Page

If granted the rights to view the digitized records in this collection (see below), the images may be accessed by following this series of links:
⇒ Select the Browse through images link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the Province
⇒ Select the City or Town
⇒ Select the Religion
⇒ Select the Event to go to the images

Compare the information found on the images with what is already known determine if a particular record relates to the correct person. This process may require examining multiple records before the correct person is located.

For Help Reading These Records

As noted above, the records in this collection may be written in either German or Polish. For German records, see the following:

For Polish records, see the following:

What Do I Do Next?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the age in the record to find an approximate birth year, which will help you find their other records
  • Use the information in each record to find additional family members
  • Repeat this process with additional family member’s records to find more generations of the family

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that their may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg and Posen, Church Book Duplicates." Database with Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv, Potsdam (Brandenburg State Archives, Potsdam).

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

Top of Page

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.