Germany Census

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Census
  • 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 not taken nationally in Germany and therefore exist for only a limited number of places and times.
  • German censuses may not be as helpful as censuses from other countries because better sources, such as church records and civil registration, are available. Only the compiled statistical information that was gathered from the censuses 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.

Research Tutorials at FamilySearch (See complete list at Germany Genealogy#FamilySearch Resources).


Available Census Records

Mecklenburg-Schwerin

  • The 1819 census lists include the following information about each resident:
  • Entry number
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Name of parish in which the birthplace belongs
  • Occupation
  • Relationship to head of household (usually given)
  • Whether owned land
  • How many years the person lived in the present place of residence
  • Marital status
  • Religion

An index to the 1819 census is: Schubert, Franz. Mecklenburg-Schwerin Volkszählung 1819: Register der Familiennamen. Berlin, Germany: Göttingen: Ditterich: Im Selbstverlag, 1981-1986. Two Volumes in Five. (FHL book 943.17 B4s ser. 4.) The indexes are bound at the back of each volume. The index is also found on microfiche 6,001,784-788.

  • The 1867 census lists include the following information about each resident:
  • first and last name
  • gender
  • year of birth
  • religious affiliation
  • marital status
  • occupation or social standing
  • citizenship
  • the reason why visitors were in the census area
  • distinguishing physical characteristics.
  • The 1890 census (fragments only) lists include the following information about each resident:

Information available for an individual will vary according to the form type that they are found on. For all form types the following is listed:

  • Town of enumeration
  • Name of individual

For some forms, the following information may also be listed:

  • Relationship to head of household
  • Gender
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Occupation


  • The 1900 census lists include the following information about each resident:

Information requested on the Household Lists included:

  • Town of enumeration
  • Enumeration district number
  • Household list number
  • Record number
  • Name of individual
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Gender

For the Census Cards, the following information was listed:

  • Enumeration district number
  • Household list number
  • Record number
  • Name of individual
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Occupation/status

Schleswig-Holstein

Denmark ruled all of Schleswig-Holstein, including Lübeck and parts of Hamburg and Oldenburg, until 1864. Denmark took several censuses of this area. The first census was made in 1769, and subsequent censuses were taken in 1801, 1803, 1834, 1835, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, and 1860. The censuses are written in either German or Danish, sometimes with both on the same page. The information contained in the censuses varies according to which year it was taken:

1769. This census names the head of each household and the number of people in the house, grouped by age and sex. It did not take military personnel into account, neither will the researcher find information from estates, monestaries and the Gottorfer areas.
1801-1860. Censuses taken from 1801 to 1860 list each person's name, residence, position in the family, age, marital status, and occupation.
1845 and later censuses. From 1845 on, each census also lists birthplace, the parish of the birthplace, and the length of residency at the census place.

Lübeck Censuses

Lübeck censuses range from 1807-1880. They are available to view on Ancestry.com, ($)'

1852 Kingdom of Hannover Census

The FHL filmed a small part of this census. Click here to see FHL catalog listing. There are also indexes online.


1938 Census for Minorities

In 1939 Extracts of the 1939 German census concerning non-Germanic minorities living in Breslau and other cities was taken with an emphasis is on the Jewish population.  A translated sample of the format of the census is below.  Click on the image to enlarge it.

Census format 19380001.jpg

A table with film numbers follows which gives the localities that have films for the 1938 census:
German 1938 Census Film list

Other Census or Census-Like Records

Online Databases

Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Schleswig-Holstein

Indexed records:

Lübeck

Lübeck censuses range from 1807-1880. They are available to view on Ancestry.com, ($)'

1852 Kingdom of Hannover

The FHL filmed a small part of this census. Click here to see FHL catalog listing. There are also indexes online.

Wiki Articles Describing Online Collections

Census Records at the Family History Library

Mecklenburg-Schwerin

The Family History Library has the 1819, 1867, 1890, and 1900 censuses for Mecklenburg-Schwerib. Click GERMANY, MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN¬CENSUS to go to the catalog listing.

Schleswig-Holstein

Denmark ruled all of Schleswig-Holstein, including Lübeck and parts of Hamburg and Oldenburg, until 1864. Denmark took several censuses of this area. Censuses are microfilmed but not indexed. They are arranged by district and city. To see listings of records, click here:GERMANY, PREUßEN, SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN - CENSUS

It is often difficult to determine which village belongs to what census district. A good source to find jurisdictions are the two volumes v. Schröder and Biernatzki published: "Topographie des Herzogthums Schleswig" (1854) and "Topographie der Herzogthümer Holstein und Lauenburg" (1855)


Other Census Records

The Family History Library has some less significant census records from a number of other German states. See GERMANY, [STATE] - CENSUS. Some statistics about censuses taken in Germany are listed under this link: Liste der Volkszählungen in Deutschland

Searching Census Records

When searching census records, remember the following:

  • Information may be incorrect.
  • The ages listed may not be correct.
  • A given name may not be the same as the name used in vital records.
  • Names may be spelled as they sound.
  • Place-names may be misspelled.
  • Some parts of the census may be illegible.
  • If the family is not at the expected location, you should search the surrounding area.