Germany Empire and Current States
Germany Germany Empire and Current States
Current States of Germany and Their Territory From the German Empire Provinces and Duchies
After East Germany and West Germany were reunited, these jurisdictions of the government were put in place. Generally, when researching genealogical records, it is important to discern what government entity would have jurisdiction over the records of that locality at the time the record was made. For example, if the town your ancestor came from is in Baden-Württemberg today, the records in 1890 might be found in a library catalog under just Baden. If you learn that your ancestor lived in Baden in 1890, and you want to write to the local church to enquire about records, use Baden-Württemberg in the address.
In 1919, the Elsass-Lothringen region was awarded to France as a result of World War I.
Each department has a Wiki page giving instructions and links to online records.
Historic areas now
Duchy of Coburg
Comparison of Brandenburg in 1871 and Modern Brandenburg
At the end of World War II, a large section of 1871 Brandenburg, the Neumark, was ceded to Poland. As the Neumark lay east of the Oder-Neisse line which formed the new border between Allied-controlled Germany and Poland, the region was put under Polish administration. Germans remaining in the region were expelled and their land and possessions confiscated. A small part of the German population, mostly technicians for the water supply companies, were retained and used for compulsory labour; they were allowed to emigrate to Germany in the 1950s. According to the Centre Against Expulsions, 40,000 Neumarkers were killed in action as soldiers, 395,000 fled to West or East Germany by 1950, and 208,000 died, disappeared, or were murdered during the course of flight or expulsion by Polish and Soviet troops.
"Neumark" For research help, go to
- Brandenburg, Germany Genealogy
- How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Brandenburg, Germany
- Neumark (region), Brandenburg, Germany Genealogy
The enclaves of Calvorde and Blankenburg are now in Saxony-Anhalt. The rest of Brunswick is now in the state of Lower Saxony.
After World War II, Brunswick was divided into the state of Lower Saxony, West Germany (dark gray background), and Saxony-Anhalt, East Germany (light gray background).
In 1937-38, several municipalities from neighboring Schleswig-Holstein and Hannover were annexed to Hamburg. These boundary changes will have an impact on where you will find records. These maps show the original areas of Hamburg during the time of the German Empire and the annexed areas which are part of Hamburg today.
1937-1938 Boundary Changes of Hamburg
Regional Gains of Hamburg
The country of Hamburg was in detail:
- From the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein
- The municipality of Altona with 248,589 inhabitants (1937)
- The district of Wandsbek
- From the district of Stormarn the municipalities Bergstedt , Billstedt , Bramfeld , Duvenstedt , Hummelsbüttel , Lemsahl-Mellingstedt , Lohbrügge , Poppenbüttel , Rahlstedt , Sasel , Steilshoop and Wellingsbüttel
- From the district Pinneberg the municipality Lokstedt with Niendorf and Schnelsen
- From the administrative district Herzogtum Lauenburg the place Kurslack in the Achterschlag of the municipality Börnsen
- From the Lüneburg district of the Prussian province of Hanover
- Of the administrative district Harburg-Wilhelmsburg with 112,293 inhabitants (1937)
- from the district of Harburg, the municipalities Altenwerder , Finkenwerder  , Fischbek , Francop , Gut Moor , Kirchwerder  , Langenbeck , Marmstorf , Neuenfelde , Neugraben , Neuland , Rönneburg , Sinstorf and the town Over Hook the municipality Over
- From the government district Stade of the Prussian province of Hanover
- from the district of Stade , the municipality Cranz
All the above mentioned cities and municipalities were merged with the city of Hamburg and the municipalities remaining with the Land of Hamburg as of April 1, 1938, into a unitary community, which was called Hansestadt Hamburg .
Territories of Hamburg Given Away
In exchange for this, the Hamburg enclaves went to Prussia
- To the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein
- To the administrative district Herzogtum Lauenburg the city Geesthacht
- To the Landkreis Stormarn the municipalities Großhansdorf and Schmalenbeck
- To the administrative district Land Hadeln in the government district Stade of the Prussian province of Hannover
- The city of Cuxhaven with Neuwerk and Scharhörn as well as the municipalities Berensch and Arensch , Gudendorf , Holte-Spangen, Oxstedt and Sahlenburg , with the exception of the Amerika-Hafen.
With this exception in the fourth implementing regulation to the Hamburg Act of March 22, 1937, Hamburg secured the America port in the city of Cuxhaven as an exclave.
--Source: Greater Hamburg Act
Alt-Hamburg, the city center. All of these areas were in the city-state of Hamburg during the time of the German Empire. This is a blowup of the central part of the preceding map (Kreise 2, 4, and 6.)
Hessen Refers to Several Different Localities
When your ancestors reported their homeland as Hessen, it could have meant Hessen and Hessen-Nassau is the maps above. It also could refer to one of these territories. Basically, these are areas that went by other names prior to the unification of Germany in 1871. Then they were merged into Hessen and Hessen Nassau.
Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)
North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen)
Historic areas now in Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz):
CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THIS MAP TO FIND INSTRUCTIONS FOR GENEALOGY RESEARCH IN EACH REGION.