Germany Websites--Reference and Training

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Germany Research Topics
Muehlhausen Thueringen .jpg
Beginning Research
Record Types
Germany Background
Ethnicity
Local Research Resources
Moderator
The FamilySearch moderator for Germany is Baerbel
Germany
Websites

Guide to websites for family history sources that assist in finding genealogy records for German ancestors.

See also German Research a free, in-depth online course through Brigham Young University, by Larry Jensen.

See also German Online Genealogy Records, an article listing websites with actual genealogical data about individual people. Databases there cover material from all over Germany as it exists today.

See also Germany Genealogy wiki, for further explanations of each of these topics, and tips on their use.

Archives

Also see below:  Church Archives and Contact Information

Biographies

Blogs

Calendars

Classes

Colonies

Dictionaries, see Language and Handwriting Helps

Emigration, Immigration, and Passenger Lists

Finding Parish Registers

Priests at each church recorded baptisms (christenings), marriages, and burial events in parish registers. These records help prove birth, marriage, and death, parentage, and spouse names. German parish registers sometimes include move-in and move-out data.

Parish Register Inventories

Parish register inventories list existing, known parish registers, the years covered, and the repository where they are kept.

  • PDF Archive Inventory- an inventory of localities with the location or archive where the records should be found. Corresponding list of archives named in inventory is at Archive Addresses Please note that in the second column, with the heading of "key" matches the Archive "number" in the first link which contains the database.
  • Finding parish registers for formerly eastern Germany areas now in other countries
  • Matricula -International site dedicated to making digitized church records available online. As of June 2009 available records include 1. Catholic parish registers of the Diocese of St. Pölten, Austria 2. One parish in Passau, Bavaria, Germany 3. Evangelical records of parishes in the Gelnhausen, Hessen-Nassau, Germany area 4. Evangelical records of sixteen parishes in the Rhineland region, Germany Most of these records have not been filmed by the Family History Department.
  • Virtuell.de - Parish registers of the Bayreuth, Bavaria, Lutheran Archive. The “virtual reading room” allows access to scanned images of over 30 parish registers. The user joins an association and pays yearly dues (30 Euros in 2009) plus modest additional monthly fees for access to specific records.
  • Landesarchiv Baden-Wuerttemberg – Digitized microfilms of Jewish birth, marriage, and death records from Baden, Wuerttemberg, and Hohenzollern available through the Landesarchiv Baden-Wuerttemberg. This collection complements similar records available through the Family History Library
  • Landesarchiv Baden-Wuerttemberg - Digitized parish register duplicates 1810-1870. Organized by court district, then by parish.
  • Lippe-Detmold Gives parish jurisdictions for even the smallest villages
  • Franz Blanckmeister, Die Kirchenbuecher im Koenigreich Sachsen, 1901
  • Alphabetical listing of localities and parish addresses in Saxony
  • Schleswig-Holstein: Place Names List of places in former Prussian province keyed to the parish.
  • List of Schleswig-Holstein church districts with archive addresses etc.
  • Westpruessen list of towns including their Catholic, Lutheran and civil registry jurisdictions], click on “Ortsverzeichnis” in the bottom left bar under the heading “Forschungshilfen”. This brings up a dialogue box in which to enter the place name. In German.

Church Archives and Contact Information

Parish Registers Online

Regional Collections

Gazetteers

A gazetteer (Ortzeichnis or Topographie) is a dictionary of placenames. Gazetteers may also provide additional information about towns, such as: population size, the different religious denominations, the schools, colleges, and universities,major manufacturing works, canals, docks, and railroad stations. Gazetteers can help you find the places where your family lived and determine the civil and church jurisdictions over those places.

Germany gazetteers wiki article

For more extensive information and tips on using gazetteers, see Germany Gazetteers on the Wiki.

GOV-Genealogical gazetteer

The GOV, The Historic Gazetteer, is useful for initial place name identification. This search is exact. Wild cards can’t be used, but to some extent it is possible to search for parts of names. Example: “Offenb” brings up Offenbach, Offenburg, Offenbüttel etc… The search term may be found in any part of the place name, not just at the beginning, but the results may not be complete. It may be advantageous to repeat the search with a different search term. Example: When “zim” is entered as a search term, 167 hits come up, including Groß-Zimmern (with hyphen) and Niederzimmern (without hyphen), but not Herrenzimmern. However, a search for “Herrenz” brings up Herrenzimmern, but a search for “renz” does not.

In the GOV each locality is given a unique identity number and identified by type, postal code, and associated places. A diagram shows super-ordinate objects, such as the parish, county, region etc., by time period. The entry may link to an article in the GenWiki about the locality and to various maps.

Other Gazetteers

Regional gazetteers and parish register inventories

For an extensive list of regional gazetteers and parish register inventories, click on this link.

The German DigiBib [Digital Library] continually adds new gazetteers and maps to its collection, so it’s worth checking there first. Access it through www.genealogy.net/genealogy by clicking on the tab “DigiBib”, or directly through Portal DigiBib . Choose “Pfarr- und Kirchenbuchverzeichnisse” for parish listings and parish register inventories, or „Ortslexika, Topografien, Statistiken etc.” for gazetteers and geographical descriptions.

Genealogy

This section lists databases of compiled genealogy, family pedigrees and group records, submitted by other researchers.

General Resources

Geography and Maps

German Soundex

Soundex is a phonetic index that groups together names that sound alike but are spelled differently. This helps searchers find names that are spelled differently than originally expected, a relatively common genealogical research problem.

Heraldry

History

Language and Handwriting Helps

Letter Writing

Dictionaries and Translation

Word Lists--Frequent Words in Records

Gothic Handwriting

Search Vocabulary--Frequently Used Words in Search Engines

address books - Adressbuecher
archive - Archiv [Kirchen{buch}archiv, Landesarchiv, Staatsarchiv, Stadtarchiv, Komunalarchiv, Kreisarchiv]
calendar of events - Veranstaltungskalender
church(es) - Kirche(n)
civil registration office - Standesamt
community (civil) - Gemeinde , Ortsgemeinde
community consisting of several towns (civil] - Verbandsgemeinde [VG]
Computer Genealogy (on-line journal) - Computergenealogie
culture - Kultur
data base - Datenbank
economy - Wirtschaft
emigrants - Auswanderer
emigration - Auswanderung
emigration research - Auswandererforschung
general - allgemein
illnesses (old terms) - alte Krankheitsbezeichnungen
index, listing - Verzeichnis
Latin - lateinisch
list - Liste
map(s)- Karte(n) mayor's office - Buergermeisteramt
measures - Masse
occupations - Berufe
old - alt
parish office - Kirchenbuero, Pfarrbuero
parish [church] - Kirchengemeinde
passenger lists - Schiffslisten
pastor - Pfarrer
pictures (old) - alte Bilder
place names - Ortsnamen
postal code(s) - Postleitzahl(en) printed - gedruckt
public - oeffentlich public institutions - oeffentliche Einrichtungen
research - Forschung
research associations, clubs - Vereine
search screen - Suchmaske
search term - Suchwort
sources - Quellen
town genealogy - Ortssippenbuch, Ortsfamilienbuch, OFB, OSB

Maps, see Geography and Maps

Mennonite Records

ManyRoads provides a mega-search engine geared to identifying available online information, records, and family related forums. 

Metasearches and Large Databases with Many Record Types

FOKO-This database allows the family historian to find others who are working on the same families or in the same towns.
GedBas-Anyone can contribute data in form of Gedcom files, or search for information.
Familienzeigen-extracts from birth-, marriage-, and death notices placed in daily newspapers from the last 20 years.
Grabsteine-records tomb stone information of recent origin.
Totenzettel (Memorial cards)
Verlustlisten 1.WK - (WWI Casualty lists)

Genealogy.net or Compgen.de

In late 2012 Genealogy.net changed its Web address to "Compgen.de", but the old address still works and the page setup remains the same.

Genealogy.net, the Web site of the German Society for Computer Genealogy, provides many different resources for the family historian. Available tools include a gazetteer of the German Empire, a genealogical Wiki, a digital library, lineage-linked town genealogies, a literature data base, various name data bases, links to mailing lists, and a monthly newsletter. Most projects are on-going and welcome volunteers and contributors. Free registration is required to participate.

German language helps

This is a German-language Web site. Systematic presentation allows the use of electronic translators such as Google Translate, with reasonable success. The Web browser Google Chrome will recognize the German language and will offer to translate it. Google Translate can be accessed in other browsers by typing “translate.google.com” into a new tab. First choose the “from” and “to” languages. Then the Web address or text can be pasted into the translation box. Translations will be very literal, word for word, and are therefore not suitable for use in correspondence. To see the original text, hover over a word or phrase with the mouse.

A good German- English dictionary is available at http://www.leo.org/ .

Searches on genealogy.net are very specific and will vary depending on the use of diacritical marks, hyphens, or spaces. Numeric codes can be used to enter diacritics:

Ä Alt + 142
ä
Alt + 132
Ö Alt + 153 ö Alt + 148
Ü Alt + 154 ü Alt + 129
ß (= ss) Alt + 0223

GenWiki

The GenWiki, or genealogical Wiki, is the main collection of information pages. It is fully searchable and includes various types of articles. Many locality pages were generated automatically in conjunction with the GOV, and may be empty. Filled-in pages often provide helpful details and links to other resources. Many articles are very time-and jurisdiction -specific. Disambiguation pages (Example: “Hessen: Begriffserklärung” [=definition of terms] ) allow easier access to the specific page(s) needed.

The GenWiki also includes pages about record types, laws, occupations, historical terms, instructions for using resources, and anything else that may be of interest to the family historian. For instance, a search for “Datenschutz” (rights to privacy) bring up a page that summarizes the meaning as it pertains to genealogists, along with links to more detailed articles.

Various lists, for example historical occupations, have been integrated into the GenWiki. A search for “Euler” brings up the definition "occupation", and the modern word "Töpfer" (potter), along with a link to the source database.

Locality template

Locality entries follow a standard template which may contain any of the following sections:

Inhaltsverzeichnis - table of contents
1 Einleitung - Introfuction
1.1 Allgemeine Information- general information
2 Politische Einteilung - political jurisdictions
2.1 Gemeinden Wohnplätze Vorwerke ...- communities, residential areas, suburbs...
3 Kirchliche Einteilung church jurisdictions
3.1 Evangelische Kirchen - Evangelical churches
3.2 Katholische Kirchen - Catholic churches
4 Geschichte - history
5 Genealogische und historische Quellen - genealogical and historical sources
5.1 Kirchenbücher - parish registers
5.2 Zivilstandsregister - civil registration records
5.3 Andere Quellen - other sources
5.3.1 LDS/FHC - points to microfilmed source material available through FamilySearch Centers
5.3.2 Grundakten und -bücher - land records and -books
5.3.3 Adreßbücher - addess books
6 Archive und Bibliotheken - archives and libraries
6.1 Archive - Archives
6.1.1 Bestände in Polen - record holdings in Poland
6.2 Bibliotheken - libraries
7 Weblinks 
7.1 Offizielle Webseiten der Stadt/Gemeinde - official Web site of the town/community
7.2 Genealogische Webseiten zum Ort - genealogical Web pages regarding this locality
7.3 Weitere Webseiten zum Ort - additional Web pages regarding this locality
8 Kontakte - contacts 
8.1 Forscherkontakte in FOKO - research contacts in the FOKO (research contacts) database
9 Private Informationsquellen- und Suchhilfeangebote - private qources of information and offers to help search
10 Zufallsfunde - incidental findings
11 Daten aus dem genealogischen Ortsverzeichnis - data grom the genealogical gazetteer (GOV)

Names--Surname Frequency

  • Geogen Surname frequency, based on current phonebooks

Newspapers

Societies

Town Genealogies (Ortsippenbuch or Ortsfamielenbuch)

Bibliographies of Town Genealogies and Parish Inventories--Some Searchable Online

Baden List of Baden-Wuerttemberg Ortsippenbuecher
Bayern(Bavaria) Ortschronik zu Bayern
Elsass-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine) Local history Books for Alsace-Lorraine
Hannover Bibliography of Ostfriesland OFBs with purchasing information in the U.S.

List of Ostfriesland OFBs

Hessen Ortsippenbuecher at University/Marburg

Central Office for Personal and Family History-Institute of Genealogy

Mecklenburg Local heritage books of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Ostfriesland Ostfrieslands local kinship books

Local clan books in Ostfriesland

Sachsen (Saxony) Family Books of Saxony
Schlesien (Silesia)
Thuringia (Thueringen) Thueringen Archives
Waldeck Waldeckische local kinship books - List of town genealogies published up to the year 2008
Westphalia Local heritage book to North Rhine-Westphalia