Hohenzollern, Prussia, German Empire Genealogy

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Guide to Hohenzollern, German Empire ancestry, family history, and genealogy before 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records, both church and civil registration, compiled family history, and finding aids.

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Hohenzollern castle.jpg
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Germany Background

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

  • The Province of Hohenzollern (German: Provinz Hohenzollern) or the Hohenzollern Lands (German: Hohenzollernsche Lande) was a province of Prussia from 1850 to 1946.
  • Hohenzollern was established in 1850 by merging Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Hohenzollern-Hechingen, formerly independent principalities ruled by the Catholic branch of the House of Hohenzollern, that ceded their sovereignty to the Kingdom of Prussia.
  • Hohenzollern enjoyed all the rights of a full-fledged province of Prussia, including representation in the Prussian parliament, but its military matters and some civil matters were governed by the Rhine Province. 
  • Hohenzollern became a province of the Free State of Prussia in 1918 after World War I, and this system continued to exist unchanged until 1933.
  • In 1933, Prussian provinces were dissolved and placed under direct national rule.
  • Hohenzollern was dissolved in 1946 following World War II, when the French military administration merged it with Württemberg to form the state of Württemberg-Hohenzollern. 
  • Hohenzollern was part of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg since 1952.

    Hohenzollern (Wikipedia)

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Getting Started with Germany Research

Links to articles on getting started with German research:

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Germany Research Tools

Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:

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Historical Geography[edit | edit source]

Hohenzollern within the German Empire

Hohenzollern (1871).svg.png

Hohenzollern Within Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Wuettemberg regions.png
Modern Baden-Württemberg
Major Cities and Regions

Baden-Wuerttemberg travel map EN.png

For a larger map, click here.

History of Hohenzollern in the German Empire
Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Pages


1952: Merged into current state of Baden-Württemberg (Map)

Preussen, Hohenzollern

Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Hohenzollern[edit | edit source]

Most of the information you need to identify you ancestors and their families will be found in two major record groups: civil registration and church records. To locate these records, follow the instructions in these Wiki articles.

1. Find the name of your ancestor's town in family history records.[edit | edit source]

Records were kept on the local level. You must know the town where your ancestor lived. If your ancestor was a United States Immigrant, use the information in the Wiki article Germany Finding Town of Origin to find evidence of the name of the town where your ancestors lived in Germany.
Also, see:

2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.[edit | edit source]

Your ancestor's town might have been too small to have its own parish church or civil registration office. Find the location of the Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical) parish that served your ancestor's locality. Find the name of the civil registration office (Standesamt) that serves your ancestor's locality. Use the Wiki article Finding Aids For German Records for step-by-step instructions.

Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. An important gazetteer, Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, "Meyer's Gazetter" for short, details the place names of villages, towns, counties (kreise), and higher jurisdictions used at that time. In the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records, the records of Germany are organized using those place names.

You can also consult Hohemzollern Parish Record Inventories to learn the Lutheran or Catholic parish that would have kept records for your town.

At the end of both World Wars, the boundaries of the states were changed dramatically, as areas of Germany were distributed among the Allied nations. Eventually, after re-unification in 1990, the states of Germany settled into what they are today. It is also necessary to understand Germany by this system, as it affects the locations of civil registration offices, archives, and mailing addresses used in correspondence searches.

3. For birth, marriage, and death records from 1 October 1874 on, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]

Follow the instructions in Hohenzollern, German Empire Civil Registration.

4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]

Follow the instructions in Hohenzollern, German Empire Church Records.

More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]

  • These printable handouts can be used for ready reference when reading German Handwriting.
Vocabulary found on Specific Records:
Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations:
Miscellaneous Vocabulary:
  • Fraktur Font -- Many forms and books are printed in this font.
German Given Names: