How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Bremen, Germany

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Bremen, Germany Genealogy
Birth, Marriage, and Death Records

Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Bremen

Most of your genealogical research for Bremen will be in three main record types: civil registration, church records, and, when available, a compiled town genealogy ("'Ortssippenbuch" or "Ortsfamilienbuch" in German). These articles will teach you how to use these records on digital databases, as microfilms, or by writing for them.



Town Compilation of Records (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch )

See class Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net.

  • An Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book) generally includes birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families. If one is available, it can act as an index or guide to finding the original records. However, they may contain errors, so it is best to verify their information in original records.
  • Sources may include the local parish registers, civil registration records, court and land records, and sometimes published material. In the printed book, this information is then arranged in a standardized format, usually alphabetically by surname and chronologically by marriage date.

Finding an OFB

Civil Registration (Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister)

Civil registers are government-kept records of births, marriages, and deaths. In Bremen, civil registry offices were in 1811.

Civil registers can now be found in the local Standesamt, which is either in the registry office or town hall. Copies of civil registers have to be sent to the district registry offices. Records before 110 years ago for birth registers, 80 years ago for marriage registers, 30 years ago for death registers are preserved with the state archives.

Online Databases

Family History Library

Try to find records in the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Many microfilms have been digitized for online viewing. Gradually, everything will be digitized, so check back occasionally. Some have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at the Family History Centers near you. To find records:

a. Click on the Places within Germany, Bremen drop-down menu] and select your town.
b. Click on the "Civil registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.
d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

Standesamt Addresses





How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

State Archives

Duplicate registers from some towns are kept in state archives. The advice from these state archives is to use the Standesamt-Nord and Standesamt-Mitte records from the local offices first.

State Archives Bremen
Postal address:
Staatsarchiv Bremen
Am Staatsarchiv 1
28203 Bremen
Germany

Phone: 0421 / 361-6221
Fax: 0421 / 361-10247
E-mail: office@staatsarchiv.bremen.de Website:http://www.staatsarchiv.bremen.de/detail.php?gsid=bremen99.c.1580.de

  • The support is provided by the user advice in cooperation with the society for family research Bremen eV "Die Maus" .

Church Records

See Bremen Church Records to learn more.

  • Entries for baptisms/christenings, marriages, and burials in the local church records are the main source to use prior to 1876, when civil registration began. Often two and sometimes three generations are indicated in the registers, with personal information on the family. Also after 1876, these records might be intact when the civil registers were destroyed, or vice versa. In addition, either the church records and civil records might contain information not it the other record.
  • You should try to determine whether your ancestors were Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical).



Directories or address books might give you the address where your family lived in Bremen. This can help you determine which parish has their records.

This index to most parish records for Bremen can also help identify which parish they lived in.

Church Records on the Internet

Records at the Family History Library

Try to find records in the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Many microfilms have been digitized for online viewing. Gradually, everything will be digitized, so check back occasionally. Some have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at the Family History Centers near you. To find records:

a. Click on the Places within Germany, Bremen drop-down menu] and select your town.
b. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Taufen" are baptisms/christenings. Heiraten are marriages. "Toten" are deaths.
d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

Local Parishes

Most church registers are still maintained by the parish. You might obtain information by writing to the parish. Parish employees will usually answer correspondence written in German. Your request may be forwarded if the records have been sent to a central repository.


Writing the Letter

Write a brief request in German to the proper church using this address as a guide, replacing the information in parentheses:
For a Protestant Parish:

An das evangelische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY

For a Catholic Parish:

An das katholische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY


How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

Writing to Archives

State Archives

  • The Staatsarchiv Bremen holds most of the church books from before 1920.


State Archives Bremen
Postal address:
Staatsarchiv Bremen
Am Staatsarchiv 1
28203 Bremen
Germany

Phone: 0421 / 361-6221
Fax: 0421 / 361-10247

E-mail: office@staatsarchiv.bremen.de
Website:http://www.staatsarchiv.bremen.de/detail.php?gsid=bremen99.c.1580.de

  • The church books (with a few missing) of Bremen and formerly surrounding areas are available at the genealogical society "Die Maus". One can obtain copies up to 1875.

Please contact:

Die Maus
Gesellschaft für Familienforschung in Bremen e.V.
Am Staatsarchiv 1
28203 Bremen
Germany
Website: http://die-maus-bremen.de/die-maus/kontakt/

Help with genealogy questions:
Christa Lütjen
E-Mail: Luetjen@die-maus-bremen.de

Central Church Archives

In a few parts of Germany, church records or duplicates have been gathered from the local parishes into central archives. Some gaps in the church records of local parishes could be filled using these records. Church archives are often unable to handle genealogical requests, but they can determine whether they have specific records you need, or they may recommend a researcher who can search the records for you.

  • Catholic Diocese of Osnabrück
Dioezesanarchiv des Osnabrück
Grosse Domfreiheit 10
49074 Osnabrück
Germany


Other Religious Groups

  • To learn how to determine the location of other religious records, namely Jewish, French Reformed, German Reformed, etc., watch Hansen’s Map Guides: Finding Records with Parish Maps beginning at 48:00 minutes, to learn how to locate these congregations. Then go back and watch from the beginning to understand how to use the reference book. This course teaches you how to use a set of reference books found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you are not in Salt Lake City, use the Contact Us feature to request information from the books.

Jewish Records

Huguenots (French Protestants)


*German Huguenot Society eV , index.

Reading the Records

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French and German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
German Genealogical Word List
German Handwriting
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
  • Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:

This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:

  • Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)

Latin Records

Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:

Research Strategies

Effective use of church records includes the following strategies:

  • Search for the relative or ancestor. When you find his or her birth record, search for the births of brothers and sisters.
  • Next search for the parents' marriage date and place. The marriage record will often lead to the parents' birth records.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records. If more than one possible candidate is found, search confirmation, marriage, and burial records to determine the correct individual. If available, census-type records or family books can be used as well.
  • Try to find the parents death/burial entries, since these records may give their age at death.
  • Use the above strategies for both the father and the mother.
  • If earlier generations are not in the record you are using, search neighboring parishes and other denominations.
  • Search the burial registers for all family members.