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How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Saxe- (Sachsen-) Weimar-Eisenach, German Empire

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How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
Saxe- (Sachsen-) Weimar-Eisenach
Wiki Topics
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Getting Started
Saxe- (Sachsen-)
Weimar-Eisenach
Major Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Saxe- (Sachsen-)
Weimar-Eisenach
Record Types
Saxe- (Sachsen-)
Weimar-Eisenach
Background
Saxe- (Sachsen-)
Weimar-Eisenach
Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background


Guide to Saxe- (Sachsen-) Weimar-Eisenach, 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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Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Saxe- (Sachsen-) Weimar-Eisenach[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.

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 after 1 January 1876, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In Saxe- (Sachsen-) Weimar-Eisenach, they were started 1 January 1876. German terms for these records include Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister. They are an excellent source for information on names and dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. These records are kept by the civil registrar (Standesbeamte) at the civil registry office (Standesamt). Study these links to learn what information can be found in them:


For a comprehensive understanding of civil registration, study the article Germany Civil Registration.

Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office[edit | edit source]

Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the registry office (Standesamt). It is indicated by the abbreviation "StdA".

However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.

  • For a small town within a larger municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box. An article about the town will start with a first line such as: "Besse with about 3200 inhabitants is the largest district of the municipality Edermünde in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the municipality (in this example Edermünde).
  • To e-mail the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
  1. From the Wikipedia town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article.
  2. There will usually be an infobox on the right side of page that lists the address and the website of the municipality.
  3. Click on the website. Look for "Kontakt (Contact)" information, which should provide an e-mail address.
  4. Send a message asking whether you have the correct office for your ancestors' home town. You can also use e-mail to request records and arrange payment.
  • For larger towns which constitute a municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box.
  • This type of article will not state that the town belongs to another municipality, because it is itself a municipality.
  • The infobox that lists the address and the website of the municipality will appear directly on a this first page that comes up.
  • Follow the above instructions #2-4 above.

Privacy Laws[edit | edit source]

Since 2009, birth records have been public after 110 years, marriages after 80 years and deaths after 30 years. A direct relationship (direct descendants and direct ancestors) to the subject of the record sought will be required in cases where the required time period has not yet elapsed. Even then, the records may be accessible if it can be shown that all "participating parties" have died at least 30 years ago. Participating parties are both parents and the child in birth records, and both spouses in a marriage.

Finding Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

1. Online Records[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center.

2. Digital Copies of Civil Registration From FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

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, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Germany, Saxe- (Sachsen-) Weimar-Eisenach.
b. Click on Places within Germany, Saxe- (Sachsen-) Weimar-Eisenach and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town. If the town or village is not listed, find the town in Meyer's Gazetteer. See where the Standesamt (StdA.) was. It may have been in different place, because of the size of the town. Use the town found in Meyer's Gazetteer, not the current, merged office.
d. Click on the "Civil registration" topic, if available. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.
f. 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.

3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing to the local civil registry (Standesamt) or the district archives. Records may have been lost at one location of the other, so you might end up checking both. The first office you contact might choose to forward your request to the other location if necessary.

Local Standesamt Addresses[edit | edit source]

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

State Archives[edit | edit source]

How to Write the Letter[edit | edit source]

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.

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

Church records (parish registers, church books) are an important source for genealogical research in Germany before civil registration began. They recorded details of baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. The vast majority of the population was mentioned. To learn more about the types of information you will find in church records, click on these links:


For a comprehensive understanding of church records, study the article Germany Church Records.


Finding Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church record inventories are essential tools for finding German records. They identify what records should be available for a specified parish and where to write for information on these records. They list the church records, their location, and the years they cover. Sometimes inventories explain which parishes served which towns at different periods of time.

Online[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • U. Petra Suess, "Gazetteer of localities and evangelical parishes of Thuringia (Thüringen)", Germany (Salt Lake City, Utah : Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, c1991) (FHL Location: FHL INTL book 943.22 K23gs) WorldCat


  • U. Petra Suess, "Thuringia, Germany : protestant parishes and affiliates gazetteer" (Salt Lake City, Utah : Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2011) (FHL Location: FHL INTL Ref 943.22 K24s) WorldCat


  • Karl Güldenapfel, “Die evangelischen Kirchenbücher Thüringens” (Görlitz : Verlag für Sippenforschung und Wappenkunde C. A. Starke, 1931); included in Archiv für Sippenforschung und alle verwandten Gebiete, 8. Jahrg. 1931, S. 4-11, 69-72, 89- 92, 134-135, 173-175, 210-214, 247-249, 277- 281, 352-359. Description of the Protestant church records of Thuringia, Germany. Includes Reuß- jüngere-Linie, Sachsen-Altenburg, Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha Sachsen-Meiningen, Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen. (FHL Location 1: FHL INTL film 1181595, it. 12) (FHL Location 2: FHL INTL fiche 6053533 or 6053525) WorldCat

1. Online Church Records[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com collections can be viewed free-of-charge at a Family History Center near you.

2. Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

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 a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Germany, Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach.
b. Click on Places within Germany, Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. "Taufen" are christenings/baptisms. "Heiraten" are marriages. "Tote" are deaths.
f. 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.

3. Research in Church and State Archives[edit | edit source]

Church records or duplicates may have been gathered from the local parishes into central archives, either by the churches or the state. Older records are frequently given to these archives for safekeeping. Some gaps in the church records of local parishes could be filled using these records.

  • Pdf Archive Inventory: "Part 1 of 2: Church records in Archives" - is an inventory of localities and the location or archive where their records should be found. The sixth column, "Archives", gives a number. To find the name and contact information, look up that number in the second column of this .pdf: Part 2: Archive Addresses.  It is not clear how up-to-date this inventory is.


Some archives offer searches for a fee. Archives might be unable to handle genealogical requests, but they can determine whether they have specific records you need, sometimes perform very brief research, such as just one record, or they may recommend a researcher who can search the records for you. Archivists are required to speak English.

E-mail[edit | edit source]

  • You can e-mail archives and ask whether they have records for a parish. Also, you should inquire whether they provide research services and what their fees are. You can communicate with the archives in English.

Lutheran Archives[edit | edit source]

  • Evangelisch-lutherische Kirche in Thüringen
    Landeskirchenarchiv Eisenach
    Schloßberg 4a (Kreuzkirche)
    99817 Eisenach
    Germany
    Tel: 03691-881465
    FAX: 03691-7339120
    Email: archiv@elkth.de
  • List of holdings

Covers the territories of the former territorial states of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxony-Gotha, Saxony-Altenburg, Saxony-Meiningen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and Reuss. This also gives information about the locations and addresses of the approximately 750 parish and 18 superintendent archives.

Catholic Archives[edit | edit source]

Archive of the Episcopal Office Erfurt-Meiningen
Hermanusplatz 9
D-99084 Erfurt
Germany
Tel.: 0361-24595
FAX: 0361-29138
Website

State Archives[edit | edit source]

Thüringisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Weimar
Postal address: PF 27 26
99408 Weimar
Germany

E-Mail: weimar@staatsarchive.thueringen.de
Website


Older holdings (before 1920):
Thüringisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Weimar
Beethovenplatz 3, Weimar
Germany

Telephone: (0 36 43) 87 198-315
Fax: ( 0 36 43) 87 198-350

Newer inventories (after 1920):
Thüringisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Weimar
Marstallstraße 2, Weimar
Germany

Telephone: (0 36 43) 870-0
Fax: (0 36 43) 870-100

4. Writing to a Local Priest for Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Evangelical-Lutheran[edit | edit source]

Until 2004, most of Thuringia was part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia, except for the district of Erfurt, which was part of Evangelical Church of the Saxon Church. In 2004 the two churches combined to form the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (Protestant Church in Central Germany, EKM).

Catholic[edit | edit source]

  • Most of Thuringia is in the Diocese Erfurt. Select a Dean's Office to see the parishes within that deanery.

E-mail[edit | edit source]

  • Because many churches now have known e-mail addresses, you can quickly check whether the parish records are stored at the parish church or have been moved to archives. If possible, do this before sending a more detailed inquiry or any money. Links for church addresses are found on the wiki pages for the individual states and counties of Germany.

I. Are the parish records for _________to ___________ (time period range) at your church still?  

1. Sind die Kirchenbücher für den Zeitraum von _____ bis _____ noch in Ihrer Kirchengemeinde?

2. If they have been moved to an archive, can you tell me where they are now?

2. Falls sie nun in einem Archiv sind, können Sie mir bitte sagen, wo sie sich jetzt befinden?

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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.

Other Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

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. Also, you can read Map Guide to German Parish Registers. This video and handout teach you how to use a set of reference books found at the FamilySearch 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.

Also,

5. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources[edit | edit source]

Caution sign.png

Compiled genealogies and published genealogies are secondary sources, not original or primary sources.

As such, they are subject to human error through translation or transcription errors, mistaken interpretations, and opinion decisions of another researcher.

You should make every effort to base your research on the actual, original records or their digitized images.

Town Genealogies (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch)[edit | edit source]

See the class, Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net, and Wiki article, Germany Town Genealogies and Parish Register Inventories on the Internet. Published town genealogies, Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book), generally include birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families based on the opinion of the author. If one is available, it should only be used as an index or guide to finding the original records. They usually contain errors. Always verify their information in original records.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

German Records[edit | edit source]

  • 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
French Genealogical Word List
Latin Genealogical Word List
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:

Downloadable Handouts[edit | edit source]

Latin Records[edit | edit source]

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

Feast Dates[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find their birth record, search for the births of their brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of their parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • The marriage certificate will show the birth date, birth place, and parents of the bride and the groom. If you only have a church marriage record, calculate the birth date of the parents, using age at death and/or marriage to search for their birth records.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.