Oldenburg, German Empire Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Guide to Oldenburg, 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.

Oldenburg Wiki Topics
Getting Started
Oldenburg Major Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Oldenburg
Record Types
Oldenburg Research
Germany Record Types
Germany Background

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (German: Großherzogtum Oldenburg) (also known as Holstein-Oldenburg) was a grand duchy within the German Confederation, North German Confederation and German Empire which consisted of three widely separated territories: Oldenburg, Eutin and Birkenfeld.

As a result of the Greater Hamburg Act of 1937, Eutin passed from the Free State of Oldenburg to the Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein.

After the Second World War, Birkenfeld belonged to the French zone of occupation, and since 1946, it has been a district seat in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Today, the Oldenburg region is in the state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen); the Eutin region is in the state Schleswig-Holstein; and Birkenfeld is in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). Wikipedia

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Getting Started with Germany Research

Links to articles on getting started with German research:

See More Research Strategies

Germany Research Tools

Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:

See More Research Tools
Ask the

Historical Geography[edit | edit source]

Oldenburg within the German Empire

Notice the three different areas, separated from each other.

German Empire - Oldenburg (1871).svg.png
Oldenburg 1871-1946

Notice the three different areas, separated from each other: Oldenburg, Eutin, and Birkenfeld.

Oldenburg 1848.jpg
The Majority of Oldenburg Is Within Lower Saxony Today

Eutin is in Schleswig-Holstein.
Birkenfeld is in Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz).
Modern Niedersachsen.png

Birkenfeld within Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz)

Eutin within Ostholstein


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


1937: Eutin area became part of Schleswig-Holstein. Birkenfeld became part of Prussian district of Birkenfeld 1946: Oldenburg area merged into Lower Saxony. Eutin is in the state of Schleswig-Holstein; Birkenfeld is in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). (Map)


Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Oldenburg[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 Oldenburg 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 1799-1814, and then beginning again 1 January 1874, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]

Follow the instructions in Oldenburg, German Empire Civil Registration.

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

Follow the instructions in Oldenburg, 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: