Posen, Germany Genealogy

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Beginning Research
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Guide to Posen ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Genealogy courses: Learn how to research from an expert in Germany courses.
Genealogy courses: Learn how to research from an expert in Poland courses.

Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Posen

Most of your genealogical research for Posen 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.

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For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town

Research to Find the Town

If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.

If You Know the Town, Next Use Meyers Gazetteer

Once you know the town name you need, the other facts you need are contained in Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, the gazetteer on which the FamilySearch catalog for Germany is based.

Here is part of an entry from MeyersGaz.org. (The whole entry can be studied at Heusenstamm, MeyersGaz.)

The most important facts here are:

  1. Heusenstamm is in Offenbach Kreis (Kr).
  2. It has its own Standesamt (StdA) or civil registration office.
  3. It has its own Catholic parish church.
  4. By clicking on the "Ecclesiastical" option, we learn that the closest protestant church is 2 miles away in Bieber.

  • If you find several towns of the same name, checking each one for the birth record of your ancestor may be needed to narrow down the field.


Next, find your town in Kartenmeister.com to learn the Polish name and upper jurisdictions that the town became known by after 1945.

Kartenmeister Search Engine

To use Kartenmeister, simply enter the German name of the town in the search field.

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A Typical Kartenmeister Record

The most important information points here are the name of the Lutheran parish, the name of the Catholic parish, and the location of the civil registry office (Standesamt):

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Take These Online Classes to Prepare

  1. Watch the Specific Geography portion to learn how to use MeyersGaz.org and Kartenmeister.com to get the details of the German and Polish names of your town and its higher jurisdictions.
  2. Watch the General Resources portion to learn how to check for parish registers using
    1. The PRADZIAD Database
    2. Szukaj w Archiwach
    3. The Lost Shoe Box, with links to:
      1. Geneteka
      2. Metryki GenBaza
      3. Szukaj w Archiwach
    4. Archion, Cooperative of protestant archives ($)
    5. Archives Portal Europe
  3. Watch the Posen portion, which begins at 36:19 minutes.

Posen Historical Geography

From 1866--1918, the Province of Posen was part of the German Empire. Because the Germany Family History (FamilySearch) Catalog is organized according to the 1871 place names, you will look for records there under "Posen". Between 1918 and 1945, Posen and parts of Posen changed frequently between the jurisdiction of Germany and Poland. The population was split between those ethnicities and so the ownership of the area was contested. At the end of World War II, according to the treaty, all of Posen was granted to Poland. The German population was expelled. Provinz Poznań, Wikipedia

District of Bromberg (Green) District of Poznan (Posen) (Pink)

German Counties

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Polish Counties

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Research Tools

There are many tools available to the researcher of Posen ancestors.

Posen-L websites

The most complete online resource for Posen genealogical research is the website for the Posen-L mailing list, in two forms:

Among the most important resources at these two sister sites, are:

Church Records


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