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

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Saxony
How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Saxony, Germany
Saxony Wiki Topics
Königstein, Saxony.jpg
Beginning Research
Record Types
Saxony Background
Local Research Resources

Most of your genealogical research for Saxony will be in these main record types: civil registration, church records, and town genealogies (OFB's). This article will teach you how to use these records

  • on digital databases,
  • as microfilms,
  • or by writing for them.

Town Compilation of Records

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

  • Click here to see OFBs for Saxony at GenWiki. These are indexed and searchable. OFB Instructions.
  • A bibliography of OFBs held by the Central Office for Person and Family History, and available in their archive in Frankfurt am Main-Höchst, is listed here. You can arrange for copied pages to be sent to you for a fee or donation. Use the "Find" function on your keyboard to search the bibliographies, as they are not alphabetical.

Civil Registration (Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister)

Civil registers are government-kept records of births, marriages, and deaths. In Bavaria, civil registry offices were introduced on 1 January 1876. In the regions to the west of the Rhine, however, they were briefly keeping records in the Napoleonic era (1811-1815). In addition, a collection of marriage proclamations and residency records cover approximately 1785-1927.

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.

1. Online Records

2. Microfilm Copies of Civil Registration From FamilySearch

A few, not many, civil registration records will be in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. The number should increase gradually. These microfilms may be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers around the world. To find a microfilm:

a. Click on the records of Sachsen (Saxony), Germany.
b. Click on Places within Sachsen, Germany 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.
b. Click on the "Civil registration" topic, if available. 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.
Family History Library Links for Former Areas Now in Modern Saxony

For almost all of Saxony, click on this link. Then click on the link "Places within Germany, Sachsen". Do not click on the link "Germany, Preußen, Sachsen" as that leads to records for the Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen). For these areas, which were not part on Saxony in 1871, you will use a different link to the Family History Library Catalog to find your town records. Click on the area name in the right column.

Modern Kreis

Historical Kreis--1871

Bautzen Kreis, Saxony
  • Most of this Kreis was originally in Saxony, except for:
    • City of Hoyerswerda, Silesia (no records in library at this time)
Görlitz Kreis, Saxony

Nordsachsen Kreis, Saxony

3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates

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. Write to the district archives if you wish to inquire about more than one town--for example, if you think a couple were married at either the groom's hometown or the bride's, and you want both places searched.

Determine the Standesamt (Civil Registry Office) Location

Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the 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 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).
  • Email the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there. From the town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article. There will usually be an infobox on the page that lists the address and the website of the municipality. From the website, look for Kontakt (Contact) information with an email address.
  • For a town:
  • Follow the same instructions as for a municipality. However, in this case, the first line will read, for example: "Borken is a town in the Schwalm-Eder-Kreis with about 13,000 residents.
  • The infobox with the website will appear directly on a town page.

Local Standesamt Address

Using this address as guide, replace the information in parentheses:

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

Archive Address

Here is the address for the district archive, should you decide to write there instead of or in addition to the local Standesamt.

HAUPTSTAATSARCHIV DRESDEN
Archivstrasse 14
01097 Dresden
Germany

Postal address:
Postfach 100 444
01074 Dresden
Germany

Phone: (+49) (0) 351-89 219 711 (Lesesaal); -89 219 710 (central dial-up)
Telefax: (+49) (0) 351-89 219 709

How to Write the Letter

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

Church Records (Kirchenbuch or Kirchenbuchduplikate)

See Germany 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).
  • You should try to determine where the parish church was that held jurisdiction over your town. Find the town in Meyer's Gazetteer. Click on the "Ecclesiastical" link for information in the menu bar. This will tell you whether the town had its own parish church and give you the names of several nearby parish churches and their distance.

1. Online Databases

2. Microfilm Copies of Church Records Searched at a Family History Center

First, try to find church records in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. These microfilms may be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers around the world. To find a microfilm:

a. Click on the records of Sachsen (Saxony), Germany.
b. Click on Places within Sachsen, Germany 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.
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. "Geburten" are births. Taufen are christenings/baptisms. 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.
Family History Library Links for Former Areas Now in Modern Saxony

For almost all of Saxony, click on this link. Then click on the link "Places within Germany, Sachsen". Do not click on the link "Germany, Preußen, Sachsen" as that leads to records for the Province of Saxony (Provinz Sachsen). For these areas, which were not part on Saxony in 1871, you will use a different link to the Family History Library Catalog to find your town records. Click on the area name in the right column.

Modern Kreis

Historical Kreis--1871

Bautzen Kreis, Saxony
  • Most of this Kreis was originally in Saxony, except for:
    • City of Hoyerswerda, Silesia (no records in library at this time)
Görlitz Kreis, Saxony

Nordsachsen Kreis, Saxony

3. Writing to an Priest for Church Records

  • Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting the local Catholic or Lutheran church or the Catholic diocese archives.

Protestant

Catholic

Writing to a Local Parish

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 Germany Letter Writing Guide.

4. Research Church Archives

Writing to Archives

State archives

Duplicate records from some parishes are in the state archives. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. However, for records that are not microfilmed, you can sometimes write to the state archives to request searches of the duplicates. For more information, see Germany Archives and Libraries.

HAUPTSTAATSARCHIV DRESDEN
Archivstrasse 14
01097 Dresden
Germany

Postal address:
Postfach 100 444
01074 Dresden
Germany

Phone: (+49) (0) 351-89 219 711 (Lesesaal); -89 219 710 (central dial-up)
Telefax: (+49) (0) 351-89 219 709

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:
Diocesan Archives of the Diocese of Dresden-Meissen
Bishops' Ordinariat
Käthe-Kollwitz-Ufer 84
01309 Dresden
Germany

Phone: 03591 - 35195 0
Fax: 03591 - 35195 22
E-mail: Archiv@ordinariat-bautzen.de


Protestant:
Evangelisch-Lutherische Landeskirche Sachsens Landeskirchenarchiv
Lukasstrasse 6
01069 Dresden
Germany

Phone: 0351 4692-353
Fax: 0351 4692-109
E-Mail: Landeskirchenarchiv.Dresden@evlks.de
Website:http://www.evlks.de/landeskirche/landeskirchenamt/101.html

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:

Search Strategy

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • 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.



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