Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany Genealogy

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Guide to Rhineland-Palatinate ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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The state of Rhineland-Palatinate dates from 30 August 1946. It formed from the northern part of the French Occupation Zone.
It included the part of Bavaria that was the Rhenis Palatinate, also southern parts of the Prussian Rhine Province, parts of Hessen Nassau, and parts of Hessen-Darmstadt
A referendum confirmed the state constitution on 18 May 1947.

Information about Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town

  • To begin using the records of Germany, knowing that your family came from Rhineland-Palatinate will not be enough to use the records of Germany. Records are kept on the local level, so you will have to know the town they lived in.
  • Details about the town will also help:
    • the county or "Kreis" of that town,
    • where the closest Evangelical Lutheran or Catholic parish church was (depending on their religion),
    • where the civil registration office ("Standesamt") was, and
    • if you have only a village name, you will need the name of the larger town it was part of.

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.

Figure Out the Parish for Your Town

Your town might be too small to have its own parish church. Or it might have a Catholic church, but the Lutheran church is in a neighboring town. You might have to do a little reference work to determine where the church (and therefore the church records) was for your ancestors' town. Methods for doing this are described in:

Historical Geography

Rhineland-Palatinate was cobbled together in 1947 from many regions that came from other states in the German Empire. For records prior to 1945, and for using the Family History Library catalog, you must search for church records defining the location by its state during the German Empire. The 1871 Meyers Gazetteer (available here online) will tell you the historical location of your town, its county, administrative district, and province or state. Use the following chart or map to link to research articles that apply to each former locations. The place names are clickable to location-specific articles dealing with each region.


Parts of Modern Rheinland-Palatinate
That Were Once Hessen

Alzey-Worms, Rheinland-Palatinate

Alzey, Hessen
part of Oppenheim, Hessen
Worms, Hessen
City of Worms, Hessen

Mainz-Bingen, Rheinland-Palatinate

Bingen, Hessen
Mainz, Hessen
City of Mainz Hessen
part of Oppenheim, Hessen

Parts of Modern Rheinland-Palatinate
That Were Once Hessen-Nassau

Westerwaldkreis, Rheinland-Palatinate

Oberwesterwald, Hessen-Nassau
Unterwesterwald, Hessen-Nassau
Westerburg, Hessen-Nassau

Rhein-Lahn-Kreis, Rhineland-Palatinate

Unterlahnkreis, Hessen-Nassau

The Pfalz (Rhenish Palatinate, Rheinpfalz, Bavarishe Pfalz)
was ruled by Bavaria from 1813 to the end of World War II,
when it became part of Rhineland-Palatinate.


Bergzabern, Dürkheim, Frankenthal,
Germersheim, Homburg,
Kaiserslautern, Kirchheim-Bolanden
Kusel, Landau, Ludwigshafen am Rhein
Neustadt am Haardt, Pirmasens,
Rockenhausen, Sankt Ingbert, Speyer,

Birkenfeld Kreis, Oldenberg, became part of
Rhineland-Palatinate the end of World War II.

Birkenfeld, Rhineland-Palatinate

Birkenfeld, Oldenburg

For the Province of Rheinland

All the rest of Rhineland-Palatinate

Rhineland Province


All of these parts of the German Empire

are in Rhineland-Palatinate today,

except for Saarland and Nordrhein.

North RhineRhinelandBirkenfeldSaarlandMainz-BingenAlzey-WormsUnterlahnkreisWesterwaldBavarische PfalzScreen Shot 2017-04-18 at 4.36.22 PM.png
About this image

Modern Rhineland-Palatinate

Rural Districts (Kreise)

  • Ahrweiler
  • Altenkirchen
  • Alzey-Worms
  • Bad Dürckheim
  • Bad Kreuznach
  • Barnkastel-Wittlich
  • Birkenfeld
  • Bitburg-Prüm
  • Cochem-zell
  • Donnersbergkreis
  • Germersheim
  • Kaiserslautern
  • Kusel
  • Mainz-Bingen
  • Mayen-Koblenz,
  • Neuwied
  • Rhein-Hunsrück
  • Rhein-Lahn-Kreis
  • Rhein-Pfalz-Kreis
  • Südliche Weinstraße
  • Südwestpfalz
  • Trier-Saarburg
  • Vulkaneifel
  • Westerwaldkreis

Urban Districts (Kreisfreie Städte)

  • Frankenthal
  • Kaiserslautern
  • Kolbenz
  • Landau
  • Ludwigshafen
  • Mainz
  • Neustadt
  • Pirmasens
  • Speyer
  • Trier
  • Worms
  • Zweibrücken
Rhineland-Palatinate, administrative divisions.png

Online Records

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