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Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), Germany Genealogy

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Rhineland-Palatinate
(Rheinland-Pfalz),
Germany Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) Record Types
Reading the Records
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types


Germany Background
Germany Research Resources
Moderator
The FamilySearch moderator for Germany is Baerbel

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Guide to Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), Germany ancestry, family history, and genealogy after 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Rhineland-Palatinate was established in 1946 after World War II from territory of the historically separate regions of the Rhineland (Rheinland) province of the Free State of Prussia, the People's State of Hesse, and Bavaria, by the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany. Rhineland-Palatinate became part of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. 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


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Research to Find the Town of Origin[edit | edit source]

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.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Former States Now in Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz)

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350x

Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. For German research prior to 1945, the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records are organized by the place names in use from 1871 to 1945. For research in that time period, use the Wiki links in the chart below:

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

Rhineland (Rheinland)

1946: Divided into the newly founded states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Rhineland-Palatinate. The city of Wetzlar became part of the state of Hesse (Hessen).
1957: All of the Saar except the Saar-Pfalz became part of the current state of Saarland

Preussen, Rheinland

Use this clickable map to find the correct Wiki article: Map

Hessen

1945: Merged with Hessen-Nassau, Frankfurt am Main,and the Waldeck area (from Rheinland), to become current state of Hessen
It lost the Rheinhessen to Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), and Bad Wimpfen to Baden-Württemberg.

Hessen

Hessen-Nassau

1945: Merged with Hessen to become current state of Hessen (Map)

Preussen, Hessen-Nassau

Bavaria (Bayern)

1920: current state of Bavaria, merged with Coburg
1945: Lost the Pfalz (Palatinate) to Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz).
1957: The Saar-Pfalz became part of the current state of Saarland (Map)

Bavaria: Bayern
Coburg: Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha

Finding Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

After 1945, the main source for research will be civil registration. Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In Brunswick (Braunschweig), 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:

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.

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
  • 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.

Writing for Civil Registration Records[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 Address[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.

More Research Strategies and Tools[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.
  • 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.