Lower Saxony, Germany Genealogy
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Guide to Lower Saxony ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
- 1 History
- 2 Information: Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen): Hannover, Brunswick (Braunschweig), Oldenburg, and Schaumburg-Lippe
- 3 For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town
- 4 Research Tools
The name of Saxony derives from that of the Germanic tribe of the Saxons. Before the late medieval period, there was a single Duchy of Saxony. The term "Lower Saxony" was used after the dissolution of the duchy in the late 13th century to disambiguate the parts of the former duchy. That were ruled by the House of Welf from the Electorate of Saxony on one hand, and from the Duchy of Westphalia on the other.
Information: Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen): Hannover, Brunswick (Braunschweig), Oldenburg, and Schaumburg-Lippe
Today's state of Lower Saxony was created after the Second World War by uniting the country Hannover with the free states Brunswick (Braunschweig), Oldenburg and Schaumburg-Lippe, and the city and district of Pyrmont (formerly part of Waldeck).
- How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Brunswick (now in Lower Saxony), Germany
- How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Oldenburg (now in Lower Saxony), Germany
- How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Hannover and Schaumburg-Lippe (Now in Lower Saxony), Germany
For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town
- To begin using the records of Germany, knowing that your family came from Lower Saxony 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 "Bezirkamt" 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.
- Use Gathering Information to Locate Place of Origin as a guide in exhausting every possible record to find what you need.
- These various emigration sources are indexed and might help in locating a place of origin.
- the German Emigration Database at Bremerhaven.
- Niedersachsen Archives Search Page, enter "Auswanderung" and surname.
- If your family lived in Hannover in 1852, The 1852 Census of the Kingdom of Hanover is indexed and gives full information on family members. This site provides links to surname indexes and published booklets of the census records.
- Emigrants from the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
- Emigrants from the former Amt Damme, Oldenburg (now Niedersachsen), Germany, mainly to the United States, 1830-1849
- Emigrant families from the old district Wildeshausen
- Emigration lists of the former Duchy of Braunschweig,1846-1871, index
- Schaumburg-Lippe Emigrants, 1820-1914
- For smaller, regional emigration lists see Lower Saxony Emigration and Immigration
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:
Details: 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.
- Use MeyersGaz, the digital gazetteer, to find the details you need, particularly the Bezirksamt it belonged to, found after (BA) and the Regierungsbezirk (Administrative District) Niederbayern (RB).
- MeyersGaz Help Guide
- Abbreviation Table
- Here is part of an entry from MeyersGaz.org.
The most important facts here are:
- Wellheim is in Eichstätt Bezirksamt (BA).
- It is in Regierungsbezirk (Administrative District) Middle Franconia (MFranken) (RB)
- It has its own Standesamt (StdA) or civil registration office.
- It has one Catholic parish church (kath. K.).
- By clicking on the "Ecclesiastical" option, we learn that the Protest church for Wellheim is in Eichstätt. We also find other nearby churches.
From these historic areas now in Lower
Saxony (Niedersachsen), click below on the related
article for the region.
Lower Saxony is divided into 38 rural districts (Kreise), and 10 urban districts (Kreisfreie Städte).
Rural Districts (Kreise):
Ammerland, Aurich, County of Bentheim, Celle, Cloppenburg, Cuxhaven, Diepholz, Emsland, Friesland, Gifhorn, Goslar, Göttingen, Hamelin-Pyrmont, Hanover, Harburg, Heidekreis, Helmstedt, Hildesheim, Holzminden, Leer, Lüchow-Dannenberg, Lüneburg, Nienburg, Northeim, Oldenburg, Osnabrück, Osterholz, Osterode, Peine, Rotenburg, Schaumburg, Stade, Uelzen, Vechta , Verden, Wesermarsch, Wittmund, Wolfenbüttel
Urban Districts (Kreisfreie Städte):
Braunschweig, Delmenhorst, Emden, Göttingen, Hanover, Oldenburg, Osnabrück, Salzgitter, Wilhelmshaven, Wolfsburg
Online Church Records
- 1500-1971 - Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971 at FamilySearch — index
- German Word List
- Latin Word List
- Handwriting Guide
- German Handwriting Tutorial
- Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)*German Chronological Jurisdictions