Schleswig-Holstein, Germany Genealogy

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

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How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records in Schleswig-Holstein

Civil Registration Records

See also, Lübeck

A separate series of articles are available on the wiki for Lübeck, a region of Schleswig-Holstein that was a different state of the German Empire until 1945.

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For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town

  • To begin using the records of Germany, knowing that your family came from Schleswig-Holstein 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 (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:



Modern Schleswig-Holstein State in Germany
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From these historic areas now in
Schleswig-Holstein, click below
on the related article for the

Lost Areas

From the province of Schleswig-Holstein, these areas were annexed to Hamburg in 1937-8

  • The municipality of Altona
  • The district of Wandsbek
  • From the district of Stormarn the municipalities Bergstedt, Billstedt, Bramfeld, Duvenstedt, Hummelsbüttel, Lemsahl-Mellingstedt, Lohbrügge, Poppenbüttel, Rahlstedt, Sasel, Steilshoop and Wellingsbüttel
  • From the district Pinneberg the municipality Lokstedt with Niendorf and Schnelsen
  • From the administrative district Herzogtum Lauenburg the place Kurslack in the Achterschlag of the municipality Börnsen
  • (The northern part of Schleswig became part of Denmark.)

Areas Now in Denmark, By Kreis

Research Tools