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Thuringia (Thüringen), Germany Genealogy

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Guide to Thuringia (Thüringen), Germany ancestry, family history, and genealogy after 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records,

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Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Today the Free State of Thuringia is a country of the Federal Republic of Germany. During the time of the German Empire, it did not exist as a coherent territory. It was just a "landscape" or a geographical "area". The name was taken up in 1920, when eight Free States were united into the state of Thuringia.

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

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]

The Thuringian States in the 1871 German Empire

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Modern State of Thuringia (Thüringen) Kreise (Counties)

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Research Before 1945[edit | edit source]

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:


1871 Region

History and Background

Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Page

Instructions for Research Before 1945

Reuss-Greiz or Older Line (Reuss ältere Linie)

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Reuss ältere Linie

Reuss-Gera or Younger Line (Reuss jüngere Linie)

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Reuss jüngere Linie

Saxe (Sachsen)-Altenburg

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Sachsen-Altenburg


Saxony (Sachsen)-Coburg-Gotha 

1945: Saxe-Coburg merged into Bavaria. Saxe-Gotha merged into Thuringia. (Map)

Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha

Saxe (Sachsen)-Meiningen 

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Sachsen-Meiningen 


Saxe (Sachsen)-Weimar-Eisenach 

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach 

Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt 

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt


Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

1920: Became part of the current state of Thuringia (Thüringen), which was dissolved in 1952, and re-established in 1990. (Map)

Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

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]

Local Standesamt Addresses[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.