Baden, Germany, Church Record Family Register 1500-1874 Guide

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Beginning in the 1500s, churches began keeping family registers. The records may include birth, marriage, and death dates. Information found in a family register depends on how detailed the minister made his record. For more information on such family registers, see Background.

What You Are Looking For

The following information may be found in a family register entry:
• The name of your ancestor, either as a parent or child.
• The names of your ancestor's siblings, parents, and grandparents.
• The date of your ancestor's birth.
• The place of your ancestor's birth.
• The occupation of the ancestor's father.
• The birth dates of your ancestor's siblings and parents.
• The date of your ancestor's marriage.
• The date of your ancestor's death.
• The death date of your ancestor's siblings and parents.
• Information concerning emigration or other ancestral movements of the family.


These 5 steps will guide you in finding your ancestor in Baden church family registers.

Step 1. Find your ancestor's family register entry.

To find the family register available at the library, look in the Family History Library Catalog. Go to What to Do Next, select the Family History Library Catalog, and click on the tab for Town Records to see if your ancestor's parish is listed. If you don't know which parish your ancestor lived in, see the Baden gazetteer. Instructions for using this gazetteer are found on pages 61 through 62 in chapter 8 of A Genealogical Handbook of German Research. When looking for your ancestor's family register entry, remember:

• Family registers may or may not be arranged alphabetically.

• Beginning in 1808, christening records often include the volume and page number where that child's family can be found in the family register.
• Family registers may give references to previous places of residence and records.
For helps in finding the entry, see Tip 1.

Step 2. Find the entry for your ancestor.

Look for the last name, which is often clearly written and underlined at the top of the page.
If you do not know the names of your ancestor's parents, you may have to check further to make sure you find the correct entry:
• Find the entries for all the children with the same given name and last name as your ancestor. Start with the year when you think your ancestor was born. Then check the entries for five years before and five years after. You may find several entries for children with the same name but with different parents.
• Eliminate the entries that contradict what you know about your ancestor. Check death dates to see if any of the children died before your ancestor did. Check marriage dates to see if any of the children married someone other than your ancestor's spouse (but remember that your ancestor may have married more than once).
• Try to make sure the birth date is of your direct line ancestor. Because names are so common, you must be sure you have the correct entry.
For more help in finding the record entry, see Tip 2.
For help in reading the record entry, see Tip 3.
For help in verifying that you have the correct record entry, see Tip 5.

Step 3. Find the entries for each brother and sister of your ancestor.

Once you have the entry for your ancestor, find the entries for your ancestor's brothers and sisters:
• Search the family register entry of your ancestor's brothers and sisters and note the number of years between the birth of each sibling. A child that was stillborn or that died at birth may not be listed on the family register.
• Information on additional marriages of the parents will usually be recorded on the same page.
• To make sure you have found entries of all the family members, search death records and christening records of surrounding parishes for any additional children. For help in finding the entries for the ancestor's brothers and sisters, see Tip 4.

Step 4. Copy the information, and document your sources.

If you can, photocopy the record. If you can't, be sure to copy all the information in the entry, including:
• All the people listed and their relationships to each other.
• All the dates in the entry and the events they pertain to.
• All the localities in the entry and who was from the places listed.

On the copy, document where the information came from. List:
• The type of source (a paper certificate, a microform, a book, an Internet site, etc.).
• All reference numbers for the source. Carefully record any microfilm, book, or certificate numbers or the name and Internet address of the site you used.

Step 5. Analyze the information you obtain from the family register.

To effectively use the information from the family register, ask yourself the following questions:
• Is this the register of my ancestral family? Because names are so common, you must be sure you have the correct family register entry.
• Did the minister identify both parents, and is the mother's maiden name given?
• Were additional event dates, such as emigration etc., given.
After analyzing the information in the family register, verify the dates by looking up the actual
entries in the parish register.
For help in using Family Registers, see Tip 5.


Family registers may go back to the 1500s, when they began during the time of the Reformation. Because of wars, natural disasters, and accidents, many churches were destroyed, along with all or part of their records. Very few church records go back before 1650 because of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).Family registers were copied from the parish register and should be used as a guide to search the actual church records for the ancestors' christening, marriage, and burial information.


Tip 1. How do I find the family register entry of my ancestor?

The minister may provide an index if the families are not listed alphabetically. To find Family Registers, in the Family History Library Catalog, search under Place, and look for the parish. When you find the parish, look for the heading "Family Registers."

Tip 2. How do I find the entry of my ancestor?

Look for the Latinized name. In different areas of Germany and at different times, Germans commonly Latinized their surnames. A person born and christened under the German name of "Bäcker," for example, may have later married and had children under the name "Pistorius," which was the Latin form of Bäcker.

For help with name variations, see the "Names, Personal" section of the Germany Research Outline.

Tip 3. What if I can't read the record?

Catholic church records are usually written in Latin, and most Protestant church records are written in German. The language used in the record may also be affected by:
• The language of bordering countries.
• An invasion by foreign countries.
• The movement of ethnic groups into Germany, such as the French Huguenots.

Also, prior to 1945, records were written in Gothic script.

For publications that can help you read the languages and Gothic script, see the Latin Word List, German Word List, French Word List, Polish Word List, and the "Handwriting" section of the Germany Research Outline.

Tip 4. How do I find the record for each brother and sister?

Remember, within the family, one or more children may have the same given name(s). When more than one set of parents has the same given names and surnames (for example two John and Mary Smiths), use the following identifiers and records to separate the families:
• The place of residence of the family.
• The father's occupation.
• The witnesses or godparents.
• Other sources like census and probate records that list family members as a group.

Tip 5. How do I verify the family registry entry of my direct-line ancestor?

Often more than one family in a parish has the same family name. Because the same children's given names are used in every family, several children with the same given and family names could be christened within a few years of each other. To identify the correct direct-line ancestor and his or her parents:
• Check 5 years on each side of the supposed birth year, and copy the entry of every child with the same given name and surname as the ancestor.
• If one or more entries exist, check church burial records to eliminate those entries of children who died before your ancestor.
• If you are not able to eliminate all of the possible entries, check marriage records to eliminate those who married someone other than your ancestor's spouse.
• If you still cannot eliminate 2 or more possibilities, trace all lines to see if they go back to a common ancestor. Then continue research back from the common ancestor.
• If you eliminate all the possibilities, check the surrounding parishes, and repeat the above process until you find the christening entry for your ancestor.

Where to Find It

Family History Centers

Many Family History Centers can borrow microfilms of family register records from the Family History Library. There is a small fee to have a microfilm loaned to a Family History Center. For details see Ordering Microfilm or Microfiche from a Family History Center.

Family History Centers are located throughout the United States and other areas of the world. To find a center near you, see Finding a Family History Center.

Family History Library

The Family History Library has microfilmed many of the German family registry records. There is no fee for using these microfilms in person. You may request photocopies of the record from the library for a small fee. You will need to fill out
a Request for Photocopies—Census Records, Books, Microfilm or Microfiche form. The Family History Library microfilm number is available from the Family History Library Catalog. Send the form and the fee to the Family History Library. For details, see Photoduplication Services.

Parish Offices

If the Family History Library has not microfilmed the family registry records for your locality, you will need to write in German to the parish office. For assistance in writing, please see the German Letter Writing Guide.