Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg and Posen, Church Book Duplicates (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Germany, Brandenburg and Posen Church Book Duplicates, 1794-1874 .

Foreign Language Title

Kirchenbuchduplikate für Brandenburg und Posen, Deutschland.  

Collection Time Period

German states successively began creating church book duplicates from 1792-1876. The duplicates ended with the institution of civil registration in 1876.

Record Description

Entries are usually arranged in chronological order in a column format. The baptisms, marriages and deaths for one year are grouped together before the baptisms, marriages and deaths for the next year (some of the records include only marriages and deaths, or only births and marriages, etc.). Some of the records are on preprinted forms. Some include indexes.
Many church book duplicates were lost but those that remain are well kept in civil archives.

Record Content

These are the key genealogical facts found in most baptismal records:
Germany Brandenburg Church Book Duplicate Baptism.jpg

  • Names of the child, parents and witnesses or godparents
  • Date and place of birth and baptism
  • Residence and religion of the parents
  • Occupation of the father
  • Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate

These are the key genealogical facts found in most marriage records:
Germany Brandenburg Church Book Duplicate Marriage.jpg
  • Names of the bride, groom, their parents (usually the fathers) and witnesses
  • Date and place of marriage and marriage proclamations or banns
  • Age of bride and groom (sometimes date and place of birth)
  • Residence of the bride, groom and their parents
  • Religion of the bride and groom
Occupation of groom and fathers

These are the key genealogical facts found in most death records:
Germany Brandenburg Church Book Duplicate Death.jpg

  • Names of the deceased, spouse and parents
  • Date and place of death and burial
  • Age and residence of deceased (sometimes date and place of birth)
  • Cause of death

How to Use the Records

German church book duplicates are a back up source for church books (parish registers) which are the best German records to identify individuals, parents, and spouses before the civil registration of vital events. German states instituted registration at different times from 1792-1874. There are more duplicates in the Family History Library and on FamilySearch, making them the best records available at this time.

Search the records for the villages where the person lived. If you do not find record of the person you need, you might want to: a) look for other people with the same surname in the village as that information might lead you to the records you need, b) search several years before and after the event you are looking for, and c) search surrounding villages for the individual.

Record History

In Germany, a "parish" was an ecclesiastical jurisdictions made up of many villages and hamlets, with one of the villages designated as the main parish town. This set of church book duplicates do not usually include records from all of the villages within a parish, but only records from one village, or from a few of the villages within the parish. In larger cities, where there was more than one church, each church is listed separately.

German states successively began creating church book duplicates from 1792-1876. The duplicates ended with the institution of civil registration in 1876. Inspired by the institution of civil registration in France in 1792, German states began creating church book duplicates: Rheinland and Brandenburg in 1792, Hessen-Nassau in 1803, Westfalen in 1808, Hannover in 1809. The German states required the clergy to create a transcript of their church books and turn them in annually to the state. Civil authorities assumed the registration function in Prussia in October 1874, and elsewhere in January 1876.

The clergy were required to record the vital events (births, marriages and deaths) of people living within their jurisdiction regardless of their religion. For example, Catholic or Jewish people living in an area that did not have a Catholic church or Jewish synagogue were often recorded in the Lutheran records. The reverse was also true in Catholic areas, where Lutherans and Jews were recorded in Catholic records.

Large cities had many churches or parishes, each serving part of the city. Rural churches often served several villages and hamlets. The church book duplicates for Posen cover a majority of the population.

Why This Collection Was Created

Church book duplicates were created for the use of civil authorities.

Record Reliability

German church book duplicates, like the originals, are the most reliable and accurate family history source until 1876 when civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in all of Germany. Ages, birth dates and birth places found in marriage and death entries may be inaccurate, depending on the informant's knowledge. Church book duplicates may differ slightly from the originals because of transcription variations. They are often more legible than the originals.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Web Sites

Kirchenbuchportal Germany Church Book Portal

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Related Wiki Articles

Germany Church History

Germany Church Records

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

Germany. Various entities in the city of Brandenburg and Posen. Church book duplicates, 1794-1874. State Archive of Brandenburg (Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv), Potsdam, Germany.

Kirchenbuchduplikate, 1794-1874. Rep. 5 KB. Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv, Potsdam, Germany.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Please add sample citations to this article following the format guidelines in the wiki article listed above.

Citations Example for Records Found in This Collection

"Germany, Posen, Church Book Duplicates, 1794-1874." index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed March 24, 2011). entry for Florentina Schultz, christened 13 September 1820; citing Church Records, FHL microfilm 1,816,686; Brandenburgische Landeshauptarchiv w Potsdamu, Potsdam, Germany.