Germany Town Genealogies and Parish Register Inventories on the Internet

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What is an Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch?

An Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book) includes birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families. Sources may include the local parish registers, civil registration records, court and land records, and sometimes published material. In the printed book, this information is then arranged in a standardized format, usually alphabetically by surname and chronologically by marriage date. Family entries are identified by sequential numbers. Town genealogies are known by various names, including “town lineage book,” “local heritage book,” “one-place-studies,” “Ortssippenbuch (OSB),” and “Ortsfamilienbuch (OFB).” This article will use the term “town genealogy” and the abbreviation OFB when referring to compilations that include all or a large part of a town’s population. "Häuserbűcher," or house books, are a variation on town genealogies. These books, which are usually arranged by house number or address, list successive home owners and their families. Renters and others who did not own their homes may not be included in such a compilation. A few house books have also been published on the Internet.

Online Resources

There are two categories of online resources: (1.) Bibliographies of printed and digital town genealogies and parish register indexes. Several major collections, grouped geographically, are listed below. (2.) Town genealogies and parish register indexes fully searchable online. Some are digital versions of previously printed books, but most were created for the Internet.

An online town genealogy may be a work in progress rather than a complete reconstitution of all local families. The preface usually explains the status of each compilation. Some books (i.e., the OFB Schlesisch Drehnow) have been created to provide a gathering place for information about families from a particular locality where few original sources, such as parish registers, survive. In this case, they function more like a database than a traditional town genealogy book. Users can add information to a book or make corrections by contacting the book administrator or webmaster.

Using town genealogies hosted on

Over 130 online town genealogies are currently accessible through by clicking on the tab “local heritage books”. They follow a standard format. Books published on other websites often have very different formats, so the reader needs to study each individual publication. Usually, minimal knowledge of German words is required. All town genealogies on this website are searchable for individuals by surname and/or place with the “Meta-Search” feature found on the bottom of the home page.

Step-by Step User Guide

  • Access the home page on
  • Choose the locality. Localities are listed from north to south, with separate sections for German communities in other countries, such as Hungary.
  • The main page includes geographical and historical information, a list of sources used, and a tool bar with three different search options:
  1. Gesamtliste der Familiennamen – List of all surnames
  2. Geburtsorte auswaertiger Personen- Birthplaces of persons from other localities
  3. Sterbeorte weggezogener Personen – Death places of those who moved away
  • Click on a surname. A list of persons with birthdates (if known) comes up.
  • Click on a person of interest. This brings up the individual or family page.
  • Some entries may show cross-references to other online OFBs with a red notation “Es gibt (eine) aehnliche Person (en) im OFB (town name).”
  • “Keine Angaben!” means “no information given.”
  • A family page may include spouses, parents, children, other spouses, and additional information.

Bibliographies of Town Genealogies



Bavaria (Bayern)




Rhineland (Rheinland)

Silesia (Schlesien)


Searchable Online Town Genealogies

Bayern (Bavaria)

 • - Reconstituted families from several parishes around Dachau, NW of Munich. Also listing of surnames found in most parishes of the area. - Indexes to tax lists for the courts of Friedberg, Landsberg an der Lech, Mehring, Rauhenlechsberg, Starnberg, and Weilheim for 1612, 1671, and 1720-1721. -Compiled genealogies for areas in the Pfalz, Saarland, and Elsass-Lothringen

Brandenburg Links to „virtual parish registers” (extracted information from the respective parishes) for Koeltschen, Kriescht, Louisa, Woxfelde, and Vietz. - Neumark database (A lot of parish registers in this area have been lost. This data base contains information from many other sources, such as pedigrees, town directories, histories etc.) - Pedigrees of several Huguenot families from the Uckermark region.

Bremen – Online OFBs for several towns in the Bremen area, plus several other large databases; website includes a “Meta-search” feature.

Elsass-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine) -Compiled genealogies for areas in the Pfalz, Saarland, and Alsace-Lorraine

Niedersachsen - Index to Hemmendorf and Osterwald, Kreis Hameln-Pyrmont, - Gerdau parish baptisms 1680-1683, 1723-1880

Pfalz (the Palatinate) – see Bayern (Bavaria)

Rheinland (Rhineland) - Over 500,000 names extracted from parishes in the Eifel region (alphabetically by town) - Indexes to parish registers in the Trier region (can be used in conjunction with filmed church records) -Compiled genealogies for areas in the Pfalz, Saarland, and Elsass-Lothringen

Saarland – see Rheinland

Schaumburg-Lippe - Parish register extracts for Bergkirchen, plus links to extracts from several other parishes in Schaumburg-Lippe

Schleswig-Holstein - Familienbuch Suederbarup

Schlesien (Silesia) - Data bases of names and digital documents from Kreis Militsch, Niederschlesien

Westfalen - Indexes to filmed Wehdem, Westfalen parish register Westpreussen (West Prussia) - Mennonite parish register indexes, extracts, and other extracted sources (i.e. census records, settlers’ lists etc.)