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Oldenburg, German Empire Genealogy

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Oldenburg Wiki Topics
Getting Started
Oldenburg Major Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Oldenburg
Record Types
Oldenburg Research
Germany Record Types
Germany Background

Guide to Oldenburg, German Empire ancestry, family history, and genealogy before 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records, family history, and military records.

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Historical BackgroundEdit

The Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (German: Großherzogtum Oldenburg) (also known as Holstein-Oldenburg) was a grand duchy within the German Confederation, North German Confederation and German Empire which consisted of three widely separated territories: Oldenburg, Eutin and Birkenfeld. As a result of the Greater Hamburg Act of 1937, Eutin passed from the Free State of Oldenburg to the Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein. After the Second World War, Birkenfeld belonged to the French zone of occupation, and since 1946, it has been a district seat in Rhineland-Palatinate. Today, the Oldenburg region is in the state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen); the Eutin region is in the state Schleswig-Holstein; and Birkenfeld is in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). Wikipedia

Getting StartedEdit

Getting Started with Germany Research

Links to articles on getting started with German research:

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Germany Research Tools

Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:

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Historical GeographyEdit

Oldenburg within the German Empire

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Oldenburg 1871-1946

Notice the three different areas, separated from each other.

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The Majority of Oldenburg Is Within Lower Saxony Today

Eutin is in Schleswig-Holstein.
Birkenfeld is in Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz).
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History of Oldenburg in the German Empire
Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Pages


1937: Eutin area became part of Schleswig-Holstein. Birkenfeld became part of Prussian district of Birkenfeld 1946: Oldenburg area merged into Lower Saxony. Eutin is in the state of Schleswig-Holstein; Birkenfeld is in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). (Map)


Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for OldenburgEdit

Most of the information you need to identify you ancestors and their families will be found in two major record groups: civil registration and church records. To locate these records, follow the instructions in these Wiki articles.

1. Find the name of your ancestor's town in family history records.Edit

Records were kept on the local level. You must know the town where your ancestor lived. If your ancestor was a United States Immigrant, use the information in the Wiki article Germany Finding Town of Origin to find evidence of the name of the town where your ancestors lived in Germany. Also, see:

2. Use gazetteers and/or parish inventories to learn more important details.Edit

Your ancestor's town might have been too small to have its own parish church or civil registration office. Find the location of the Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical) parish that served your ancestor's locality. Find the name of the civil registration office (standesamt) that serves your ancestor's locality. Use the Wiki article Studying Your German Locality for step-by-step instructions.

Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. An important gazetteer, Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, "Meyer's Gazetter" for short, details the place names of villages, towns, counties (kreise), and higher jurisdictions used at that time. In the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records, the records of Germany are organized using those place names.

At the end of both World Wars, the boundaries of the states were changed dramatically, as areas of Germany were distributed among the Allied nations. Eventually, after re-unification in 1990, the states of Germany settled into what they are today. It is also necessary to understand Germany by this system, as it affects the locations of civil registration offices, archives, and mailing addresses used in correspondence searches.

3. For birth, marriage, and death records from 1811 (occasionally earlier), use civil registration.Edit

Follow the instructions in Oldenburg, German Empire Civil Registration.

4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.Edit

Follow the instructions in Oldenburg, German Empire Church Records.

More Research Strategies and ToolsEdit