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Guide to German ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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If you want to do research in German archives be aware that some are charging fees for using their research facilities. Doing research in archives might not be free of charge! For further information please click here

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Welcome to the Germany page!

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Getting started with German research

FamilySearch Wiki is a community website dedicated to helping people throughout the world learn how to find their ancestors. Through the Germany page you can learn how to find, use, and analyze Germanic records of genealogical value. The content is variously targeted to beginners, intermediate, and expert researchers. The Germany Page is a work in progress, your contributions and feedback are essential!

View the German Research online tutorials from FamilySearch Learning Center.

Germany/Prussia Facebook Page

Because the Research forums are no longer available for help, be aware that FamilySearch has a Facebook page for this country that you should consider when doing your research:


Here you can help others, post your questions and look for answers and helpful links, as well.

States of the Federal Republic of Germany

(1990 and later)

  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Bavaria
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Hamburg
  • Hesse
  • Lower Saxony
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  • North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Saarland
  • Saxony
  • Saxony-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thuringia

Constituent States of the German Empire


  • Prussia (Preußen)
  • Bavaria (Bayern)
  • Saxony (Sachsen)
  • Württemberg

Grand Duchies

  • Baden
  • Hesse (Hessen)
  • Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  • Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  • Oldenburg
  • Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach)
  • Anhalt
  • Brunswick (Braunschweig)
  • Saxe-Altenburg (Sachsen-Altenburg)
  • Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha)
  • Saxe-Meiningen (Sachsen-Meiningen)
  • Lippe
  • Reuss-Gera (Junior Line)
  • Reuss-Greiz (Senior Line)
  • Schaumburg-Lippe
  • Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
  • Sondershausen
  • Waldeck-Pyrmont
Free Hanseatic cities
  • Bremen
  • Hamburg
  • Lübeck
Imperial territory
  • Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen)

Nobility & Government Areas

Modern German States

Featured Content

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As a result of wars and political realignments, the internal and external boundaries of Germany have changed several times. A Web site that lists links to various maps of areas found in the German Empire is... (Read More)

Research Tools

  • Listing of all records collections for Germany available on
  • Join a Facebook or Skype Germany Genealogy Research Community
  • German Research Websites
  • Pdf Archive Inventory Part 1 of 2: Church records in Archives" - an inventory of localities and the location or archive where the records should be found.
  • The list of archives with addresses, Part 2 of 2, which correspond to the localities list, can be found at this link Archive Addresses Please note that in the second column, with the heading of "key" matches the Archive "number" in the first link which contains the database.

Related Content

Did you know?

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German-Americans are the largest ancestral group in the United States. According to the 2005 US census, an estimated 49.2 million Americans identify German as their ancestry. In the 1990 U.S. census, 58 million Americans reported they were solely or partially of German descent. The first significant numbers arrived in the 1680s in New York and Pennsylvania and some eight million German immigrants have entered the United States since that time. In 1745, there were an estimated 45,000 Germans living in Pennsylvania alone. German immigration continued in substantial numbers during the 19th century with the largest number of arrivals in the 1840–1880 time frame. view immigration records Today, California and Pennsylvania have the largest populations with German ancestry, with over six million German Americans residing in the two states alone, although the highest density of German Americans reside in North Dakota and Wisconsin.

New portal for German Church Records on the Internet

The Kirchenbuchportal (church book portal) website was created by the Association of Church Archives to facilitate access to German-language church records in 2009. By July 2010 several archives had posted detailed inventories of the parish registers in their collections. 

By September 2014 this plan had evolved into a project carried out by twelve Evangelical state churches in Germany. Their records will eventually be accessible at a new fee-based site calledArchion. The site is expected to be functional by mid-2015. Blog entries (in German only- sorry) explain the developments.

Germany Relaxes Access to Civil Registration Records

As of 1 Jan 2009 the German rights-to-privacy laws with regard to to post-1875 civil registration birth, marriage and death certificates have been relaxed. Under the new law, births are available after 110 years, marriages after 80 years and deaths after 30 years, as long as all persons mentioned in the record are dead. The law also provides for older records to be transferred from the local civil registration office to an archive for easier access. For details, see: Recent Changes in Rights-to-Privacy Laws.

Jewish Records online

In March 2009 the Landesarchiv Baden-Wuerttemberg made images of Jewish records available on the Internet. Previously this collection could only be viewed on microfilm at the State Archive in Stuttgart. The collection includes birth, marriage, and death registers, family books, and other lists, mostly from the 19th Century. See Jewish Records available on the Internet for details. See also Jewish Genealogy Research for many how-to-research instruction pages on the Wiki.

Berlin Evangelical Central Archive Inventory Online

The Evangelical Central Archive in Berlin (EZAB) holds many Lutheran church records from Eastern areas, including Ostpreussen, Schlesien, Posen, Brandenburg, Pommern and Westpreussen. On the website the box titled "Familienforschung" (family history research) includes a link to the listing of accessible parish registers under "Kirchenbuch-Suche".

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

Things you can do

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  • This page was last modified on 1 December 2014, at 22:25.
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