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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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After WW II, many areas of east Germany were given to other countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic. A new article,Finding parish registers for formerly eastern Germany areas now in other countries, announces searchable digitized parish registers in archives of those countries.

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Welcome to the Germany page!

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Getting started with German research

  • Want to learn more about how to do research in Germany? Take a look at the "How to" Guides!

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.

Central Europe Genealogy Research Community 

FamilySearch has created several European research communities on Facebook effective April 2015. The previous country-specific Facebook pages have been retired. Please join the Central Europe Genealogy Research Community to ask questions and share information about German research.

This research group focuses on research in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. To filter entries by search terms (i.e. "Germany" or "Prussia"), use the "search this group" box underneath the map. Keep in mind that the search engine looks for specific words.

States of Germany in 1871

Modern German States (since 1945/1990)

  • Baden-Wuerttemberg
  • Bayern
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Hessen
  • Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  • Niedersachsen
  • Rheinland-Pfalz
  • Saarland
  • Sachsen
  • Sachsen-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thüringen

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)

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Did you know?

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German-Americans are the largest ancestral group in the United States. According to the 2000 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 are now accessible at a new fee-based site called Archion

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:

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  • This page was last modified on 10 February 2016, at 03:21.
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