If your ancestors lived in Germany in the late 1800s to early 1900s (beginning dates vary by locality,) they may have been registered with the authorities where they lived. Information about individuals was usually written onto index cards which often culminated into short biographies. Thus, you may be able to find information about your ancestors by using these registration cards. These cards often included the following information:
- Profession, and name of employer.
- Birth date and birthplace.
- Religious affiliation.
- Remarks on incarceration, guardianship and nationality
- Marriage status (married, divorced or single).
- Names of parents or guardian. Note: A birth date may not be available if the person was born somewhere other than the place of residence. Nor do the parents’ names appear on older registrations.
- Dates of marriage, divorce, death and where these events took place. Note: A marriage date might not be given before a certain year. For example, in the city of Essen, dates are given if they were registered after 15th Nov 1920 or 10th Oct 1929. Death dates may not exist if a person moved away from a city and their death occurred elsewhere.
- When couples were recorded, their children were listed as well. The name of under aged children appeared if they were still under the care of their parents.
- Children received their own “Meldekarte” when they became of age. However, girls often were not acknowledged in these records.
- Dates and addresses were given when people moved in or out of a given locality.
If information is needed about an ancestor for a legitimate reason, a request can be sent to the mayor’s office (Bürgermeisterei) or the city hall (Rathaus-Ordnungsamt or Einwohnermeldeamt) with as much data you have available. You must also be a direct descendant to request information from these registers.