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Getting started with German research

Welcome to the Germany page!

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. Please visit the help page to learn more about using the site. The Germany Page is a work in progress, your contributions and feedback are essential!

Nobility & Government Areas

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

Lists of major German communities by state and county - includes contact information to local tourist bureau [large towns] or town hall [small towns]

German- English dictionary - German genealogy web portal - English front page

German states in 1871 - listing with some links to state/region pages

Meyers Gazetteer of Germany online - click on desired volume, choose a letter, then browse pages

Ravenstein's Atlas of the German Empire - download in sections, includes a gazetteer

Kartenmeister - gazetteer of localities east of the Oder-Neisse border, includes name changes

Geogen - creates maps showing absolute and relative surname distribution in Germany today

German archives in the Internet - link list compiled by the Archive School in Marburg - links to resources for finding emigrant origins, by current German state

19th Century encyclopedias - including Meyer's Konversationslexikon (1888), the Brockhaus, and others

Lists of localities for Jewish Synagogues in Germany and other Jewish information

Photos and maps of localities around the worldA link to help you locate your ancestral home in Germany and other countries, as well. You and others may upload photos of locations at this site, also.

Link list for German Research on the Internet - arranged by topics 

Online Ortsippenbücher - list of online town genealogies and other databases found at

All about batch numbers (text in German)

German Research 101 for all of Germany

  • (helpful tools and resources, gazetteers)
  • (language dictionary, handwriting guide or tutorial, etc.)

Help Wanted

In order to make this wiki a better research tool, we need your help! Many tasks need to be done. You can help by:

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. 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.

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(All text below this is included in a column on the left side of the screen.)

  • Current Events
  • Websites


Germany (Deutschland) now has a volunteer Moderator:

Baerbel Johnson

Baerbel's column

Germany Relaxes Access to Civil Registration Records

It was reported on the JewishGen German SIG Discussion Group that the German Standesamt have relaxed restrictions on access to post-1875 civil registration birth, marriage and death certificates. Previously laws restricted information to spouses, direct-line ancestors and direct-line descendants. Now exempt from these restrictions are records of births through 1898, marriages through 1928 and deaths through 1978. Additional information indicated that access to information will increase by one year every year. That is, births available after 110 years, marriages after 80 years and deaths after 30 years. After these time periods, records will be transferred from the local civil registration office to the local archives. It was also reported that it is now possible to obtain extracts of genealogical information or uncertified photocopies of these documents.

New 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

German Jewish Records

for details.

EZAB Berlin Evangelical Central Archive Now Online

The Matricula site includes many of the eastern region holdings, such as Ostpreussen, Schlesien, Posen, Brandenburg, Pommern and Westpreussen. As of January 2010 only the EZAB inventory has been posted, not the actual records. The site already contains some digitized church records from other German and Austrian archives. 


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