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A biography is a history of a person's life. In a biography you may find birth, marriage, and death information and the names of parents, spouses, children, or other family members. Use information from a biography carefully because it may contain inaccuracies.
Many brief biographies have been gathered and published in collective biographies, sometimes called biographical encyclopedias or biographical dictionaries. These works usually include only biographies of prominent or well-known German citizens. Other collective biographies feature biographies of specific groups of people, such as merchants or students of an academy.
The source below is a collection of 263 important German biographical works published between 1700 and 1910:
- Deutsches biographisches Archiv = The German Biographical Archive. München, Germany: K. G. Saur, 198-? (FHL fiche 6,002,159.) This work, on 1,447 microfiche, refers to about 225,000 eminent Germans.
An index to this collection is listed below:
- Koch, Hans-Albrecht. Deutscher Biographischer Index (German biographical index). Four Volumes. München, Germany: K. G. Saur, 1986. (FHL book 943 D32k Volume 1-4.) Available on the Internet at: www.biblio.tu-bs.de/wbi_en/
There are several other major collections of German biographies. Listed below are two important collections:
Führende Persönlichkeiten (Leading personalities). See Germany Genealogy.
- Neue Deutsche Biographie (New German biography). Berlin, Germany: Duncker & Humblot, 1953-. (FHL book 943 D3nd.) The first 16 volumes, published through 1993, include the surnames Aachen to Melanchthon.
Collective biographies at the Family History Library are usually listed in the Place Search of the catalog under:
GERMANY - BIOGRAPHY
GERMANY, [STATE] - BIOGRAPHY
You will also find some biographical information in German encyclopedias.