Germany Brandenburg Church Book Duplicates (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Title in the Language of the Records

Deutschland, Brandenburg Kirchenbücherduplikaten, 1794-1874.

Collection Time Period

German states successively began creating church book duplicates from 1792 to 1876. This collection of church records covers the years 1794–1874, when Brandenburg was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. This are good sources to find information of ancestors before the institution of civil registration in 1876.

Record Description

Entries are usually arranged in chronological order in columns. The baptisms, marriages, and deaths for one year are grouped together before the baptisms, marriages and deaths for the next year (some of the records include only marriages and deaths, only births and marriages, and so on). Some of the records are on preprinted forms and some include indexes.

A German parish was an ecclesiastical jurisdiction made up of many villages and hamlets, with one of those villages designated as the main parish town. A set of church book duplicates usually did not include records from all of the villages in the parish. Instead, it included records from only one village or from a few of the villages. In larger cities where there was more than one church, each church is listed separately.

Record Content

Important genealogical information found in baptismal duplicate records:

Germany Church Books Baptism.jpg
  • Names of the child, parents, and witnesses or godparents
  • Date and place of birth and baptism
  • Residence and religion of the parents
  • Occupation of the father
  • Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate

Important genealogical information found in marriage duplicate records:

Germany Church Books Marriage.jpg
  • Names of the bride, groom, their parents (usually the fathers), and witnesses
  • Date and place of the marriage and the marriage proclamations (called "banns")
  • Age of the bride and groom (sometimes the date and place of birth)
  • Residence of the bride, groom, and their parents
  • Religion of the bride and groom
  • Occupation of the groom and of the fathers

Important genealogical information found in death duplicate records:

Germany Church Books Death.jpg
  • Names of the deceased, spouse, and parents
  • Date and place of the death and burial
  • Age and residence of the deceased (sometimes the date and place of birth)
  • Cause of death

How to Use the Records

German church book duplicates are a backup source for church books (parish registers). These church books are the best records for identifying German individuals, parents, and spouses before civil registration of vital events began. German states instituted registration at different times between 1792 and 1874.

When trying to find information, search the records for the villages where the person lived. If you do not find the record you need, you can try the following:

  1. Look for other people with the same surname in the village, as these individuals could be relatives, and their information might lead you to the correct record.
  2. Search several years before and after the event you are looking for.
  3. Search surrounding villages for the individual's records.

Record History

Inspired by the institution of civil registration in France in 1792, German states began creating church book duplicates. The German states required the clergy to create a transcript of their church books and turn them in annually to the state. Civil authorities assumed the registration function in Prussia in October 1874 and elsewhere in January 1876.

The clergy were required to record the vital events (births, marriages, and deaths) of the people living within their jurisdiction regardless of their religion. For example, Catholics or Jews who lived in an area that did not have a Catholic church or Jewish synagogue were often included in the Lutheran records. The reverse was also true. In Catholic areas, the information for Lutherans and Jews was included in Catholic records. The church book duplicates records cover a majority of the population.

Church book duplicates were created for civil authorities to use.

Record Reliability

German church book duplicates, like the originals, are the most reliable and accurate family history source until 1876, when civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began in all of Germany. Realize that the ages, birth dates, and birthplaces listed in marriage and death entries may be inaccurate because the information came from an informant's memory. Church book duplicates may differ slightly from the originals because of transcription variations, but they are often more legible than the originals.

Known Issues with This Collection

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Citations for This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Germany, Brandenburg, Church Book Duplicates 1794-1874." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. Citing Brandenburg State Archives, Potsdam.

Image Citation:

The citation for an image will be available on each image once the collection is published.


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  • This page was last modified on 4 August 2015, at 14:59.
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