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A church directory is a list of church officials, dioceses, and parishes. Church directories usually list all the parishes in a diocese, so you can determine if your ancestor's village had a parish church, and many directories list all villages belonging to a parish.
Church directories may include the following information:
- The earliest dates for which the church records of each parish exist. (This is similar to the church record inventories described in Germany Church Records.
- Historical information about each parish.
- A list of parishes by district. (This enables you to easily determine all neighboring parishes.)
- The complete address of the parish churches.
- The address of the diocese headquarters where additional records may be kept.
Roman Catholic Dioceses
Church directories exist for each individual Catholic diocese, but the Family History Library does not have copies of directories for all dioceses. Most of the directories in the library were published before 1960, and some information, such as the priest's name, may be out of date. The addresses and parish histories are usually still valid.
One way to determine which Roman Catholic diocese has jurisdiction over your ancestor's parish is to use the following source:
General-Schematismus der katholischen Geistlichkeit Deutschlands (Directory of the Catholic clergy of Germany). Passau, Germany: Verlag der Redaktion des General-Schematismus, 1905-1906. Microfilmed in Washington, D.C., USA: Library of Congress Photoduplication Service,1981. (FHL film 1,340,500.) This book is divided into the 25 German dioceses. The parishes within each diocese are listed in alphabetical order, followed by the pastor's name. There is no general index, so you must guess the diocese to find the parish. It does not mention which villages are in a parish.
A directory of dioceses and parish addresses in Germany is: http://home.att.net/~local_Catholic/Catholic-Germany.htm
For jurisdictions in the Protestant churches, use the following source:
- Deutsches kirchliches Adreßbuch (German church directory). Berlin, Germany: Evang. Preßverband,1934. (FHL book 943 K24d 1934; 1929 edition on film 476,672.) This source is arranged by denomination and church district. Parishes are alphabetical within each district,and affiliated branches are listed. The place index [Ortsregister] at the end lists only parishes, not branches.
It is sometimes hard to determine which of many parishes in a city a family belonged to. The Family History Library Catalog lists directories that contain each city street address and its parish for Berlin, Breslau, Leipzig, and Magdeburg.
Church directories are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
GERMANY - CHURCH DIRECTORIES GERMANY, [STATE], [TOWN OF DIOCESE] - CHURCH DIRECTORIES
Internet portal to the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Germany is: