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The term genealogy is used in this outline to describe records that contain family information gathered by individuals, societies, or archives. These records may include pedigree charts, compiled family information, correspondence, ancestor lists, research exchange files,record abstracts, and collections of original or copied documents. These excellent sources of information can save you time. However, because they are compiled from other sources, they may contain inaccuracies. You should verify the information found in them when possible.
Major Collections and Databases
The Family History Library has several sources that contain previous research or that can lead you to other people who are interested in sharing family information. These sources include many ancestral lines that extend into Germany:
International Genealogical Index. This index at www.familysearch.org provides names and vital information for over 25 million deceased persons who lived in Germany. This valuable research tool lists birth, baptism, or marriage dates. The index for Germany includes names extracted from parish registers by volunteers and names submitted by other researchers. You can filter on one to nine German states:
- Alsace-Lorraine [France]
- Germany, Misc.
Filtering on Germany, Misc. includes only the small states and free cities of:
Ancestral File. This file, part of FamilySearch, contains family history information linked in family groups and pedigrees that have been contributed since 1979. The file contains the names of 36 million people, including thousands of German families. Ancestral File can print pedigree charts,family group records, and individual summary sheets for any person in the file.
Family Group Records Collection. More than eight million microfilmed family group record forms make up the Family Group Records Collection. The collection has two major sections: the Archive Section and the Patron Section. The film numbers for both sections are listed in the Author/Title Search of the Family History Library Catalog under Family Group Records Collection.
German Pedigree Charts, about 1750-1937. This collection contains over 5,200 pedigrees on fifteen microfilms. The film numbers for the index and pedigrees are found on FHL films 417525-39.
German Genealogists Directory. Use directories to find others working on your lines. A directory with about 34,000 indexed surnames and a list of 1,900 genealogists (mostly German), their addresses, and their ancestors is listed below:
Glenzdorf, Johann. Glenzdorfs internationales Genealogen-Lexikon (Glenzdorf's international directory of genealogists). Three Volumes. Bad Münder/Deister: Wilhelm Rost Verlag,1977-1984. (FHL book 943 D27gi.) This source is not completely up-to-date, but it is still useful.
References to many genealogical collections are found at: www.genealogienetz.de/genealogy.html
Many German families have produced family histories or newsletters. These often contain genealogical information about several generations of the family, and they may include biographies, photographs, and pedigrees.
The Family History Library has many German family histories and newsletters listed in the Surname Search of the catalog. However, only the major surnames discussed in a family history are listed in the catalog.
The following indexes of published genealogy books and articles in genealogical periodicals are described in the “Periodicals” section:
- Der Schlüssel (The Key)
- Familiengeschichtliche Quellen (Family History Sources)
Many German family histories are listed in the following 400-page bibliography:
Heinzmann, Franz, and Christoph Lenhartz. Bibliographie gedruckter Familiengeschichten, 1946-1960 (Bibliography of printed family histories, 1946-1960). Düsseldorf, Germany: Heinzmann, 1990. (FHL book 943 D23he.) This bibliography cites 6,486 titles alphabetically by the main family discussed in each history. It also contains indexes of collateral lines, authors, and localities mentioned in the titles.
The Family History Library also has several statewide bibliographies of family history, such as the following:
Spruth, Herbert. Landes- und familiengeschichtliche Bibliographie fürPommern: Drucke und Handschriften (State and family history bibliography for Pomerania: Printed and Manuscripts). Neustadt/Aisch, Germany: Degener, 1962-1965. (FHL book 943.81 D23s.)
During the Nazi era, starting about 1937, many families from all over Germany were asked to compile a four-generation genealogical chart [Ahnenpaß]. The information in the chart was usually verified in original civil and church records. The chart became an official certificate from the government. The Family History Library has very few of these records. They are hard to find. Many were discarded after World War II, but some families still kept them.
Village Lineage Books
For some German towns, locally compiled genealogy books are available. Such books may be called Ortssippenbücher, Dorfssippenbücher or Ortsfamilienbücher. These lineage books are extracted from parish registers. They give extensive genealogical information on almost all of the town's inhabitants, linked together as families. They usually begin with the earliest town records in the 1500s or 1600s and continue up to the twentieth century. They typically list families in roughly alphabetical order, with a surname index and place index at the end. They frequently have appendixes listing war casualties, mayors, pastors, refugees, or veterans.
A village lineage book is perhaps the best secondary genealogical source that can be found. If one's ancestors lived in a parish with a village lineage book, one may trace one's family back many generations. Since the books contain compiled information, the information should be verified whenever possible by referring to microfilmed parish records.
The village lineage books usually list only families whose members were born or married or died in the parish. Some regions of Germany have more than others; Baden, Württemberg, and Hannover have the most.
A list of on-line Ortssippenbücher (fully searchable online) available on www.genealogy.net is found at:www.online-ofb.de/ In addition, other websites also host compiled genealogies. Some regional genealogical societies have published town genealogies. For example, Die Maus, the Bremen area genealogical society, includes about thirty town genealogy databases on its website http://www.genealogy.net/vereine/maus/datenbanken/index.php?lang=de .
A list of published Ortssippenbücher is found at:wiki-de.genealogy.net/Kategorie:Ortsfamilienbuch
For more information on village lineage books see Bibiographies_of_Town_Genealogies.
Some of these books are indexed in the composite indexes described in the “Periodicals” section. Below is listed an important bibliography of 668 village lineage books in alphabetical order by town name:
Heinzmann, Franz. Bibliographie der Ortssippenbücher in Deutschland (Bibliography of village lineage books in Germany). Düsseldorf, Germany: Heinzmann, 1991. (FHL book 943 D23h 1991.) This work lists both monographs and village lineages in periodicals.
Some recently discovered village lineage books are now available through the German Center for Genealogy (see the “Archives and Libraries” section).
Village lineage books are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
GERMANY, [STATE], [TOWN] - GENEALOGY
The Family History Library has many genealogical collections for German families, including published and unpublished collections of family histories and lineages and research files of prominent genealogists. Two major published collections are listed below:
- Deutsches Geschlechterbuch (German lineage book). 194+ Volumes. Limburg/Lahn: C. A. Starke, 1889-. (FHL book 943 D2dg.) The Family History Library is missing a few volumes, and earlier volumes are in Gothic type. These volumes often give many generations of German families. They are indexed at the end of each volume, and the first 150 volumes are indexed in a cumulative index called Stammfolgen-Verzeichnisse für das genealogische Handbuch des Adels und dasdeutsche Geschlechterbuch (Index of thegenealogical handbook of nobility and the German lineage books), (Limburg/ Lahn, Germany: C.A. Starke, 1969; FHL book 943 D2dg index 1969). The 1963 index for Volumes 1-134 has been filmed (FHL book 943 D2dg index 1963; film1,183,565 item 5; fiche 6,053,506). A cumulative surname index to Volumes 1-209 (1999) and a supplemental index (2000) are available on computer (CD-ROM) disk at the FHL.
- Institut zur Erforschung Historischer Führungsgeschichten Bensheim. Führende Persönlichkeiten (Leading personalities). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1980-1983. (On 388 FHL films.)
The library also has a collection of half a million German pedigrees, often hundreds of pages long, mostly for the years 1650 to 1850:
- Deutsche Zentralstelle für Genealogie. Die Ahnenstammkartei des deutschen Volkes (The German pedigree card index). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991-1992. (638 index films; over 600 pedigree films.)
The handwritten, phonetic index on 2.4 million cards is arranged by the wife's married name. For a detailed introduction in German see FHL film 1,799,712 item 3. A film register in English is on FHL fiche 6,001,616. The following book can help you use this collection. It explains the phonetical system used and how to locate the correct film number for your name.
Edlund, Thomas Kent. An Introduction and Register to “Die Ahnenstammkartei Des Deutschen Volkes” of the Deutsche Zentralstelle Fur Genealogie Leipzig, 1922¬1991. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: The Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1993. (FHL book 943D23l 1993; fiche 6,001,616.) This is available on-line at: http://feefhs.org/fij/ahnstamm.html, with a detailed explanation and all film numbers.
Another very helpful site which gives further guidance for the use of the Ahnenstammkartei can be found at the German Gen-wiki site http://wiki-en.genealogy.net/Ahnenstammkartei_des_deutschen_Volkes
The Family History Library has the following collection of records on forty microfilms:
Regensburg (Bayern). Stadtarchiv. Genealogische Sammlung von Familiengeschlechtern Namenskartei, 800-1900 (Card index of genealogical collections, 800-1900). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1986. (FHL films 1,337,855-94.) These records list births, marriages,deaths, professions, parents, spouses, and places of residence. The records are taken from city archives in Amberg, Augsburg, Nürnberg, Würzburg, and Regensburg. Family names are arranged phonetically.
The following sources list two alphabetical card indexes of births, marriages, and deaths from the Pfalz:
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Pfälzisch-Rheinische Familienkunde. Pfälzische Ahnenkartei, 16.-20. Jahrhundert (Palatinate ancestor index, sixteenth to twentieth century). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1979. (On 63 FHL films.)
Raimar, Josef A. Genealogische Quellensammlung-Karteien, 14.-20. Jahrhundert (Index of a collection of genealogical sources, fourteenth to twentieth century). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1980. (FHL films 1,203,923-37 and 1,258,025-26.)
The following is an alphabetical collection of unpublished family group sheets and other miscellaneous material representing 97 parish registers of Kreis Ansbach and other places in Mittelfranken, Bayern, for 1650 to 1969:
Brenner, Tobias. Brenner Collection of Genealogical Records of Mittelfranken, Bayern, Germany, Including Description, List of Card-indexed Parishes, etc., and List of Abbreviations Used for Given Names. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969. (On 764 FHL films.)
The following sources contain alphabetical genealogies for Hannover:
Pohlsander, Hermann Walter. Genealogische Sammlung von Niedersächsischen Familien, 800-1975 (Genealogical collection of families of Lower Saxony, 800-1975). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975. (FHL films 1,043,746-851.)
——. Genealogische Sammlung von Niedersächsischen Familien, 1600-1900 (Genealogical collection of families of Lower Saxony, 1600-1900). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975. (FHL films 1,043,852-73.) This work is especially for the area around the city of Celle.
Two alphabetical genealogies for Lübeck are listed below:
Lübische Genealogie (Lübeck genealogies). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1960. (FHL films 492,120-31.)
Genealogisches Register, Lübeck (Lübeck genealogical register). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1960. (FHL films 492,132-40.)
The Family History Library has a collection of Württemberg genealogies collected by Max Cramer. The collection is on 72 microfilms and is in two parts:
Cramer, Max. Genealogien - Ahnen (Genealogies ¬ancestors). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969. This section contains an index and genealogies.
——. Familien - Genealogien, 1600-1930 (Family genealogies 1600-1930). Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969. This section contains Protestant parish extracts of baptisms, marriages, and deaths in alphabetical order.
These and dozens of other genealogical collections are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under:
GERMANY - GENEALOGY
GERMANY, [STATE] - GENEALOGY
GERMANY, [STATE], [TOWN] - GENEALOGY
If you find your surname in any of the sources described in this section, determine whether the entry actually pertains to your family. All persons with the same surname are not related. You will usually have to do some research before you can connect your ancestry to families listed in these sources.
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
- Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate Church Records Extraction and Family Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)