Germany Town Genealogies and Parish Register Inventories on the Internet

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What is an Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch?

An Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book) includes birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families. Sources may include the local parish registers, civil registration records, court and land records, and sometimes published material. In the printed book, this information is then arranged in a standardized format, usually alphabetically by surname and chronologically by marriage date. Family entries are identified by sequential numbers. Town genealogies are known by various names, including “town lineage book,” “local heritage book,” “one-place-studies,” “Ortssippenbuch (OSB),” and “Ortsfamilienbuch (OFB).” This article will use the term “town genealogy” and the abbreviation OFB when referring to compilations that include all or a large part of a town’s population. "Häuserbűcher," or house books, are a variation on town genealogies. These books, which are usually arranged by house number or address, list successive home owners and their families. Renters and others who did not own their homes may not be included in such a compilation. A few house books have also been published on the Internet.

Online Resources

There are two categories of online resources:

(1.) Bibliographies of printed and digital town genealogies and parish register indexes. Several major collections, grouped geographically, are listed below.
(2.) Town genealogies and parish register indexes fully searchable online. Some are digital versions of previously printed books, but most were created for the Internet.

An online town genealogy may be a work in progress rather than a complete reconstitution of all local families. The preface usually explains the status of each compilation. Some books (i.e., the OFB Schlesisch Drehnow) have been created to provide a gathering place for information about families from a particular locality where few original sources, such as parish registers, survive. In this case, they function more like a database than a traditional town genealogy book. Users can add information to a book or make corrections by contacting the book administrator or webmaster.

The Internet has made it possible to publish online databases that function as OFBs. They are usually fully searchable by name and locality. Some cover several villages or a specified geographical area rather than just a village, with the intent of collecting all worldwide extant genealogical information in one place. One example is the Memelland OFB .

Using Town Genealogies Hosted at Online Ortsfamilienbücher

Over 365 online town genealogies are currently accessible at Online Ortsfamilienbücher. They follow a standard format. Books published on other websites often have very different formats, so the reader needs to study each individual publication. Usually, minimal knowledge of German is required. All town genealogies on this website are searchable for individuals by surname or place.

Step-by Step User's Guide

  • Access the home page on Online Ortsfamilienbücher
  • Choose the locality, either from the alphabetical list found under “Funktionen” on the left, or from the main page. Localities are listed from north to south, with separate sections for German communities in other countries, such as Hungary.
  • The main page includes geographical and historical information, a list of sources used, and a tool bar with three search options:
  1. Gesamtliste der Familiennamen – List of all surnames
  2. Geburtsorte auswaertiger Personen- Birthplaces of persons from other localities
  3. Sterbeorte weggezogener Personen – Death places of those who moved away
  • Click on a surname. A list of persons with birthdates (if known) comes up.
  • Click on a person of interest. This brings up the individual or family page.
  • Some entries may show cross-references to other online OFBs with a red notation “Es gibt (eine) aehnliche Person (en) im OFB (town name).” This means that a similar person is listed in another online town genealogy on that server. This could be the same individual who had lived in another locality, or someone else with a similar name and age.
  • “Keine Angaben!” means “no information given.”
  • A family page may include spouses, parents, children, other spouses, and additional information.

Bibliographies of Town Genealogies

General

Bibliographies of Town Genealogies--Some Searchable Online

Baden List of Baden-Wuerttemberg Ortsippenbuecher
Bayern(Bavaria) Ortschronik zu Bayern
Genealogy and house chronicles in the area north-west of Munich - parishes around Dachau, NW of Munich. Also listing of surnames found in most parishes of the area. Searchable.
Tax Lists - Indexes to tax lists for the courts of Friedberg, Landsberg an der Lech, Mehring, Rauhenlechsberg, Starnberg, and Weilheim for 1612, 1671, and 1720-1721. Searchable.
Bremen Ortsfamilienbuch Bremen und Vegesack Familiennamenliste Searchable.
Die Maus. Searchable.
Brandenburg Virtual parish registers- for Koeltschen, Kriescht, Louisa, Woxfelde, and Vietz. Searchable.

Neumark database and Huguenot pedigrees (Many parish registers in this area have been lost. This data base contains information from many other sources, such as pedigrees, town directories, histories etc.).Searchable.

Elsass-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine) Local history Books for Alsace-Lorraine
Hannover Bibliography of Ostfriesland OFBs with purchasing information in the U.S.

List of Ostfriesland OFBs

Hessen Ortsippenbuecher at University/Marburg

Central Office for Personal and Family History-Institute of Genealogy

Mecklenburg Local heritage books of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Oldenburg Oldenburg list of parishes, emigrant database
Ostfriesland Ostfrieslands local kinship books

Local clan books in Ostfriesland

Posen Inventory of Posen
Rheinland (Rhineland) Rhineland-Palatinate ibliography
Eifel region. Searchable.

Indexes to parish registers in the Trier region Searchable.
Ortsfamilienbuch Südlicher Hochwald. Searchable.

Sachsen (Saxony) Family Books of Saxony
Schlesien (Silesia) Local heritage books Silesia
Schleswig-Holstein - Familienbuch Suederbarup.Searchable.
Waldeck Waldeckische local kinship books - List of town genealogies published up to the year 2008
Westphalia Local heritage book to North Rhine-Westphalia