You can use German local newspapers to inquire for genealogical help in your ancestor's town. However, you may have a better response if you use a local genealogical society periodical rather than a general newspaper. The following is a current newspaper directory for Germany:
Benn's Media Directory International. Tonbridge, England: Benn's Business Information Services, annual. (FHL book 011.35 B439.) This is arranged by the nation and city of the newspaper.
Newspapers printed during your ancestor's lifetime may contain birth or marriage notices. Death notices and war casualties are especially common in old German papers. Death notices typically list birth and death dates and burial places. Sometimes they list the birth place or immediate family members. Since few indexes are available, you must know the approximate date of the newspaper to search. Newspapers became more common in Germany after 1855, when a tax on paper was lifted.
The Family History Library has virtually no German newspapers. A few related items may be found in the Locality Search of the catalog under the name of the town and the topic NEWSPAPERS. To find newspapers in German repositories, use the source below:
Hagelweide, Gert. Deutsche Zeitungsbestände in Bibliotheken und Archiven = German
Newspapers in Libraries and Archives. Düsseldorf, Germany: Droste, 1974. (FHL book 943 B3h.) This book covers the years 1700 to 1969, citing 2,018 papers from 222 towns and stored at 579 German and foreign repositories. It does not list every paper ever published, but it is still an excellent list.
German Immigrant Newspapers
In most places where Germans settled around the world, they published a German-interest newspaper.
The directory below lists modern newspapers by language and title:
Wynar, Lubomyr R., and Anna T. Wynar. Encyclopedic Directory of Ethnic Newspapers and Periodicals in the United States. Second Edition. Littleton, Colorado, USA: Libraries Unlimited, 1976. (FHL book 973 E4w.)
Newly arrived immigrants and their home towns are often listed in old newspapers. For a listing of about 5,000 historical German-interest newspapers and the repositories, see the following source:
Arndt, Karl J. R. The German Language Press of the Americas, 1732-1968: History and Bibliography = Die Deutschsprachige Presseder Amerikas, 1732-1968: Geschichte und Bibliographie. Two Volumes. München, Germany: Verlag Dokumentation, 1973-1976. (FHL book 973 B33a1976.)