Germany Research Guide


See Place:Germany for more general information.

See FamilySearch Wiki's Germany Portal.


I can't read German!


When researching in Germany you will come across FHLC abbreviations:

  • AG = Adelgodser Güterdistrikt (Nobility Lands Estate District)
  • AH. = Amtsgericht (Local District Court)
  • am = on
  • a-d = an der (on the)
  • Erzgeb. = Erzgebirgskreis (is a Kreis in the Free State of Saxony)
  • KD =Klosterdistrikt (cloister [estate] district)
  • KR =Kreis (District)
  • KS =Købstæd ([independent] city)
  • OA = Oberamtsgerich (political division)

Common words to know

  • Amtsgericht = Local District Court
  • Bezirksamt(das) = municipality, city or district with its own government; city council
  • Erzbistum = Archbishopric
  • Erzgebirgskreis = is a district (Kreis) in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. named after Erzgebirge.
  • Furstentum = Principality
  • Herrschaft/Herrlichkeit = Territory, Fiefdom
  • Furstentum = Principality
  • Landschaft = Countryside, Landscape; Terretorial estate
  • Regierungsbezirke = Administrative Regions
  • Stadtkreis = City Districts


These records can help researchers find the home town and emigration dates of their ancestors. Some of these records have been placed online:

  • HESSE: Hessisches Staatsarchiv Darmstadt is a searchable database of records of people emigrating from the state of Hesse.
  • PFALZ: Apparently, all emigration out of the Pfalz had to be recorded in Kaiserslautern. This information has been well cataloged by the Institut fur Pfalzische Geschichte und Volkskunde (Institute for History and Folklore of the Pfalz), Benzinoring 6, 67657 Kaiserslautern; Tel: (06 31) 3647; Fax: (06 31) 360 93 47.
  • BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG: Auswanderung aus Südwestdeutschland
  • (Add other state's online archives or info about them)

See Internet Resources for Finding 19th Century German Emigrants at the FamilySearch Research Wiki.

In addition, (paid subscription required) has digitized many emigration/immigration-related records (including passport applications). Passport applications in particular often identify the place of origin of the applying person.

Church records

The LDS has microfilmed many church records from Germany. If you know the town, use the Place search at NOTE: LDS microfilms may be ordered at local family history centers in the U.S. and some other countries, but if you live in Germany you cannot use LDS family history centers unless you are a member of the LDS church.

Research in Germany

Recommended Books for German Research

The German Research Companion (rev.ed., Sacramento: Lorelei Press, 2000) by Shirley J. Riemer

German Genealogical Research (n.p.: Geroge K. Schweitzer, 1995) by George K. Schweitzer

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Germanic Ancestry (Cincinnati: Betterway, 2000) by S. Chris Anderson and Ernest Thode

If I Can, You Can Decipher German Script (San Diego: E. M. Bentz, 1982) by E. M. Bentz

Books recommended by Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer in article In Search of Your German Roots: A Complete Guide to Tracing Your Ancestors in the Germanic Areas of Europe in The American Genealogist, Oct 2001, Vol. 76, No. 3.

Related German Research Sites

(add the best)