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When writing for records, first find the modern registrar for your town. The information recorded in civil registration records varies slightly over time.
Each state used a different format for civil registration. Preprinted forms have often been used for civil registration. In these instances, the form determined what information the record contains.
Researching German Ancestors
The early French records sometimes give slightly more complete information than the later records. The most important civil records are birth, marriage, and death registers. Marriages were usually recorded where the bride lived. After a civil marriage ceremony was required in areas of Germany under French control.
What do I need to know?
In this law was applied to all of Germany. Most couples also had a church wedding, so records may exist for both the civil and church ceremonies.
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The civil marriage records may include more information than the comparable church records. When possible search both the civil registration and church records. Marriage Registers Heiratsregister. Civil officials recorded the marriages they performed, usually on preprinted forms bound in a book and kept in the civil registration office. Marriage registers give:.
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Certificates Heiratsscheine. Some couples were given a marriage certificate or a book [Stammbuch] with the marriage entry and space for entering children's births. The certificate or book may be in the possession of the family or the civil registrar.
Death records are especially helpful because they may provide important information on a person's birth, spouse, and parents. Civil death records often exist for individuals for whom there were no birth or marriage records. Information about parents, the birth date, the birthplace, and other information about the deceased may be inaccurate, depending on the informant's knowledge.
Civil registration records were kept at the local civil registration office Standesamt.
Most civil registers are still located at the local civil registration offices, but some are collected in city or state archives. Since birth records have been public after years, marriages after 80 years and deaths after 30 years. However in places where records are online, the records recently made public may have not yet been placed online. A direct relationship to the subject of the record sought will only be required in cases where the required time period has not yet elapsed.
Even then, the records may be accessible if it can be shown that all "participating parties" have died at least 30 years ago. Participating parties are both parents and the child in birth records, and both spouses in a marriage. FamilySearch has microfilmed many civil registration records. The collections of FamilySearch continue to grow as new records are microfilmed or digitized. Additional online records for the individual provinces of the German Empire are listed on the Civil Registration page for each province:.
Civil registration records from many towns and states are available on microfilm or online. However, many civil registration records, especially those created in or later, are still only available in the local civil registration office or archive in Germany that has the originals. Civil birth, marriage, and death records may be found by contacting or visiting the local civil registration office or archive. Civil officials will usually answer correspondence that is written to them in German. Your request may be forwarded if the records have been sent to an archive or central repository.
Write a brief request in German to the proper office using this address as guide, replacing the information in parentheses:. You can search this database online or write to them for assistance. Click on "Suche beginnen" to start your search. You then must register with your name and address to continue the search.
Navigation and service
Then click on "Zur Ergebniseite" to continue. Has transcripts of more than sets of church records for the state of Brandenburg, Germany from the Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv.
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Coverage varies by parish -- most are from Most are for Protestant churches. Online Genealogy Records.
Census Records. Military Records German Research Guide. Genealogy Resources.