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Baden-Württemberg, Germany Genealogy

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Baden-Württemberg, Germany Genealogy
Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Wiki Topics
Stiftskirche von Baden-Baden.jpg
Beginning Research
Baden-Württemberg Record Types
Reading the Records
Baden-Württemberg Background
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background
Germany Research Resources
Moderator
The FamilySearch moderator for Germany is Baerbel


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Guide to Baden-Württemberg, Germany ancestry, family history, and genealogy after 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

  • Baden-Württemberg is a state in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine. Baden-Württemberg is a parliamentary republic and partly sovereign, federated state which was formed in 1952 by a merger of the states of Württemberg-Baden, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. The largest city in Baden-Württemberg is the state capital of Stuttgart, followed by Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Other cities are Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Pforzheim, Reutlingen and Ulm.
  • Baden-Württemberg is formed from the historical territories of Baden, Prussian Hohenzollern, and Württemberg, and also parts of Swabia (Schwaben).
  • The majority of people in this region continued to be Roman Catholics, even after the Protestant Reformation influenced populations in northern Germany.
  • In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, numerous people emigrated from this mostly rural area to the United States for economic reasons.
  • After World War II, the Allies established three federal states in the territory of modern-day Baden-Württemberg: Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Baden, and Württemberg-Baden. Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern were occupied by France, while Württemberg-Baden was occupied by the United States.
  • In 1949, each state became a founding member of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). On 16 December 1951, Württemberg-Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Baden voted via referendum in favor of a joint merger. Baden-Württemberg officially became a state in West Germany on 25 April 1952. Wikipedia

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Getting Started with Germany Research

Links to articles on getting started with German research:

See More Research Strategies

Germany Research Tools

Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:

See More Research Tools


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Research to Find the Town of Origin[edit | edit source]

If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.

Historical Geography[edit | edit source]

Baden, Hohenzollern, and Württemberg Until 1945

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Country Divisions 1945-1952

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Modern Baden-Württemberg
Major Cities and Regions

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For a larger map, click here.
Modern Baden-Württemberg with Counties (Kreise)

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For a larger map, click here.

Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. For German research prior to 1945, the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records are organized by the place names in use from 1871 to 1945. For research in that time period, use the Wiki links in the chart below:


1871 Region

History and Background

Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Page

Instructions for Research Before 1945

Baden

1952: Merged into current state of Baden-Württemburg (Map)

Baden

Hohenzollern

1952: Merged into current state of Baden-Württemberg (Map)

Preussen, Hohenzollern

Württemberg

1951: Merged with Baden and Hohenzollern to become the current state of Baden-Württemberg (Map)

Württemberg

Finding Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

After 1945, the main source for research will be civil registration. Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In Brunswick (Braunschweig), they were started 1 January 1876. German terms for these records include Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister. They are an excellent source for information on names and dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. These records are kept by the civil registrar (Standesbeamte) at the civil registry office (Standesamt). Study these links to learn what information can be found in them:

Melderegister[edit | edit source]

Since 1874, there is an official registration of residential addresses in Germany. These data were collected by the police stations. They are kept in the civil registration office. Some offices keep them historically from their start. Other offices destroyed records for people once they died.

These registration cards were available for each respective householder. Noted on the card were his wife and any children, dates of marriage or death, and a history of resident addresses. The value of these cards is their use to determine which civil registration office might hold birth, marriage, and death certificates for the family members.

Follow the German Letter Writing Guide, and use questions 16 and 17 to request these records.

Privacy Laws[edit | edit source]

Since 2009, birth records have been public after 110 years, marriages after 80 years and deaths after 30 years. A direct relationship (direct descendants and direct ancestors) to the subject of the record sought will 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.

Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office[edit | edit source]

Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the registry office (Standesamt). It is indicated by the abbreviation "StdA".

However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.

  • For a small town within a larger municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box. An article about the town will start with a first line such as: "Besse with about 3200 inhabitants is the largest district of the municipality Edermünde in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the municipality (in this example Edermünde).
  • To e-mail the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
  1. From the Wikipedia town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article.
  2. There will usually be an infobox on the right side of page that lists the address and the website of the municipality.
  3. Click on the website. Look for "Kontakt (Contact)" information, which should provide an e-mail address.
  4. Send a message asking whether you have the correct office for your ancestors' home town. You can
  • For larger towns which constitute a municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box.
  • This type of article will not state that the town belongs to another municipality, because it is itself a municipality.
  • The infobox that lists the address and the website of the municipality will appear directly on a this first page that comes up.
  • Follow the above instructions #2-4 above.

1. Online Records[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center.

2. Writing for Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing for recent records to the local civil registry (Standesamt) or for earlier records to the local archives. They may have been lost at one location of the other, so you might end up checking both. The first office you contact might choose to forward your request to the other location if necessary.

Local Standesamt Addresses[edit | edit source]


An das Standesamt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY

Addresses for Local Archives[edit | edit source]

How to Write the Letter[edit | edit source]

Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find their birth record, search for the births of their brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of their parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • The marriage certificate will show the birth date, birth place, and parents of the bride and the groom.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.