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Bavaria (Bayern), Germany Genealogy

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The FamilySearch moderator for Germany is Baerbel

Guide to Bavaria (Bayern), Germany ancestry, family history, and genealogy after 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records.

885px-Locator map Bavaria in Germany.svg.png

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

  • The Kingdom of Bavaria (German: Königreich Bayern) was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918.
  • Most of Bavaria's present-day borders were established after 1814 with the Treaty of Paris, in which Bavaria ceded Tyrol and Vorarlberg to the Austrian Empire while receiving Aschaffenburg and Würzburg.
  • With the unification of Germany into the German Empire in 1871, the kingdom became a federal state of the new Empire and was second in size, power, and wealth only to the leading state, the Kingdom of Prussia.
  • In 1918, Bavaria became a republic, and the kingdom was thus succeeded by the current Free State of Bavaria, after the abolition of monarchy in the aftermath of World War I.
  • Bavarians foster different cultural identities: 
    • Franconia in the north, speaking East Franconian German;
    • Bavarian Swabia in the south west, speaking Swabian German; and 
    • Altbayern (so-called "Old Bavaria”), the regions forming the “historic" Bavaria, at present the districts of the Upper Palatinate, Lower and Upper Bavaria, speaking Austro-Bavarian.
  • Moreover, by the expulsion of German speakers from Eastern Europe, Bavaria has received a large population that was not traditionally Bavarian. In particular, the Sudeten Germans, expelled from neighboring Czechoslovakia, have been deemed to have become the "fourth tribe" of Bavarians.
  • Following the end of World War II, Bavaria was occupied for a while by US forces, who reestablished the state on 19 September 1945, and during the Cold War it was part of West Germany.
  • The Rhenish Palatinate was detached from Bavaria in 1946 and made part of the new state Rhineland-Palatinate. 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

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.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Modern Bavaria (Bayern)

WV-Bavaria regions.svg.png

Kreise (Counties) of Bavaria (Bayern)

Bavaria Kreise.png

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

Bavaria (Bayern)

1920: current state of Bavaria, merged with Coburg
1945: Lost the Pfalz (Palatinate) to Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz).
1957: The Saar-Pfalz became part of the current state of Saarland (Map)

Bavaria: Bayern
Coburg: Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha

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 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.

Finding Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

1. Online Records[edit | edit source] ($)[edit | edit source] can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center. There are additional civil registration records for earlier time periods: see Bavaria (Bayern), German Empire Civil Registration.

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

Civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing to the local civil registry (Standesamt) or the district archives. Records 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]

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.

4. Writing to Archives[edit | edit source]

Archive Addresses[edit | edit source]

Here are the addresses for the district archive, should you decide to write there instead of or in addition to the local Standesamt. Bamberg (for Upper Franconia/Oberfranken)
Staatsarchiv Bamberg
Hainstr. 39
96047 Bamberg
Tel. 0951/26861

Postfach 2668
96017 Bamberg

Internet: Website of the State Archives

Coburg (for the city and kreis/county of Coburg, covers Saxony-Coburg)
Staatsarchiv Coburg
Herrngasse 11
96450 Coburg
Phone: 09561/92833
Internet: Website of the Staatsarchivs

Nuremberg (for Middle Franconia/Mittelfranken)
State Archives Nuremberg
Archivstr. 17
90110 Nürnberg
Tel. 0911 / 357-437
Internet: Website of the State Archives

Würzburg (for Lower Franconia/Unterfranken)
State Archives Würzburg
Residenz-Nordflügel 17
97070 Würzburg
Phone: 0931 / 35529-0
Internet: Website of the State Archives

Augsburg (for Swabia/Schwaben)
State Archives Augsburg
Salomon-Ilder-Str. 2
86159 Augsburg
Tel. 0821/575025
Internet: Website of the State Archives

Amberg (for Upper Palatinate/Oberpfalz)
Staatsarchiv Amberg
Archivstr. 3
92224 Amberg
Tel. 09621/307270
Internet: Website of the State Archives

Amberg (for Upper Palatinate/Oberpfalz)
Staatsarchiv Amberg
Archivstr. 3
92224 Amberg
Tel. 09621/307270
Internet: Website of the State Archives

Munich (for Upper Bavaria/Oberbayern)
Staatsarchiv Munich
Schöfeldstr. 5, 80539 München Germany (P.O. Box) Postfach 221 152
80501 Munich
Tel 089 / 28638-525
Internet: Website of the State Archives

Landshut (for Lower Bavaria/Niederbayern)
State Archives Landshut
Burg Trausnitz
84034 Landshut
Tel. 0871/22515
Internet: Website of the State Archives

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.