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Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen Civil Registers - FamilySearch Historical Records

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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
Nordrhein-Westfalen,  Germany
Flag of the German Empire.svg.png
Flag of the German Empire, 1871-1917
Weimar Republic - Prussia - Westphalia (1925).jpg
Location of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
German Empire blank map.svg.png
Map of the German Empire, 1871-1917
Germany.png
Record Description
Record Type Civil Registers
Collection years: 1874-1938
Languages: German
Title in the Language: Deutschland, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Zivilstandsregister 1874-1938
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of civil registers of births, marriages, and deaths for North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Original records are located in the State Archive in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

Birth records may contain the following information:

  • Birth date
  • Name at birth
  • Parents’ names
  • Parents’ residence

Marriage records may contain the following information:

  • Marriage date
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Residence of bride and groom
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Parents’ names

Death records may contain the following information:

  • Death date
  • Name of deceased
  • Place of death
  • Age at death

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

You will be able to browse through images in this collection when it is published.

To search the collection by image:

⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the Civil Registration office or "Standesamt"
⇒ Select the record type and year range or "Quellengattung und Zeitraum"

Look at each image or record comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images or records and compare the information about the individuals listed to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind there may be more than one person in the records with the same name and you will want to look carefully at dates, places and relations to identify your ancestor from another person. You also may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name if they were known by a nickname or changed their name from the original birth record name. Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life and may be listed in records with any of those variations. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the age in the citizen to find an approximate birth year to begin your search in church or civil records.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have moved, been recruited or lived nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify. Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual. This compiled list can help you identify possible relations that can be further verified by researching vital records in the country.
  • When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, either German Civil Registration records or German Church records may be more useful.
  • While searching, it is helpful to know such information as the ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as an ancestor and that the ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Keep in mind that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images. Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of local genealogical societies.

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Germany.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
A citation will be available on the Collection Details page when the collection is published.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.