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Lower Saxony, Germany Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Guide to Lower Saxony, Germany ancestry, family history, and genealogy from 1945 to the present: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Information[edit | edit source]

Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LOWER SAXONY WILL GO HERE 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 this chart.

Historical Geography[edit | edit source]

From these historic areas now in Lower Saxony
(Niedersachsen), click
below on the related
article for the region.

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Former States Now in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)

Niedersachsen regions.png

Modern Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)

Modern Niedersachsen.png

Administrative Districts[edit | edit source]

Lower Saxony is divided into 38 rural districts (Kreise), and 10 urban districts (Kreisfreie Städte).

Rural Districts (Kreise):

Ammerland, Aurich, County of Bentheim, Celle, Cloppenburg, Cuxhaven, Diepholz, Emsland, Friesland, Gifhorn, Goslar, Göttingen, Hamelin-Pyrmont, Hanover, Harburg, Heidekreis, Helmstedt, Hildesheim, Holzminden, Leer, Lüchow-Dannenberg, Lüneburg, Nienburg, Northeim, Oldenburg, Osnabrück, Osterholz, Osterode, Peine, Rotenburg, Schaumburg, Stade, Uelzen, Vechta , Verden, Wesermarsch, Wittmund, Wolfenbüttel

Urban Districts (Kreisfreie Städte):

Braunschweig, Delmenhorst, Emden, Göttingen, Hanover, Oldenburg, Osnabrück, Salzgitter, Wilhelmshaven, Wolfsburg

Landkreise Niedersachsen.png

1871 Region

History and Background

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

Instructions for Research Before 1945

Brunswick (Braunschweig)

1919: Enclaves of Calvorde and Blankenburg became part of the current state of Saxony-Anhalt.
1946: The rest became part of the current state of Lower Saxony. (Map)


Brunswick (Braunschweig), German Empire Genealogy


1946: Merged into Lower Saxony (Map)

Preussen, Hannover

Hanover (Hannover), German Empire Genealogy


1946: Merged into Lower Saxony (Map)


Oldenburg, German Empire Genealogy


1946: Merged into current state of Lower Saxony (Map)


Schaumburg-Lippe, German Empire Genealogy

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.

  • Use Finding Town of Origin as a guide in finding evidence in United States records proving your ancestors' town of origin.

Finding Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

After 1875, 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:

Privacy Laws[edit | edit source]

Since 2009, birth records have been public after 110 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.

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).
  • Email the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
  • From the town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article.
  • There will usually be an infobox on the right side of page that lists the address and the website of the municipality.
  • From the website, look for Kontakt (Contact) information with an email address. Send a message asking whether you have the correct office for your ancestors' home town.
  • For larger towns:
  • Follow the same instructions above.
  • The infobox with the website will appear directly on a this page.

Writing for Civil Registration Records[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 Address[edit | edit source]

  • Standesamt Addresses in Niedersachsen. Be sure to search this list in the original German, not the English translation. Otherwise, you will see strange translated town names like "Meadow", "Field", instead of the real German name. Use the Command + F (Find) tool on your computer.

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.