Introduction to German Family History Research for Australians

Introduction to German Family History Research for Australians

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Introduction to German Family History Research for Australians; by Eric Kopittke; 2017; 68 pp; 5.75x8.25; paper; Indexed; ISBN: 9781925323733; Item #: RUTP0203

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for Australians in researching their family history from Germany, or a German speaking area, is knowing where and how to start. But once you've started you often find that the amount of detail that is available in German records exceeds that of comparable English records.

It goes without saying that some understanding of the history of the region helps the researcher better understand the lives of their ancestors (the same goes for any region), and this book helps with that.

It also takes the reader through the issues surrounding names of people and places that tend to confuse the beginner, and it points to records that can be accessed from within Australia as well as those overseas from Australia that are able to provide the foundation upon which research into our German ancestors can be built.

An increasing variety of material, including maps, gazetteers, census records, newspapers, passenger lists and some civil records of birth, marriage and death, and church records of baptisms, marriage burial have been digitized and indexed and are being made available online. This book gives guidance as to how to access these.

But it’s not all online by any stretch of the imagination, and the reader is reminded of the value of being part of a family history, genealogy or local history organization, both locally and overseas. Of course the German records are written in German, usually in old German script, but a range of tools exist that will help you to make sense of these … and there’s more than like a number of more experienced researchers in local societies who would be happy to help as well.


  • Introduction
  • A brief overview of German history
    • Holy Roman Empire
    • Reformation
    • Thirty Years War
    • Prussia
    • French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
    • Zollverein - Customs Union
    • Schleswig-Holstein
    • German Empire 1871-1919
    • Between the wars
    • Following World War II
  • Getting started
  • Identifying the immigrant ancestor
  • German spelling and pronunciation
  • What's in a name?
    • Surnames
    • Given names
    • Traps with names from German language records
  • German place names
    • Geogen
    • Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs- Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs
    • Kartenmeister
  • Maps
    • Historical maps of Middle Europe
    • Ravenstein Atlas des deutschen reichs 1883
    • Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB)
    • Third military mapping survey of Austria-Hungary
    • GeoGRIEF - Griefswald
    • Mapster
    • Google Street View
  • German migration to Australia
    • Early Germans in Australia
    • Germans in South Australia
    • Germans in Queensland
    • Germans in New South Wales
    • Germans in Victoria
    • Gold rushes and other mining
  • Passenger lists
    • Departure lists
    • Arrival lists
  • Birth, marriage and death certificates from Germany
    • Accessing German birth, marriage and death certificates
    • The former German Eastern Territories
  • Church records of baptism, marriage and burial
    • Baptism records
    • Marriage records
    • Burial records
    • Confirmation records
  • Local family books (Ortsfamilienbücher)
  • German census records
    • Elsaß-Lothringer (alsace-Lorraine)
    • Hannover
    • Lübeck
    • Mecklenburg-Schwerin
    • Schaumburg-Lippe
    • Schleswig-Holstein
    • Westfalen
  • Cemeteries
  • Directories
  • Military
  • Newspapers
  • Genealogical and family histories societies
    • In Australia
    • In Germany
  • Conclusion
  • Index