Researching in German Civil and Church Records

Researching in German Civil and Church Records

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Researching in German Civil and Church Records; by Eric Kopittke; 2015; 44 pp; 5.75x8.25; paper; b&w & color photos, maps, bibliog, appendix, index; ISBN: 9781925323085; Item #: RUTP0202

Researching in German civil and church records' answers the question 'How can I obtain a birth or marriage certificate from Germany for an immigrant ancestor?' What the new researcher may not realize is that in Germany the system of births, marriage and deaths by civil authorities, and the issue of associated certificates, has some significant differences to the system that the researcher may be used to.

Prior to the introduction of civil registration, churches kept registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, and such church records may allow the researcher to follow the family back for several hundred years.

This book is a practical guide that, with the aid of many illustrations, will allow the reader to become familiar with the types of information available on German civil certificates of birth, marriage and death and church records of baptism, marriage and burial. The book then explains how to access these records and build on the information given in the companion volume 'Locating your German ancestor's place of origin'.


  • Introduction
    • Background
  • Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths
    • Background to civil records
    • Identifying the appropriate 'Standesamt'
    • Civil registration certificates
    • Obtaining the certificate
  • Church records of baptisms, marriages and burials
    • Background to the German religious scene
    • Identifying the appropriate parish
    • Church registers (Baptism records, Marriage records, Burial records, Confirmation)
    • Family registers
    • Accessing the church registers
  • An introduction to German handwriting
    • Confusing letters
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
    • Websites
    • Books
  • Appendix: Keywords found in civil and church records
  • Index